Hardshell Case vs Gig Bag? (pros and cons)


Hey everyone! :slight_smile: Got my jazz bass the other day plus startup accessories (strap, stand, tuner, and cord) and a 25w practice amp. My next purchase will be some sort of case to transport the guitar. I’ve put some thought into this and it seems to be a no-brainer to get a good hardshell case, especially one specifically designed for it (e.g. Fender Pro Series). Cost is ~$130-230 for a hardshell and ~$40-$90 for a soft gig bag (of which there seem to be many).

What is our group’s opinion on this? Do gig bags have more room for accessories? Other than cost (which is negligible compared to the cost of a really GOOD guitar), are there any advantages to a gig bag over a hardshell?

I’m really enjoying these forums, glad to be part of the group, and appreciate your input! :smile:

Thanks very much and all best,


Hey Joe!
So, do you expect to be gigging a lot here at the beginning of your bass career?? I guess not!? An accessory that is much more important right now is a stand for your bass - I hope you got one of those as well!?
As a beginner, I am mostly practicing at home and it is nice to have the bass ready to be played and not stowed away in a gig bag or a hardshell case. For the occasional trip, where you take your bass with you, I would suggest to go with a gig bag for now.

Once you start becoming more active outside of your house/rehearsal room, then perhaps you should consider a hardshell case. But, don’t forget - then you might have to get a case for your amp/cabinet as well :grin:(and you’ll need to get something a little more beefy than the 25W baby first!)

Rock on!


NOOOOOOO don’t get a hard case. Unless you get a touring gig. Then maybe get one.

Hard cases - more expensive, heavier, harder to fit in your car, clunkier to manuever, harder to find a place for in the venue once you’re unpacked. Am I missing any? :stuck_out_tongue:

I do have a couple hard cases, but I don’t use them any more since I’ve quit my touring-in-a-van gig. I use cheap $20-30 gig bags and it’s all good. Nicer bags are nice, but so far haven’t found them necessary personally.


@joergkutter Yes, thank you, I do have an “Onstage” guitar stand and I should have mentioned that in my post. ( I will go back and edit it). And, like you, I have my bass ready at hand for practice and on display. I will have to post up some pics later. :slight_smile:

My apartment is small (~500 sq.ft.) with little storage, so I’m trying to get the minimal amount of equipment. For example, you are right, I’ll eventually need a larger amp. I probably should have ordered the Rumble 100 which is only marginally larger and heavier. I’m thinking the same way about the guitar case. Why buy two amps or two guitar cases when one of each will do! :grinning:

Thanks for your response! I appreciate it. All best, Joe


@JoshFossgreen Hey, Josh! That’s what we used to do . . . pile all our equipment into a van and to to the gig, so all I’ve ever known or used have been hardshell cases. I had both a J and a P bass and they came with hardshell cases. My current guitar came in a cardboard box! LOL

I guess I’m showing my age :laughing: But there’s SO much stuff out there that is “new” to me (like clip-on tuners, which are fantastic). I guess what I was trying to ask in my OP was if there were any significant advantages to one over the other. I just can’t see how a soft bag could protect as well as a nice sturdy hardshell, but you gave me some food for thought from your perspective (clunkier, harder to fit in your car, etc.), which I appreciate. :slight_smile:

For myself, when and/or if I need to move my gear, I need to go DOWN 7 floors, cross the tracks, go into the garage, go UP 5 floors, and then load into the back of my Jeep. God help me when either elevator is out of service!! (and that HAS happened :frowning: )

At the moment, I’m just thinking ahead. I guess I should see these things in person rather than blindly buying them on-line.

Thanks for your response and signing up for your course this weekend, Joe


I have a slightly bigger house, but still I play bass only via a USB audio interface and using GarageBand. That is also easier on whoever is within earshot :grin:
But, yes, I am also pondering the amp question - but it is not a pressing need, as I probably won’t be gigging anytime soon. I was looking at the Rumble 40, which is an amp for practicing, but which also carries smaller venues (there is a review on this site here https://www.bassbuzz.com/gear/beginner-amps, where Josh talks about different amps below 300 dollars, and the Rumble 40 comes out on top). There is now also a version called Studio 40, which is emulating a lot of different amp models. This amp is about 100 dollars more expensive, but has otherwise the same performance features as the “normal” Rumble 40. Josh prefers old-school amps to modeling amps like the Studio 40, but I think it offers some interesting opportunities.


@joergkutter Thanks! I will check out that link. This is the sort of thing that I should have looked at BEFORE I bought that Rumble 25 . . . :frowning: Oh well, my first mistake. I’m very happy with all the rest of my gear, though . . . and the amp does sound great for its size.

Looks as if I gotta LOT of catching up to do! :laughing:

All best, Joe


If you are touring with a road crew that is going to throw your equipment into a giant truck where things will get banged around, then get a hardcase. If you plan on storing your bass for a very long time and not playing it, then get a hard case.
For - literally - every other scenario, get a good gig bag. They travel easy, they offer significant and wonderful protection, they can go on planes, they can be slung on one’s back, they are light, and they have tons of room for things in their pockets.

Go for it!


I take it you live in the US, Joe!?! When I lived there, I was impressed by how much it is all about customer care and satisfaction. Couldn’t you just return the amp and buy a different one? That should be (almost) no hassle if you bought your gear from a decent place, and perhaps return shipping is even free!?!
Good luck :grinning:


@Gio Thanks for your input! I will definitely look into a gig bag now. :slight_smile:


@joergkutter Yes, I live in Norfolk, Virginia :slight_smile: And, yes, once again you are right I could return the amp to Sweetwater Sound, but that’s OK. . . the 25 is plenty of amp for what I need right now. This is just one of those “if I had to do it over again” situations.

Thanks so much for all your input . . . I appreciate it! All best, Joe


Does anyone have specific gig bag recommendations?


I do - Levy’s is a good company for me… ask @JoshFossgreen for some non-leather alternatives? I have their high end one, which I love (the LM19) - I’ve had most of my lower-end, cheaper bags tear on me… so I don’t have a good, sturdy affordable recommendation for you. Anyone?
(ignore the “guitar bag” on this product list - they put bass stuff in there too, but don’t specify… it’s very annoying.)


Thanks. Definitely interested in non-leather options @JoshFossgreen


I’ve never owned a really nice gig bag, so I don’t have any personal recommendations there. If I were gonna get one I might look at MONO or Gruv Gear stuff. I like the Gruv Gear Neo straps a lot.

FWIW, I’ve been using a $20-30 gig bag for years, and it did wear a hole through on the bottom strap button… but I just gaff taped it up and it’s been fine for many many months with no further taping. I probably won’t bother to get a fancy gig bag until I actually own a fancy bass that I need to travel with!


I Bought a hard shell just because the bass was a gift from my brother and I wanted the extra protection, it’s not bass specific but my Dean fits nice and snug. There is also a little storage on either side of the neck. Right about $90.