Darro Chea: Standing The Test Of Time

I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old. Back then I had this weird chip on my shoulder where I didn’t allow myself to have certain pieces of gear until I had reached a certain level of playing. It sounds ridiculous looking back on it - I was my own gatekeeper. But there were some benefits to my self-inflicted discipline. I got pretty good at guitar.

During my first year of college, I was completely lost with what career to choose. The logical decision would have been to enter into a field where the job market was booming; computer science, medicine, etc. But of course, I was obsessed with the guitar. I actually failed my pre-calculus class twice during freshman year. Why? Because I was skipping class to stay in my dorm room to practice.

So, in 2012, I decided to audition for music school. I figured the ultimate test to see whether or not I was good enough to keep playing music at school, was to become a music student. Because of this, I started snooping around the music college of my university, and there I saw it. Every guitar major was carrying around these hip, dark black guitar soft cases! Up until this point I was carrying a hard case by its handle everywhere I went. It was tiresome.

But these gig bags, they looked serious. The insides were soft and lined with this blue fabric cushion, and the outside was sleek, stealthy and fit perfectly on your back. I actually saw one of these get thrown off a building! I had no idea that softcases like this ever existed. I wanted one so bad. But again, these were for the guitar majors right? I wasn’t a guitar major, at least not yet. But that was the motivation I needed to help push my practicing further. Silly as it sounds, I wanted to be considered good enough to carry one of those guitar cases around. It felt like a rite of passage to me.

I practiced until I bled, 7-8 hours a day for almost a whole year. I auditioned for two music schools, and ended up enrolling at Berklee College of Music in 2013. The day I got my acceptance letter was the day I purchased my first Reunion Blues Continental Guitar Soft Case.

I took it everywhere with me. It was my default guitar case for every reason. Since 2013, this gig bag has been to every rehearsal, every gig, every tour I’ve ever been to. With me, it has flown across the United States, to England, Spain, Italy, Romania, and even Greece. I still have it and use it to this day, and it has absolutely standed the test of time. I imagine I can get another decade out of it if not two.

Also, here’s another pro tip: if you’re looking at getting one of these guitar cases, you don’t need to be “good enough” to get one. You already are. Absolutely get one; you will use it for decades.