How To Store Guitar Cases: All That You Should Do To Protect Your Precious Instruments

The guitar is a popular instrument, and it became a precious treasure for some people. Hence, they usually have a good case to keep their guitar. However, we often forget to clean or store guitar cases and take care of our guitar more carefully. If you ignore your guitar case, you should change your mind. You can refer to our article to know how to store guitar cases in the best way.

Now, let’s check our table content.

  • Do I Really Need Guitar Cases?
  • What Do We Have Guitar Case Types?
  • How To Store Guitar Cases: Cleaning Step-By-Step Guideline
  • What Should I Avoid To Protect Guitar Cases?
  • Rules For Storage Guitar Cases
  • What Should I Consider Before Change Guitar Cases? 

Do I Really Need Guitar Cases?

how to store guitar cases

Most answers are yes, although some people don’t need to buy a guitar case.

When you own guitar cases, you can protect your instruments against harmful agents, for example, dust, high temperature, or physical destruction. If you are a music lover and you consider instruments as treasures, you will want to keep them in the safest condition. Thus, buying and store guitar cases are reasonable.

Alternatively, guitar cases can help you more comfortable. You can bring your instrument anywhere easily with a gig bag. Typically, the guitar is difficult to carry, so that a soft case can solve this issue fast. You can put your guitar into a case and bring it around on your motor or bicycle.

If you just play the guitar at home or don’t carry it to the shop to fix it, you will not need cases. However, such cases are pretty rare.  

What Do We Have Guitar Case Types?

There are a few guitar case types, but you can pick one of the popular types that we will introduce to you.

Hard guitar cases

A hard guitar case is one of the excellent ways to protect your instrument. Although it is heavy, it is made of durable materials (carbon fibers, fiberglass, metal, wood, plastic, etc.) to provide maximum protection for your guitar.

The interior is quite soft and has a pad, plush lining. These details can protect your guitar from strong impacts and avoid scratching.

The hard case often has one or a few compartments to keep mini accessories. It can come with the main handle and a shoulder strap (option), even it may have built-in wheels like a travel suitcase.

When you own hard guitar cases, it will be an invisible fence; your instrument avoids harmful factors such as dust, humidity, extreme climate, or change temperature.

Only one disadvantage is not easy to carry everywhere. A hard guitar case has a bulky design, and you need to have a car to transport. Even so, you should own a hard guitar case for long journeys.

There are 4 categories of hard guitar cases.

Chipboard guitar case (Cardboard)

how to store guitar cases

This guitar case type is made of chipboard. This material is like thick cardboard, so it is pretty light. Its latches are cheap, and the hardware is easily ruined. It also does not have plush material lining or any pad to hold the musical instrument in a secure state.

It would be best if you used chipboard cases to contain acoustic guitars. When you buy it on e-commerce websites, let’s check information to avoid buying a chipboard case if you don’t like it. You can consider the price or accurate picture from other customers. You need to know that it has a soft inner pad or not, then decide to order.

Hardshell guitar case (Wooden)

The hardshell guitar case is an iconic case for many years. It owns the standard design for new guitars. This guitar case type is still popular, but many manufacturers are shifting production to materials other than wood.

Its outer surface is made of one-quarter to three-quarters inch plywood. The manufacturers cover it by tolex or tweed. The OEM hard cases sometimes come with a guitar whose interior is molded to match the instrument to protect well, but I don’t guarantee if you meet any severe impact.

If you need to carry your guitar around the city or town, the hardshell guitar case will be a good idea. However, please don’t take it on the airplane or for a long trip by car or bus.

Molded guitar case

Instead of plywood, some manufacturers changed molded plastic materials (ex. PE – polyethylene, ABS – acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, etc.). This guitar case type is gradually popular because the molded plastic is durable, rigid, and enough flex to resist impact.

Some mold cases can prevent water, dust because they are watertight and airtight; you can bring them when you travel on the ship. Some manufacturers use carbon fiber or fiberglass to make an insulation barrier. 

Molded guitar case also has wheels and TSA locks so that you can move it easily at the airport. It is suitable for carrying around the city. You can bring a few brands to air travel if you see “flight case” or “ATA” in the label and TSA locks. It can withstand medium impacts.

Road case

how to store guitar cases

Road case is a perfect solution for touring. It can keep your instruments safe and firm during transport (using trucks, airplanes, cars, etc.).

It is pretty similar to wooden cases. The manufacturers use plywood (a quarter or three-eighth inch) to produce it. Besides, they use thick, tough layers of material (ex. HDPE, PVC, etc.) for clamping plywood boards. Thus, the plywood’s natural strength is enhanced, and the likelihood of breakage and splintering is also less likely.

