From Catherine B.
Posted June 14, 2010 at 10:47 PM
My violin case is wearing out after 4 years...it was cheap to begin with I think. I sewed an outer piece of fabric on it back together about a year ago, but now one of the hinges is almost completely off; it's kinda difficult to close unless the hinge is positioned perfectly. :p Time to go shopping for a new one!
What are some good violin case makers/brands to look for?
Are there any specific models to look for?
Preferably, I'd like to find something under $300, but I might be able to go a bit higher if I find one that I really like.
The one I currently have is a soft, shaped one. However, I'm open to trying out an oblong one. I would like one that is black on the outside. As for the inside, I'm not extremely picky...but green fabric would be a plus. Just as long as the case protects my 93-year old violin well, it lasts for more than 5 years, and I can carry it to school easily(I don't mind it being heavy, but I don't need it to be like 50 pounds or something!), I'm happy.
Thanks a bunch! :-)
I have a shaped Gewa that I really like. I have had it for three years and it shows no signs of wearing out ... the hinges are still solid, the lock is secure and the fabric isn't even fraying.
A caveat - I carry it around on the subway once a week, at most twice, so it doesn't get really heavy wear. But I am very happy with the case. As an added bonus it is super light and comfortable to carry with the backpack straps (which were included). Mine has a black cover and green velvet interior, but they also come in wine and blue.
The one downside is that there is very little room inside the case, so if you have a shoulder rest or tuner, this could be a problem (I don't have either, and it fits rosin and extra strings fairly easily).
They are fairly inexpensive, and I think its a pretty good value for the investment (less than $135.00 with shipping). I got mine from Johnson's, but I imagine there are other places that carry them.
I am sure others have cases that they love too, so good luck with your search!
I use a Gewa Maestro Oblong case. It has choices of blue, green, or red interiors. It cost about $233 at Johnson Strings when I bought it about 2 years ago. It gives the impression of being very slim, as all the corners are rounded, and the cover material is fit very snugly to the shell. The case lid has excellent rigidity; most case lids will flop around considerably when they're open, but the Gewa Maestro doesn't have that issue. The interior is also quite snug; if you use a particularly tall chin rest, then this case might not be for you. The padding is more than adequate, and has a single, curved/sloped suspension pad along the bottom that gives excellent shock protection while avoiding the "stepped" appearance that conventional suspension pads have. The workmanship is excellent; far better than the "American Case Company" and "Heritage Case" products I had from Shar.
In addition, I use a Bobelock "smart bag" on the outside, which fits loosely enough for me to throw in a folded music stand if need be. The bag cost about $70, but I think it's worth it to have an extra 3/4" of padding and insulation on the outside.
Though I don't own any Bobelock cases, I have seen quite a few in-person. They are very well-built, and most photos don't show just how the craftsmanship is. They are also very reasonably-priced, and the half-moon models seem to be very popular for being relatively light weight while still having decent storage room.
My violin came with a shaped Gewa case- green inside, brown outside, very light. Just re-started to use a shoulder rest, and it does fit inside, though with some finagling. We bought a Bobeleck oblong for another violin more recently (5 years ago?). It's OK, but I find the quality of the Gewa better. I would have thought it was more than the $135 mentioned above. The Bobeleck case is doing fine, but for ex the separate cloth inside is clunkier and started to fray at one seam.
I have a Bobelock. They are relatively good and inexpensive. I highly recommend them. BTW, there have been previous threads on this issue. You should check them out.
I vote with Tom for Bobelock, in particular, the oblong, Hill-style ( http://www.bobelock.com/violinCases/1017.html ). The model 1017 Bobelock, that I have, provides lots of flexibility for carrying a lot of stuff in there (including 4 bows). I've also got Musafia, Jaeger, and no-name cases, but in my opinion, dollar-for-dollar, for normal use the Boblock is the best bang for the buck!
