A review of the Gator Cases TSA/ATA Hardshell Case for bass guitars
Somewhere up there with picking up professional cat bathing, political discussions during Thanksgiving, and cleaning gutters in the fall, flying with an instrument is a tidal wave of stress and annoyance for the vast majority of musicians that nothing compares to. We have all seen the horror stories on social media of players arriving at their destination with a bass or guitar that looked like it got ran over by a car. The ensuing sadness, frustration, and grief understandable by any who have ever loved an instrument like a family member. So what is a musician to do?
Without spending thousands on a custom case that is a Sherman tank that weighs more than the instrument and will cost you hundreds to check due to weight issues….
In comes the Gator GTSA-GTRBASS TSA ATA Molded Bass Guitar Case, retailing at $149.99
Here are the stats:
- ATA Molded Military Grade Polyethylene Outer-Shell
- TSA Approved Locking Center Latch Ideal for Air Travel
- Universal Fit EPS Protective Foam Interior Nest
- Thick Black Plush Interior
- Extended Reach Protective Neck Cradle
- Ergo-grip Injection Molded Handle
- Surface Mounted Impact Diversion Latch Housing & Red Release Trigger
- Black Powder Coated Hardware and Continuous Valance
- Body Length: 21.20 “
- Body Height: 2.60 “
- Lower Bout Width: 13.63 “
- Middle Bout Width: 13.63 “
- Upper Bout Width: 13.63 “
- Overall Length: 47.60 “
- Exterior Length: 49.25 “
- Exterior Width: 17.00 “
- Exterior Height: 5.38 “
- Exterior Weight: 16.00 pounds
Every product that I review here at Bass Musician Magazine that I receive for testing undergoes real world professional conditions and stress. So a flight case review would not be complete without an actual flight, as well as a tour. I received the case in October of 2016 and promptly went on a 9,000 mile 3 week US headlining tour with Felix Martin. I kept my J Ferro Denair Multi-Scale in it and prayed for the best.
So… how did it do?
Surprisingly, amazing for a $150 case, or a case of any price for that matter. Not only did the case handle the extra long 35.5 inch scale with ease, but it kept that bass scratch free the entire tour and on the way home from Los Angeles to Boston, MA.
The entire flight, my heart was in my throat hoping that the bass would be ok, only to find just a tiny scratch on the case, with the bass completely unscathed and even not too cold, even after a 6 hour cargo ride and 9000 miles on the road. Almost a month of constant road wear and abuse, and barely even a scratch on the case.
If I wanted to sell it now used, I could still ask close to retail price even after all of that and another 3 months at home in and out of cars for rehearsals in the New England winter.
- The grip: 90% of hardshell cases, even great ones are harsh and start to cut into your palm. The Gators grip was designed by someone who finally understood this long held flaw in hard shell case design and designed a grip that is my favorite to date on a hardshell case.
- Durability: The outer shell does a hell of a job on the road and survived with barely any scratches or blemishes even after some serious ass-kicking
- Adaptability: I snuggly fit a 35.5 inch scale fanned fret bass, a 35″ scale 6 string bass and a 34″ scale 4 string p-bass into the case without any size issues. I was also able to fit 2 cables, a strap, an overdrive pedal, a 9-volt adapter as well as a Speakon cable into the case along with the bass with no issue fighting to close it
- THE LOCKS: “You know what really grinds my gears?” Those little metal flippy locks on 90% of all hard shell cases. They suck and need to die. THE GATOR ONES KICK ASS!!! First off, all of them can be quickly opened and clipped shut using your feet even. No longer will you have a latch open and have to reopen the case to re-do the lock. So much #winning just for the locks alone.
For $149.99 there are NONE. Now, would you want to risk a $50,000 vintage 50’s p-bass in it on a shitty airline? Maybe not, but you shouldn’t be doing either of those things in any case in my opinion hahaha.
For the price, it is more durable and protective than a ton of “boutique” and much higher priced cases. I felt safe checking my bass with it and I honestly think for its price range it’s a huge steal. Def snag one if you need to fly with a bass but are on a budget.
10/10 in its price range.