Making the case for a guitar case.

Many people ask me if they really need a guitar case for their guitar and I guess it depends on the circumstances around how you intend to use your guitar. Are you going to leave it at home on the guitar stand and play it only occasionally? If so, then I suppose a case isn’t really necessary. However, if you plan to take your guitar with you anywhere, then a guitar case is a must have.

Guitar cases not only protect the guitar from the bumps and bruises of travel, but they also protect the guitar from the elements and keep the guitar’s humidity at a more constant level. Many people don’t realize that keeping the humidity level constant will prolong the life of the wood in the guitar and prevent damage that can happen from too much or too little humidity. Too much humidity causes the wood to swell and too little causes the wood to shrink. Drastic changes in the humidity level of the wood in your guitar can cause cracking of the wood, sharp frets, warped necks, electrical problems (if your guitar has electronics in it), rusted strings and problems with the finish.

Temperature is also a factor that causes issues with your guitar. Extreme temperature changes; i.e. going from a warm house to a cold outside, or visa versa, can cause the wood to shrink or swell too rapidly and can result in wood separation within the body of the guitar. Guitars with laminated tops, backs and sides are slightly more durable and will handle these changes a little better. But if you have a guitar that has a solid top, it requires more care to ensure that it does not crack or separate.

A gig bag is better than nothing at all but you don’t get much crush protection like you would with a hard plastic or wood case.

So I guess it is safe to say that if you opt out of having your guitar in a case you are taking the risk that bad things can happen. If you like the thrill of living on the edge, skip the case. If you want to protect your investment and enjoy a long and happy relationship with your guitar, keep that baby in the case!

Chris Kasper

Please send questions or comments to chriskasper@chesbromusic.com

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