GigBlade by GruvGear review

Every once in a while a product comes along that totally reimagines a piece of gear that most of us take for granted. In the world of gig bags, that product is the Gruv Gear GigBlade.

The main idea behind the GigBlade is economy of space and weight distribution. Most gig bags have backpack straps for carrying on your back, which Gruv gear points out creates two main issues. First, wearing the bass on your back puts the instrument’s neck in a precarious position over your head and becomes troublesome with doorways and low ceilings. Second, wearing it lower makes the bass’s body bounce against your legs and become uncomfortable. The GigBlade gets around these problems by positioning the strap for carrying the bass at your side and with a lower center of gravity. A single strap makes for quick, convenient carry that stays out of your way. Not restricted to side-carry, the bag has room to sling it over your back like a quiver, and the strap can be attached to the opposite side of the bag for a cross sling carry.

Upon receiving a GigBlade for review, it was obvious how the bag got its name. Its design is über sleek with a thin profile and minimalist aesthetic that would make Steve Jobs proud. Not just a good looking case, the GigBlade’s tough exterior is made of waterproof 1680D nylon and reinforced with rubbery non-slip pads on contact points. Combine that with extra sturdy stitching and it seems this bag will stick around for a long time.

The interior features 600D polyester and a striking orange faux fur. It’s roomy enough to accept large basses with an inner length of 47 inches and width of 15.5 inches. As a point of reference, it comfortably fits a 6-string Ibanez BTB. The inside of the case has a foam neck support and two foam bars at the bottom of the bass, and the supports are moveable to cater to any bass you put in. Extra foam bars are available for purchase to fit your bass even more snugly.

The GigBlade’s storage options are also innovative. A top pocket sits atop the case and hangs close to your shoulder. Its shape is perfect for pedals and can hold about four average size stompboxes. It can hold a variety of other smaller items and has a small mesh pocket inside for smaller items as well, but don’t plan on sticking your cable in there. The bag’s side pocket has an interesting shape that includes what Gruv Gear calls the StrapFlat long pocket, which stretches up nearly the whole length of the bag, and a larger, more traditional storage space. Both are connected, which is a bit odd at first, but it makes sense. The StrapFlat portion is specifically designed for tucking in your strap, while the larger section is set for flat objects like sheet music or a laptop. It fits a 15″ laptop, but it keeps with the bag’s theme and is fairly thin. If you’re the kind of player that carries several Real Books around, you may need to carry them separately.

In use, the GigBlade delivers. I found myself opting for the speed and convenience of the side-carry and wondering why no one had thought of this before. The bag stays out of your way, but the low center of gravity has an interesting benefit of making your bass feel lighter. The GigBlade puts the bass in a natural carrying position where you normally carry weight and makes instrument transportation easier. It also has a cool factor and becomes a conversation piece with fellow musicians.

Gruv Gear’s GigBlade is available with a street price of $250 (US dollars). While that may be steep for some, it’s an extremely sturdy and convenient case that should prove to hold its value throughout many years.

by Kevin Johnston, www.notreble.com