Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 42
A '61 Strat in a brown-Tolex G&G case.
One of the earliest companies to follow
Martin with injection-molded cases was
Ovation. By May of '72, its model 9110 case
was $73.50, and the shape of its extruded
foam mirrored the parabolic plastic back of
the instruments, making is usable only for
Ovation instruments. A Balladeer retailed
at $265 (the case 28 percent of that), while
the Glen Campbell model was $365, so a
case added 20 percent.
To increase profit, retailers often made
separate deals with case manufacturers.
However, beginning in 1970, Martin guitars
were sold only as a "uni-pack" (with case)
and were mandatory for dealers - likely
the first example of any such requirement.
Major U.S. manufacturers of traditional
cases fared okay for several years, until the
market came to heavily favor the plastic
variety, and until the U.S. economy experienced a decline in the early '80s, which
eventually helped put builders like
Geib, Lifton, and Ess &
Ess out of business. Remaining traditional
cases were often not of the best quality, but
demand for them never completely abated,
creating an opening for Canadian and Asian
companies. These exact circumstances
caused Taylor Guitars to begin building
Today, the D-28 Marquis has a list price
of $5,339, which includes $460 for the Geib
replica #545 case, which equates to only 8.6
percent of the cost of the guitar.
Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics
inflation-adjustment calculator, the
'36 D-28 would cost
$1,731 in today's
A '41 Gibson SJ-100 in its Geib & Schaefer #606 "red line" case.
the Style D case would be $467 ($27 in
'36). After adjustment for inflation, the
traditional-design modern case is about
the same as it was in '36. Performing the
calculation in reverse, the D-28 Marquis
would have been priced at $308 in '36, the
D-28 Authentic 1937 at $469.71, and the
Geib case would be $26.57.
Cases for electric guitars followed a similar
pattern. In April of '54, Fender advertised