Gig Bag vs Hard Case: Which One is Better? [Updated 2022]

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Are you wondering whether you should use a gig bag or a hard case when transporting a musical instrument such as a guitar? Not sure who the winner is in the “gig bag vs hard case” debate?

If you plan on playing a musical instrument outside of the home, it’s a good idea to buy a carrying case of some kind.  Gig bags and hard cases are two main options that you’ll want to consider and each comes with its pros and cons.

Whether you play the acoustic-electric guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, dobro, bass, or another similar instrument, there are a few things you’ll want to consider when making your choice.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you decide. Below, we’ll compare the advantages and disadvantages of using gig bags or hard cases for transporting musical instruments.

Gig Bag

  • Pros: Easy to Carry, More Mobility, Lightweight, Cheaper
  • Cons: Minimal Protection

One of the top benefits of buying a gig-bag instead of a carrying case for transporting your instrument is that it will be much more mobile.

Gigbags are easy to carry and you can do so in several ways, such as by your side or by strapping it to your back. Most gig bags have carrying handles on the side as well as straps for carrying it on your back.

Gig bags are also lightweight and this can make them a great option if you live in an urban area and need to carry your instrument across the city or ride public transport with it. They also sometimes have more space for essential accessories than a hard case will.

On the other hand, one of the drawbacks of gig bags is that they are a bit too lightweight. They won’t offer adequate protection for your instrument, and if you drop it while carrying it, your instrument isn’t likely to get much protection.

The bottom line is that while gig bags are great for transporting an instrument, they aren’t great for offering protection. If you’re willing to make this trade-off, however, gig bags can be very useful. This is particularly true if you’ll be carrying your guitar or musical instrument on foot pretty often.

Hard Shell Case

  • Pros: Extra Protection
  • Cons: Minimal Mobility, Harder to Carry, More Expensive

Having the opposite attributes of gig bags, hardshell instrument cases tend to offer better protection but with less mobility. Hardshell cases will protect your instrument well and will be fairly easy to transport and walk around with.

If you’ll be throwing your guitar into the back of your van with a lot of other musical gear, for example, a hardshell case will likely serve you better than a gig bag will. A guitar or a banjo instrument in a gig bag may get crushed or damaged in some way if not stored properly and away from harm.

Where a hard case is lacking compared to a gig bag, however, is that they aren’t as lightweight and easy to carry. They also won’t be strapped on your back so easily.

This can make hardshell cases pretty inconvenient, particularly if you’ll be walking around your city with your instrument or riding public transport. If you’ll simply be driving from point A to point B with your instrument, on the other hand, a hardshell case will probably be a good choice.

Final Thoughts

If you’re trying to make the decision of whether to buy a gig bag vs a hard case for your musical instrument, you have a lot to think about. Both options have their pros and cons, so you’ll want to think about them all carefully before you make your buying decision.

While gig bags offer a bit more portability, hardshell cases offer the maximum amount of protection and can help you rest assured that your instrument is safe and sound.

Ready to buy a great guitar gig bag? Check out our post on the top gig bags for acoustic guitars right now.