One important feature to watch out for is to be able to open a case latch with one hand, while holding violin and bow in the other, and (REALLY IMPORTANT -) not have an upward latch projection on the bottom of the case that might scratch your violin while you insert or remove it. Some of the cheaper cases violate this simple rule and are dangerous to own.
If you are after a shaped case, the Musafia is about the smallest (in exterior dimensions) available and it is not priced nearly as high as the Musafia oblong cases. Its only flaw is that the tab on the accessories pocket tends to want to stick out when you are zipping the cover. Musafias have a special, easy-to-use latch that is really protective of the instrument (for example if someone sits on your case (or falls on it - or bmaybe if a car drives over it -- I don't know about that one).
If you are going to purchase an oblong case, I recommend being sure you get one that has provision for a shoulder strap and a "subway handle." The subway handle (at one end of the case) can be very handy for handling the case in awkward situations. My older Jaeger oblong cases have neither of these attachments, which is why they no longer leave home with me.
Bobelock all the way.
My vote is for the GEWA oblong case, when i heard you describe your requirements it sounded exactly like mine : ), black exterior and rich deep green interior, and like a previous poster has mentioned shoulder rests do fit in there, even ones w/ tall legs like mine fit in it, but you have to position the legs just so that's all. Considering how sturdy it feels it's not very heavy only 6 lbs. I agree too about the quality of the cases, when i was in store to buy mine i had the chance to compare mine to a JAEGER/GEWA $1000+ case and other than the fancy gold fittings and silk interior on the pricey one they both looked to be of equal quality. As for Bobelock you'll have to spend above $400 to get one as sturdy as the GEWA maestro.
EDIT: My profile pic shows my case if you're interested, not very clear but you can get a good idea of the colour which isn't accurate in the pics you might find online of it.
If I was going to school...I'd be tempted to get the BAM Explorer...
I just bought a Bobelock half-moon to replace my deteriorating BAM Contoured Hightech, I'm very happy with it!
There's also a very similar case (it looks like a near clone of the Bobelock, but it's cheaper) by Christino that is sold by GoStrings at www.gostrings.com/chhamovica.html. The one advantage I can see to it is that it has through-bolted D-rings to attach carrying straps to, as opposed to the sewn-on D-rings that Bobelock cases have.
"The one advantage I can see to it is that it has through-bolted D-rings to attach carrying straps to, as opposed to the sewn-on D-rings that Bobelock cases have."
The though-bolted hardware doesn't always hold up as well as what is attached to a sturdy case cover. The rivets or screws sometimes pull through the case shell.
I'll put my vote in for Bobelock too. A lot of us violinmaker types use them for shipping, so have some long-term experience with them. There are more expensive cases, and cheaper cases which look fancier but don't hold up well. These have a good track record.
Thanks for your suggestions! :-)
I think I've narrowed it down to either a Bobelock (Hill Style Oblong or Corregidor Oblong if I can find one at a decent price) or a Gewa (Maestro). I had a Musafia on my list, but the websites I checked priced them a good bit above my price range.
Looking on the website of a violin shop near me, they listed a brand called Negri. I went to the manufacturers website, and they looked like they were good violin cases. The only thing that I noticed, however, is that they sell suitcases and wine as well...what a combination. That seemed really weird to me. Does anyone know anything about their violin cases in terms of quality(specifically the Prince and Monaco models)?
My parents bought me a Negri Lord for my birthday a couple months back. They used to be great cases (my friend has a Venezia) but the quality has gone down. As soon as I opened mine, the hygrometer fell out and shattered (it was attached to the case with cheap glue), the latch didn't work (making it impossible to lock the case, also meaning that it was held together only by the zippers, which were low quality), the case cover was ugly (it had very obvious cross-stitching) and seemed to practically attract dust, the case could not stand up on its end without being propped against something, and the accessory box was too small to hold either of my shoulder rests (the Wolf which I normally used, and my smaller Kun) without jamming them in.
