October 17, 2008 at 7:44 PMI would love to keep my violin in a curvy, light, fitted case. They are so stylin', so easy to stash, so comfy to carry.
And yet, my fiddle and I come with a lot of baggage. Namely it's the shoulder rest, and don't you squeeky shoulder rest detractors dare make this about the moral and sonic deficiencies of shoulder rests; 78 percent of violinists on this site use them! If you use a shoulder rest, you need to bring it with you. While you can find a way to snuggle your Kun next to your scroll in a fitted case, I cringe at the idea of anything metal anywhere near my fiddle's 200-year-old wood.
When I was a child, I actually sewed myself a shoulder-rest pouch, which dangled from the handle of my fitted case. Now, you can even purchase such things, though the detachable pouch always felt like a somewhat unreliable solution for me personally. As soon as possible, I begged Santa Claus for an oblong case that would accommodate my gear. I still carry a tank of a case: an oblong Mufasia with a nice big pocket to house my Willy Wolf. It's gorgeous, just big. And heavy. And clumsy. I love it actually.
This is not the only solution. My second violin goes in a fitted case, and I put it in a rather thick, cloth bag to keep the metal from the wood. I'm confident that all of you have found other solutions, and that you have other reasons for preferring one shape over another.
Here I ask you which you PREFER; interpret that as you like. And tell us your solutions below, as well as if you have found some new way for carrying fiddles!
I also love the subway strap on it, and after carrying it so long, it just becomes an extension of me and I don't even notice it anymore. The compartment for rosin, a pencil and a cloth also comes in handy. It also has a place for a shoulder rest, but it's no good for me because I use a comford cradle shoulder rest (I have a bag that I attatch to the handle for storage of it). And there is a place for the humidifier I use. The only thing I wish was that there were 4 bow holders, not just 2. But when I get a more expensive violin I'll probably get something like a Bam France case.
The most important of course is because everybody (non-musicians) think I have a machine gun in there.
Funny story and then I'll get back on topic! When I was still in high-school I took the bus everywhere to rehearsals and such, and one time a lady called the police on me while I was on the bus because I was acting suspicious. It turns out that as I was busy shielding my case from getting knocked around by people getting on and off the bus she thought a bomb or something. The officer that responded was one of my Dad's best friends and had a great laugh over that one... :-)
Anyway - the oblong case has room for all my stuff that keeps accumulating. I do put my shoulder rest next to my scroll but it's in a bag and there's enough room that it wouldn't touch my violin anyway.
Although I do find it difficult to get a cab when I carry it under my arm. But when I do, they usually insist on placing it in the trunk. I never ask questions, as I fear the answer I may recieve in return.
Policemen find the fitted and oblong case equally attractive and are always asking me to let them see what's inside. Most are pleasantly surprised to find it really does contain a violin, and I usually show my gratitude by playing them a jig or two.
I wonder if the old coffin cases had such a bad rap?
Now, I wouldn't dream of not having my oblong cases. For my dream boy "Johannes" I splurged on one of Musafia's special offers, while Charles the Frenchman has a basic oblong Ebay special, though obviously if he was going to the luthier or on a trip, I'd transfer him to the other case.
I can get all my current music AND a glossy magazine plus newspaper to read into the music pocket, my shoulder rest fits inside just fine with my duster and spare strings and even better I've got another storage space for additional rehearsal essentials such as mute, eraser, pencil, extra strong mints, a small banana (in plastic bag) and current favourite chocolate bar.
It may be heavier, but when I use the straps, it balances really well on my back/shoulder so I really don't feel the extra weight at all.
But primarily I feel a lot happier about the overall safety of Johannes. I had an incident the other week where some hoodies "accidentally on purpose" tripped over my csse on the subway. With my old case I'd have been seriously worried, with the Musafia I just picked it up and swung it threateningly in their direction... no problems.
It's not an ignorant question by any means and I did'nt mean to be morbidly comical. The old fashioned "coffin case"
would have been used, with some minor variations, for several centuries up until the beginning of the 20th century. It resembles a coffin, or someting close to it. You can still purchase them on E-Bay and they can be rather expensive, as they are considered an antique item. They are not as available as they were about 20 years ago. Check them out there to get an idea of what violinists in the past would carry their instruments in. Many violins were carted along in these seemingly unsafe items. But one has to keep in mind that the padding used to protect the violin was more of a "blanket" that was wrapped around the instrument. There was no padding in most, unless it was custom made, and very few of those exist except in private antique collections. The materials could get very elaborate. Exotic woods and precious metals were used, if one could afford them. I would not suggest however that they be used in a practical manner or to carry an expensive violin, as the structure is not protectivly sound by today's standard. I used to collect them many years ago and recondition them back to usefulness. Many traditional fiddle players seek them out for their historical value.
I also have an ancient American Case dart, and another no-name dart that is super light. The super light is flimsy, but handy for gigs.
I also have an antique Hill rosewood coffin case, with brass hardware, lined in lavender velvet. I don't use it: it just sits around and looks gorgeous. (Gloat).
I really want a Musafia Enigma Aureum, in green and paisley, but...
And the BAM fitted cases look awesome. I would love one of those.
The subway strap *really* works on subways and buses!!
Really comfy and stays on your shoulder
And now, like everyone else, I have too much stuff to ever use a fitted case again. I use the external music pocket and I have extra strings and a practice mute and a tuning fork and a rosin-wiping cloth.
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