9 Of The Best Hard Shell Acoustic Guitar Cases (2020 Guide)

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These Are Some of the Best Hard Shell Acoustic Guitar Cases Available!

Looking for a great acoustic guitar hard case and feeling overwhelmed? You’re definitely not alone.

With so many different guitar hard case sizes – from the best dreadnought guitar case to jumbo cases – and numerous other differences between models, it can be hard to pick the best acoustic hard case for you. That’s where I come in.

I actually own a really nice dreadnought hard case for my Fender electric-acoustic but I also have a gig bag that has lasted me quite a few years now.

If you’re searching for the best acoustic guitar case (in general), we also have a post on the best soft-sided acoustic guitar gig bags.

That said, both types of cases for acoustic guitars are good to have and have different purposes. Hardshell acoustic guitar cases are great for protecting your guitar from damage, humidity, and make for a great travel case for your acoustic guitar.

So, in this article, we’ll dive into the best acoustic guitar hard cases – also known as “hard shell” cases. Our guide will take you through what you need to consider when buying a hard case, show you some of the best acoustic hard cases, and also compare hard cases to soft shell gig bags side-by-side.

The 9 Best Hard Shell Acoustic Guitar Cases

If you know you are set on acoustic guitar hard shell cases, then you can get started having a look at some top guitar cases below.

These acoustic guitar hard cases have been picked as the best based on multiple details such as personal experience with hard cases, reviews, and their overall function, quality, and price.

Yamaha AG1-HC Acoustic Hard Case
Gearlux Tweed Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
Yamaha AG1-HC Hard Case Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Case
Gearlux Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Hard Case - Tweed
ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
Yamaha AG1-HC Acoustic Hard Case
Yamaha AG1-HC Hard Case Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Case
Gearlux Tweed Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
Gearlux Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Hard Case - Tweed
ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

Yamaha AG1-HC Acoustic Hard Case

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Yamaha AG1-HC Hard Case Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Case
  • Hardshell Acoustic Guitar Case, Dreadnought
  • Fits Yamaha models: F Series, FG Series, A1 Series, A3 Series, CPX Series, FGX Series, FJX Series

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A popular acoustic hard case that comes in multiple guitar sizes
  • Pros: Metal hinges and latches, a typical inner compartment for small storage, good padding
  • Cons: No locking mechanism (if that matters) and it’s a pretty basic case (if you can call that a con)

If you want a hard acoustic guitar case that works for loads of different makes and models, the Yamaha is the case for you. With good hardware and simple design, it’s a hard case that will go the mile to protect your guitar.

Gearlux Tweed Acoustic Guitar Hard Case

Gearlux Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Hard Case - Tweed
  • Fits most dreadnought acoustic guitars
  • Plush padded interior

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A flashy but functional hard case with tweed exterior
  • Pros: Tweed exterior, lock and key for secure closing, gold hardware, inner storage compartment
  • Cons: Tweed will show dirt/stains more than a black exterior would

If you’re looking for a tweed acoustic guitar case, the Gearlux might be the one for you. With trim and hardware to complete the look, this Tweed case also comes in a “normal black” version… but the Tweed version gives you that vintage acoustic guitar case feel.

ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case

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ChromaCast CC-AHC Acoustic Guitar Hard Case
  • Lockable wood hard case with plush lined interior that Includes extra neck and Bridge padding
  • Sturdy chrome latches and bumpers on bottom and sides of case for added protection and stability

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A very popular simple hard case that comes in multiple guitar styles and sizes for a lower price
  • Pros: Locking mechanism, metal hardware and bumpers, inner storage compartment
  • Cons: Depending on your usage, the outer black coating shows wear and tear easily… but it’s a guitar case so that’s kind of the point.

Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Acoustic Guitar Case

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A lightweight plastic hard case that holds humidity better than a wooden hard shell case
  • Pros: Tough ABS plastic casing with thick foam interior and padded finish, inner compartment, locking latch
  • Cons: Higher in price – but potentially worth it for your needs

If Gator cases interest you and you like the idea of a sturdy plastic case, Gator also makes a TSA-approved locking plastic acoustic guitar case for flying.

