Dec 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm #1283226
Hi, I've been reading these forums for some time now but this is my first question.
I want to make a waterproof soft case that is also strong and some what lightweight. This case will replace the bulky case that comes with the Martin Backpacker travel guitar:
I want the material to be waterproof to keep rain out but I don't want it to trap moisture with the guitar inside either. Also lightweight, but strong and durable as well. I would imagine that I would need a little bit of padding on the inside too.
What materials do you MYOG'ers suggest?
thanksDec 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm #1814523
Travis LeannaBPL Member
Welcome! As a musician myself, I can appreciate your desire for music on the trail. Waterproof breathable materials work when there is a temperature and/or humidity difference on either side of the fabric. (Just to note, I'm a little far out of my league scientifically speaking, so forgive me if I misspeak–others will correct me if I do ! :) )
Basically, there needs to be a reason for the moisture inside such a case to be transferred outside. Since a guitar is an inanimate object, it does not produce heat or humidity, and waterproof breathable materials would not be of much help.
Moisture for wooden instruments is relatively good. Dryness, extreme cold, and extreme heat are what you want to avoid. My suggestion is to have a lightweight hygrometer inside the case. If it is too dry, then add moisture. Products are made for "hydrating" an instrument. Look at Planet Waves Guitar Humidifier. If it is too moist, then maybe consider packing a lightweight and reusable desiccant. Check out the link below.
My suggestion would be to get/make a padded waterproof case with a waterproof zipper. Unless you're dumping water into it, with a little care, your guitar should be fine.
I'm a violinist. My instrument loves humidity and hates dryness. Just be sure to monitor the proper humidity levels in your case. But then again, you're on the trail, so…… :)Dec 21, 2011 at 4:29 am #1814558
@billreyn1Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
I don't have the perfect answer yet but am very interested in this thread as I have the same issue. I have thought about silnylon tent bags, along with a tennis racket padded cover. This would protect the body but not the headstock and the silnylong would provide the waterproofness. I hope to hear some other ideas. Perhaps reflectix with a separate rainproof cover?Dec 21, 2011 at 6:55 am #1814573
I was Craig Chaquico's guitar tech (Jefferson Starship) I was also the AR person for Nady Systems for a long time and worked with over 300 bands on the road.
Guitars are just wood.
Keep it dry, that's all you need to worry about. Keep your high end one at home and take your beater on the trail so you don't have to worry about bumps and scratches. If you use a travel guitar … It's a travel guitar, it's going to get beat up.
If it gets wet – dry it off.
Humidity – How are you going to keep it away. Leave in your climate controlled house? Keep it in your case with your humidity gadget?
You would not believe what a Rock Star does to a guitar. Sweat, booze, rain you name it gets all over them every night. clean them off tune them up – good to go. Guitars on the road go from city to city climate to climate and half the time are sitting on stage in the elements waiting to be used. They get adjusted during set-up to compensate for environmental changes since being packed and are tuned and ready to play.
I would just make a "cuben" sack for it. : )
CraigDec 21, 2011 at 7:04 am #1814577
Thanks all for the quick replies! But I just want to be clear on the original post… I'm looking more for advice on what materials I should use to make my own travel bag for a guitar rather than advice on how to take care of the guitar.
ThanksDec 21, 2011 at 8:59 am #1814615
@redwood82Locale: Piedmont of the Carolinas
I play guitar, and am familiar with the backpacker guitar you are speaking of.
In this case, you really don't need something with abrasion resistant qualities, just mainly lightweight as possible and highly water resistant.
– I would use something like 1.9 Silnylon, ( I have bought mine from Quest Outfitters) and possibly apply some mineral spirit diluted silicon sealer to the outside for extra waterproofing and peace of mind. Maybe some Momentum 50 if you feel like going higher end. I hear it is highly water resistant.
– I would avoid zippers, unless you use waterproof zippers and seam seal all around it. It could be more like a stuff sack design with a single opening at the end.
– I would also incorporate some kind of closed cell foam inside this case (like cutting up a cheap sleeping pad) for protection, and the CCF will also help with moisture since it does not absorb water.
Acoustic instruments are sensitive to changes in temps and humidity, but thats pretty unavoidable once they leave the indoors. So I say just keep it dry and from getting banged up unnecessarily and enjoy playing in the woods! I typically bring one of my harmonicas backpacking but have been tempted to make something for my ukulele for those weekend trips;)Dec 21, 2011 at 9:41 am #1814633
Piper S.BPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
A friend of mine has a guitar case made of styrofoam, the same kind of styrofoam they make coolers out of. With plastic hinges. It's actually pretty sturdy.Dec 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm #1814772
The Martin is a nice guitar.
I would think about making a form fitting case out of foam core board and make a silnylon or cuben sack that's small on the bottom for the neck and wide on top with a draw string and drop the case neck first into the waterproof bag. easy and not expensive.
When it is neck up it can strap on the out side of your pack and rain will not get in with the draw sting on the bottom.
Foam board & gorilla tape
Or … go with the Johnson Trailblazer and get the form fitting softshell case.
Spray on DWR & seam seal or cover with a trash bag or whatever… make a rain cover.
Go for the cheapo beater($30.00)and get the perfect soft case. (I find these cheep guitars can usualy be modified and turned into very nice instruments with a little work)Dec 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm #1814828
As per fabric, I would consider using tyvek. It is light, waterproof and cheap. Make it a roll top and tape the seams. Done!
JCDec 22, 2011 at 11:51 am #1815004
I was just thinking… will this lightweight silnylon or similar material be suitable for the interior of the case? I have a hammock made of that type of material and I would not want to wrap my guitar in it. As any guitar player knows the clipped ends of the strings hanging off the tuning knobs can stick out and be very sharp…Dec 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm #1815159
What do you all think of this material? Awesome price and color! 2 layers of this material with some CCF in between? Would the DWR be enough to keep the rain out? and would 70D be durable enough?Dec 25, 2011 at 9:59 am #1815739
anyone..?Dec 25, 2011 at 10:39 am #1815744
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think a good approach is to build it the same way that some people build a DIY camera case for an expensive camera. The outer cover is some good waterproof fabric. Under that, a lightweight protective shell is made out of cut up plastic one-gallon milk jugs. Underneath that, closed-cell foam is good, or layers of bubble-pack. Then there is an inner shell fabric that doesn't need to be waterproof, but it has to be soft enough that it won't rub badly on the instrument. If you get enough stiffness out of the protective shell, you can put a shoulder strap on the thing from end to end. If you don't get enough stiffness out of the protective shell, then a narrow and thin strip of Masonite might make a frame.
The standard test is a three-foot drop test. You assume that the case falls three feet with the instrument inside, and you expect zero damage.
–B.G.–Dec 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm #1815789
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> build it the same way that some people build a DIY camera case for an expensive camera.
What Bob said. Multi-layer, each layer with different properties and functions.
CheersDec 27, 2011 at 7:15 am #1816162
So what do you all think of this material? Awesome price and color! 2 layers of this material with some CCF in between? Would the DWR be enough to keep the rain out? and would 70D be durable enough?Jan 4, 2012 at 10:32 am #1819642
Would it be wise to stay away from black fabrics due to the heat that black colors can attract.. or does that not matter in this case, with some foam padding between the fabric and the guitar?Jan 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm #1820304
(sorry to bump) I wanna order the fabric soon! :DJan 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm #1820448
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
cut up ridgerest for paddingMar 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm #1851869
I have one of those. Right now I am putting a small sock over the tuning heads and Wrapping it in a piece of silnylon. I plan to sew a bag with a drawstring out of the same material when I find a sewing machine I can use. If you are interested in a tuner the snark pulled off its base isn't too bad for weight (.78 oz). I also nixed the strap for a chunk of my bear line. The whole package comes in at about 2 pounds.Mar 11, 2012 at 4:27 am #1851897
I would not use that 70D fabric from Oware. It's plenty strong enough, but it's only water resistant. You're going to want something that's actually waterproof. 1.1oz silnylon should do the job. Heavier fabrics will probably last longer. I could be mistaken, but I beleive PU coated nylon has better resistance to UV, so if you're going to do a lot of walking in sunny area's you may prefer PU coated nylon over silicone coated nylon. There are other fabrics like cuben that will work perfectly as well, but they are incredibly expensive.
For padding I would just cut up a ccf mat and glue it into a box that will fit perfectly into your nylon bag. The ccf is waterproof as well, so that's a little extra protection for when the nylon will wet out (which it will in continuous rain). Extra fabric on the inside of your ccf box will not be necessary.
Here's a link to the topic I made a while back about my homemade camera bag. You may find it helpfull.
Good luck!Mar 11, 2012 at 8:11 am #1851913
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I would have to say use Vx-07 Xpac for a outer case and seam sealed on edges for a waterproof case,water proof zipper with a velcro closing fabric zipper cover flap over the zipper . Then a padded 1/4 foam inner quilt bag made out of breathable 30d nylon for padding,To protect you guitar. Don't trust silnylon only case it just to fragile and is only water resistant compared to Xpac.
My grandfather repaired violin and other string instruments as a side line to his real job a music teacher. Water and moister wreck havoc on laminated string instruments.
My idea may seem not be ultra lite but it light weigh compare to the the PVC coated cordura covered commercial cases.
TerryMar 11, 2012 at 10:12 am #1851950
Mark, What glue did you use to adhere the CFF when constructing the camera box?Mar 11, 2012 at 11:07 am #1851972
I used regular hobby glue/contact glue. Pretty much the most common stuff you can find. If you're going to glue a box I reccommend that you first try glueing 2 small pieces of leftovers together to test your glue.Mar 11, 2012 at 11:28 am #1851986
Excellent, Thank you Mark. Lots of good ideas in this thread.
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