What do you Keep in your Violin Case?

November 30, 2010 at 09:26 PM ·

 So I decided to create this thread so people can keep on topic on this thread

The title says everything doesn't it! It is always interesting to see what people keep in their cases and to hear why they do. Our cases would be plain and boring otherwise, wouldn't they? I think it would be really fun to share what you keep in your case.

Here is mine:

That is spare strings, 2 rosins, a membership card and a pencil. I have 2 pens also - the pink one is my 'musical pen' and the other little one is a cancer support pen (special to me for many reasons). I keep an 'I love Canada' keyring in there that my best friend gave me when she came back from holiday and because the keyring says on the other side 'lucky penny', it is my little lucky charm for when I'm doing concerts etc. I also have a strawberry scented mirror because I just simply like it :) And finally, a little violin brooch. I have one from the same place of a treble cleff on my jacket too. This one is my little mini violin though and I love it :) 

Most of the time I keep sweets or little chocolates in there too so when I get a bit peckish during practices, I just nibble on one of those! 

So that's mine - what's yours? 

Replies (45)

November 30, 2010 at 09:34 PM ·

I can upload a picture later, but for now, a list:

The viola :-), a set of new strings for when the old ones play out, a little crocheted half-washcloth-sized cloth I use to keep the thing from settling on my collarbone, a tuner/metro, so that's the instrument side of the case.

The bow, and a picture of three singers with viola-shaped voices who are inspiring to me.  That's the lid.

The little side compartment has a business card, a nail clipper, one of those monster chrome mutes you could dent the sidewalk with, a mute that I made myself out of four earth magnets and some tape, and a box of rosin (the same as the red box you have, only newer).

Hanging off the handle is another business card in a luggage tag and a 3-d printed bronze pendant that I bought at Shapeways.

Nothing exciting, I'm afraid, unless one considers a terrifying mutant mirror-image viola to be exciting.  :-)

Update: added picture.  The inset is what's in the side pocket.  Unremarkable stuff.  The viola is a bit small for the case because the first one I bought was a tanklike 16.5" that was enormous and unplayable.  The newer one swims a bit in the case, unfortunately.

Viola and case

November 30, 2010 at 09:39 PM ·


I couldn't possibly tell you because if I did I would have you Mum after me ...

November 30, 2010 at 10:14 PM ·

Peter - LOL!  Pictures of what "inspires" you?

November 30, 2010 at 10:25 PM ·

Tall Oaks Band Camp I keep one of these on the lid, behind the ribbons that are under the bows.  My viola, two bows, shoulder rest, microfiber cloth, fingernail clippers, rosin, old rosin, several sets of strings, tuner/metronome, compact musician's dictionary, two old dampits, two old bridges, 1 large paper clip for use in tightening chin-rests, practice mute.  Think that's about it.  The band camp thing clearly being the only item of character.

November 30, 2010 at 10:30 PM ·


You'd be LUCKY if it was my mum after you... now just consider my dad! ;) 

November 30, 2010 at 11:01 PM ·

My violin case is full of... virtually nothing!  I think thats because up to now I've had rather little use for it - it basically holds my violin the day the house is cleaned and for weekly lessons else Gravitas sits on his stand.

I had to think about this because my car and dance bag are full of totems and good lucks - but the violin case hasn't been about playing yet.  Perhaps if and when I get to perform I'll start the process of selecting the right charms and personalities to adorn G's limo...

November 30, 2010 at 11:08 PM ·

 Elise, (your name always gets me because I automatically put the 'o' in there like I'm spelling mine!) 

I have found that over time, I just randomly put something in my case because I have nowhere else to put it at the time and it just somehow ends up staying there! I found one of my old (drumstick!) cases last week and when I opened it up there were all sorts of things in there - badges I'd won in music competitions or little tokens from concerts I'd performed in, numerous concert order sheet thingies, even old sweet wrappers (from 2004!! Yuck!!). Instead of emptying the case out, I have kept it like it is - sweet wrappers and all! I think these items have become part of the case and of my memories. It was great seeing all of my old stuff again though!

