Which is more durable, Bam or Musafia or.... ?

August 5, 2007 at 05:36 AM · I really like the look of the Bam Hightech violin case (and it only weighs 5 pounds!), but I don't know if it protects the instrument as well as a Musafia would. I've heard that the Bam Hightech is very heat sensitive, while the better Musafia cases can can block heat or cold as well as withstand several hundred pounds of pressure. But I'd prefer a more modern, hard case to Musafia's cloth-covered ones. Does anyone know if the Bam can compare with the Musafia? Or of another light, but indestructible case?

Replies (23)

August 5, 2007 at 05:37 AM · I was making that exact decision several months ago, Becky. I so much wanted to believe that the really lightweight BAM was just as indestructable as the Mufasia. The Shar catalogue gave it one less star for durability, and since I was already feeling a little reluctant about the synthetic foam (whatever it is), I went with the much heavier but slightly better-rated-for-durability Mufasia case. I just feel more safe about it.

Plus, read our v.com intern, Caeli's blog, and her experiences on her Brazil trip made me even a bit more wary of the BAM.

Still, the lightweight business is very, very attractive.

August 5, 2007 at 06:52 AM · I like the hightech shaped case for viola...I've always had an issue with heavy viola cases. However, I'm quite paranoid with it...if I squeeze the case a bit I can get it to flex. It's probably enough to protect the instrument in most situations, but if someone falls on it I think it'll be toast.

Now, I've actually slipped in the rain and fallen on my violin case (a Musafia). I sustained far more injury than the case, to be sure!

August 5, 2007 at 03:52 PM · We faced the exact same set of issues a year ago, and went with the Musafia for the usual reasons: better thermal protection, better crush resistance. Beyond all that, it is drop-dead gorgeous, and displays the violin most impressively. While this was not a selection criterion, it is a delightful plus.

August 6, 2007 at 05:06 PM · Thanks for all your input! I guess I'm going to have to go with Musafia. I wonder if there's a way I can make it look more modern...

August 6, 2007 at 05:26 PM · I had a first-generation Musafia (must be 15-20 years ago...or so) that did begin to fall apart very soon, but after my Continental was stolen last year I did some research and am now very happy with my Musafia Enigma, and can affirm that's a very cool case (Especially in thermodynamical sense...Mine isn't "tropicalized" but the inside temps. are clearly lower than in other cases when it gets really hot)and that Musafia's quality seem to have improved a lot since their beginning

August 6, 2007 at 06:28 PM · You want to order a Musafia with the "tropicalization" (additional thermal insulation with neglible weight increase) option.

If you're concerned about weight, they will also hand-select the wood for weight/strength at a very reasonable additional fee -- basically they charge for their time spent sorting through the wood. It can save 1/2 a pound of weight which on a case with say a typical weight of 6 lbs makes a difference.

I'm not sure about what can be done to make the case look more modern but if you want those options, you're going to have to custom-order a case and if you're going to do that, it wouldn't hurt to send email to Musafia (info@musafia.com) to ask.

As near as I can tell, each Cremona made Musafia case is individually hand-made. So they don't seem to charge you extra for customization" the way a big factory would. If you want something non-standard, they'll work with you and charge you based on how much work it takes them to build the case plus the cost of the materials.

What you're asking for may not be possible but it wouldn't hurt to ask Dimitri Musafia for his opinion.

- Ray

August 6, 2007 at 08:31 PM · I got my daughter the bam high-tech contoured for weight reasons. She really does love the case, but after slightly over a year, it's showing wear -- the removable pocket removed the velcro that held it to the case (hot glue took care of it), the velcro neck tie started coming loose from the foam block, making the violin move more (needle and thread -- I sewed it back into the block), and scratches happen ALL the time (although you can remove them with auto scratch remover), and the black coating on the latches is coming off, exposing the metal beneath.

It's still going strong, and I do like the look of the thing -- scratches and all --but if I have my druthers on the next case (not to mention the dollars to go with it), Musafia it most surely will be.

August 7, 2007 at 02:27 AM · Does anyone know how light the lightest Musafia weighs? Also does anybody know what the lightest weight decent double (2violins) case might be? (Any brand)

August 7, 2007 at 07:40 AM · Musafia publishes all the specifications about their cases on their website, www.musafia.com.

August 7, 2007 at 02:00 PM · If you are travelling a great deal, I would go with a Musafia. They tend to be slightly smaller and they are the Rolls Royce of violin cases.

However, I chose to go with the "Jeep" of violin cases: the BAM hightech oblong case. I have had it for about 8 months now and it has held up remarkably. You should be a little gentle with the case- the music pocket can wear down and the plastic handles and locks are not the same quality as what you would get with Musafia. I don't think it's a case for children- it will protect their instrument but it's very easy to scratch it (I treat it like a newborn baby and it STILL has quite a few scratches on it). As long as you are smart with it, it'll hold up well. I'll have to update this in about 5 months to see how it does after a year but I've loved it.

About Caeli's violin case: that's awful! I suppose it must've been some high pressured glass on those bus windows and a VERY strong sun! Mine has had no issues with that, thank goodness. I've even taken it on planes and I found that my violin didn't even lose its tuning. (Of course, this is on the plane with me, not in the cargo hold).

August 7, 2007 at 02:17 PM · Hello;

I spent months looking, evaulating cases. that's how I found this site.

