A hard case for small guitars

If you spend $500 or more for a small guitar (say, from Gringo Star Guitars or Ron Fernandez) you will get a hard case with the guitar.

But if you need a hard case for a different small guitar, you have to get creative. I made a case entirely out of foamcore for my daughter’s 48cm-scale Hopf Bronco, but it was a ton of work, and while a foamcore case is fantastic around town, it’s not so great on a plane.

With just a little work, though, I adapted an SKB Baby Taylor hard case  ($70 at Amazon) to fit the Bronco. It’s sturdy enough to take on a plane (though it’s still a good idea to gate check it!), and it can be adapted to fit a variety of guitars.

The pictures and drawings below show what I did, but here’s the basic idea:

  • Create an insert that fits snugly around the guitar’s body and fills the space between the body and the case.
  • Cut out enough material in the neck area to leave room for the guitar’s headstock.
  • Cover everything that touches the guitar with something soft and fuzzy.

For materials, you’ll need:

  • Some 1/4″ foamcore. (I got mine at a surplus store; try your local art-supply store or frame shop.)
  • Some styrofoam insulation. If I remember right, I used some 1.5″ or 2″ thick sheets from a hardware store.
  • Hot-melt glue.
  • Fake fur or some other fuzzy fabric. I used black in the neck area to match the case and a fun pattern to cover the insert.

That’s it. To create the insert, make a flat base by tracing the body of the guitar onto the foamcore, then cut around the outline. The inside edge of the insert base matches out with the outside of your guitar; the outside edge matches up with the inside of the case.

To create the sides, cut a strip of foamcore long enough to trace the curve of the inside of the base. Then kerf it (i.e., cut partway through)  on the outside of each area where you need a curve. Add a second vertical layer to the at the base of the guitar, to fill in some space and add strength. Glue the sides to the base, then cover it all with fuzzy fabric, taking care to leave the fabric seams on the bottom of the insert (you want only smooth fabric against the guitar’s sides, not any glue or seams).

To make space in the headstock area, cut through the case’s fabric lining, then cut through the styrofoam underneath. You’ll need to take out a portion of the styrofoam and cut it down to size. You’ll also need to add some styrofoam, because you are essentially moving a portion of the case’s existing styrofoam into an area that lacks styrofoam, namely, the accessories cavity in the neck area of the case. You will also need to cut down the lid over the accessories cavity, because you’re making it smaller. The lid is a piece of hardboard inside of a fabric pocket, so you have to cut the fabric, take the lid out, then saw it to size. It’s best to do that last, after you’ve finished remodeling the headstock area, so you can cut the lid to the right size.

This sounds more complicated than it is. If you’ve got everything you need, it won’t take more than a few hours. I lost some time because I didn’t realize I’d need extra styrofoam, so I had to run to the store for that. But you do know that you need styrofoam, thanks to this post!

Good luck, and feel free to post questions in the comment area. I’ll try to answer them.

4 thoughts on “A hard case for small guitars”

  1. What about chipboard cases? I understand they don’t offer any padding, but using the materials you list, one could add padding and it seems like they’re easier to get in 1/2 size and are usually about $30.

    For instance, this one on Amazon, which is intended for an Amigo 1/2 classical guitar.

    1. A chipboard case would certainly work, particularly for use about town. Thanks for the link and suggestion!

      Personally, I went for the SKB case because I wanted something to take on a plane. I still gate check the SKB case, and I put an extra luggage strap around it for security, but I feel much safer using it for air travel than I would a chipboard case.

      1. I haven’t gotten my son’s guitar yet, but I ordered a 1/2 Kremona for my 7-year-old son and I was looking for cases. Based on measuring photos (scale factor determined by dividing a known real-life measurement by a measurement from the photo), it looks like the Baby Taylor for 3/4 actually might work well, because it seems the bodies are about the same size, the neck is just longer on the Baby Taylor. I looked into baritone ukulele cases, too, but those are too small. Might be a good solution for a 1/4 size, although the bodies of ukuleles are narrower than 1/4 guitars (generally).

        I joined the Facebook group a while ago,, but there hasn’t been any activity since then and I haven’t found any other forums or groups dedicated to children learning guitar, let alone the Suzuki method specifically. Oh well.

        1. Thanks for the update! It would be great if you posted a followup comment about the Kremona, since I haven’t actually played one myself. I do think that the SKB Baby Taylor case is likely to work for you, perhaps with modifications like the ones I show.

          The Facebook group is not super active, but you can post questions there, and I find that a number of teachers are very responsive. There’s a forum on the SAA for parents, but there’s not a lot of guitar-related activity.

          Good luck!

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