The Lord is essentially an upgrade of the Prince, which is an upgrade of the Monaco. There seems to be little difference except in the materials used in the construction of the interior.
I'm much, MUCH happier with my Bobelock than I was with my Negri, which I returned after a week of use.
I have a Musafia and I love it. But I can understand the cost. Have you looked at the Musafia company website itself? Dimitri often has a page of seconds, demos and refurbished trade-ins for about the same price as a new top-end Bobelock. My wife bought mine as a Christmas gift a couple years ago and she found him to be delightful to do business with. The car parked on the case is a joke referring to an advertising stunt that Musafia has on their website of a Mercedes parked on top of one of their cases. But it only applies to certain models. The comment about the latch is very important to me. The Musafia latch seems "strange" at first, but the case can be easily opened with one hand and the latch is totally out of the path of the violin when going in or out of the case.
OTOH, my teacher uses a Bobelock when she leaves the house and is very satisfied.
Brian, thank you for the info on the Negri case. I'll definitely be taking those off of my list!
Aaron, I checked the demo page on the Musafia manufacturer website, and unfortunately, all of them were still in the $750 and higher price range. Thanks for the suggestion though! :-)
I guess that officially narrows it down to one of the Gewa cases or one of the Bobelock cases. I still need to find a good day to see if they have them at the violin shop to examine in person. It's nice to have an idea of what to look for though. :-)
If you are looking for a good value case that offers excellent thermal, crush and impact protection, you really should consider the Hiscox. I know a lot of professionals who swear by them. They are better known in the guitar world, but they also do a range for violins.
There's a video on their site that shows a lot of evidence about the advantages of their construction approach compared to carbon fibre and more conventional cases.
I love my Hiscox: it's practical and I have found that their claims are more than justified. Yet it's one of the cheapest professional cases on the market.
I bought a Negri case two years ago that has not held up well. It was not inexpensive. The interior of the case seems good but the canvas used in the cover is cheesy. Two of the snaps have torn out of the canvas and the third is on the way. There is also a spontaneous tear starting in the cover.
I received a bobelock (suspension) double violin case, today. There are some things about it that I am not crazy about, but, I think I'd have to pay four times the price or more for something better (i.e. a musafia made to order). The oblong single violin case i've been using doesn't have a name on it, so I don't know who made it (I bought it from a violin dealer about twenty years ago). My single violin case is a better, more solid construction than the bobelock, so I"m spoiled and not happy with something thinner with less wiggle room for the violins and a little less padding, than the one I;'m used to. Also, I have to pull the top foward a wee bit, in order for the latch to click together. That bothers me. Maybe it's just this case, maybe it's for a reason, I don't know, but I'm just not going to bother sending it back..i guess..because i'm not bothered enough. The little boxes with the flip tops, inside the case are annoying when your used to a large or actually two large ones in a single violin case. The fact that they cant hold the tuning fork, really bothers me. They could have made at least one of them a little larger. Then I discovered how much room they give in the outer cover, for music, pencils and 'stuff', they have three pockets, one with a zip, and I realized I could store my tuning fork in there. The Violins, like I said, have an overly tight fit, and it reminds me of the glass on a clock I had mailed by fedex. The packer stuck a toothpick inbetween the glass and it's frame, because it was rocking a bit. Of course, the glass broke in transit. If it had a little leeway, it wouldn't have broken. Kinda like the empire state building being allowed to sway a little so it won't snap in half. also, you don't have a choice for colors or materials for the exterior. black nylon is all you're gonna get.
If I could afford it, I'd have a case custom made by musafia, as I don't think the other brands are going to be better.
On a positive note, the metal clasps appear secure, and it comes with a padded backstrap (actually, it's additional) which is how I plan on carrying my violins for now on.
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles is in New York to cover the biennial event at The Juilliard School, including classes by Brian Lewis and Sarah Chang.
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