There really isn’t anything quite like buying a guitar. Well, if you are a guitar player, that is. You might have spent an eternity reading up about them; you might even have tried a few. And you might just about have saved up enough to get one like one of our heroes. Then one day, you go into the shop…
The shop owner lays it on the counter. It is gonna be yours. You hand over your money, but then what? They put it in a bit of old cardboard, and out you walk with it under your arm. This thing could have cost a lot of money, what protection are you giving it? None.
I suppose many of us have done it at one time or another. It is amazing how many people forget that this is a delicate instrument. We think we know a lot about playing it. But we don’t seem to know the first thing about protecting it.
That’s why if you are buying a Strat or a Tele, you really need what we’ll be discussing in our in-depth Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case Review, or something similar.
Buying cases can give you a buzz as well…
Maybe not as much as the actual guitar. But there is something special the first time you lay it in that sculptured box. We remember the first time we changed our standard, no brand case for a branded case made for the guitar. It looked great in there. It still does.
So, we are going to take a look at one of the cases on offer to protect our guitars in our Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Case Review. Before we get to that, who are Gator? Let’s find out…
Since their formation in 2000 in Florida, hence the name we assume, Gator has grown quickly. From introducing a single case, they now provide casing solutions for dozens of different products, not just musical instruments. And they continue to expand and deliver quality cases.
Today they offer plenty of well-built, tough cases. As we said, it is not only guitars, but they also produce cases for some equipment always notoriously hard to pack and transport. These include mixers and rack-mounted equipment. Maybe a pedalboard, a laptop, or a keyboard.
Also, they don’t just produce cases, but also durable bags, covers, and other protective products for microphones and musical accessories. Cases though, are what we are concerned with here and one case in particular. So, let’s have a look at the Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Case…
Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case – An Overview
From the accidental knocks a guitar gets on the road and some that are not so accidental, to the risks in performance. Even just leaving it lying around at home, collecting dust is a potential problem for your precious guitar. Cases are a very necessary part of your musical equipment. You need to take of your instrument.
This particular case is designed essentially for a Stratocaster or a Telecaster. It will take other guitars, and we shall be discussing that later. But it is the two mighty Fenders that are the focal point.
Single or double cutaways…
This is basically a universal design in that it will take single or double cutaway guitars. But the design precludes some instruments. It is always wise to check before just buying that the size of the case is appropriate for your guitar.
As we shall see, the build is quite good and sturdy. The hardware and fittings are also well put together, using good materials. And it also has a big surprise for us up its sleeve. But more on that later as well.
Internally it is well laid out with plenty of padding. An initial evaluation of it says it is a good case. But, let’s take a closer look…
The case is made from black ABS plastic. It is a fairly cheap plastic to produce; therefore, it keeps the cost of the cases down. It is also an appropriate material as it doesn’t contain any known toxic carcinogens. The only real downside is that it doesn’t like extreme heat, so don’t leave it in the sunlight above about 80 degrees.
The case is designed, as we said, specifically for a Strat or Telecaster and has a full cutout body cavity. It is not molded to fit a specific shape, and it will take left or right-handed guitars.
Versatile but won’t fit every guitar…
The internal design will accommodate flat necked and not angled necked-guitars. As all Les Paul guitars have a neck that has a backward angle, they will not fit. It will also take some short-scale bass guitars, but just check the length measurements first.
The internal length of the case is 39.75 inches with a body length, not including the neck, of 18.75 inches. It will accommodate a body depth of 2.75 inches, and its weight is eleven pounds. If you are considering taking it on an airplane, then the full external measurements are 40.75 by 15.25 by 5.25 inches.
Fly, fly away…
We would recommend you to consider that mode of transport carefully. Whereas it is fine for car or truck transport, it might not survive airport handling. Perhaps some of you will have had the experience and know what we mean. A specially designed flightcase would serve you better, but will also cost a lot more.
This case has not got feet, as some cases have. There are raised outlines, however, which lift it slightly off the ground. To all intents and purposes, they do the same job as feet.
All things considered a fairly tough and stable case. Not in the same strength class as a flight case, but you wouldn’t expect it to be considering the price.
The Hardware and fittings
It is all well and good having a good strong body construction. But if the hardware and fittings are weak, it will not be a good case. Not the situation here, the fittings are well made with good materials. It has chrome-plated fold-over latches. These are lockable, which is a very important featured extra, as some cases do not provide that.
The handle, an area, often overlooked as a point of strength, is through-bolted. This will give it extra stability and durability. To add to the strength of the case, it has a heavy-duty aluminum valance. This enables the case to be closed securely. Therefore, keeping out any rain or other weather elements that could damage the instrument.
Whilst the strength of the outside is important, and the efficiency of the hardware is good, the inside of any case plays its part. This is especially true for a case that has what is known as a full cut out cavity. That means that it is not shaped to or made for a specific guitar.
We are not going to try and pretend that a full cut out cavity case is anywhere near as good as the case made specifically for a particular guitar. If it is made for a specific guitar, the internals will be shaped to form a tight fit. It is not going to roll or move around at all when it is moved.
That is the problem with the full cut out cavity. However, the problem can be alleviated to a certain extent by the quality and amount of padding involved.
With this case, there is plenty of padding…
It has enough EPS foam to at least prevent a great deal of movement without being able to stop it all. EPS or Expanded Polystyrene is a lightweight foam that is quite rigid and is able to withstand loads and pressure. This makes it very suitable for giving impact protection inside the case. The foam is covered in a plush material that is smooth and soft.
There are some built-in compartments for some items you need to carry around. These could be extra strings, a tuner, or other accessories. However, it is not recommended you carry any pedals in the case.
The internals are then best described as adequate. It will hold a Strat or a Tele in place and won’t let it move around much when inside. However, it cannot guarantee, as no full cut out cavity design can, that there will be no movement at all.
We mentioned in our overview that this case had a big surprise up its sleeve. Before you get excited, no, it doesn’t come with a ’58 Strat inside. But it does come with an LED light. Placed conveniently in the lid of the case, it will give you a little bit of light to see what you are doing.
This is more than useful if you happen to be in the dark searching for a pick or a capo or maybe trying to read which string is in the packet. It is not excessively bright but just illuminates the compartments of the case. It will turn on automatically when you lift the lid of the case and turn off when you close it. If you prefer, you can adjust it, so you use it manually — a good idea.
Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case Review Pros and Cons
- Tough build with good fittings.
- Nice tight fit for the right sized guitar.
- In-built light.
- None for the price.
Also see: Schecter Apocalypse Review
Looking for some other quality cases?
You may also be interested in our in-depth Gator Cases Aluminum Guitar Pedal Board review.
Gator Cases Deluxe ABS Molded Case Review Conclusion
What we think?
It is a very good case; there can be no doubt about that. And Gator has made it specifically for the two most popular guitars in the world by numbers sold. But it is for the Telecaster and the Stratocaster. A Les Paul, either Epiphone or Gibson, will not fit because of the backward angle of the neck. However, there are a number of other guitars that will fit. It is impossible to list them all.
But if you don’t have a backward angle neck and the body length fits the internal measurement, it might work. But best to check first, though.
If you have a Strat or a Tele or a number of other Fenders, this case must be considered. It has good fittings and is very stable inside. At the price point, we feel it is a small price to pay to protect your instrument. After all, can you afford to replace it?
For a full cut out cavity case, the Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Case is a very good case indeed. Highly recommended.
Happy guitar storage.