History of the gig bag?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by corinpills, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I was driving past Berklee the other day on the way to a paying gig, (so victory for me) and i was struck by the realization that I never had a gig bag the entire time I was a student there in the early 90s. Now, all the kids look pretty chill with their bass over their shoulder, crossing against the light into oncoming traffic while checking texts on their phones.

    When i was there,.some guitarists had gig bags, but I don't think I recall many bassist having them. I used to carry my Pedula in a big, heavy rectangular box along Haviland Street to every lab or private lesson. When did they become common? I wonder if I would have blown off less classes if it didn't entail lugging that monstrosity of a case.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i honestly don't remember when they became common: but i'm glad they did! i still have a hardshell case that i could use if i needed extra protection, but i'm so glad i don't have to lug my instruments around in them.

    i've been using gig bags exclusively for 20+ years, i think. much less bulk and awkwardness, IMO.
  3. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    Palm Coast, FL
    I've been playing 17 years now and have never used a hard case except for the one that came with my Ken Lawrence brase 5 (formfitted and foam - about the same weight as a good gig bag) and even then I switched over to a nice gig bag my wife bought me. Levy's Leathers LM-88 that has separate sides like an acoustic guitar gig bag. Still using it after all these years and have never had a problem with it.

  4. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I have to imagine guys who gigged around NY in the 80s will have some insight into when they first started popping up. That's a city where people are going to gigs in a taxi, a gig bag make s HUGE difference in how much of a pain that is.
  5. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Liberty Township
    When I played nearly full time from '68 to '83 I don't remember ever seeing a gig bag. I'm an old fart so I refuse to use them. Hard shell cases for all of my basses.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Fender had a brown gig bag available for the original P bass back in the early '50s.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
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  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I know that my first electric guitar, a Teisco came in a very cheap vinyl bag rather than a case, but it didn't have a shoulder strap and it certainly wasn't anything that would protect much on the guitar.
  8. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    I guess I'm just too old school. I don't trust gig bags to keep my basses safe.
  9. I had 1978 Musicman Stingray & it came with a gig bag.
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  10. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    My '66 Ampeg AUB-1 has its original heavy vinyl gig bag. Padding is a joke, though, it's basically just a layer of flannel.
    rogerbmiller likes this.
  11. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I remember my bass teacher had one in the early to mid 80s and I was like "What's that?!" And he explained it was a gig bag. In NYC most session players had them since they were running around town doing multiple gigs in a day. The bags were easy to walk around in, get in a taxi, etc. My first 2 good basses came with gig bags as an option so I chose them so I have been using them since 86. I am very glad I started with them early. While they were great for getting tossed around in, they are otherwise the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    kesslari likes this.
  12. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I have some old Japanese basses that came with gig bags like that. Brown pleather. Sometimes black. And like zero padding. But so much vibe!
  13. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    That is why most manufactures don't give hard cases any more for anything less than the top of the line models.
  14. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    If I remember correctly, sometime probably in the 80's they started not including hard cases w guitars and started charging extra for them. Customers balked and the gig bag became the alternative.
  15. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    I'm with @Gravedigger Dav on this one. I care too much about my equipment to trust a gig bag. To me, and I completely understand this is my OCD kicking in, it looks like you just don't care about you ax when you stuff it in a gig bag. I get the practicality of it, just not worth the risk/reward to me. But I'm not pressed for space in my vehicles or have to take a taxi to a gig either.

    Oddly, and ironically, enough, soft padded bag was ok in my brain for my upright though. Go figure...
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I was going to say I bet it had as much to do with cost cutting as anything. I worked in MI in the early 2000s and by that point virtually nothing came with a hard case.
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    That's odd, I was at Berklee from '78-'82 and that's where I discovered gigbags for bass. Seemed like all the cool bassists -- and even the not-so-cool ones -- at Berklee had gigbags back then. Maybe there was an anti-gigbag backlash in the early 90s?
  18. Popps


    Nov 26, 2009
    I was at Berklee in 71-72 and I had what I remember being a leather Fender gig bag.
    The zippers eventually went bad on it and I don't quite remember what happened to it.
    I don't think I saw many bags at the time, but, it was great for the bus commute.
  19. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I remember an interview with Nile Rodgers talking about before Chic hit big talking about how proud he was to be a working musician and going around New York with his gig bag was part of that image.
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