It’s a skin-blistering, 40-degree day in Australia. You wake up speckled with sweat only to realise you have a gig to play in an hour, and have to haul your guitar on public transport. Ambling to the bus stop with your lofty hard case in one hand, you’re barely managing the stuffed tote bag full of pedals, leads, strings and slides in the other before you see the bus splutter away in front of you. In this scenario, the day is done – there’s no way you can carry it further without your back discs quite literally imploding. Enter Gruv Gear’s GigBlade 2, the world’s first side-carry hybrid guitar bag. Gruv Gear are a premium lifestyle accessories company that unusually has set its talents to the music industry. The GigBlade 2 is the second iteration of Gruv’s gig bag opus, with additional space, a revamped shoulder strap and weather cover.
The GigBlade arrived off the back of two years of research and development, launching after a crowd-funding campaign back in 2014 met its target within a day. The demand proved a side-carry gig bag was long overdue. A generation of guitar and bass players has suffered over-extended shoulders and chiropractic misery from poor weight distribution in unwieldy guitar cases.
The GigBlade works by lowering the side-bag’s bulk closer to the ground, keeping the centre of gravity low and the feeling steady. The top of your instrument doesn’t tower above you and nor does it frustratingly bounce off your ankles, a point proven by several surprisingly breezy public transport trips with the bag in tow. The signature shoulder strap has been given a welcome redo with anti-slip ribbing, while a second strap has been added to offer the option of a backpack mode if you feel a little more old-school.
The GigBlade’s exterior carries a kind of industrial elegance, with its highly robust and water repellent 1680d ballistic nylon that seems impervious to puncture. Zips are deeply stitched in and are fluorescent orange to make them easier to find in the dark and decrepit pubs you will inevitably play. The plush fur interior is padded firmly, braced by packing approximately 3.81cm thick and an interlocking brace to ensure your neck doesn’t slop around. It encases the instruments so well you’d almost mail it. The interior specs are 105cm x 38cm and 24cm x 38cm for electric guitar and bass guitar respectively, meaning it’ll fit most Strat, Tele, Les Paul or SG-esque designs, yet is a little too tight for wider hollow-bodies, such as a Gretsch Electromatic.
As a transportable storage bag, the GigBlade is comparable to a small car boot. The spacious front pocket fit my 13” laptop and charger comfortably, while the top pocket sat four BOSS digital-sized pedals or one footswitch. Impressively, even with the lofty weight of a Les Paul, four pedals and a computer packed in, the case still felt almost weightless. A weather cover is also supplied in the front pocket, which although somewhat difficult to cover the entire case with, is a thoughtful addition.
There is simply nothing else in the market that offers the GigBlade’s functionality, back relief, or storage. From exterior to interior, each element of the design has been meticulously engineered through research on actual gigging musicians and their needs. If you’re a working musician, nabbing one of these isn’t an indulgence; it’s the future.
Hits and Misses
The unprecedented side-carry design makes it feel near weightless
Huge and nifty storage capacity; can store four small pedals and a laptop comfortably
Superlative material and design
Maybe the weather cover could be easier to deploy, but it just feels nit-picky