Calton Cases of (Contact Details), have recently started production of Fibreglass guitar cases. The sample sent for review is the standard model which will accommodate guitars up to the size of the J 200 or Guild F 50 and also most 12-strings. The shell and lid are constructed from multiple layers of fibreglass, built round carefully positioned foam and glass stiffeners, to give the greatest protection to the instrument, while being relatively light. My experience is that if you are already carrying about a large guitar, the last thing you need round it is a heavy case.
There are already some fibre-glass cases on the market, but light glass shells, while difficult to break, are relatively flexible. They may bend enough, during an impact, to allow the guitar inside to be damaged, while the case remains intact. The usual solution is to use a much heavier shell than is really necessary, but the foam and glass construction of this case maintains rigidity, while reducing the weight by about 1/3.
The standard case retails for £40, which is rather less than the price of an equally strong American wooden case, and is available in several colours (which will not scratch off).
The case is lined with soft foam and velvet, has a large string box, and supports the guitar sensibly: 12-strings and custom guitars with wider necks may need some adjustment of the neck support. Other less good points are the tendencies for the rubber lid seal to come unstuck after much use (Calton have now discovered a better adhesive) and for the velvet lining to fray around the clasp fixings. The clasps do not break finger nails, and are strong, but the handle, while solid leather and well made, is obviously not designed for guitarists. Please will case makers look at the large padded handles fitted to the best Spanish-made cases, and if necessary, import them. Most handles seem either to be plastic, with a sharp edge underneath, or leather and so flexible that they mash your hand into a banana shape. Just for a change, this handle is leather with a sharp edge underneath.
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