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Question: Experienced electric guitarists or luthiers - should i keep a soft shell case as a spare!?
ok, i know this will sound ridiculous, and sorry for the length, but here's the deal:

my teenage son has a rather expensive electric guitar (a limited edition strat - btw, that and his alvarez acoustic/elec are his *only* "luxury" items - he's far from spoiled, and we're *very* far from wealthy)!. he keeps his strat in a top-quality, hard shell case!.!.he takes it to and from lessons every week, and occasionally takes it places to rehearse/jam/perform!.!.!.!.he's very careful with the guitar and the case!.!.!.!.

several years ago, when he got his first two (inexpensive, beginner) guitars, he received a soft shell case with each!.!.!.however, he only used one of the cases, and only for a short period of time!.!.!.!.therefore, for the past few years, i've had two soft shell cases, in excellent condition, lying around, collecting dust!.

so, today, i read a freecycle ad (a site where people donate things they no longer need to people who can use them) where a mom stated (her exact words): "I am in need of a guitar case for my child!."!.!.!.!.so, i emailed her, informing her (my exact words):

"I have a *soft* shell case she could have - in fact, i have two different ones she is welcome to choose from!."

so now, i just received the following email in response:

"Wonderful! when would be good for pickup!.!.my daughter has a bass and a regular guitar!."

ok, granted, this person could be full of it, and just wanting them to sell - but whatever - soft shell guitar cases aren't worth all that much anyway!.!.!.so, let's assume she's actually telling the truth!.!.!.!.

yet, she didn't *ask* for two in her ad, and obviously, i didn't *offer* her both of mine (in which i find kind of rude on her part - assuming she can have both) - yet, in the grand scheme of things, i figured, i don't really care if she takes both - after all, i don't intend to sell them, and we have no use for them!.!.!.!.

but then, it hit me: what if my son's guitar case were to suddenly "break"!? - could it!? - i mean, the thing is like 100 pounds (ok, yeah, it's a lot lighter than that, but i'm weak, lol, and it IS heavy!) -but let's say, a latch or two suddenly malfunctions and needs repair, and he can't use it!.!.!.have you ever had that happen!? -

should i keep one of the soft cases as an "emergency" back up!? - or, are the chances of that happening *so* remote, that i should just give the lady both of them!?

your opinions/expert advice greatly appreciated!. :)

(btw, *11* points to the best answer - i always give everyone a thumbs up for a decent answer - and if yours is chosen as the best answer, you'll therefore get 11 points! ("yippy" - like we care, shizzle)!. :DWww@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Well the answer is quiet simple!. I go hard shell case all the way just for the fact that it takes a beating and askes for more!. If you look at my hard shell cases they look like they will fall appart but when I open it it looks brand new on the inside!.

Depending where the guitar is going I still say hard shell case!. Gig bag is never in the option for me because My rhythme guitarist had one and it did not protect it from people and it detuned and still dented the guitar!.

If the guitar is going to be stored a hard shell case is the best for it with a nice guitar humidifer for it!. Kept in a room between 65 to 67 degrees!. The case should be more so wooden shock proof than plasic or PVC proof!.

If it is going to be played taken places etc!. Use plastic ABS Plastic which is shock proof!. I personally am more to the Wood side of things with vinal cover just because it does not look as tacky with it being painted or have stickers on it like plastic!.

(In case you are wondering shock proof is that it causes the guitar to not bounce around in the case like gig bags do!. If the guitar is banged around the guitar is protected)

Soft cases and gig bags are never in my mind when it comes to protecting my guitars!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

I would keep one, just in case!. If its a quality hardshell case, its not likely too break!. But there are times were a hardshell case is more trouble then its worth because they are heavy and large!. Having a gig bag is good to have around if necessary!.
So yea, keep oneWww@QuestionHome@Com

In 20 years playing i've never had a case *break* beyond use!. Worse case scenario, it starts to deteriorate over the years - and you can see its demise coming years before it's unusable!.

In fact, I have a fender (or fender style) hardshell case from the 70s that I keep my '72 Mustang in!. It's beat-up, but still doing its job!.

Even my cheapest off-brand hardshell cases, although they get shabby more quickly, don't show any signs of endangering my guitars!.

Now I do agree that the lady was rather presumptuous to think you'd give her both!. And if you don't want to, just write her back and make it clear you're only offering her choice of ONE of the two!.

But I think you can safely get by without a backup case!.
Edit - But at the same time, I also agree agree with the previous answer, that a gig bag (if you don't already have one) comes in handy if you don't want to lug around the hardshell case!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

sounds like a hoarding problem, if someone can use it give it to them, I have a few gig bags laying around that no one wants, you want them!? the shelter for my Gretsch is looking a little poorly, know any one giving away a nice case let me know, cause I'm sure as hell not putting it in a soft case!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

In my experience, hardshell guitar cases don't generally break!. I would assume that your son's limited edition Strat came with a very good quality case, and as long as he's careful with it, he shouldn't have to worry about it breaking!.

Having said that, I will say that a good, well-padded soft shell guitar case (or "gigbag" as they're also called) is a good thing to have!. They're much lighter in weight than a hard case and usually come with a shoulder strap that makes them much easier to carry!.

I have hard shell cases for both my acoustic guitar and my somewhat expensive banjo, but I almost always carry them in soft sided gigbags!. If I take either of them, or both of them, anyplace, its to go to a friend's house, or a jam, or an occasional gig!. They go from my house into the back seat of my car, to my destination, and I keep an eye on them at all times!. So they're safe even in the gigbags!. I carry them in the hard shell cases if I'm taking them on an airplane or other public transportation where I might have to check them as baggage (although I do my best to convince airline or rail personnel to let me take them onboard as carry-on luggage)!.

So you might want to keep one of the two gigbags you have for use with your son's guitar!. Keep the better, more thickly padded one -- assuming your son's Strat fits properly in it -- and give the other one away!.Www@QuestionHome@Com