November 30, 2010 at 11:11 PM ·

 Also Janis, that's a nice looking viola you have there *eyes it up* :) 

I like those photos. I remember my first violin teacher had all sorts of little photos in her case. Maybe I should put some of pictures of my idols in mine? :) 

November 30, 2010 at 11:16 PM ·

First, of course, are my rosin and mute.  Then there's a spare set of strings.  (Actually, it's the last set I took off, so I don't have to shell out the bucks until absolutely necessary, but which give me a backup in case a string breaks.)  Third is a pair of single-focus glasses so I don't have to worry about tilting my head just right to see the music on the stand.  For now it's my old pre-bifocal set, but they're really set for too long a distance, so I'll have to get a pair made specially for the distance to the stand.  And lastly, I take along a memory stick so my teacher can give me a digital copy of my latest assignment in addition to the sheet music.

November 30, 2010 at 11:17 PM ·

Here's the picture of him from the luthier's website.  I miss the little beauty-mark on the top bout of the one I originally had, but I could have dug a trench with it.

December 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM ·

I've only had my case for two weeks but it already contains -  in addition to the typical rosin, soft rag for cleaning, tuner and shoulder rest - a postcard from the shop owner who sold me my violin, thanking me for shopping with her and hoping that I am enjoying my new violin (I am!), a little plastic container with small holes punched in the lid (there's a damp, not dripping, sponge inside.  this is my humidity control in a dry house), a sheet of paper with the most common major scales (this sheet is designed so I can see where notes are on the strings), and a little twist of dog hair from the worlds best dog who I lost to cancer last January.  He was my first real competition dog and we earned many ribbons and five titles together.  If he was still with me, he would be laying at my feet every night as I practiced my violin, happy to have me home again for the night. Which reminds me, my violin case is already starting to become full of blond and red hair from the two goldens that are still with me, only I didn't put those hairs there!

December 1, 2010 at 12:01 AM ·

 Oooh Janis... That makes me want your viola even more! It just looks so... *mms* 


I want a viola. It would make a nice contrast to my violin! :P 

December 1, 2010 at 03:14 AM ·

 Rosin, spare strings, lots and lots of cloths for over my chinrest.  



what kind of case do you have eloise?

December 1, 2010 at 06:22 AM ·

 A handkerchief for cleaning strings

and many other little things:

A mute or two to lessen sound,

a cake of rosin and a brush,

and a nail clipper I found,

a pencil and eraser,

a Composition for Pegs which have Ceased to Turn Smoothly (aka peg dope)

spare strings,

cork and gear to attach chinrests,

a shoulder rest (!)

December 1, 2010 at 01:51 PM ·

my case contents are quite spare: a violin, a bad of silica for humid control purpose, a microfiber cloth, a mute, a rosin and a bow.

I keep all other things in a small bag, and they all contained in a case cover which I custom order (50$, and it's super duarable, amazing quality and looks very good).

December 1, 2010 at 02:28 PM · I don't keep much in my case that pretty much everybody has mentioned. Do put in some business cards if you are teaching/freelancing,and attach a name & phone or e-mail contact info securely, too. // My HS stand partner had a habit of chewing a stick of gum during most rehearsals, and collected the paper wrappers in his case. My college chum carried a change of socks & undies in her case & her long black skirt rolled up in her knapsack when we went on tour. No suitcase, no purse. Sue

December 1, 2010 at 05:38 PM ·

 A "little something" for me is a small glass bottle with "40%" on the label. 

December 1, 2010 at 05:45 PM ·


My case is just the one that came with the violin so it isn't any special case. My old case was lovely (and it was pink!) and really durable... but it unfortunately got ruined (along with my poor old violin) during a tour in Germany. 

So, when I got this violin (it was shipped out to me) it came in this case... It doesn't have a label or brand attached to it anywhere. I'm currently saving for a better case but this one will do me for now. :) Why anyway? 

