We take a closer look at SKB's guitar cases.
Who cares about guitar cases, you ask? Well for one, the player who owns a '67 Strat in mint condition, has a gig in Philadelphia tomorrow night, and has just watched his treasure head down the conveyor belt, soon to be handled by people who don't know and could care less. It's all a matter of how much you value what goes inside. The guy with the Strat probably doesn't have just one good case, he probably has two (a guitar case fitted snugly inside a keyboard case) and both are SKBs. When it comes to protecting a dearly loved instrument, SKB is the name musicians have learned to trust.
Superior Protection Made Affordable
Why are SKB cases so desirable? Several reasons. One is that they're light... lighter than wooden Tolex covered cases. They also have a business- like, professional sleekness that lends your entry at the gig a certain air of professionalism. But the big thing that makes an SKB case desirable is that they are tough as a Texas tenor. They can take road knocks, lots of 'em, without your axe ever suffering the slightest ding.
On top of that, they're not expensive. They cost more than Tolex covered cardboard cases, but not nearly as much as a hand-tooled leather-and- tweed fancy pants cases. They used to be relatively more expensive twenty years ago when the company was just starting out. In those days, SKB made a lot fewer cases and only professional players bought them. Today, SKB is big time, the number one case maker for guitar companies. They still make the same strong cases and have even improved them over the years with innovative refinements. But efficiencies of scale and improved tooling have lowered the price. What used to be specialized pro gear twenty years ago has become affordable.
How They're Made
The secret to SKB's guitar case success is plastic! A special kind of plastic. Officially it's called a high-impact copolymer. It is rugged stuff. Undentable. Slightly flexible. Shatterproof. This tough stuff forms the outer shell of an SKB case, and the company has collected literally thousands of testimonials over the years, telling horror stories of guitar cases being hit by trains, run over by cars, flung off roofs. We hope none of these misfortunes ever befalls your axe, but your guitar will likely survive if they do happen, because this high-impact copolymer can take a serious hit. (But like they say on TV, don't attempt these things at home.)
Equally important is how this material and others are transformed into cases. As the company has grown in size, its manufacturing processes have also grown in sophistication. SKB has been a leader in developing the methods and tools for the intensive vacuum-molding process used to create most of their cases.
First a mold for a new case design is carved in wood. Then it's duplicated in metal, tested, retooled, and then tested again until deemed perfect.
Once finished, the molds are placed on a huge turntable with a large sheet of the plastic material placed over them. Then the molding machine drops over the molds, heats the plastic, and vacuums out the air so the plastic is formed over the molds. The case halves are made in pairs to assure an exact match. Excess material is trimmed away from the molded pieces, and once they cool, they are sent on to be fitted with the metal hardware.
The interiors are tooled in conjunction with the external cases and are formed using an injection process. The material used is called EPS foam. It could be likened to styrofoam in that it is very light, but much stronger and much more durable. The interiors are formed by blowing beads of this material into the mold where they expand and bond into a lightweight shell, shaped to precisely hold the instrument for which they are designed. Plush linings are then glued on to the foam liners, and the liners are glued into the exterior shells.
Finally the cases are fitted with aluminum valances. Steel-backed, riveted amendments are added: latches, hinges, D-rings, etc. The cases are then ready for final quality control inspection and shipped to distributors worldwide.
Two Choices... Both Guaranteed for Life!
There are two SKB guitar case lines - Economy and Deluxe - and both carry a limited lifetime warranty. The Economy Cases are a little less costly than the Deluxe. If you're into saving a few bucks or need to appease your Spartan nature, choose the Economy. In the case of either case, you still get great protective value and durability. Both lines of cases have the same high-impact copolymer outer shell, the same hardware, and the same interior foam. The main difference in the two levels is that there is more foam in the Deluxe and the inner liner completely surrounds the guitar. In the Economy models, the foam lining doesn't surround the entire instrument but is placed at all the strategic stress points. The only other difference is in the plushness of the lining. Economy cases are lined with velour; the Deluxe cases have furry, soft plush. It comes down to which your guitar and budget would like best.
The Best Time to Get an SKB Case
The best time to buy an SKB case is when you purchase your guitar. Many big guitar manufacturers use SKB cases, so you often get one as part of the standard package, even if it doesn't say SKB on it. But if the guitar you want doesn't come with a case, make a point of asking for an SKB. You may even save in the process.
The Best Place
If you're replacing a worn-out case or want to upgrade to the case your guitar deserves, give Musician's Friend a call. They've got an SKB that will fit your axe, whether it's an acoustic or an electric. And they've not only got the right case, they've also got the best prices on SKBs around.
Features & Specs
- Exteriors are formed of a tough, high-impact copolymer that gives ample protection to the instrument inside.
- Full length neck support is provided.
- Rigid EPS foam interiors keep instruments from moving inside the case.
- Aluminum valances assure proper, tight closure.
- Bumpers designed into outer shells are a huge protective feature, preventing damage to both the valances and latches.