Banjo Case Review: What You Need to Know

When it comes to safeguarding your beloved banjo, a high-quality case is essential. With various styles and models available, it can be challenging to determine which case is perfect for you. In this article, I will discuss what to look for in a banjo case, compare gig bags and hardshell cases, and recommend the best banjo cases on the market.

Let’s dive in and explore the best options for protecting your precious instrument.

banjo-case-review-what-you-need-to-know-article

Why Get a Case for Your Banjo?

A banjo is a precious musical instrument (a lot of the time expensive too). As such, having a reliable case for your banjo is crucial for every banjoist – yes, thats what you call someone who plays a banjo.

A good case will shield your instrument from scratches, dings, and environmental factors such as humidity and temperature changes. Check out my article on the effects of storing your instrument in a cold car for more details on this topic! Also, when taking a banjo in a car or really any form of transportation, you want to make sure to have it protected. Lets start by detailing what you should look for when buying a banjo case.

What to Look for in Banjo Cases

When choosing a banjo case, consider the following factors to ensure you get the best protection for your instrument:

Material: Look for high-quality materials like ABS plastic for banjo hard cases or padded nylon for gig bags. A durable exterior can better withstand the wear and tear of travel as well as water damage. Some are made from padded wood as well!

Padding: Adequate interior padding is crucial for protecting your banjo from bumps and scratches. Ensure the padding is thick and made of a soft material like foam or plush lining. This is why you got a case right!

Size and Fit: Measure your banjo’s dimensions to find a case that fits snugly without being too tight. A well-fitted case will prevent your instrument from moving around during transport. This is especially true for the 4 string banjos, such as tenor banjos which are smaller and might fit looser in the cases made for 5 string banjos. I have an article on different types of banjos, if you are not so familiar with what is out there.

Storage compartments: Additional compartments for accessories like picks, tuners, and capos can be helpful. Make sure the case you choose has enough storage space for your needs. Thankfully, most cases made these days already have these features.

Weight: Consider the weight of the case, especially if you plan to carry it around frequently. Lightweight cases may be more comfortable to carry but may offer less protection than heavier options. This is especially true when considering the weight of your banjo along with the case. The added weight might be harder to carry for longer periods.

Consider all of these factors when buying a banjo case to make sure it has what fits your needs and wants.

Gig Bag vs Hardshell Banjo Cases

Gig Bag vs Banjo Hard Case

Both have their advantages and drawbacks. Gig bags are lightweight, making them a convenient option for musicians on the go. While a banjo hard case can be heavy and, with the added weight of you banjo, put strain on your carrying shoulder. The additional weight is a side effect from the added protection the heavier materials provide. A gig bag simply does not provide the same level of protection as a hardshell case. After all, you are buying a case to protect your instrument.

I highly recommend investing in a good hardshell case for your banjo. Their increased weight and size is definitely worth it considering the benefits they provide. Also, keep in mind that price point is another big difference between these two. As you would expect, hardshell cases are pricier running between $150-200, while gig bags can be purchased for as low as $50.

I do want to mention that some banjos have cases made by their own brands. Sometimes the cases even come with the banjo when you purchase it – mostly as part of bundles. If that is the case (no pun intended), you should most probably opt for buying a case made specifically by your banjo manufacturer. Brands like Epiphone and Deering come to mind.

My 5 string Deering came with its own beautiful case, and I’ve been using it for years. By using cases made for your model of banjo you can ensure a perfect fit and the best protection. Now, lets dive into my reviews of the best banjo cases and gig bag.

Best Banjo Hardshell Case: 4 and 5 String

As I mentioned earlier, in general, I recommend hardshell cases as the go to option for your 4 or 5 string banjo. Their sturdy build and protection are invaluable down the road. Here is my pick for the best banjo hard case.

Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Banjo Case
Gator ABS Banjo Case

Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Banjo Case – $150

  • Dimensions: 41″ x 16″ x 6″
  • Fits: Most 4-5 string banjos (open-back and resonator)
  • Material: ABS plastic exterior
  • Padding: Plush-lined EPS foam interior
  • Pockets: Interior accessory compartment
  • Handles: Reinforced handle
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs
Why we like the Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Banjo Case

Why I Like It:

The Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Case offers top-notch protection for your banjo with its sturdy ABS plastic exterior and plush-lined EPS foam interior. The handle is sturdy and the case has a ton of room for your accessories. The Gator case is known to fit pretty much any model of a tenor 4-string banjo and most plectrum banjos (it also fits a banjolele quite well!). It was made with the 5 string resonator in mind, fitting most models perfectly. Open back 5 string banjos players also use this case, with its additional helping fit the smaller body.

It is a good idea to measure your particular instrument to make sure it fits snug into the case (use the guide below for measuring). Check out the YouTube video detailing this awesome case in more detail below.

Best 6 String Banjo Case

Although not as common, the 6 string banjo needs some love too! Lets look at the best 6 string banjo case on the market.

Best 6-String Banjo Case -  SKB 1SKB-52 Universal
SKB 6 String Banjo Case

SKB 1SKB-52 Universal 6 string Banjo Case – $205

  • Dimensions: 42.5″ x 16.5″ x 5.5″
  • Fits: Most 6 string banjos
  • Material: Rigid ABS plastic exterior
  • Padding: Plush-lined EPS foam interior
  • Pockets: Interior accessory compartment
  • Handles: Reinforced handle
  • Weight: 10.6 lbs

Why I Like It:

The SKB 1SKB-52 Universal 6 String Banjo Case is my top choice for 6 string banjos due to its excellent protection and durability. The rigid ABS plastic exterior and plush-lined EPS foam interior ensure that your banjo remains safe from impact, scratches, and other potential hazards.

The reinforced handle is sturdy and reliable, while the interior accessory compartment provides storage for your banjo essentials. Designed specifically for 6-string banjos, this case offers a secure and snug fit for virtually any variety of 6 string banjo. SKB also makes a regular sized case which I also like (just not as much as the Gator).

Best Banjo Gig Bag for 4 and 5 String Banjos

Here is my pick for the best banjo gig bag for those who prefer a lighter portable storage for your banjo.

Best Banjo Gig Bag the ProTec Gold Series CF204
ProTec Banjo Gig Bag

ProTec Banjo Gig Bag Gold Series CF204 – $60

  • Dimensions: 41″ x 16″ x 4.5″
  • Fits: Most 4-5 string banjos (open-back and resonator)
  • Material: Rugged nylon exterior
  • Padding: 20mm thick padding
  • Pockets: Large accessory pocket
  • Handles: Padded handle, removable shoulder strap
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs

Why I Like It:

The ProTec Banjo Gig Gold Series CF204 is my top pick for a gig bag due to its impressive protection and convenient features. The rugged nylon exterior and 20mm thick padding provide ample defense against impacts and scratches. The padded handle and removable shoulder strap offer comfortable carrying options, while the large accessory pocket allows for organized storage of essentials. This gig bag accommodates most models of 5 string banjos, as well as 4 string banjo varieties like the ukulele banjo.

How to Measure a Banjo for a Case

Measuring your banjo for a case involves taking the following dimensions:

  1. Length: Measure the total length of the banjo from the top of the headstock to the bottom of the rim.
  2. Width: Measure the width of the pot, which is the round body of the banjo.
  3. Depth: Measure the depth of the pot, from the front of the banjo head to the back of the rim.
  4. Neck width: Measure the width of the neck at its widest point, usually around the nut or the heel.
how-to-measure-banjo-for-case-illustration

Keep these measurements handy when shopping for a case to ensure a proper fit for your banjo. I provided measurements for the models in this article for you to compare to the size of your banjo.

The Verdict: Banjo Cases

When it comes to protecting your banjo, investing in a high-quality case is essential. My top recommendation is buying a hardshell case like the the Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Case. Hardshell cases are superior in their ability to protect your banjo through thick and thin. Gig bags are great portable and affordable options, but just do not provide the same level of protection as a hardshell case. It’s definitely worth it to spend the extra money as an investment in your instrument. I hope this review was helpful for you to make a decision on choosing a case for your banjo. Happy picking!

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