Timms English oblong and Musafia master aureum

September 5, 2016 at 06:07 PM · I am looking at above two cases after long research of ones for me. I expect a case live long and protect well my violin, but more convenient in traveling. So what will be merits and demerits of those cases? I wish to make a much more informed decision.


Replies (24)

September 5, 2016 at 07:05 PM · I do not have any experience with either type of case, but I would bet they are both expensive. Why do you feel you need to spend that kind of money. You can get very good cases from Bobelock (which I use) as well as other makers for probably a lot less than you will pay for either of the cases you mentioned. You should check some of the threads on cases on this site.

September 5, 2016 at 07:21 PM · @Tom. There are many reasons to buy an expensive and quality case. Exclusivity, quality materials and design, supporting artisans who devote their lives to their craft, increased protection for fragile instruments, wishing to support workers in the west, and of course style and aesthetic; both your own and of the case itself.

I have a TA Timms case, a GL leather case, a Gordge, and a Musafia Master Series exclusive, as well as other cases. I bought my son a plywood Bobelock with suspension, to take his violin to school. Will it protect his violin less? Under normal conditions probably not. He does not want, need, or require, a luxury case.

Why does one buy a Rolex or a Tag Heur watch? You could argue that a two dollar watch will tell the time just as well as a luxury watch. Does that mean we should all wear two dollar watches? The same argument can be applied to cars, clothes, bottles of wine, restaurants,...

Cheers Carlo

September 5, 2016 at 08:38 PM · Hi Yeongsoo,i have had a Musafia Master case for ten years or more. I chose Musafia because I thought it would give my instrument and bows the best protection available. This case is so awesomely engineered and built, a joy to own. Ten years and not a problem with it and probably another ten years looking forward with no problems.

September 6, 2016 at 12:09 AM · Carlo, I'm interested in knowing what you think of those cases versus one another!

Tom, I used a Bobelock for a number of years and agree that they are nice cases, especially for the money. I received my Musafia Aeternum as a gift, and it was both lovely and more of a convenience upgrade -- better storage than the Bobelock, nicer material, greater protection, in a relatively compact form-factor.

I want to get a Musafia Enigma custom-fit to my violin, though. That's for better protection against temperature and humidity fluctuations, and greater protection against my clumsiness. It's worth it to protect my violin and bows.

OP, why the Musafia Master Aureum over other Musafia models, out of curiosity?

September 6, 2016 at 12:43 AM · I have a few Musafias and one Timms oblong case. Especially now that Timms offers suspension (however reluctant they were to move that direction), there's a lot to like either way. Beautiful aesthetics for those who like simplicity, and they are both very soundly constructed.

If it was one and only one to rely on (and not admire or collect), I might prefer the Musafia Master (not the Aureum) vs the Timms, although it would be a very hard decision. The main reason is the extra bit of climate control you can specify. Humidification, vapor-tight seal (except for the pressure vents in the back), tropicalization, etc., as well as the bow tip pads, and some other cool design ideas. Not all standard, but you can add it in and in so doing you almost make an Enigma minus some of the visual thrills.

Of course, by the time you do all that, it will be about twice the price of the Timms. Getting a Mooradian cover on the Timms will accomplish a lot of what you would pay Musafia to install permanently, for a lot less money.

Also, if you live in the UK, or other places where humidity doesn't change so much and people don't bake their houses with central heating systems, the last increment of climate stability won't be so important. I haven't compared the two models at all rigorously, and it's entirely possible that the Timms is quite good enough for air travel between Hong Kong and the Swiss Alps, or whatever other extremes you might be facing-- even without the Mooradian or Cushy. Let's not forget the design of the Timms. It is quite gorgeous.

One small thing about the Timms-- if you don't get the leather case with two snaps, the single snap that clicks under the handle is a bit of a nuisance for my hands. Maybe breaking it in helps, but I still find it a little awkward ergonomically. Looks cool, of course, and is probably quite adequate under stress.

Anyway, have fun with the decision. I'm thinking of letting go of two of my Musafias, including an older Enigma, to trade for a Musafia Master oblong and a shaped Timms (with suspension and room for a humidifier). There are very few cases that deliver everything all at once.

September 7, 2016 at 11:06 AM · @Lydia. What would you like to know?

Cheers Carlo

September 7, 2016 at 01:51 PM · Protection and utility of each of the cases. I'm curious why you own a diversity of cases. I assume it's partially for the sake of collecting. :-)

September 8, 2016 at 03:18 AM · The only case I bought for its own sake is a Hill apostle case, all the others contain violins. My everyday case was, until recently, a Gordge. This is a great case and one that all others should be measured against.

I commissioned a dart shaped, master series, exclusive Musafia when I travelled everyday on the Tube in London. This one I use when touring with the Cappichioni. I used it during a European tour last year, can't fault it. However, having recently acquiring an Amati, which is slightly smaller than standard, I wished to commission a bespoke case for it. I went with the shaped Timms case. This is tiny compared to other cases, 2.5kgs, very well made, and strong. I do like the understated English aesthetic, and I really like the natural canvas cover. My music folders never fit into a rectangular case, so I decided to do without the music pocket altogether.

The GL leather case was a gift from students when I left London. Well made, but shouts, "steal me". There is next to no crime here, but I find it also a little ostentatious.

Cheers Carlo

September 14, 2016 at 02:43 PM · Tom,I always thank you here for useful information on Bobelock. In fact I am now using a half moon case of the company and it is true it reminds me a castle of iron. Very sturdy. Though, I just became to be interested in a more luxurious one. The problem of mine is such.

Lydia, I am paying much attention to aureum just because its interior seems to me more beautiful than the other two of masters, even prettiest of all the musafias. So simply a matter of the esthetic. I hear there's no difference in the fuctional matters. But there's a sad fact too that the price of Aureum is higher than other masters by 40 euro and 180 euro, respectively. So still in wandering among those three lovers and another one, English oblong.

Thank you for inputs all members.

September 25, 2016 at 03:10 AM · I have been a fan of Mustafa cases for some time. My first one I purchased at Rene Morel in NYC, where I took my violins to be serviced. They had at the time a Master Series exclusive oblong case with topicalization with a black cover and green interior. I had not seen a case like this, so I bought it on site.

Over a period of a few years, I also acquired additional Mustafa cases-a Salvatore Accardo model with brown leather interior, a Master Series double violin case with blue interior, a Master Series Auerium with brown leather interior, and finally an Enigma model with blue interior.

I am quite happy with all of them and all are in "like new" condition. The only issue I had was that I had to request a replacement part recently for one of the plastic clasps that holds the string tube in place. I notified Mustafa and they sent out the part free of charge!

It was not until last year that I wanted another case. A Gordge case. I had no luck finding one in pristine condition. Then I stumbled onto T.A. Timms website and Facebook page and was drawn in immediately. I then started corresponding with Desmond and ultimately put in an order for a case. I really wanted something classic without any "bling" factor. Also, I wanted the shell to be covered in black leather. About 6 weeks later it arrived...I absolutely LOVE this case!!! I opted to have the interior in one of their velvets (a soft mid-tone grey) which looks very handsome. I think this a classic, not to mention that he was a pleasure to deal with. He replies to all emails in a very timely manner and stands behind his product.

About a year has gone by, and I am about to order another. So, if anyone out there is looking for an "old school" English case, look no farther. Desmond is your man!

-William R.

September 25, 2016 at 07:09 AM · I definitely agree that Desmond is a great guy, and that he makes great cases, but it's "Musafia" and not "Mustafa", please!

September 25, 2016 at 08:38 AM · Wasn't Mustafa the Mad the name of one of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire? Not to be confused with Musafia, the Stradivari of case makers!

Cheers Carlo

September 25, 2016 at 09:00 AM · Indeed, Carlo, and there are a bunch of other Mustafas as well, but none make violin cases (to my knowledge that is).

September 25, 2016 at 06:46 PM · Sorry, Dimitri. That was a typo. I am quite aware on the correct spelling.

September 25, 2016 at 07:12 PM · I did not catch the typo, Carlo, so there was no "confusion" here. The typo happened because of the spell check on my Mac laptop..it was an "auto fill" option that popped up and I did not catch it. Also, I would like to add that there was no disrespect intended towards the Musafia brand. I think this is obvious since I have been a supporter of the product for years.

September 25, 2016 at 07:43 PM · I have bought 2 Musafia cases, 3 Jaegers (2 of them double violin cases), 3 Bobelocks, one no-name violin/viola double case - and one faux Musafia.

One of my Musafias is a Savatore Accardo model, which I think may have been the original "Aeternum" design concept, the other is a "dart" shape with only 2 bow holders; both are sturdily constructed, but I think one of the main features of the Musafia structure may be its unique clasp that looks like it would resist failure in case there is a strong downward force on the case I think this clasp is unique to Musafia cases. The Dart was the smallest case I could find in summer 2001 for a planned flight to play for a family wedding across country that I never attended because of the airlines screw-ups after 9/11. It haas all the strength features of the more expensive Musafia cases,and was not much more expensive than some Bobelock cases. I bought the Salvatore Accardo because there it was in front of me one morning at Ifshin Violins - and I had been lusting for one since I'd first seen it advertised and I got it for "my price."