I don't think you'll find light and indistructable to coexist. The more durable cases seem to be heavier. At my age I wanted light. I imagine any case would be destroyed by a Mac Truck, but then I read about one that survived falling off the hood of a car. (I'd never put my fiddle up there in the first place.)

I opted for protection, purchasing a case that weighs around 9 pounds. My violin only takes local trips. Yesterday it was 92 degrees when I went to my lesson.

The two Musafia cases I saw, which where stunning, didn't close at the front corners. when I lifted the cases to eye level I could see daylight.

I considered the Bam, but didn't like the inside pouch.

I looked at other cases, made calls, checked the internet, this site, talked with violinists, found some manufacturers were going out of buiness-relocating, all that stuff....finally opted for protection aka weight.

You mention a need for heat protection, but didn't state what kind. Do you live in an extreme environment, like Death Valley?

I had the opposite problem when I lived in Fairbanks, having to take my violin out at night when it was 40-50 below zero. The short winter day light temps were a balmy 30ish below zero. The car hardly warmed up by time I reached my destination.

During the winter I used an outer insulating bag that slipped over my regular violin case. It wasn't a tight fit, so there was an extra airpocket. Most of the FBKS violinist I knew at that time had one of those big fluggy, over the shoulder, things that was manufactured for our needs by a local mountaineering shop. It did the job, and except for the colors, they weren't fashion statments.

For added protection, I also lined the violin cut out and made a blanket out of window insulation: quilted cotton with foil on one side. If you have an extreme heat situation you may want to consider inventive solution.

Good luck


August 7, 2007 at 06:13 PM · Another option might be Calton cases. They are better known for there guitar and mandolin cases but a friend had one of the fiddle cases and it was very impressive. It's a fiberglass case, quite heavy but probably the most solidly built case I've seen. The Deluxe runs under $700 I think.

August 31, 2009 at 01:28 AM ·

To revive an old but still topical discussion:

has anyone tried the Protecta system on Musafia?  

In particular, how much does it add in apparent weight vs. any additional protection?  If it is worth doing, would it make sense to add this option to one of the dart-shaped or ultra-light cases?  The Enigma has most of the bells and whistles but has anyone traded off a few of those for even more strength on the shell?

August 31, 2009 at 08:00 AM ·

I've got a Riboni viola case. When I bought it the luthier put it down on the ground and stood on it, and said at the same "look, you can stand on it". It's pretty compact too. 

August 31, 2009 at 11:58 AM ·

All cases are a compromise, one way or the other. A lighter case won't be as protective as one designed for strength; the latter won't be as light as the one designed specifically for lightness.

My suggestion is to line up one's true priorities and then have the case built as required, choosing a basic design and then adding or subtracting features as needed.


April 3, 2011 at 04:58 PM ·

 My Riboni viola case has been a nightmare.  It is beautiful inside and out, but all of the handles, subway straps have come undone on me several times, sometimes resulting in my case crashing down on the street.  As beautiful as they are, I cannot recommend them.

April 3, 2011 at 08:29 PM ·

keep an eye out for used musafia cases; they feature them on their site every now and then. they're all excellent cases; some have been only used once or never (used in exhibitions)...and those that have been worn down to any degree have been refurbished.

i went with musafia because i live in a very hot and humid climate; they offer the added "tropicalization" option which boosts the climate proofing of the case. there were no other case makers, to my knowledge, that offered added padding for that purpose. they also have a plethora of other options..some to the side of luxury and others to the side of protection. i bought a used one, the dart shape and its pretty nice. i didnt really care about the looks of it (and in fact, its nice looking nonetheless)...but its slim (so easier to take it on board when i fly) and well protected.

hope you get a nice home for your violin

January 15, 2012 at 05:42 PM · any ideas on a used musafia ot other case good for heat and humidity, and travel? Third world conditions. Need low price if possible so thought maybe used. Not concerned about cosmetics of the case. We volunteer with a nonprofit and if donated will be receipted.

January 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM · A Musafia would be good for something like that... they're quite good at retaining humidity. Or a Bobelock, if you don't have the money. Someone I know at a major violin shop in NYC swears by the Bobelock fiberglass cases, especially the arrow-shaped one (which she personally uses). They're about the same weight as a regular case, and quite resistant to impact, as well as weather proof (although I wouldn't leave one in the sun). Getting one with the ivory colored shell would perhaps help block the sun for a little while.

January 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM · hi, you can buy a used musafia from their official website and ask them to modify it to boost weather insulation - they call this option "tropicalisation" i believe. you'll pay a bit more.

January 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM · To answer my own question from a few years ago, I have on order from the Howard Core company a high-tech double case. It is similar to the BAM, but much less expensive - and only about 5 pounds for a double! However, you have to order through a dealer; they don't do retail sales. I will probably bolster it, at least sometimes, with a Cushy or Morandian cover.

The next big breakthrough needs to be a material that is extremely light, strong, shock-resistant and thermally protective all at once - or a combination of materials thereof. I recently read that scientists have developed some kind of mesh that is extemely strong, yet so incredibly light that a small square of it can be placed on a dandalion w.o. crushing it! Could this be used in violin cases and luggage in the future?

February 1, 2012 at 05:22 AM · For those of you interested in a Musafia case, I am selling a Luxury Ultralight w/tropicalization: http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=21838

I was able to upload some pictures. An excellent case. Take a peek!

February 1, 2012 at 01:09 PM · So, what about Gewa? Almost every virtuoso that I met were using Gewa cases.

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