One important expense guitarists often overlook when shopping for guitars is the case in which it will live. As important as it is, because it’s just so much less glamorous than the guitar itself, it’s typically relegated to an afterthought at the checkout counter when the severely underqualified Guitar Center salesman looks at his upsell checklist and remembers to ask, “Hey man, you should probably get a case for that thing right?”. But if you think about it, a naked guitar, exposed to the elements, banging around in the back seat of your car – it’s an inevitable death for your instrument.
So you’re gonna need a case of some kind. You are left with two basic choices: a hardshell case, or a gig bag. The former offers serious protection, but is a great deal heavier and usually more expensive, and the latter is generally less protective but adds very little weight and is cheaper. In recent years, however, I’ve seen a third option emerge: the semi-rigid soft case. These kinds of cases are more like a gig bag in weight and shape, but offer a level of protection somewhere between the gig bag and hardshell case. One such case came in for a review this year, and I’ve been using it like crazy: the Reunion Blues Continental Voyager.
The original Continental came to known to me from the above two-story drop video (from the roof of a venue I’ve played many timesno less, the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California), and since then they’ve made a number of user-requested upgrades. The Continental Voyager is slimmer, stronger, and more convenient than it’s previous incarnation, and I like it a great deal. I’m a lazy, lazy bastard, and I dislike heavy, bulky hardshell cases, so I need a really tough gig bag, and the Voyager fit the bill. Aside from just looking classy as hell, it’s very light, feels extremely tough, and has lots of premium features that put it leagues ahead of most gig bags.
A nice neck cushion with a strap keeps your guitar’s most vulnerable part stable, and the plush interior feels nicer than my bed at home. Two rectangles of nylon fabric protect the two areas where every gig bag suffers damage over time – the bridge and the headstock – from saddle screws and cut string ends respectively, which scratch the fabric until it’s cut to shreds. The black heather exterior hides the Flexoskeleton in the fabric that gives the case a nice stiffness without adding much weight. The handle is a thick, comfy foam that holds your guitar at an effortless angle, and the stow-able backpack straps also have plenty of padding. There’s a “subway handle” on the back as well, for when you need to hold your guitar close to you in a crowded area, with the pocket safely hidden. Speaking of the pocket, it’s got a lot of storage room and multiple compartments for small accessories and the like (although we all know you’re gonna chuck everything into the big pocket and call it good).
I managed to fit a 27″ 8 string Caparison Brocken into the case, which is a pretty big guitar. Short of weird shapes like Explorers, V’s, BC Rich Beasts and other wacky crap, most typical guitars and extended range guitars will probably fit just fine.
At $189 direct from the manufacturer, this is a bit more pricey than your $40 Guitar Center special. But if you’re like me, and you want something real comfortable AND highly protective of your expensive guit-fiddles, then the Reunion Blues Continental Voyager should be on your short list for sure.