Gator Cases Journeyman Series Deluxe Wood Case for Acoustic Guitars

Gator Cases Journeyman Series Deluxe Wood Case for Acoustic Guitars (GW-JM-DREAD)
  • Traditional Sturdy Wood Case Craftsmanship
  • Antique Brass Hardware

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: Another cool acoustic guitar case from Gator but this time with blue velvet interior and brass hardware
  • Pros: Stylish look, locking latch, interior storage
  • Cons: Higher in price as you are paying for quality and style

If you are just looking for a classic wooden black case, Gator also makes a wooden hard shell case (for various acoustic sizes).

Carrion C-1501 Black Hardshell Acoustic Guitar Case

Carrion C-1501 Black Hardshell Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar Case
  • Perfect for musicians looking for a quality dreadnaught case at an affordable price
  • Heavy duty multi-ply wood core gives this guitar case superior strength and resiliency

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: Another classic black case with similar specs to the above models
  • Pros: Lockable latch, cheaper price point, comes in sizes for multiple stringed instruments
  • Cons: Lacks numerous rubber or metal bumpers on the exterior (for protection and/or standing the case up on the end)

Knox Gear KN-GC01 Acoustic Guitar Hard Shell Protective Case

Knox Gear KN-GC01 Acoustic Guitar Hard Shell Protective Case
  • Inside dimensions:Overall length 44" Body length 23.5" depth 5.5" lower bout width 16.5" middle bout width 12.5" upper bout width 13"
  • Hard Shell & Fully Padded for Premium Protection

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: Another classic black acoustic case with thick, lush inner padding
  • Pros: Locking latch, inner compartment for storage, lower price point
  • Cons: One standard size may be too large or too small for some acoustic guitars

Crossrock Fiberglass Acoustic Guitar Case Hardshell

Crossrock CRF1000DNVBL Fiberglass Acoustic Guitar Case Hardshell- Backpack Style for 40"/41"...
  • 100% purity fiberglass arch-top exterior. Can hold 400lb pressure.
  • 6 latches and thick rubber strip seal ensures the super security and waterproofness of the case.

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A sturdy fiberglass exterior with a waterproof rubber seal for added protection. Available for different instruments in different materials.
  • Pros: 6 latches, rubber seal, detachable backpack straps, inner compartment
  • Cons: More expensive and has a larger overall footprint than a smaller black wooden base

CAHAYA Acoustic Guitar Case Hardshell 

CAHAYA Acoustic Guitar Case Hardshell 0.8in Thick Padding Waterproof PU Design Easy Cleaning with 3...
  • Vintage Hardshell Case: CAHAYA acoustic backpack soft padded hard shell guitar case is built for last. High quality foam shell as well as plush lining and durable zippers...
  • Spacious Storage Compartment: interior accessory storage compartment with lid is suitable for storing personal belongings. External big pocket for holding sheet music books,...

Last update on 2020-10-23 at 23:35

  • Features: A hybrid hard and soft case with very thick foam padding, waterproof pleather exterior, and a zippered closure
  • Pros: An additional exterior large storage pocket for guitar accessories, includes backpack straps and numerous carrying handles
  • Cons: Not exactly a “hard case” – thick padding doesn’t necessarily replace a wooden or plastic exterior but is better than a classic gig bag

What Is A Hard Shell Acoustic Guitar Case And Why You Need One

Also known simply as a hard case, a hard acoustic guitar case is just another type of standard guitar case for your acoustic guitar. As you might have already figured out, the outer layer of these cases is hard.

They have a hard outer shell that is durable (made from various materials like wood, strong plastic, or fiberglass) and meant to protect the guitar from damage.

On the inside, hard shell cases have soft yet rigid padding to hold the acoustic guitar firmly in place. Hard shell acoustic cases are generally closed up with strong latches or even locking mechanisms and feature different configurations of grab handles and/or straps for carrying the hard case around.

If you are the kind of person who is clumsy or you plan on travelling around with your guitar, a hard case is a must buy. Whether you toss your acoustic in the back of the car or check it as a bag on an airplane, a hard case is essential for keeping your acoustic damage-free.

A soft-sided case – also called a gig bag – is meant to protect the guitar from dust and dirt but they offer little to no structural protection for your guitar.

Acoustic Guitar Hard Cases Versus Gig Bags

As we briefly mentioned above, there are important differences between acoustic guitar cases. A hard shell case is very different from a soft-sided acoustic gig bag.

So, it’s pretty important to purchase a case that suits your instrument and your needs. The biggest differences between soft and hard acoustic cases are the overall function of the cases, the overall size, and the amount of extra storage they offer.

