Musician's Gear MGMELP Molded ABS Electric Guitar Case
By Phil O'Keefe |
An inexpensive, yet sturdy case for your LP-style guitar
By Phil O'Keefe
Unfortunately, not all guitars come with cases. Many new guitars ship with a gig bag, or in some cases, with no case or bag of any kind beyond the box the instrument shipped in, and that's hardly a long-term substitute for a decent case. Because of this, it's not uncommon to have to find a case that will fit your guitar. And of course, the instruments that don't come with a case tend to be less expensive models, so it's hard to justify spending half as much on the case as you spent on the instrument itself in order to get a high-end case.
- I used the Guitar Case Finder at Musician's Friend to check out my options for a LP style case. The online tool was very easy to use - just answer a few questions - and this case was one of the options it presented me with.
- Constructed from durable ABS plastic, the external shell is solid and lightweight, and provides more protection from impact than a soft case or gig bag will.
- The interior is form fitted to the shape of single cutaway, "LP style" guitars. While I purchased it for use with a Les Paul (it works equally well with Gibson and Epiphone models, as you might expect), it will also work with models from other companies, such as the ESP Eclipse, PRS Singlecut, and other similarly sized and shaped instruments.
- Hard foam lines the inside of the case, which is in turn covered with black plush "faux fur" lining.
- The interior dimensions of the case are as follows: The overall length is 39.75", the body length is 17.5", body depth is 2", the lower bout width is 13", and the upper bout width is 9.75".
- Six latches keep the case securely closed when you clamp them down. The alignment of the case halves is quite good, and all the latches line up and open and close easily, but remain latched unless deliberately unlatched.
- The case is lockable via a built in lock on one of the latches. Two keys are included. The lock doesn't appear to be particularly sturdy. A motivated thief would have little trouble prying the case open in order to get at what's inside even if it's locked, and while they might damage or destroy the case in doing so, you'd still have lost your guitar, so I wouldn't count on the locks keeping anyone out of the case beyond maybe a curious younger sibling (if you're young), or maybe your kids (if you're older), and even then I suspect they could probably figure out a way to pick the lock.
- The handle of the case is shaped in such a way as to make grabbing it and carrying the case quite comfortable. It's well rounded and fits your hand very well.
- There are extensions or "bumpers" on the exterior of the case in a few strategic locations which provide additional protection.
- An indented spot on the "neck area" of the case serves as a good location for an identifying strip of tape or an ID label from a label maker so you can identify which guitar is inside without having to open the case. This is handy for people with multiple guitars and similar looking cases.
- The accessory compartment is accessed by pulling up on a leather tab which is attached to the compartment's lid. It is non-latching, and non-locking. The hinge is merely fabric, but seems durable enough for its intended purpose. The size of the compartment is fairly standard. You can get a spare set of strings, some picks, a strap, and maybe a few other small accessories in there, but don't plan on fitting in much more than that.
- There are no TSA style locks, so if you're going to travel by air, this case may not be the ideal one for you to use since there is no way to lock it and still allow for TSA to inspect it if they decide they want to. Besides, it's not a flight case, and unless you bring it as a carry-on, I wouldn't suggest relying on it to protect your guitar if it's traveling as checked baggage.
- The fit, while quite good, isn't quite as snug as that of a standard Gibson case. With a Les Paul in the open case, here's about 1/2" of movement possible from front to back. In other words, you can shift the body forward and back a bit along its long axis when it's sitting in the open case. However, when the case is closed, the guitar doesn't appear to shift position or move at all.
I really like this case, and the price simply can't be beat. For not much more than the price of a decent gig bag, you get hard shell protection that most gig bags simply can't match. If your guitar remains at home most of the time, it should provide all the protection you'll ever need, unless your house burns down, and if that happens, the durability of this case will be the least of your concerns. If you typically only play locally, or tour in a van or bus, this Musician's Gear MGMELP case should also serve you well. However, if you fly, I would suggest investing in a better case, and one that includes TSA-approved locks. But for my needs, this case will be just fine. I am not planning on flying with it, and other than sitting around the house or studio, it's only going to see occasional travel to local gigs. For that kind of use, it's perfect - and perfectly priced. If you have similar needs, this case should provide you with years of trouble-free service.
Musician's Friend Musician's Gear MGMELP Molded ABS Electric Guitar Case online catalog page ($129.99 MSRP, $69.99 "street")
Musician's Friend Case Finder
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.