Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SKB 1SKB-300 ¾ Size Guitar Hard Case Review

Aloha!

I travel a few dozen times per year for my day job, and to keep my fingers in shape (and to kill the endless hotel hours) I usually take along a guitar on my trips. I used to take a Martin Backpacker, but it is such a miserable chunk of crap, that I eventually found a Little Martin LX which is a lot more pleasurable to play.

The Little Martin is a ¾-sized guitar that comes with a nice padded gig bag that fits in the overhead compartment or front closet on most of the flight I take. Unfortunately, on small regional jets there just is not enough room for it and it has to be gate checked, which makes me really nervous. I did some searching around the internet and ended up with a nice molded hardshell case, the SKB 1SKB-300, which took away a lot of the worry.

The 1SKB-300 is specifically designed for the Martin LX (Little Martin) and Baby Taylor models. It fits a lot of the other ¾-size guitars as well, but it will not fit the Taylor GS Mini. Trust me, I have tried. Generally, it should fit guitars with a lower bout of 12.5 inches, an upper bout of 9.25 inches, a boy length of 16 inches and an over length of 34.75 inches.

This SKB case is made of blow-molded plastic with an extruded aluminum channel that seals the lid to the body of the case. To further protect the guitar there is EPS foam insulation (like in a motorcycle helmet) and some sort of synthetic fuzzy stuff on the inside. Inside you will find a storage cavity that will hold a tuner or a strap (but probably not both) and a key for the typical useless guitar case lock. Outside there are three chrome latches, including one with the aforementioned lock.

When my case arrived, I put my Little Martin in it, and it fit like a glove. The neck was very well supported, and there was no movement at all when the lid is shut. Unfortunately, the lid has never set completely flat, so it needs to be pressed down a bit to get it to latch. This is common with these cases, and I am willing to live with it. The latches work fine, but I worry that they are stuck to the outside of the case with no ridges to protect them, so I do not know how they will hold up to regular baggage handler abuse. On the plus side, SKB stands behind their products with terrific warranties and they are really good about replacing broken hardware The molded plastic handle is comfortable enough, but it would be nice if there were eyelets so that a shoulder or possibly even backpack straps could be attached.

This does not seem like too much to ask, because the SKB 1SKB-300 is awfully expensive for such a small, no-frills case. The list price for one of these is $144.99 with a street price of $99.99. It you are considering one of these, it would behoove you to keep your eye on Amazon, as the price for this fluctuates quite a bit – I have seen them as low as $65 to $75, which is quite a steal, especially if you get Amazon Prime free shipping.

This case is one of the only games in town, so if you are looking for a hard case for 3/4 –size guitar, you might want to pick one of these up.

Mahalo!

1 comment:

  1. Gator makes one now, and SKB makes a "Soft Case" but it's the EPS without the Blow-Molded exoskeleton. Instead of a plastic shell, it's nylon, maybe even ballistic. The hinges are probably fabric, but there's no extruded aluminum channel to ever get bent, but those ABS plastic cases are pretty water-resistant to getting rained on, or maybe even dropped in a puddle.

    SKB are making new HUGE plastic latches now, they look pretty hardcore, but they stick out like thirteen inches. They look like Pelican Case Latches or something. You know what I'm saying?

    I'm scared to depend on a zipper though, especially since they aren't even YKK, you know what I'm saying? But those fabric cases don't bang up your walls if someone bumps it through doorways, or scratch your car, or wear your car's interiors.

    You get less storage with the proper hardshell, but those fabric hardbags look amateur to me, like a student's violin case. A plastic hardshell seems pro, like you showed up to do work. I like them better than the tolex-covered plywood cases too. The ones with the gold latches. The plastic ones really are like a motorcycle helmet for your guitar. If it flew out of the back of a wagon on the highway, the ABS would slide instead of melt and get all torn up. It would look cool forever, like battle scars. The fabric one would be all ripped and shredded, like you were poor, and found your case at goodwill.

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