How Important is closing the case daily?

December 17, 2009 at 11:01 PM ·

 After searching for awhile for a good (but relatively cheap) violin case, I found the perfect case for me; sturdy but beautiful. There is one problem; I just put a new 3.5 cm high chin rest on my violin. I can't close the case when the chin rest is on. I really don't want another case- the one I have is perfect (except the chin rest hight problem). Initially, I thought maybe I could just leave the case open (I play everyday), removing the chin rest (in order to close the case) when traveling; once per week. My other option (other than buying a new case) would be to remove the chin rest daily so that I can close the case. Does constant chin rest removal hurt anything?

I realize that just going ahead with either of these ideas could do some potential damage- I have no idea. The violin is 150 years old.

Any wise feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Merry Christmas!

Replies (21)

December 17, 2009 at 11:41 PM ·

Maybe you can buy a cheaper case for storing your violin at home that can fit your chinrest?

December 18, 2009 at 01:19 AM ·


this might sound a bit strong but I sternly (!);)   advise you to close and lock the case everyday. So yes, you nee da new case.  The reason for this is simple:   I have been playing the violin in groups for nearly fourty years and I simply cannot count the nunmbver of times I have seen someoen pick up their violin cas ewhich has not been lock clicked and zipped and watched as the lid fell opsn and the violin falls to the floor. Not automatically locking and zipping a case is as bad technique as gripping with the thumbs or playing out of tune.  The habits of caring for the isnturment are as importnat as the palying. It all goes together in one parcel.

Very glad you raised the point.



December 18, 2009 at 08:56 AM ·

I can never be bothered to fold up my Wolf shoulder rest every time I finish practice and put away the violin, but I do agree with Buri that you should ALWAYS close the case properly when you put the violin in it.  So at home I just leave the shoulder rest out on top of the case.  Saves time and hassle.

December 18, 2009 at 02:32 PM ·

Besides the kind of heart-stopping accident that Buri describes, instruments left out or in open cases can be subjected to more damaging dust or light. Depending on your location, a closed case can be a controlled atmosphere against temperature swings, and you can more easily maintain suitable humidity. I wouldn't think you want to be taking a chinrest on & off all the time. That feels like it would get old really fast, and every time you loosen & tighten the gizmo, you're changing the pressure on the end bout. Sue

December 18, 2009 at 03:16 PM ·

You might try taking your case to a luggage shop to see if they can make alterations for the new chinrest. 

December 18, 2009 at 04:36 PM ·

Every day when i practice with my 7y old son, it takes a significant amount of time to take the violin out of the case, take the shoulder rest out and put it at the correct place on the violin.

I'd love to find a case that could hold the violin with the shoulder rest in place. May be take a cheap case and dig the shape of the shoulder rest?

December 18, 2009 at 04:39 PM ·

I was in a hotel a few years ago, and after practicing I put my violin in the case, but didn't close it. It was warm, so I the A/C on. It was late so I went to bed with the violin case open. I woke up the next morning and there was beads of water all over the instrument. I quickly wiped off the violin, and thankfully there was no damage done to it, but I would always recommend putting the instrument in the case and closing it completely.



December 18, 2009 at 05:18 PM ·

I always lock my case after putting the violin in it. I feel most safe about my violin when it´s firmly locked in it´s case. Violins are so sensitive so it´s definetly best to keep them in the case where they are safe when not practising or playing.

December 18, 2009 at 08:51 PM ·

being a new violin student I would think that closing the case would be come second nature / habit.  I do have an inexpensive one but I treat it like it cost me thousands I am trying to get my Great-Great grandfathers violin and you wanta believe It will be in a case with padlocks if I have to !

Ramblings of an old man just starting out at 48 years old



December 18, 2009 at 09:52 PM ·

In Scotland it's traditional to hang your fiddle on the wall:

This has been going on for centuries, I think. Provided you choose a sensible spot, is it really such a bad idea?

December 18, 2009 at 11:08 PM ·

I think those of us who were taught from a very young age were taught to handle and treat our instruments as if they were the most valuable in the world. That's the way I've always handled mine, so the few times I've actually had my hands on a Strad there was actually no better way to handle it than my usual way; however intimidated I might have felt, there really was nothing more I could do, other than not touch it at all.

