Things We Love: Reunion Blues Continental Voyager Guitar Case

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Aside from being the person at B&H Explora who spends his days chasing grammar and punctuation errors, I have also been playing guitar off and on since I was 16 years old and, to put that into perspective, I am now just about ready to enroll in Part A of Medicare. Until the end of the last Bush presidency, I was playing guitar and singing in a local New York bluegrass band. This entailed getting myself and my guitar, notes, accessories, et al, to some of the grungiest dive bars in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, although we did play the Tap Room at the old Knitting Factory, on Leonard Street. Twice.

Where's the Gig?

Just like many photographers I know, and their obsession with the right camera bag for the assignment, guitar players frequently need and have more than one case that suits their needs. Generally, the best protection you can provide for traveling with your guitar is a hard case, usually constructed from three to five layers of plywood, covered with some sort of tweed, vinyl, or Tolex, with little metal bumpers and a carry handle, that provides a neck rest inside, with a small interior accessory compartment just beneath it. This is great if you're driving a distance to your gig and you toss your guitar into the back seat, or especially when you're traveling by Amtrak from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina, for the IBMA convention. For flying, a certified flight case, made of layers of fiberglass or carbon fiber, will provide the ultimate in safety for your guitar. But that's not how we are traveling today.

Photographs © Todd Vorenkamp

For packing your guitar around town, nothing beats the RB Continental Voyager.
For packing your guitar around town, nothing beats the RB Continental Voyager.

When you're staying in town, and the trip to the venue doesn't take more than an hour, you may not want to drag around the bulk, weight, and hard edges of a plywood case. I know I don't—I cannot count how many times have I banged the edge of one of those into the side of my knee, while traversing a narrow doorway, hallway, or any other such tight space. So, after years of bruised ACLs and thin-walled or overly cumbersome gig bags, I found the Reunion Blues RB Continental Voyager case. Electric guitar, horn, ukulele, trumpet, banjo players—and drummers—take heart. Reunion Blues makes cases for you, too.

Reunion Blues made a name for itself when it introduced the first professional-level gig bags, in the 1970s, and the company has been making innovations in instrument luggage ever since. The list of specs for the Continental Voyager is mighty impressive:

  • 1" Thick Shock-absorbing Flexoskeleton™ with reinforced impact panels
  • Zero G™ palm-contoured handle with weight-distributing foam core
  • Reinforced neck brace system locks instrument neck securely in place
  • Ballistic Quadraweave™ exterior w/water resistant zippers and rigid EVA backing
  • EVA reinforced laptop/tablet compatible multi-pocket
  • Dual adjustable endpin protection pads
  • High-strength corded edges and seams
  • Knurled abrasion grids on top and bottom resist scuffing
  • Double-stitched with high-tensile thread and reinforced at tested stress points
  • Adjustable hideaway backpack straps
  • Rubberized foam headstock grip
  • Interior protector pads at headstock and bridge
  • Convenient quick-stash exterior pocket
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty 

Here's the video rundown of the features, from Reunion Blues. I'm not sure why I find this so amusing (perhaps it is the no-nonsense tone of the voice-over), but it truly underscores the virtues of the Continental Voyager case. It's a tank.

Why I Love This Case

The most appealing features, for me, are the trim profile, the soft yet highly protective exterior (the Flexoskeleton™ beneath it really does absorb shocks well), the weather resistance of the exterior fabric and zippers, and the reinforced neck brace system inside that isolates the neck of the guitar and prevents movement inside the case by cradling and hook-and-looping it in place. Piping, seams, and riveted joints are all strong and cleanly executed. Welcome bonuses are thicker padding in the lid above the guitar's peg head and bridge, and the addition of two user-configurable interior pads that keep the end pin of your guitar from contacting the bottom of the case, should you drop it accidentally (as demonstrated in the video, above). It won't crack your tail block, Hoss. This bag can take a licking and protect your guitar like no other soft gig bag.

The foam neck brace system (left), with wide hook-and-loop strap; the user-configurable endpin pads

The other thoughtful features—knurled abrasion grids on the top and bottom to resist scuffing, the very comfortable Zero G™ handle, and the stow-away shoulder straps, if you need to carry your guitar backpack style (rides high enough not to bang against the back of your thighs as you walk), are very handy touches that most guitar players will appreciate. The accessory pocket has enough space for up to a 15-inch laptop or tablet, other little pockets for smaller accessories, as well as a loop for a cable, and the quick-stash exterior pocket riding piggyback on the main pocket provides space for other small accessories—notes, digital tuner, capo, extra strings, shoulder strap, picks.

Really Driving the Point Home

Nine years ago, when the Continental Voyager was first introduced, Reunion Blues released this "drop test" video from their headquarters, in Petaluma, California. Granted, they used a solid-body electric guitar, and heaven knows how the electronics survived the fall, but this should convey a sense of how solid these cases are. See for yourself how the case performed. Had there been an acoustic guitar used in the drop test, it might have experienced a different fate. However, I have no intentions of dropping my dreadnought from the top of a three-story building in Petaluma, California, or anywhere else in the free world. It should be clear, though, how well the Continental Voyager can absorb the bruises and bumps of a normal commute to your next show and protect your instrument, be it acoustic or electric. You'll be ready to flat-pick Beaumont Rag, or enjoy your ESP while shredding Enter Sandman

Heavy-duty pulls, weatherproof zippers
Heavy-duty pulls, weatherproof zippers
The Zero G™ handle: comfortable!
The Zero G™ handle: comfortable!
Accessory/laptop pocket is divided into sub-pockets
Accessory/laptop pocket is divided into sub-pockets
Hideaway backpack straps, "subway" handle
Hideaway backpack straps, "subway" handle
Backpack style with mesh back panel
Backpack style with mesh back panel

The fact that this bag is constructed more solidly than just about any other gig bag I have ever seen or owned, compels me to love it even more, and trust it to carry my beloved dreadnought. It functions beautifully, looks great, and the zippers, clips, and straps operate smoothly. It does weigh more than the average gig bag, but it provides way more protection than the average gig bag. Considering its other virtues, the tradeoff is worth it to me.

Featured guitar: 2003 TD-R Custom, Huss and Dalton Guitar Company, Staunton, VA
Featured strap: Handcrafted harness leather, Sully Straps, Weikert, PA

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.

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