The aluminum coating protects the edges; the heavy studs fasten them. The aluminum bezel also helps the shell to be more rigid and durable. Thick steel end-caps reinforce the corners firmly. The hinges and pins are made of several thick, bearing metals.

The road case is both heavy (an empty case is about 25 – 35 pounds) and not cheap. It is a guitar case type only for artists with long touring because they have a professional transport team. Although the manufacturers tried to reduce its weight, it is still heavy.

Even so, road cases are an excellent suggestion for maximum protection if you are a singer and frequently have to go on tour. 

Soft guitar cases

Soft guitar cases (another name: gig bag) are also a good solution to keep the musical instrument. Their covers are made of polyester, leather, nylon, or some combination materials. They have a standard handle and an additional shoulder strap. Some manufacturers add a backpack-style strap to help you wear it on the back comfortably. 

A gig bag also includes a large accessory bag outside; it can contain a strap, music sheet, cable, etc., or rubber details to reinforce the outer surface. This guitar case type is suitable for those who have many musical instruments or usually move from concert to other music shows quickly. 

Soft cases are light and easy to bring; however, they cannot protect your guitar as well as hard cases, but you should still use them to save your instrument from physical damages. Don’t use them for long journeys or flights.

In case you live in harsh environments, I don’t recommend using soft guitar cases. They cannot prevent humidity, high temperature, or other agents from ruining your guitars.

Hybrid guitar cases

how to store guitar cases

Do you imagine that the hard and soft guitar case combine? If you are thinking about it, the hybrid guitar case is your expected result.

This guitar case type has a soft exterior and a firm structure (the rigid foam, plush lining, and padded). It owns the hard and soft case advantages, making it convenient for both storages and bringing around.

You can open and close a hybrid case with a heavy-duty zipper, just like using a soft case. Besides, a mixed case has some similarities to a gig bag, such as a large pocket on the outside, a soft handle, backpack-style straps, and a shoulder strap.

It also owns a few details of a hard case, for instance, a hard carrying handle, some interior accessory compartments, and rigid foam and velvet lining.

Hybrid cases are lightweight like a gig bag, but their protection is better than a soft case. However, it is not an ideal choice for carrying for a long trip because their safety is less than a hard case (the molded hardshell or wooden one). 

You should use a hybrid guitar case for shows and don’t let it fall down or anything stack up. Alternatively, I don’t recommend hybrid cases for flights; you can prepare the guitar travel cases such as a molded ATA flight case.

How To Store Guitar Cases: Cleaning Step-By-Step Guideline

As you can see, we have 3 types of guitar cases, and we can divide them into 2 groups (hard shell and soft shell). These 2 groups have a different cleaning way. Let’s follow the next part to learn.

How to clean a guitar case with a hard shell

Hard guitar cases include 4 categories (chipboard, wooden, molded, and road case) and a hybrid guitar case. We can clean them easily with simple items.

how to store guitar cases

You need to prepare: 

Soft cloths: 2 sheets, washed. You can make use of old shirts, towels, washcloths, sheets, or anything similar.

  • Warm water.
  • Dishwashing liquid.  
  • A toothbrush has soft bristles or a scrub brush.
  • Air compressors or mini vacuum cleaners.

Step 1: Vacuum

Vacuum or blow dust inside the cabinet carefully with a mini vacuum or air compressor. You think that the interior never meets dust or particles; let’s remove this mind immediately because the guitar case is not entirely tightened. 

Micro dust can enter into corners, crannies, and pockets that you cannot see them but you should eliminate them before they ruin the instruments’ interior.

Step 2: Cleaning

Add 1 drop of dishwashing liquid into a cup of warm water and stir well. 

Dip 1 cloth into dishwashing detergent mixture to wet. Use your hands to squeeze out the water.

Wipe the outer surface with that cloth. Check the sticky and dried stains on it and remove them. If you can’t use a cloth to clean up, the toothbrush or scrub brush will be the alternative solution.

You can use a dishwashing liquid blend to wipe inside but don’t do it frequently. If the inside of the box has tough stains (sauce, juice, pet waste, etc.), you can wipe them with water and dishwashing detergent. 

However, this mixture can damage a soft lining. After this lining meets water, it may not return to its original state (soft and fluffy). Hence, unless absolutely necessary, you should not use water to clean this liner.

Step 3: Dry

Use a remaining cloth to dry. You need to pay attention to nooks, seams, edges, and ridges where water can stand to remove.

If you use water to wipe the inner lining, you can dry it with a shop vac (dry-wet). This machine will remove standing water, recover normal texture, prevent adhesion of fibers. The plush liner will return to the original state.

