SKB Guitar Cases Comparison

SKB guitar casesSKB makes a variety of cases, for guns to guitars and everything in between.  These are good cases.  I’ve used one for a number of years, and love it.  The problem is knowing which case is right for you.  Unfortunately, guitar shops don’t carry a wide enough selection for you to try each style and determine which one is best.  What you need is a summary of the models so you, the reader, can make an informed decision.  The following is a comparison of SKB guitar cases, with a focus on acoustic instruments.  I’ve included SKB banjo cases and SKB mandolin cases, also, because some guitarists play more than one instrument.

Criteria

The criteria for selecting the proper case is based on three main points:  the type of instrument, the level of protection you need, and the price.  As for the type of instrument, keep in mind there is a variety of guitar types and sizes.  Proper fitting of the case with the instrument is crucial.  After all, you wouldn’t want to put a Baby Taylor in a case for a full size dreadnought.  It would end up bouncing around and probably get damaged in the process.  So, fit is important.

Level of protection ranges from gig bags to TSA approved flight cases.  If you know you’re only going to travel across town to jam with friends, then a gig bag may be enough.  You’ll need something more substantial if you do more travel, like to nearby towns.  If you have to fly with your instrument, then you’ll need even more protection.

Price is always an issue, and like with most things, you get what you pay for.  Flight cases are more expensive than the other models.

Features

There are several feature options you need to be aware of regarding the range of cases made by SKB.

Exterior

The exterior of the gig bag is made of a durable ballistic nylon with heavy-duty zippers.  It contains an accessory pouch with a smaller compartment for small items, such as pencils and picks.

The soft cases have an exterior made of weather resistant ballistic nylon.  They, too, include two zippered pouches for all sorts of accessories.  They also come with backpack-type straps, so you can carry them hands free, like a gig bag, but with the interior foam durability of a hard case.

The regular hard cases are made of a molded plastic exterior.

The waterproof hard cases are made of an injection molded ultra high-strength resin that make them resistant to corrosion and impact damage.  These are the cases designed for air travel.

Latches

The economy hard cases use a more traditional latch.

The higher-end cases all include TSA approved latches with a trigger release mechanism.

Built-in Wheels

Some of the cases themselves weigh enough that built-in wheels are included.  Fortunately, they are pretty easy to replace if one gets damaged.

Interior

The gig bag includes a padded soft nylon interior with reinforced patches at the bridge and the headstock for extra protection from sharp string ends.

The soft cases employ a hard foam interior that holds the guitar more securely than the gig bag.

All soft cases and hard cases have a plush lined interior for soft cushioning of the instrument.

All hard cases include an accessory compartment for storage of small items.

Fit

The last aspect to consider is which instruments will fit in which cases.  The description of each model listed below shows the type of instrument that will fit in each case.  But these are just general guidelines.  For example, not all classical guitars fit in a 1SKB-30 case.  So, to help you, I’ve included the actual maximum measurements for each case, as shown below.  Use these to know which case will work best.  Note that all measurements are in inches.

Models

1SKB-3

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Thin body Acoustic/Electric and Classical
Features:  Hard case with standard latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.50 inches
Maximum Lower Bout 15.00
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Approx. Price:  $107 at Amazon

1SKB-8

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Hard case with standard latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.50
Maximum Upper Bout 13.25
Maximum Lower Bout 16.50
Approx. Price:  $98 at Amazon

1SKB-16

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Shallow roundback acoustic
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Maximum Lower Bout 15.75
Approx. Price:  $160 at Amazon

1SKB-17

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Roundback acoustic
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.50
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Maximum Lower Bout 16.00
Approx. Price:  $156 at Amazon

1SKB-18

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.50
Maximum Upper Bout 13.50
Maximum Lower Bout 16.75
Approx. Price:  $160 at Amazon

1SKB-SC18

SKB guitar casesSKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Soft case
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 22.00 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.50
Maximum Upper Bout 13.50
Maximum Lower Bout 16.50
Approx. Price:  $89 at Amazon

1SKB-GB18

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Gig bag
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.00 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.25
Maximum Upper Bout 12.00
Maximum Lower Bout 16.00
Approx. Price:  $40 at Amazon

1SKB-20

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Jumbo guitar
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 21.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.63
Maximum Upper Bout 12.50
Maximum Lower Bout 17.25
Approx. Price:  $146 at Amazon

1SKB-30

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Thin body A/E and Classical
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.00
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Maximum Lower Bout 15.13
Approx. Price:  $155 at Amazon

1SKB-SC30

SKB guitar casesSKB guitar cases
Type:  Thin body A/E and Classical
Features:  Soft case
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Maximum Lower Bout 15.00
Approx. Price:  $60 at Amazon

1SKB-000


Type:  000-sized acoustic
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 19.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 11.50
Maximum Lower Bout 15.25
Approx. Price:  $155 at Amazon

1SKB-300

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Baby Taylor / Martin LX
Features:  Hard case with standard latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 16.00 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.25
Maximum Upper Bout 9.25
Maximum Lower Bout 12.50
Approx. Price:  $47 at Amazon

1SKB-SC300

SKB guitar casesSKB guitar cases
Type:  Baby Taylor / Martin LX
Features:  Soft case
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 15.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.00
Maximum Upper Bout 9.25
Maximum Lower Bout 12.50
Approx. Price:  $80 at Amazon

