Ask Bob: Case Design
Question: OK, here's a challenge, Bob. Every guitar player I know has either cut their foot or ankle or dinged their beloved guitar on a metal case buckle/latch. You have changed the guitar industry and the way guitars are built. Now can you change the way a case is made? Big fat nylon buckles or some other type of hold-down? I will buy your first one gladly. In fact, if I find a nylon-style latch/buckle to retro-fit on all five of my Taylor cases, I will. It's not really a tough challenge, not for you, anyway! Please go for it; we all deserve it.
Answer: Well, Guy, cases are the biggest challenge in our industry. I'll tell you why if you promise not to think I'm a whiner. People want a good case, but they actually cost more to build than people want to pay. Every guitar maker reading this now is nodding his head in agreement. And people love cases made from wood that are covered and lined inside. Different latches on these isn't really much of an option, you'll just need to believe me. We like our new hard bags, because they really do the trick, but for some people who buy a good guitar, they want the case to be a presentation piece, yet still they want it to be very cheap. Sure, it's included in the price, but if we put the price where it should be, allowing for the case, then the whole package would be too expensive.
That's why we are currently studying some totally new ways to make a guitar case. Beautiful ways that do what you're asking. But it's just in the study phase now, and we're predicting the cost to be too high, so it might just take a little longer. To further explain, look at the price range of guitars: from $599 to $7,500. But in reality, the case for each one costs within $5 of the other, meaning the case for the cheaper guitar is nearly as much as the case for the top-end guitar. When you have a guitar that costs $599, it's hard to include a $200 case. That's why we have gig bags, padded gig bags, hard gig bags, simple wood cases, and complex wooden cases. And the spread between them, cost-wise, is very small, so it's tough. We're looking for a comprehensive solution, as you suggest, but maybe for different reasons. I hope this makes sense and gives you a little insight into our case world.