After the inner and outer are entirely dried, you can put the guitar into the case and store it in a safe area.

How to clean a guitar case with a soft shell

For a guitar case with a hard shell, we have to clean by hand, but if your guitar case has a soft shell, you can choose 1 of 2 following ways.

Way 1: Use a washer

how to store guitar cases

Step 1: You should check the label that cleaning instructions allow you to clean a guitar case with a washer or not. It would help if you also considered that your guitar case fits in a washing machine.

Step 2: If your instrument case meets those criteria, let’s put it into the washer with laundry or water detergent. Before cleaning a soft guitar case, let’s remove all things inside and open pockets. 

Step 3: You can set up a gentle washing program and use warm water to quickly eliminate all stains and unpleasant smells. During washing, pay attention to the drum. It can lose balance because the guitar case is not like clothes. 

Step 4: After the wash, rinse, and dry end, you need to hang the guitar box outdoors, ensure that space is ventilated and full sun. Until it is dried perfectly, you can put the guitar into it and return it to the closet.

Way 2: Wash by hand

how to store guitar cases

Washing by hand is a way for cleaning a guitar case with big size or thick padding.

Step 1: Remove all things that are in your guitar case and open pockets.

Step 2: Put your guitar case into a bathtub or a large pot. Pour full of warm water and add detergent. Stir well and use a brush to scrub all corners.

Step 3: Until your guitar case does not have any stain or smell. Let’s pour away soapy water and rinse with warm water. When you see that the water is clear, you can squeeze it out. 

Step 4: Hang the guitar case in a ventilated space for at least 48 hours. Until it is dried 100 percentages, you can put it away.

What Should I Avoid To Protect Guitar Cases?

Lean guitar cases on the wall

Although standing your guitar cases up is not wrong, you should not lean them on the wall. The reason is very simple; your floor may be pretty slippery. Hence, your guitar case definitely slips down, and some cracks will appear around the guitar’s headstock position. 

You can buy a guitar rack; it helps your guitars stand up without leaning on the wall. 

Otherwise, if your house does not have enough space and you want to put guitar cases horizontally, you can prepare a shelf with many compartments. You need to ensure their length, width, and height enough to contain your instruments.

Do not protect guitar case against the environment 

how to store guitar cases

The guitar case can protect your instrument, but nothing covers it. If you put your guitar case in a harsh environment, the temperature is up to 80 – 90 Fahrenheit degrees or down to the negative level (ex. a car trunk). The heat or the cold can affect the durable level of guitar cases if you put them in inconvenient conditions for a long time.

Let’s remember one thing, guitar cases just create a buffer zone but cannot entirely protect your instrument from harmful agents. Guitar cases are not undefeated shields; they can damage the finished coating because of the sudden temperature change. 

Hence, it would help if you prevented your guitar cases from high temperature, pressure, dust, etc., to protect your instruments perfectly.

Forget to latch key 

Typically, we often forget the guitar case’s latches, and this is so terrible. Just stand and lift it up; your guitar will fall from the case. You will have to hear annoying noise, and your guitar may be ruined seriously.

Hence, never let your guitar case not latch, whether only for a few minutes when your instrument is still in it.

If you own the cardboard case, you should carry it so that the pins are facing your body. This means that you need to rest the top of the case towards you. Thus, if unluckily your guitar falls out, you will use your body to catch it.

Otherwise, if you don’t close the latch key and your guitar case lies face down, your instrument will leave the case and break down. You can prevent this by latching and let your guitar case be against your side.

Put guitar cases in the sun

how to store guitar cases

Whether anything happens, never let your guitar case under the bright sunshine. You should not think that you can determine the temperature and neglect guitar cases with the horrible heat, especially if your guitar is empty.

The guitar case cover is basically black or dark colors so that it can absorb heat quickly. When the sunshine lights, the box definitely heats up (both inside and outside). Even if it is a cool and beautiful day, the temperature is about 65 – 70 Fahrenheit degrees; you play the guitar on a picnic, your guitar box is still warm up.

If the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside guitar case is 90 when it sunbathes. The temperature difference is 20, which can create a harmful effect on your beloved instrument.

We all love our guitars, so let’s make a comfortable environment for them. Don’t put guitar cases in the sun. If you do this, your instrument can come back to a safe space. It is very important.

Use guitar cases as a change string tool

You can see some people open the latches, lift the lid case up, and use the little pick compartment as a change string tool by flipping it up to support the guitar neck. 

However, you should do this if someone helps you keep the guitar case top. If not, the lid can fall on the instrument. And one more terrible thing will happen. The flat top of the guitar case has pins with small metal knobs attached to it. These pins will be inserted deep into the top of the guitar as the lid falls. At that time, everything will be complicated, and you could bring your guitar to the music instrument store to fix it.

