I’ve traveled with my guitar all around Australia and it has stayed in a hard case thousands and thousands of kilometers on countless train, airplane, bus and cab rides. I’ve also traveled around keeping it in a padded case just down the street to attend a gig or visit a local guitar store. And frankly, in both cases (pun intended) my guitar made it to the desired destinations safely. However, what I’ve learned along the way is that choosing the right case has to do more with the situations and personal preference rather than the budget.
Back when I was a salesman at a big-box music shop, a guitar case was almost always bought as an add-on sale. People would always ask whether soft or hard cases are better for their guitar. And while most sellers were and recommended hard cases just because they were much more expensive (so they could earn commissions), my advice to customers was to determine whether they intend to travel longer distances with it or need the case to pack and store their guitar for prolonged periods of time. Moreover, I also advised them to determine whether they consider their guitar as an experiment or an investment, as well as whether they live in extreme climate conditions.
Taking in consideration the geographical nature of our country, it’s no exaggeration to say it’s hard cases Australia conditions impose on us, especially if you own an expensive guitar or are considering to buy one. A hard case offers supreme travel protection to the soft case, and keep in mind that baggage handlers don’t read the “FRAGILE” sign on the case, and thus won’t really pay attention to the fragility of the contents of the case. This is where hard cases excel in comparison to gig bags/soft cases. Moreover, heavy cases offer idiot protection. Yes, you’ve read it right – people alike me. I once put my guitar on top of my car, and drove off forgetting to put it in the trunk. The guitar fell, but wasn’t damaged because the case is impact-resistant.
And lastly, hard cases offer climate protection, and we know how hot it can get in certain parts of Australia during summer, which can be your guitar’s worst enemy. Hard cases act as a vacuum capsule which protects your guitar from the elements. This is why you should always store your guitar in one.
In light of the aforementioned information, it’s no wonder why the hard cases Australia musicians choose to rely on and are to be prioritized for many more years to come. However, it’s also worth having a soft case as well, because they’re generally cheaper and can sometimes be more convenient for carrying around to short destinations.