I always close the lid, always close the velcro straps. Don't always completely zip-close the case, but with a Musafia case, or an old Jaeger, if you latch the simple latches, you are pretty much good to go, and have "activated" whatever "crush protection" you have -- this is earthquake country here, so....


December 19, 2009 at 05:00 AM ·

You ask "Are there any negative implications that go along with not fully closing the case?"

See full size image



Buri is correct (as always)...The habits of caring for the instrument are as important as the playing. It all goes together in one parcel.

December 19, 2009 at 06:50 AM ·

I also have a really tall chin rest.  My case is an old Humidi-Case, a really heavy tank of a case once sold by Shar, but now discontinued. 

The cushion, attached to the inside top, that fits over the chinrest/tailpiece, has gotten mashed down over the years, due to tall chinrests.  The mashing was possible because the cushion was originally squishy, not rigid.  The now mashed cushion does a great job of keeping the fiddle in place, and the case closes with no problems.

Some cases have squishy cushions, some have rigid.  I can't vouch for the safety of my fiddle, but so far, so good, since '93. 

It would help to get to a shop and check various case models and sizes in person.  It is common sense to keep the violin tucked away safely when not in use.  Good luck!

December 20, 2009 at 07:30 PM ·

Hi Shona,

It seems the wise and virtuous agree that case hunting is the thing to do. Would it help to make a dummy? Something that is as high as your violin plus chinrest (plus say half a centimetre for safety's sake) and to check if the case closes with that thing in place of the violin? Just a thought.

I have the 28 mm SAS chinrest, and it fits into my Nothing Special (can't find the make, and it's old, so it probably would be no use to know in any case) case without a problem.

Good luck,


December 21, 2009 at 04:30 PM ·

A cautionary tale about locking your case:

A friend of mine had her viola stolen last year.  It was later recovered, but had been completely destroyed.  She had locked the case, and the thieves had used a utility knife to break into it.  The table had been mercilessly stabbed and splintered. 

It's hard to believe it was even recovered.  She says now she almost wishes it hadn't. 




December 21, 2009 at 09:07 PM ·

Are wall hooks a bad idea? I didn't see an answer to the previous poster who mentioned them.

We just purchased them from Shar because of a very curious 3 yo who has been attacking her 6 yo brother's violin (figured out how to open case etc.). 

We've hung the violins up high and away from the window, in a corner of the room w/o any passing traffic. I hang mine in its satin cover. 


December 21, 2009 at 10:27 PM ·

That should work until your 3 year old learns to reach it with a broom, or learns how to move chairs around. ;-)

December 22, 2009 at 01:31 AM ·

Wall hooks are not a good idea here in Arizona, where the humidity is non-existent. Add to that two ruffian kids and a wild puppy who would only be too happy to pee on my really old violin like he did on my laptop; more than enough incentive to go through the hassle of keeping the violin tightly locked in a case AND case cover .

December 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM ·

Well, here's another perspective:


maybe some of you had experience like this I dont know.


I was actually been tried to be mugged by some people on a historical area of Budapest, with my violin on my back. The thing is, that they did not try to take any valuables from me, I've just given to them, but something else, I leave it to your imagination what.


So, I had to defend myself, and amazingly the violin did not snap, or break during the process. But, if not for as cheap and light case to hold my 1932 violin, it would've been probably otherwise.


Only, the bridge somehow wandered to the left side about 2cm from a concussion, and possible the soul also moved a bit. I have to take it to my luthier to check, but he's busy till wednesday. Strings were loosened, and the violin is safe now.


cool story, no? I was actually playing some improvisations, and a little bit of Bach on the square before it happened. 

December 22, 2009 at 10:17 AM ·

Just had to go to Prague with my family, to visit my brother, and drink enourmous quantities of dubious liquids to get back to life ;) 

December 22, 2009 at 10:19 AM ·

Just one more piece of information to give coherence to the story: the bridge is called a "leg" in hungarian......


anyway, I close the lid as often as possbile, but maybe not always.. 

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