How to Repair a Hardshell Guitar Case

Updated February 21, 2017

Guitar cases are tough. They hardly ever break, but the Tolex covering on the case is not quite as indestructible. Tolex, the vinyl-nylon covering that is glued to guitar cases and amplifier, typically is black or brown. Guitar cases get thrown around, and the Tolex gets torn and begins to pull loose. It continues to pull loose until the guitar case looks shredded and old. If you repair the Tolex when it begins to loosen, it keep the case looking like new.

Grab the end of the torn Tolex between your thumb and index finger, and pull it tight.

Spray a short burst of trim adhesive on the wood where the Tolex has come off.

Stretch the Tolex as tight as possible, and then place it down on the wet adhesive. It sticks immediately. Spread and flatten the Tolex with your fingers until all of the wrinkles have disappeared.

Use a permanent marker to cover broken corners or edges where the Tolex did not cover completely the area.


Don't let the Tolex tear. Keep a can of trim adhesive handy. When you see a small flap begin to come loose, glue it down as soon as possible.


Trim adhesive is very sticky. If you accidentally get it on something, use a cloth dampened with acetone to remove it. Use caution because trim adhesive and acetone damage the guitar's finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Automobile trim adhesive aerosol
  • Permanent marker to match Tolex
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.