What to do with a used case?

November 15, 2009 at 11:04 PM ·

 Hi all! I've been a V.com reader since my freshman year in college (that will be 7 years ago) and although I've been a violist for the past 3 years, I am still a loyal fan of V.com. 


I have a question about cases that hasn't really been asked yet: I've read numerous threads about what new cases to buy, but nobody seems to discuss what to do with your still-sort-of-serviceable old case when the new case arrives home. 


I recently bought a BAM hightech contour for my viola, because I couldn't stand the weight of my 10 lbs. bobelock anymore.The Bobelock is definitely used, but it's still a solid case, and I don't know what to do with it. THere doesn't seem to be a market for used case, is there? I couldn't find one. I put up posters trying to sell it for $100 (used only 2 years in very good condition; bought for $350) but it failed like Ebay and craigslist did. 


I have many friends who are in similar situations. They got a new case with the new violin even though the old one is still perfectly fine, or they wanted something lighter/stronger/prettier.  I once helped an old teacher move and she had like three BAM cases, each used for 10 years but are still holding up well, and apparently nobody knows what to do with it. Also, when I mentioned that I wanted to sell the used case cheaply, everyone seems to have a case or two that could be sold, too. 

What do you guys think? Any ideas on what to do with the moderately used cases? I bet you have a couple somewhere.  It seems to make sense to be selling/buying these second hand cases. Many students/amateur players/broke young professionals could afford to have something more substantial than the cheapo foam cases, and it's just more environmental friendly to re-use.  Does anyone know if something like that has already existed? any interest in starting one?


by the same token, I have a very nice violin that I don't play as my primary instrument any more. The case literally fell apart on this one and I really need a new case to put it in. Does anyone has a used case that they are willing to sell? I'm looking primarily for a BAM. I don't mind scratches, as long as the construction is solid. 

Replies (42)

November 16, 2009 at 01:23 AM ·

Try donating to a local school district w/a string program. 

November 16, 2009 at 03:38 AM ·

simple, buy another instrument, so the case is no longer empty or lonely

November 16, 2009 at 03:49 AM ·

Donate to a school. I'm sure some kids would be happy with a case tat looks different from the others in there class.

November 16, 2009 at 04:12 AM ·


use it as a cat litter tray.   Haven`t you heard of the new Musafia Kitty Litter range?  Musafia being what they are the cases are,  of course, tested by having a pride of lions use them for a week.



November 16, 2009 at 04:19 AM ·

Good one, Buri! I like Sam's answer, too. But that's why I'm now a broke collector! But really, you never know when you may want to acquire another instrument that does not include a case, or comes with a much shabbier one than your spare.

November 16, 2009 at 04:46 AM ·

Use it as gift wrapping for the upcoming holidays; make disposal someone else's problem.

November 16, 2009 at 04:58 AM ·

How about mating it with the "very nice violin that I don't play as my primary instrument any more"?  Then pitch the case that's really broken down.

November 17, 2009 at 01:56 AM ·

I'm having this same argument in my own head... I was planning on a new viola so I bought the case first. All I wanted was a purple case, and had no idea Bobelocks were so HEAVY! Now I have an awesome purple case that weighs a ton. I'd love to get a bam, but my other one is still practically new and I have no idea how I'd get rid of it :(

November 17, 2009 at 02:14 AM ·

So put it up for sale on this site, take the best offer you receive. 

November 17, 2009 at 03:50 AM ·

Try to think that when your starting to travel with your instrument, that Bobelock that your complaining about today will be your salvation, yes, its heavy but will sure protect your beloved instruments.


November 17, 2009 at 04:03 AM ·

Just label it "violin" and wait for someone to steal it.  :-)

November 17, 2009 at 04:08 AM ·

a)  Offer it for sale here!   I bought my Bobelock used on this very site, and I'm very glad I have it.  It withstands the bumps and bangs of transport on the bus very nicely.

b)  If it's on the verge of falling apart, give it to your local luthier to be used as a shipping case.  That's what I did with the one I replaced with the Bobelock!

November 17, 2009 at 04:31 AM ·

Just don't label it "viola". Someone is liable to break in and add another one! ;-D

November 17, 2009 at 05:43 AM ·

Raphael, that's cruel

November 17, 2009 at 01:21 PM ·

I know!

November 17, 2009 at 04:00 PM ·


Have you asked any of the local violin shops? When I first started violin the case that my gift fiddle came in wasn't suitable, and I was able to by a nicer case used from the shop, they had a whole little room devoted to cases, most of them used.

November 17, 2009 at 11:11 PM ·

Let me see if I have this right:

You have a decent used case which you want to sell because it's too heavy, and you are also looking for a decent used case to store an unused violin.

Here's what I think you should do: Go into your bathroom. If you look through that big window over the sink, you will see a person who happens to be in the market for a used case, and also has a case for sale. It might take a little negotiating, but a mutually beneficial transaction may occur. ;-)

November 17, 2009 at 11:50 PM ·

I believe the too-heavy case in question is a viola case and she needs a violin case for her violin (unless the viola case is adjustable down to violin size, which would be unusual).

November 18, 2009 at 01:16 AM ·


A violin will fit inside any of my Bobelock viola cases. Maybe not a good idea for daily use, but probably OK for storage.

November 18, 2009 at 11:44 AM ·

Those that have one of my cases and wish to sell it, please contact me directly. I have a waiting list for my used cases, especially the limited edition ones.

