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Jefferson Dixon

Why Don't Our Cases Have Wheels?

June 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM

As I was shopping for luggage to use for the upcoming school year, I came across a variety of wheeled options —some "spinners" and some "pulled." I'll be traveling from NYC to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Georgia Tech, and one of the pieces of luggage I'll be taking with me for every plane trip is my violin case.

Then I asked myself, "Why doesn't my case have wheels like my other luggage?" It's even taller than my carry-on and just as heavy. Those cellists get wheels, and I can't think of a good reason why we shouldn't. I'm tired of lugging it around even with backpack straps, especially when it's packed with music.

I don't know, it's just an idea, but those "spinner" wheels seem perfect for a violin case. They enable you to drag the luggage along your side instead of pulling it behind you, which seems like a good idea to prevent others from kicking your case. I just can't seem to think of any really good reason why we shouldn't have wheels. The few drawbacks I could think of were insignificant compared to the benefits of saving your neck, shoulder, and back.

Maybe someday our cases will be as good as my new Samsonite carry-on. Until then, I'll have to watch how much music I put in my case.

From Emmanuel Borowsky
Posted on June 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM
Although wheels may seem like a good idea, most luthiers advise against wheeling cellos around except for on the smoothest of surfaces (ie. an airport floor) Every little bump and vibration you subject the case to transfers in some way or another to the instrument. I personally would not risk putting an instrument out of adjustment just so I can wheel it around. There are plenty of backpack options that make violins and even cellos feel next to weightless.
From Benedict Gomez
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Yup, even the rolling motion would impart vibrations. Cracks in the sidewalk, uneven or dimpled flooring etc....
From Mendy Smith
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:58 AM
When I was doing extensive overseas travel, I strapped my viola case onto a collapsible luggage cart. It saved my shoulder on the sprints across the Hong Kong airport.
From Lily Morris
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 6:03 AM
The solution to that is to not have your music in your violim case. All it needs to contain is violin amd bow. All the other stuff, rosin to spare strings to music, can go in your wheels bag.
From Jefferson Dixon
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM
Ah, so the vibrations are the problem. I guess the only solution is to replace all sidewalks with rubber conveyor belts. While we wait for that to happen, I'll settle with strapping my case on top of my luggage. It's been working pretty well so far, and I think it dampens most of the vibrations.

That is, unless anybody else has any other solutions. Maybe jelly-like rubber wheels would be sufficient enough to absorb those bumps in the road. Perhaps detachable too? I feel like BAM would be the first to try something like this.

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