The Dart-shaped Musafia is a simple looking case, the Accardo and other Aeternum cases are rather delectable and look to be worth stealing for themselves alone whatever they contain. If you are to travel in public view, a fancy looking case is not a good idea. We had a new violinist come to our orchestra earlier this year for a few rehearsals and one performance - I'd say his case looked like it might have cost $20 new (in today's currency) - he is an new immigrant to the US, a professional violinist who has played for years with the Danish National Orchestra, and has now moved from our amateur group to professional groups around the Bay Area. (there is probably a lesson to be considered from the the case he uses).

I bought my faux "Musafia" case because I saw it at my local general purpose music store and got it off the market as a "favor to Dimitri," who was complaining about such cases at the time. It is a nice looking case of the general Master Series design but without the unique clasp and other Musafia refinements - it appears to be about the quality level of a Bobelock at about the same price point. I gave it to my son, who lives 1,000 miles from us, earlier this year with one of my violins (so I don't feel so guilty about it any more).

September 25, 2016 at 08:57 PM · I've been using a Bobelock wooden oblong case temporarily for the past 2 months because I'm awaiting the lightweight Tonareli case I purchased that's on back order. It seems to provide plentiful protection and more than adequate space for everything I need to carry around with me. I particularly like the strap they included for the shoulder rest underneath where the neck of my violin sits. However, I am more than anxious to get rid of it. Carrying it around with me all day at school is a massive chore due to its weight, but that's just because it is a wooden case. When you have a backpack filled with 40 pounds of books and another bag in your hand with more textbooks, the last thing you want to do is carry around a big, heavy violin case.

Quality issues that I have found with the Bobelock so far include that the metal "handles" (things you pull to zip/unzip zippers) have managed to crack somehow. You can cut yourself from that if you aren't careful. Also, the analog hygrometer does not function properly, however you should never expect a cheap hygrometer to do its job in the first place (especially not an analog one). Lastly, the faux (I think) leather wrapped around the handles is very uncomfortable. I wish they would have added some sort of padding to it to make it a bit more comfortable to hold.

However, all those issues are fairly insignificant and tolerable. If you're okay with the weight, then it is a pretty solid case for (I believe) $250. Side note on the zipper issue. The case has had many previous owners being that it is what the shop uses a transfer/temporary case that they let people who purchase an instrument from them borrow. I have no idea how many people used it before me, and that very well could be poor handling on their part, and not the fault of Bobelock.

September 26, 2016 at 01:21 AM · One of the reasons I decided to purchase a Timms case (in addition to it having a wooden shell) was that the string tube is semi-concealed behind the bows. I liked this feature a lot since I have no need for a string tube (I do not use gut strings) and do not like the way they look when they are exposed. I am also aware that some players replace the string tubes with a humidifier, but that did not appeal to me either.

I also have an original Jaeger oblong case which is also made this way, but not as well done as on my Timms case. I also do not like the fact that the prestige case is constructed from a thermo shell, rather than wood. I believe the only case they make with a wooden shell is called "Cambridge"-which is trying to be like a Gordge/Timms case. I also do not like the bow spinners/holders which are made of a type of plastic, which seems cheap to me.

All-in-all, Musafia & Timms are both excellent. Both makers are passionate about their products and it is a pleasure to own cases by the two of them. I really think they up there as being the best and hope they continue providing musicians with something that I consider to be special.

By the way, I do not mind carrying the extra pounds for a well-made case. After all, so many of these days are paying personal trainers, going to the gym, etc...to stay healthy.

September 26, 2016 at 01:57 AM · @William My puny little cyclist arms can't handle the extra weight. Someone needs to invent a case I can carry with my thighs and calves. Dimitri this could be your next breakthrough in the case industry!

September 26, 2016 at 03:53 AM ·

September 26, 2016 at 03:54 AM · The GEWA Cambridge case is made on their usual composite shell, not plywood. It looks like a pale imitation of the real Gordge.

Edit: I have checked the website and it is made from plywood.

Cheers Carlo

September 26, 2016 at 04:30 AM · Carlo,

According to Gewa, this is what they state on how their Cambridge model is composed...


The traditional way of manufacturing a case. Single plies of veneer are crosslaminated under pressure and heat in a mold. After drying of the glue the shell stays in shape.

Very high torsional strength, medium weight, good thermal insulation properties, very good puncture and impact resistance". This was copied from their specifications.

Is this not true?

September 26, 2016 at 05:16 AM · @William. Apologies. I believe you are right. I read on one website that it had an ultra light shell and assumed it would be their usual unsubstantial material. I don't know anyone with this particular case but I am sure that it is up to GEWA's normal standard, and won't fail to disappoint!

Cheers Carlo

September 26, 2016 at 06:15 PM · @Carlo. No problem. I do not own a Cambridge case, I was just saying that this is the only case that Gewa makes that uses a wooden shell. Thank you.

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