December 2, 2010 at 01:44 AM ·

 Eloise, I'm case shopping, aka obsessed with finding a new one!

December 2, 2010 at 10:14 AM ·

Trevor: A "little something" for me is a small glass bottle with "40%" on the label. Oh yes, a small bottle of antifreeze is an excellent idea for those cold performance venues...

Like said, my cases are singularly boring.  However, I do have another case housing an old lions head violin that has the original sales reciept in it - from 1887! 

December 2, 2010 at 11:33 AM ·

Well, mine is..

1. the violin itself of course :)

2. bows (2 of them, the one that I'm using and the other one which was broken when I perform, that bow means a lot to me, it was my first bow and I love it! And yet it have to be broken, phew)

3. rosin

4. mute

5. handkerchief

Pretty simple..


December 2, 2010 at 05:10 PM ·

My two cases are pretty no-nonsense -- I'm a bit surprised that something "whimsical" hasn't taken up residence in there yet.

VIOLIN #1 (~1900 4/4 German Conservatory) --

Violin and two bows, rosin, tiny electronic tuner, toothbrush for cleaning strings, pencil, the original bridge (not great, but would still work in an emergency), Oasis case humidifier, syringe for adding water to the humidifier, extra "backpack strap" (only using one strap for carrying), strange little shoulder rest/pad thingie I made, soft diaper-material cloth for cleaning violin after playing, almost-microscopic chin rest wrench that my luthier gave me, extra set of strings (but not my preferred brand) and a photograph of the violin with its original owner, who passed away in 1925.

VIOLIN #2 ( 2004 3/4 Bellafina) --

Violin and two bows, rosin, tiny electronic tuner, toothbrush for cleaning strings, pencil, Oasis case humidifier bottle and syringe for adding water, another strange little shoulder rest/pad thingie, diaper-material cleaning cloth.  I REALLY need to pick up an extra set of 3/4 strings!!!


December 2, 2010 at 05:28 PM ·

I'd love to find the skeleton of an old, cheap case myself.  I'm dying to needlepoint the cover for one.

December 2, 2010 at 06:56 PM ·

I've got two chocolates for emergency use! Also a little cuddly dog my girlfriend brought me and stashed in there so that I had a surprise when I opened the case to play in a quartet gig. I've got a little painting that an audience member did of myself and my duo partner performing (she painted it during the concert), and the usual personal photographs, rosin, strings, mutes, duster, shoulder rest, tuner etc.


December 2, 2010 at 10:29 PM ·

The contents of my violin case is pretty basic

There´s the violin of course, my main bow, a spare bow (I use very rarely), my shoulder rest, 3 rosins (one main and 2 extra), a lucky stone (just for the sake of it), my metronome, my tuner, the cloth I use to vipe the violin, 2 cloths I use when making the violin really clean, the cloth I use to vipe the strings, my mute, a pencil I use (my teacher always seems to forget to bring his pencil), a bunch of sheetmusic, some dragonfly decorations I made (I like dragonflies) and a cross stitch pattern of an owl I use to decorate (I mate it myself) and finally a picture of an agle with the sentence: to spread one´s wings and fly like an eagle :)

December 3, 2010 at 12:43 AM ·

1 violin, 2 bows, rosin, spare strings, the fine tuners I took off for the lower three strings, pencils, shoulder rest, name tag from music camp a few years back, cleaning cloth, nail clippers, aspirin, bent paper clip to serve as an impromptu chin rest tool, and a sewing kit.  The last one went in after a colleague had the only button on his jacket fall off shortly before a performance.

December 3, 2010 at 04:30 PM ·

My violin; my new bow; my original bow that has gone 'bald'; rosin; rosin crumbles; old bent bridge; an electric pickup that is missing the adjustable screw bits that hold it on the violin; an allen wrench to the pickup that is missing the bits that keep it attached; a 12 year old parking pass to an event I played at my college; a mushy love/good luck note my wife slipped in the case for my senior recital. 