When you want to change strings, don’t touch guitar cases, or at least, never put your instrument inside the box and open the lid. You can close the lid and put your guitar on the top of the case. Thus, you will never destroy your guitar. 

Additionally, you can apply it when you take your guitar out of the case. You have to be careful with the top part. Keep the lid by hand and lift the music instrument. That is action to protect your case and your guitar so well.

Rules For Storage Guitar Cases

how to store guitar cases

Always put the guitar cases upright

This rule is the first and most important. Whether you have 1 or more guitars, you should stand your guitar case up. People often stack the boxes on each other; however, you will pressure the bottom cases. The more boxes there are, the greater the pressure. Therefore, you will ruin your instruments quicker.

Center position

It would help if you put your guitar cases in the center of your living area. The location near the center is also good. You can buy a closet and put it in the hall or your bedroom; you can use it to store guitar cases if it is possible.

In case you live in an area with an extreme climate, a specialized space to store the guitar case is essential.

Detach vibrato arms

It would be best if you did this action before storing guitar in your cases. Thus, you can reduce pressure when you close the case; the guitar body and case will not be warping. 

Control the temperature in the room

Let’s keep the temperature room at a medium level, not too high or too low. The too high or too low temperature can affect guitar cases. They will absorb heat or cold, and your wood instruments are warping, or their frets may be contracted.

The ideal temperature is from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides, you always avoid snowing or constant rain, or long hot sunny days. This action can protect your guitar cases well. You just think simply that you never live or go out if the weather is too hot and too cold, and your guitar cases will also be like that.

What Should I Consider Before Changing Guitar Cases? 

Nowadays, you can find adept luthiers easily; they will help you fix your guitar case. However, not any instrument box should be repaired if its damage situation is serious such as breaking or cracking instead of scratching or sloughing.

Before making a decision, you can ask yourself some questions:

What is the value of the guitar case to you?

Is your guitar case extremely obsolete? Is it unique and irreplaceable? Is it expensive? Who did it ever belong to? Your grandpa or your grandma? Who did the singer sign on it?

If your guitar case brings enormous sentimental value, I think you definitely will never give it up. Sentiment can’t be measured with money value, so a new guitar case is cheap and modern, which can’t compare with the case of full memories. 

However, it would help if you established your guitar case’s value to decide to buy a new one or not. How much can you sell that case? If you determine that number, it will be an essential milestone to consider repair costs. In case the repair cost is higher than guitar case sale money, you should buy a new one.

If I can repair the guitar case, how much will it cost?

how to store guitar cases

There is no fixed number for the repair cost. If your chipboard guitar case has slight damage, you can fix it with duct tape. The professional luthiers can solve most damage such as a broken handle, clasp, hinge, torn surface, replace lining, etc. If your vehicle and the case have an intense collision, you almost will not have a little hope to repair., so don’t let your guitar case lean on the car.

If your guitar case has one more chance, you should ask a professional about the price. If the repair cost is smaller than the guitar case’s value, you will not have to replace it.

Typically, most professionals require 60 – 80 dollars per labor hour, and you are always ready to spend money to buy needed hardware. Some repaired guitar cases are cheaper than new ones. You should bring it to stores when some details are easy to fix and affordable, or you can convince luthiers that your guitar case is a priceless memento.

However, instead of replacing a handle or a hinge at a reasonable price, you should buy a new guitar case if your repair cost is more than 25 dollars.

How much is the cost of a new instrument box? 

Usually, a new guitar case is about 100 dollars (hardshell type). If you don’t have much money, you can buy a used guitar case, of course, it is still in excellent condition.

A used guitar case (hard shell) might cost around 25 dollars if it is still good with a few scratches or dents. A used guitar case may not have good protection as a new one, but it is an effective temporary solution. You can find a used case at pawn shops or music stores.

You can own a new guitar case with prices from 60 dollars and up. This product is easy to look for on local music shops or e-commerce websites.


Now, you can know the types of guitar cases, how to clean a guitar case, things to do, things to avoid to keep guitar cases, and rules for storage them. Cleaning a guitar case is a way to keep it presentable and protect your instruments. You should frequently remove mold, smell, and rust by cleaning up dust and all stains, preventing them from ruining guitars. Besides, you will detect damaged problems and fix them immediately or change a new guitar case. If you know tips on how to store guitar cases, you can share them with everyone by writing valuable comments below the article. 

Read Also:

Top 13 Best Ukulele Brands: Interesting And Helpful Information, Don’t Miss It

How To Restring Classical Guitar For Learners

Leave a Comment