1SKB-GSM

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Taylor GS Mini
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 18.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 10.00
Maximum Lower Bout 14.50
Approx. Price:  $90 at Amazon

1SKB-SCGSM

SKB guitar casesSKB guitar cases
Type:  Taylor GS Mini
Features:  Soft case
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 17.75 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 10.25
Maximum Lower Bout 14.50
Approx. Price:  $90 at Amazon

3i-4217-18

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Waterproof hard case, wheels, TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.25 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 13.00
Maximum Lower Bout 16.00
Approx. Price:  $300 at Amazon

3i-4217-18-T

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Dreadnought
Features:  Waterproof hard case, wheels, TSA approved latches, tan color
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.25 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.50
Maximum Upper Bout 13.00
Maximum Lower Bout 16.00
Approx. Price:  $300 at Amazon

3i-4217-30

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Classical
Features:  Waterproof hard case, wheels, TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.00 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.25
Maximum Upper Bout 11.75
Maximum Lower Bout 15.63
Approx. Price:  $300 at Amazon

3i-4217-30-T

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Classical
Features:  Waterproof hard case, wheels, TSA approved latches, tan color
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 20.00 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.25
Maximum Upper Bout 11.75
Maximum Lower Bout 15.63
Approx. Price:  $300 at Amazon

3i-4719-20

SKB guitar cases
Type:  Jumbo
Features:  Waterproof hard case, wheels, TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 21.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 5.75
Maximum Upper Bout 12.50
Maximum Lower Bout 17.25
Approx. Price:  $330 at Amazon

1SKB-50

SKB banjo cases
Type:  4/5 String banjo, closed back
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 14.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.25
Approx. Price:  $125 at Amazon

1SKB-52

SKB banjo cases
Type:  6 String banjo, closed back
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 14.25 inches
Maximum Body Depth 4.25
Approx. Price:  $125 at Amazon

1SKB-80A

SKB mandolin cases
Type:  A-style mandolin
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 13.50 inches
Maximum Body Depth 2.75
Maximum Upper Bout 10.40
Maximum Lower Bout 10.40
Approx. Price:  $110 at Amazon

1SKB-80F

SKB mandolin cases
Type:  F-style mandolin
Features:  Hard case with TSA approved latches
Instrument Fit:
Maximum Body Length 13.25 inches
Maximum Body Depth 2.50
Maximum Upper Bout 10.25
Maximum Lower Bout 10.25
Approx. Price:  $110 at Amazon

Problems

SKB makes good cases, which a number of owners will attest to.  Including myself.  But like any product, you’re more likely to get what you pay for.  The more expensive cases should provide better protection with fewer issues than the economy models.  That being said, there are a few concerns that have been expressed regarding SKB cases.

Gig Bags and Soft Cases

For the gig bag and soft cases, zippers have been known to fail and the straps will eventually pull away from the case.  These are not unexpected, in my opinion.  They also tend to flop over backwards when opened, particularly if the pouches contain something.  Annoying!  But also a potential risk of scratching the guitar if you’re not careful.

Hard Cases

The hard cases (not the waterproof type) sometimes don’t close as completely as buyers would like.  Maybe it’s a quality control issue, or possibly an issue with inadequate packing for shipping.  I suspect it’s a bit of each.  A similar issue relates to the seals not closing completely.  But keep in mind these are more rare than satisfied buyers.

Some players have been known to fly with the hard cases, and as I’d expect, reported problems.  Handles breaking off, cracks in the case, things like that.  Honestly, I’m not surprised.  The hard cases (not waterproof) are good cases, but were not really designed to handle the abuse that baggage handlers mete out.

Waterproof Cases

The waterproof cases were designed for air travel and should be capable of withstanding those malicious baggage handlers.  (okay, maybe they’re not malicious…)  As such, the complaints about these cases are rare.  These are the heavy cases, and I’ve read where several owners have complained about dealing with the weight.  But of course, that’s why they come equipped with wheels.  The biggest issue I know of when flying with these are concerns about the contents.  They look like cases used for guns.  Airport personnel commonly insist on opening the case before it can be checked.  In my opinion, that’s not really a problem with the case itself.

Warranty

SKB warrants all hard cases against defects in materials and craftsmanship for the life of the case for the original owner.  So, if it breaks, they will either supply replacement parts, repair the case, or replace the whole thing.  For gig bags and soft cases, they only warranty them for one full year.

Ratings

If you’ve gotten this far, you know I like SKB cases.  They are not perfect, but even a custom case like a Calton may occasionally fail.  So, here are my personal ratings for each of the types of cases.

Gig Bag – 5.0 out of 10.0.  I’m not a fan of gig bags because they just don’t provide the protection I prefer.

Soft Case – 6.5 out of 10.0.  The hard foam interior improves on the gig bags.   But the shortened life due to failing zippers and straps means these need to be replaced after a time.  Also, I don’t like the annoying habit of falling over backwards when opened.

Hard Case – 8.0 out of 10.0.  Much better cases than the two above types.  I recommend these for anyone not trying to fly with their instrument.

Waterproof Case – 9.5 out of 10.0.  The best cases SKB makes.  I highly recommend these.  But the price may be too steep for most players.

 

Click here for general help in choosing an acoustic guitar case.

If you have comments, please add them below.  In the meantime, keep playing.  And remember, music makes the world a better place!

Rock on!

 

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