Acoustic guitar cases that are hard offer your guitar protection mainly from impact damage and some damage caused by lack of humidity (depending on where you live). Hard cases also protect against dust and dirt which is a plus.

Soft gig bags do not offer the same level of protection when it comes to your guitar taking a blow to the body or neck but at least can keep your acoustic free of dust.

As for overall size, hard cases are generally much bulkier, heavier, and take up more room. Because of thinner padding on the inside and a thinner outer liner, gig bags have a much slimmer overall profile. So, if you get a hard case, be sure you have a place to store it!

Lastly, unlike soft gig bags, hard cases don’t usually have extra zippered pockets to store accessories like capos, tuners, or music books. My hard case has one closable inner pocket under the neck – and that’s it for “extra” storage space. I toss a few picks up under where the headstock sits but that’s about it.

Benefits Of Using A Hard Shell Acoustic Guitar Bag

As we noted above, a hard shell acoustic guitar case is different from a padded gig bag. There are a number of notable benefits of having a hard case for your acoustic guitar so check them out below.

Protection

Of course, a hard guitar case for acoustic guitars is meant to protect the guitar from heavy structural damage. Both the hard outer casing and the thick inner padding are supposed to stabilize the guitar inside the case.

Another upside – as mentioned above – is that a closed hard case will also help to protect the instrument from dirt and dust that accumulates over time.

A good hard case can also protect your acoustic from damage caused by a lack of humidity/drying out. If your acoustic does dry out, a hard case paired with a good humidifier can help bring it back to life. Basically, if you really care about your acoustic, a hard case is an essential item to have.

Transportation

Related to the above attributes of a hard case protecting your acoustic guitar, this also makes them good for transporting your guitar from place to place. You can toss the hard case in the back of the car (gently still, obviously) and you can be confident the guitar will make it there in one piece.

Hard cases are also best for airplane travel if you are bringing your full-sized acoustic with you. There are now hard cases that have TSA-approved locks so you can secure your precious guitar during transit and still be compliant with travel laws.

Of course, if space is a consideration, a hard shell case will (usually) take up more room than a simple gig bag. Also, hard cases often only have one of two rigid handles and some times have backpack straps – whereas gig bags usually have handles, straps, and other ways to transport the case from A to B.

Storage

Lastly, acoustic guitar hard cases serve as a great place to store your guitar when it is not in use. You can store your guitar on a guitar stand or a wall mount but a hard case (for the reasons mentioned above) is likely the best place for storage.

That said, hard cases aren’t as good as soft cases when it comes to storing accessories but that’s not what hard cases are generally for anyways. For me, the hard case is more of a “permanent home” for my acoustic when I am at home and the gig bag pockets are where most accessories get stored.

Things To Consider In A Good Hard Shell Acoustic Case

Acoustic guitar hard shell cases might seem very similar but there are a few differences between the cases. These differences can impact which case would work best for you.

Hard cases are an important guitar accessory so here are a few things you’ll need to consider before you buy. They also make a nice gift for a guitar player who doesn’t yet have one!

Instrument Size

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when buying an acoustic hard shell case is the size of the case and the dimensions of your guitar.

Hard cases are meant to fit the guitar snug. The acoustic should not bounce around inside the case when you move it. So, it’s imperative you check both the body dimensions of the guitar and the acoustic body shape the case is meant for.

As a refresher, there are a number of acoustic guitar body shapes and sizes. From smallest to largest, they are parlor, concert, triple-O, dreadnought, and jumbo. There are also a few variations or “in-between” sizes of these standard sizes.

Generally speaking, the dreadnought is a very common acoustic size. However, a dreadnought acoustic guitar hard case is going to fit very differently than the hard case for a large jumbo or a smaller parlor guitar acoustic.

If you are not sure whether a hard shell case will fit your guitar, check out the product specs and then get a measuring tape and measure your guitar. Remember to look at the inner-most dimensions of the case (the space inside the padding). There are a few measurements to look at. These include:

  • Total Inner Length – the length from headstock to base of the body
  • Total Inner Body Length – the length of just the guitar body from base of neck to base of body
  • Upper Bout – the top wide part of the body (on a classic figure-8 acoustic body)
  • Lower Bout – the lower wide part of the body (on a classic figure-8 acoustic body)
  • Total Depth – the measurement from back to the front of the interior of the case padding

There’s nothing worse than having a wrong-sized hard case because a small guitar in too big of a case is likely to damage your guitar. Also, returning merchandise is a hassle if you can avoid it!