Cheers! Dimitri

November 18, 2009 at 01:15 PM ·

For some reason, too many gigs + too little sleep + this innocent and sensible thread have put me in an oddly naughty mood. So David has given me another idea: go to a real window, wait for a conductor to pass by...then, instead of a water balloon... ;-)

(Actually the conductors I've been working with recently are very nice!)

November 18, 2009 at 02:19 PM ·

I should have tried my violin in my Bobelock viola case before I posted, if it fits it would be okay for storage purposes only, although extrememly heavy for a violin if it ever leaves the house, I guess it depends on how bad a shape the violin case is in.

I also have a used viola case that is now gathering dust, since it is in worse shape than the original poster's, as well as not being as high quality as a Bobelock, I decided to keep mine just in case something happens to my good case (broken zipper, spillage etc...) and I need somewhere safe to keep my viola.

January 31, 2011 at 01:02 AM ·

Since there seem to be a lot of used cases out there . . . I'm desperately seeking solid, but used cases for violins. See my want-to-buy ad in the "for sale" section.


Bruce Johnson


January 31, 2011 at 04:20 AM ·

 1)some big cities have programs that  place donated violins in the hands of deserving children. Your local violin shop might know about them.  

2)Good Will, Salvation Army, or any charity run thrift store would take it.

3)I am shocked that ebay didn't work out, maybe the starting bid was too high? I have sold cases on ebay

4) the local school is a good possibility too.

5) put notices up at local music schools, and supermarkets (we all gotta eat)

6) leave it at a music school with a "free" sign

Glad you are too conscientious to throw it away!

January 31, 2011 at 09:19 PM ·

A cello-playing friend was recently given a used case by a fellow player in her orchestra.  Although it's old and heavy, it's an improvement over the gig bag she was using before, and she really appreciates it.  So there's your answer: give the old case to someone deserving.

January 31, 2011 at 09:29 PM ·

I thought it could make a pair of nice matched window boxes...

January 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM ·

A cat basket. I've noticed that for some reason a cat is attracted to an open (and empty) violin case for a quick nap.

January 31, 2011 at 11:24 PM ·

Well, if you don't find any other use, you can have some fun with it.

Carry it around with other musicians, telling them about the absolutely precious violin you were able to get for only $25,000. You are on your way to get it insured now.
As you walk along, 'accidentally' drop it in front of a bus or something......

February 1, 2011 at 12:11 AM ·

Or you could put on a trench coat, dark glasses, your best menacing look, and carry the case around town. It's cheaper entertainment than going to a movie.

February 1, 2011 at 05:22 AM ·

My cat keeps trying to sleep in my case every time I take the instrument out of it to practice.  So, I took my old case and made it into a cat-bed.  No more cat hair in my viola :)

February 1, 2011 at 01:01 PM ·

I second the cat-bed proposal, you'll certainly make that "special" feline happy. You people have no idea how many times I've had to remove cat hair from cases being refurbished!

Why do cats like to curl up in violin cases? Because they know they're not supposed to, of course.

February 1, 2011 at 01:42 PM ·

Grabbed something out of my case one time, and had already played several bars before I realized it was the cat.....

February 1, 2011 at 03:42 PM ·

...so I ought to take up playing the Double Bass just so I have a case big enough for a German Shepherd to sleep in?

February 1, 2011 at 05:23 PM ·


Did it whine on the E string?
Are you going to post the video next to the Sawzall one?

February 1, 2011 at 06:48 PM ·

Grabbed something out of my case one time, and had already played several bars before I realized it was the cat.....

Are you sure that wasn't your bagpipe case???

February 2, 2011 at 12:16 AM ·

Well, catgut's catgut, I guess.

February 2, 2011 at 12:46 AM ·

"Are you sure that wasn't your bagpipe case???"

I'm pretty sure, because the bagpipe normally sits on a dining room chair, used as a whoopee cushion.

February 2, 2011 at 01:37 AM ·

If you want to hear some really interesting (in the Chinese sense) bagpipe playing try this – 

Scroll down and click on: 2003 Solo bagpipes

Apparently, it's not a spoof and I take no responsibility for any harm or damage, physical or psychological, to persons, property or animals, that may occur from listening to it ;-) 

That is your first and only warning.

February 2, 2011 at 02:41 AM · .."so I ought to take up playing the Double Bass just so I have a case big enough for a German Shepherd to sleep in?" LOL:D i think i couldn't stand my stomach!

February 2, 2011 at 05:07 AM ·


Even though I'm just a fiddler, and have been known to make some spronking sounds at times, that made my teeth hurt just listening to it!

February 2, 2011 at 06:47 AM ·

But Dimitri,

My cat does not go for the violin case.  She prefers the viola case and will go tearing across the room to get into it once the moment the viola is out. 

It could be because her butt is too big for the violin case, or perhaps she prefers the oblong over the shaped. 

If someone has many old cases of different sizes and shapes, maybe that person could conduct a study on cat bed preferences to case sizes and configurations.


February 3, 2011 at 02:56 AM ·

Mendy, we have not only cases of different sizes and shapes, but CATS of different sizes and shapes, too.  The two smaller cats definitely prefer a violin case.  Much better fit.  The resident British Shorthair, though, must have a viola case.  (Or the Sunday NY Times, but that's another subject.)  He feels it's not dignified to spill out of a violin case- cats just hate the muffin-top effect while napping.  In the mind of a cat, though, silk velvet over padding, shaped somewhat like a sleeping cat, nothing beats it.  No open, empty case in our house stays unoccupied for long, except the cello case.  It's a nice obstacle course, but not fit for a nap.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine