So you find yourself searching for a new F-style mandolin case? This just happens to be something we are very familiar with. After 20 years of selling mandolins we have been through most of the case brands and had the chance to try many different mandolins in them. During all of this, there have been a few standouts and we wanted to give a list of our Top 3 F-style Mandolin Cases.
The most important thing is going to be fit. You would think that most cases would be a reasonably good fit, since mandolins are very close to one another as far as basic dimension go. Of course, that is just not the case (pun intended). While some cases do provide a good fit for “most” mandolins, others don’t really fit any!
Up next is the overall build quality. Do the latches work well, does the case close correctly, etc.. Most cases we currently deal with are of at least reasonable quality, so this is not a big issue. Still, we do see some that do not align correctly or have issues with hardware, screws tearing out, etc..
We factored in cost. While there are some near perfect cases out there, some can get up around $1000. Some mandolins will justify such a case, but in all honesty, that is beyond the budget of most players and we will exclude these from our list (even though they are some of the best cases). For the sake of this review, our F-style mandolin cases will also need to represent a good value.
In no particular order:
Guardian Tweed F-style Mandolin Case:
What can we say about tweed? Some love it, some don’t. Regardless of how you feel about the vintage look of a tweed mandolin case, this particular case is well made and tends to fit the vast majority of mandolins we have tried in it. It is snug enough to not be sloppy, but will close without smashing down on your mandolin’s bridge. The hardware is of good quality and we never had any problems with the latches or hinges tearing off. The leather handle is a nice touch, and tweed is a nice conversation starter. It also doesn’t get as hot in the sun. This case just happens to fit left handed F-Style mandolins as well. Overall we have been quite pleased with this case and believe it represents a great value.
Get it here:
Also check this out: Guardian Tweed Mandolin Case Review
Superior CD-1520 Deluxe F-model mandolin case
This is just a great case. It fits nearly every F-style mandolin we have put in it and the build quality is excellent. There is a nice leather handle and the hardware has never presented an issue. This is a hefty case and is slightly larger than some other wooden cases (outside dimensions, internally it is not). The padding in this case is thicker and softer than most providing a good snug fit without having to force the mandolin in. There is just enough bridge clearance for any standard F-style mandolin. There is virtually no padding on the lid though. We have shipped countless mandolins in this case with good results. We do recommend putting a polishing cloth or similar padding under the neck at the case pocket. The case is designed so that the neck floats over the pocket, but in an extreme hit, the neck can hit the edge of the pocket. This may well be our favorite case of the bunch!
Check the current pricing:
Gator Lightweight Foam Mandolin case
Why are we including a foam case? It just happens that foam cases are extremely protective and often preferred by professional musicians. The case itself may not be as durable as wood, but then wood is not as protective as foam. Life if full of trade-offs! This case fits most F-style mandolins, has a good sized accessory pocket and backpack straps. The case closes with a zipper. The exterior is 600-Denier nylon and surprisingly durable. It really is a great alternative to wood. The added bonus, is the low price!
Check it out:
Of course there are hundreds of other case options out there. Some good, some not so much. :)
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