Violin case for a tired back
I was very fortunate to acquire my "forever" violin when I was a young teenager--around 1989 or 1990. Along with the new violin, I received a new case--a Jaeger--which I loved! It was "THE" thing to have back then--a sign you were a "serious" musician. :-) Well, that tank protected my violin through highschool orchestra and a music major in college. It was dragged around and left out in the car more times than I'd like to admit. Then it sat forlorn under the bed for many years when violin faded from my daily life.
Now, happily, the violin is back in action and I'm playing regularly with a rock band! But my 40-something back is really suffering from lugging around this heavy beast of a case. I'm so scared to get a new case, because I credit my old Jaeger with taking amazing care of my violin.
The violin is French--built in 1938 and purchased from Bein & Fushi. It was last appraised in the low 5 figures about 10 years ago...so it's really nice, but not a priceless Italian! I am willing to spend a little to protect it within reason.
I think I've read every case post and review on this site and I'm still indecisive! I'm leaning toward a wooden half-moon Bobelock b/c it seems to be significantly lighter than my Jaeger. But will this be as safe and protective? I live in the southeastern US--no severe temps, but 4 distinct seasons. I do carry my violin around town to rehearsals and gigs.
What do you all suggest? Thank you so much!
Low 5 figures 10 years ago means you've got a real nice violin. There's always a trade-off, but for me I draw the line at buying any case that is not primarily constructed of plywood. I just don't think foam or fiberglass cases protect as well.
Musafia Lievissima, or the Musafia Luxury Ultralight, if you're willing to spend some money on a good case and weight is a big consideration.
Bobelocks are known to be sturdy, reliable, and medium weight. However, they don't offer the luxury of the higher end wooden case designers. Riboni zero 5 is good, lightweight and sleek, as well as Musafia Lievissima. I actually think darts are good if you have a separate bag for music. If not, the lightweight oblong is great!
A half-moon Bobelock suspension case will be only a tiny bit lighter than a Jaeger rectangular/oblong, I think. Jaegers are also medium weight, and essentially in the same class of case quality as a Bobelock.
First question: Do you carry the case in the hand, with one shoulder strap or with two, like a backpack?
Recommendations will depend on many factors: budget, transport, climate, playing environment, degree of abuse and beating you expect the case to be subjected to. It sounds like it was a good thing that you currently have a tank for a case ;-)
Maybe go to a store, look at a bunch of cases, and pick your fave.
I understand you, most of my life I am a guitarist, and guitar hard case (which I use on all of my guitars, are much more heavier beasts:))
It's actually really hard to shop for a case in person. Most violin shops carry a very small selection of cases, often in a limited number of brands. Musafia dealers often don't have any physical inventory available.
OBSERVATION: If you are out and about ("around town") a lot, I don't think you want to be carrying an expensive case like a Musafia - TOO ATTRACTIVE! I notice my own reaction to violin cases when a new player shows up at one of my"groups." Especially two recent and sometime players, both excellent, and gorgeous sounding and looking instruments, one has a case that might be typical of a Jr. High kid, the other a Musafia. Which one is more likely to be grabbed around town?
Musafia Master dart is pretty light and I like the build more on that line that the (admittedly very good) lighter models. If you do a special order, I think you can get a pre-tarnished finish on the gold hardware. That plus one of the less conspicuous colors of canvas cover will give you a bit less visibility.
I own several Musafia cases. And in my opinion, Musafia Lievissima looks rather humble to me. Although it is the lightest option that Musafia has available, that is also the one case which I will never purchase, unless a new design for the outer shell becomes available.
For weight/portability/protection, I don't think anything beats the Bam contoured high tech. Very waterproof, and the case itself is some type of sandwiched plastic/composite/foam, so there is some insulation. It isn't solid plastic/composite.
There was a recent discussion here that noted how protective the BAM cases are
I injured my back in the fall, and thought I'd have to purchase a new case but the weight difference was not so much compared to my current case (a Negri Venezia, from 1996!) that I could not justify the cost. I use suspension straps, which are great, but I now carry my music in a small tote bag vs in the case's top compartment to save on the weight on my back and shoulders.
This is probably off the topic already, but no, I disagree with you, Lydia, on the issue of the anonymous look of Musafia cases.
I love my shaped cases for the fact that they occupy so much less space. Moving them into and out of a car, or whatever, is so much easier for me. And I don't use shoulder rests, so I don't need space for them, but even if I did, I'd just be inclined to carry them another way.
It does not take much more time to rehab a velcro "tie," than it does to tie a leather "string." SImply glue new "male" velcro over the old one (the male velcro usually fails first) - but you can rehab the female velcro the same way---that's the way I keep my velcro shoe ties alive.
The OP referred to his "tired back" so weight is obviously the issue here.
Thank you everyone for your replies! I weighed my case fully loaded and it was 11.2 lbs. 8.3 lbs empty. Guessing violin plus bow is less than 1.5 lbs, so the shoulder rest, pick up, rosin, strings, etc. must take up the rest.
8.3 pounds is heavy, and is heavier than most comparable cases today -- you're probably looking at about 7 pounds for a comparable Jaeger model today, I think. (A Musafia Enigma, at 8 pounds, is on the high end of case weights and is heavily reinforced.)
It is very normal to fell uncomfortable or even pain if you are carrying 11 pounds on only one side.
Gewa Air shaped case is 3.5lbs! 5lbs max with the instrument and bow, that's half the weight, but you won’t fit 1.5lbs of junk in it that’s for sure. If you don’t want the weight, you won’t get the storage room.
So i have several cases, I wouldn't just go by weight alone. For comfort a lot of it is also the ergonomics of how the straps work with the case and how it falls on your back.