December 4, 2010 at 04:10 AM ·

In my case:

  • 125 year old Markneukirchen violin.
  • A bow.
  • Motrya rosin (and a couple of other rosins).
  • Tuner.
  • Extra strings.
  • Wolf Forte Secundo shoulder rest.
  • Sewing tape measure (to measure bridge placement).
  • Table of measurements from Strobel.
  • Business card with  longitudinal cut , to measure soundpost placement.
  • 4x6 print of Karlova Most (Charles Bridge)  from my trip to Prague -- put there when my last orchestra played the Moldau.  It's still there, because I like it.
  • A business card trimmed to fit between the bridge and the tailpiece, to check for right angle of the bridge.
  • A used, broken wine cork, to clean rosin off the strings.
  • A dark forest green washcloth to wipe things down.

Outside music pouch:

  • Black binder with musical notation, scales, and current orchestra sheet music.
  • Metropolitan music catalog.

December 4, 2010 at 04:21 AM ·

I find it interesting that people carry different rosins in their cases. I suppose you use about 1 or 2 at a time, but not all the time if they're for different seasons. Why don't you get rid of them to make the case lighter. or less stuffs jam in the case?

just a question...because I'm on who tries to down weight as much as possible. and travelling with motorbike here makes things rattle inside quite a bit.

December 4, 2010 at 07:55 AM ·

A three pound catfish, first fish I ever caught.

December 4, 2010 at 08:06 AM ·

German Shepherd hair. She's moulting/shedding at the moment and it gets everywhere!

December 4, 2010 at 01:33 PM ·

Julian - I've had this case for 3 weeks and it's already full of golden retriever hair!

December 4, 2010 at 02:27 PM ·

well, just look at my avatar... :-\

OTOH it provides an additional protective coat for Gravitas - but perhaps I had better watch that I don't over-apply the cleaning fluid or he might look a bit like a tar-baby (qv Uncle Remus)!

December 4, 2010 at 02:35 PM ·

My Craigslist case:  borax, two warped bows with disintegrating hair, the old crap that came in the case.  Every once in a while, I pick it up and shake it.  I'm hoping to kill the bugs!

December 4, 2010 at 03:50 PM ·

Added Note to earlier response:

In Case #1 -- A 2" jointed Teddy Bear named Vivaldi.  Saw him sitting on a shelf and decided he looked like a good audience.  :)

December 5, 2010 at 06:08 PM ·

 I have an extra shoulder rest pocket that I put mine in luckily, so it doesn't scratch or come into contact with anything else in the case. Otherwise, I'd just put it in the main pocket where I keep all my rosin and bits and bobs. 

I don't lock my case although it does have a lock on it. Occasionally I will lock it (like when I went to Germany on tour) to keep it safe but for general use, I'll leave it unlocked. The way you have to open my case usually flabbergasts people anyway and they try and push the little buttony thing and do all sorts with it to get the clip off! It only needs to be pushed downwards... 


December 5, 2010 at 06:10 PM ·

 Also, I put the bottom bow so the wood is on the support and the top bow with the hair on the support, only because the case does not accommodate the top bow to be on the wooden side.

December 5, 2010 at 06:15 PM ·

First, I would get rid of the shoulder rest, and solve that problem once and for all.

Joking here.  I don't use one, but I have nothing against people doing what they see fit to do for themselves.

My main case is a double.  I keep two violins, both contemporary, one American, the other Italian.  I've got three bows in there, two kinds of rosins, peg grease, a pair of tweezers (because I'm lousy at replacing strings and need a pari of tweezers), plastic pieces for my e tuner (english model) to prevent friction on the string's loop.  In the zip part for music, I keep the papers for my bows, otherwise I'll lose them), two sets of gut strings, one set of passione, tuning fork, and that's a bout it.  I don't put music in there unless Im traveling.  Oh...back to inside the case...a set of strings in that long plastic tube, that I've had for over 10-20 years, and don't even know what brand they are.  I keep those in case of extreme emergency.  Hygrometer (I have two of them in there) and photos of two of my most favorite of Violinists and one of Toscanini.  Silk covers for the Violins, a bunch of white handkerchiefs I use for brushing rosin off the strings and the instruments. 

