Review: Mono Case Acoustic Showdown

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Mono cases. These cases are sturdier than standard gig bags, but at the same time not as bulky as hard cases. If you get a Mono case plus a Strymon Timeline, and a big hat, you’re well on your way to being a professional musician.

So Mono recently released 3 new acoustic guitar cases. Which one is right for you?

(By the way, you should absolutely watch the video above.)

Acoustic Sleeve

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The Good

The Sleeve is Mono’s lightweight case. It’s noticeably lighter than previous cases and that’s a big plus. You’ve got room for cables, straps and other accessories. The build and construction is of the same high quality that Mono is known for. The rigid padding inside does a great job of protecting your guitar, and the “Headlock” holds the neck securely when the case is closed.

The Weird

This case is great, but there’s one thing I don’t understand. The pocket for your cables kiiiiinda looks like a messenger bag and guitar case had a baby. It opens from the opposite side as the zipper, and the flap is a bit cumbersome. It’s a cool design to look at, but somewhat awkward when you’re pulling your guitar and accessories out. The handle is located on the same side as the pocket opening. Honestly, if the handle and pocket opening were on the other side (with  the zipper), it would feel perfect. This isn’t a deal breaker, the case still works great and looks super sleek, it just seems like an odd design choice.

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Weird hybrid-pockets aside, this is a great lightweight case that is head and shoulders above any other “gig bag” out there.


Acoustic Vertigo

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The Great

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mono Vertigo Acoustic gig bag is the absolute best gig bag that you can buy. It’s a little more heavy duty than the Sleeve, the pocket is on the same side as the zipper, and there’s 2 additional pockets (one at the top, and one on the back). It feels great, looks great, travels well, and protects your guitar better than any other gig bag out there. Protection wise, it’s got two particularly great features:

The Headlock

This feature is also available on the Acoustic sleeve, and is one of the best thing about both cases. It holds the neck firmly in place when the case is closed to make sure it doesn’t get knocked around in the case. Check it out:

The Boot

This is basically a shoe sole for your case. It protects the bottom of your guitar as well as the pin and is meant to be bounced! This is a huge feature exclusive to the Vertigo line of cases and eases any anxiety about dropping your guitar. Mono claims that the boot is “drop-proof”. Check out the video above as we put that claim to the (somewhat extreme) test!



So Which Should You Get?

These are both great cases that have been meticulously designed to combat the annoyances that everyone has with gig bags. The Acoustic Sleeve offers good protection and great portability. The Acoustic Vertigo offers great protection and good portability. If weight matters to you (and you don’t mind the messenger bag style pocket), you should probably get the Sleeve. If weight matters less to you, or you take a lot of rooftop gigs (again, see the video above), then you should spring for the Vertigo.

But what if you want to bring your acoustic guitar and an electric guitar in one case? Then you should choose secret option number 3.

M80 Acoustic Electric Double

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The Good

The big perk here is obvious: you can carry 2 guitars at once. On the front side you load in your acoustic, zip it up, and flip it around to load in your electric. You’ve 2 pockets on the front of the case for cables, straps, and other accessories. If you’re a guitarist who does gigs where you need both an acoustic and an electric, this is absolutely the case for you.

The Meh

This is still a great case, but not quite to the military tank standards of the Vertigo. Instead of the Headlock system, the M80 Double has a softer pad for the neck to rest on, as well as a velcro strap that holds it in place. It wiggles around a little in the case, but it’s far better than having nothing at all. Also, the almighty BOOT is not on this case. The M80 holds up well on it’s own, but the added features from the Vertigo would have been a nice touch.

The only other thing to know about this case is obvious: with 2 guitars in it, the M80 Double is heavy. This isn’t Mono’s fault, it’s actually yours I guess. Is the convenience of 2 guitars in 1 case worth the hassle of carrying the equivalent of a junior higher on your back? That’s for you to decide.

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The M80 Acoustic Electric Double

Wrap Up

If you’re in the market for a new guitar case of some sort, the question really isn’t, “Is a Mono case a good gig bag to get?” because Mono has created an entirely new category for itself.

The question really is, “Should I get a soft gig bag, a hard case, or a Mono case?” For many musicians these days, the great balance of protection and portability is impossible to beat. Whichever of these cases is right for you, I know you’ll love having a Mono case.

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