Materials + Waterproofing

Considering a hard case is meant to protect a guitar from actual potential force, the outer-most material of the case is an important thing to consider when you buy.

Many hard shell cases are made out of wood, a densely molded plastic (ABS plastic), or even fiberglass. Wooden cases will usually be covered in materials like tweed or a black “pleather” water-resistant coating or a classic thin black vinyl material called Tolex.

Materials like fiberglass and plastic should be waterproof. Often cases that are designed to be watertight also have a rubber seal that runs the top and bottom edge where the case opens.

Have a look at the stitching and any pop rivets on the case. String stitching is used to keep the outside layers on the cover but also to hold the inner padding and any additional liners together. Rivets might be used to hold the outer structure together or to hold metal or rubber “stoppers” on the bottom and sides onto the case.

Hinges and Latches

Hinges and the latches are vitally important on these kinds of hard cases -considering these are the things that hold the case closed! Many hinges on the back of the case and latches on the front are made from a metal like brass but steel hinges and latches will also be a good bet.

Be sure to check how the hinges and latches are fastened onto the exterior of the case as well. Any moving parts on any product are going to be the most likely to break over time.

Padding

Aside from the string exterior, a key reason people purchase an acoustic hard case is for the inner padding. Hard case padding is meant to be very thick and dense – usually foam coated in soft materials like vinyl.

The padding also plays a large role in securing the guitar in the case so that it not only absorbs shock but also keeps the acoustic from bouncing around inside the case.

Different hard shell acoustic guitar cases have varying thicknesses of padding on the inside. More padding won’t necessarily mean “more protection” – the fit of the instrument in the case is more important in this case.

Extra Storage

Hard shell cases aren’t as great for having extra storage space or extra pockets inside them or on the outside of them like soft gig bags.

That said, you’ll usually find hard cases with a small compartment under the neck padding which is great for capos, picks, and strings – basically anything you want to bring with you.

This compartment exists for another function within the case – it helps to support the guitar neck closer to the body as the guitar rests in the case.

Handles/Straps

Another important thing to consider when buying a hard shell acoustic case is the quality of the grab handle and/or straps (if the hard case has straps).

Usually, hard cases have one master handle – often made of a dense plastic – that is fastened near the middle seam of the case’s opening. This is essentially the way to carry a hard shell case so handle quality is important.

Some other hard cases (the fiberglass one, for example) have backpack straps that make for another method of carrying the guitar and case.

If you do want backpack-type straps for a carrying option, be sure to check any padding on the straps, whether the straps are adjustable, and how they are mounted to the rear of the case.

Backpack straps can make it easier to transport your acoustic guitar in the hard case if you are walking but only heading a short distance.

Weight

Since hard cases have much more material and sturdiness to them, weight is a greater consideration than for a simple gig bag. The weight of the acoustic hard case can change based on what the exterior is made from, the thickness and type of padding, and also how heavy your acoustic guitar is, in general.

If you don’t plan on moving your guitar in the case all that often – and your hard case will sit in a room in your house – then the weight of the case might not be as important as for someone who wants to travel with theirs.

Price/Quality

Overall, the price (and the related quality) of the hard case should be an important factor in which hard case you buy. You don’t have to go out and buy the most expensive hard case for your acoustic. You can get a decent quality case for $100 and under.

That said, you can buy a more expensive case – you might be spending on the name, the materials used, or the fact that a case has additional features or specs like waterproofing.

Of course, always watch out for generic name products and overly cheap products because if they break quickly, you’ll just have to buy another case – and you could have just got that case in the first place with a little more research!

In the end, the best hard case for your acoustic guitar is going to be the case that fits your guitar, has the features you want/need, and is within your budget. Remember these three vital things and you’ll have a hard time going wrong.

And there you have it – a rundown of some of the best hard shell acoustic guitar cases out there right now. Hard cases are an important accessory that can prolong the life of your acoustic – so having one is a kind of a no-brainer. Just be mindful of the exact dimensions of the acoustic guitar you’re purchasing a hard case for!

As always, Happy Strumming,

-E