I think what I'm lacking is a small scissor that could be useful cutting off broken hairs rather than pulling them out and risking yanking the whole thing out (I've heard of that happening), and one of those things to loosen and tighten the chin rest.


I have another case if I"m only going to transport one of the Violins.  I don't remember what I've got in there.

edited to add: pencil and four goldbrokat e strings

and John, what do you keep in your case???


December 5, 2010 at 07:44 PM ·

Contents in my violin case - the violin, two bows, a blanket, a shoulder rest,  a handkerchief, a string tube, and a humistat I never use (it came with the case);  in the accessory compartment: a set of spare strings plus an additional E, rosin, nail clipper, pencil, rubber mute, key for the case (I never lock it though), chamois for cleaning the strings and the fingerboard, a microfiber cloth for wiping down the body of the violin and the bow sticks.

John:  my Bobelock case has a velcro strap for the shoulder rest underneath where the violin neck would be - I love it!  The shoulder rest is secure and it does not touch any part of the violin or the bows (although I usually use a handkerchief to wrap around the feet of the shoulder rest to prevent them from catching the bow hair just in case):


Does it really matter whether the bow hair is facing up or down when the case is open?  My Feldenkrais teacher (also a professional violinist) told me that it's better to have the stick at the bottom (She doesn't know why - she was taught that way.) but that doesn't not work when I have two bows in my half-moon case...

December 6, 2010 at 02:32 AM ·

 Love the idea of keeping a cherished photo in there, why have I not thought of that before?

...in mine is a medicine pouch with snake skin in it and a baby washcloth.

December 6, 2010 at 03:16 AM ·

@Phuong - Three rosin cakes fit in their compartment, without bouncing around.  Just one rattles.  Plus, the others are backup, in case I leave my favorite at home.

December 6, 2010 at 03:20 AM ·

where do you put it (shoulder rest) to avoid scratching or knocking ?

I've started using the case that has an oblong compartment that's big enough to hold the shoulder rest.

December 7, 2010 at 09:42 AM ·

I've got my current-century violin made, set up, and purchased at Heaney Violins here in Palo Alto, California. I've got my good-weighted pernambuco bow(top), and my decent brazilwood bow(bottom). Under my brazilwood bow, I have a string holder that has a set of D'Addario Helicores and the Gold Label E that originally were strung on my violin. Between my bows are some of my favorite pictures that just keep me smiling whenever I open my face. C'mon, look at that little girl. How can you not call that adorable? In my little compartment to the right of my violin, I have the receipts and certificates from when I bought my violin, a broken fine tuner, a rubber mute, a thing of rosin that came with my 3/4 violin five years ago(it's almost empty, though), and a red-and-white patterned handkerchief. On my case handle, I have a Christmas-colored yarn pom-pom ball that I made over the Thanksgiving weekend.


December 7, 2010 at 10:04 AM ·

Beautiful, Cyril!  I particularly the shoulder rest space in your case - mine doesn't have a propper one, I have to fit it into the end compartment (a squeeze).  Thats a beautiful violin by the way... and a dynamite pom-pom!

December 9, 2010 at 12:56 AM ·

Thanks, Elise! If you're trying to look for a better method to store your shoulder rest, if you have enough room in the area where the neck of the violin rests, you could try gluing or sowing cotton or foam or some other kind of padding to a handkerchief, and then wrap that around the shoulder rest and put it in the neck area so it won't damage the scroll or peg(s)(box). Or if you use a Kun type, you could try one of their collapsable rests.

And yes, it is a dynamite pom-pom. I'm pretty proud to have started the fad within my orchestra. My best friend, who's a violist, and our concertmaster hang theirs on their scrolls when they play during rehearsals.

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