Violin Cases

December 22, 2010 at 05:59 PM ·

 I know there is already a post for specifically BAM cases, but this is more about cases in general.

What should you look for when buying a case?  What are some things the case should have?  How do you know if the case will be protective enough?  Should the cause have gauges inside? (humidity. ect.)  What is the difference between a suspension and non suspension case?  Which is best?

Replies (24)

December 22, 2010 at 10:15 PM ·

One of my favorite websites to visit is www.musafia.com where I drool over these cases.  It has great descriptions, but it's like visiting a Rolls Royce dealership.  I can dream though!  One day I am going to have one of these cases!

December 22, 2010 at 10:39 PM ·

 Monica,

I have not seen that the humidity gauges in violin cases to be very accurate. If you really want accurate, small battery-powered ones are available at Radio Shack. 

Scott

December 22, 2010 at 10:56 PM ·

i live in a region that has serious "weather".  When I was looking for a case, my number one priority was a good seal between the lid and the case.  Many moderately-cheap cases have a zipper that simply brings the lid close to the base.  I held one such case up to the light, zipped closed, and I could see light coming through the back zipper, through the case, and out the front zipper.  That just isn't going to protect my violin from freezing temps!  Unacceptable.  I wanted one in which the lid and the bottom interlock to form a weather-tight seal.  Some cases are designed so the latches do not protrude up above the side edge of the open case- to reduce the possibility of scratching the violin on the latch(es). I also wanted one that had both latch(es) and zipper.  I don't want a plastic zipper to fail and have the case go flying open.  Some cases are designed so the bow twist-clip is over a pocket instead of over the violin, so if you forget to twist the clip and the bow falls down, it hits the pocket, not the instrument.  Oddly enough, i didn't give too much thought to the material of the case, but you can get laminated wood (plywood), styrofoam, fiberglass,  carbon fiber and ??.  If I did it again, I might consider carbon fiber, but not until someone makes a "matte" finish instead of an easily scratched glossy finish.

I ended up with a Bobelock, half-moon, fiberglass, with a puffy cover that has a big enough pocket for all my music.  I've been quite happy with it, but I did make an insulated carry bag for subfreezing weather.

December 22, 2010 at 11:23 PM ·

 ...and if money were no object: http://www.glcases.com.tw/q1.html

These go for about $1k – how good have you been? :)

I've seen these (brown, black, canvas) at MondoMusica in Cremona last fall. Embarrassing to desire a case so much, but I couldn't help it – they're gorgeous in and out, incredible materials and craftsmanship. Musafia, here's competition...  

December 22, 2010 at 11:40 PM ·

I guess the most important things you have to care about are:

1) What's the weather like where you are?

2) How fussy is your instrument about humidity?

3) Do you plan to fly with it?

For me, the answers are dry and sunny (although not at the moment), not very, and not on your life.  A basic, cheapie case is fine for me.

December 23, 2010 at 12:19 AM ·

Another thing to consider would be an inside storage compartment big enough o hold a shoulder rest if you use one...I have a Bobelock that fits the bill fine, but my son has  a Bobelock and his rest won't fit in the pocket...(he uses a Bon Musica...I have since ditched the s.r.)

December 23, 2010 at 12:46 AM ·

Suspension is an absolute must for me. I just don't see any reason not to give your instrument the most protection you can. I also require backpack straps or at least "D" rings that I can add backpack straps to. I also like the idea of some insulation around the instrument, that is why, as cool as the carbon fiber cases look, I shy away from them. I worry about my instrument getting hot or cold.

December 23, 2010 at 02:36 AM ·

 I just recently bought a Gewa Maestro Oblong violin case to replace my Bobelock.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my Bobelock, but it was getting way too heavy schlepping around my college campus. One of the top priorities for me this time was finding a case that was lighter than what I had now.  

If you can, try to visit a shop and check out all the models they have available.  

December 23, 2010 at 04:40 AM ·

 I have been looking at BAM, Bobelock, Gewa, and Negri (The cheapest model)

Thoughts on those?

 

And what does the "puffy case" mean and what is it like ...for the Bobelocks.....?

December 23, 2010 at 04:46 AM ·

 My Gewa should be getting here soon.  Will let you know!

 

 

December 23, 2010 at 07:54 AM ·

 Hi,

For me its very simple.

As long as the case can work for me I'm good to go.

However if you plan on traveling with your violin then I suggest you got better cases which have more protector from knocks as well as temperature changes.

As for the humidity, in Singapore it really doesn't matter because its always around 65%-75% so even if you take it out from the case(65%-75%) it still doesn't matter.

Currently I have 2 cases. One light weight(2.3kg) China case which is rectangular and a korean oblong case. I use the korean case for traveling to town or further places as it has more padding and protectors the violin better as for the china case i use it to travel within Singapore for lessons or etc due to its light weight. So the option is up to you :)

Bam High tech cases has very good reviews if you don't mind the prices.

Regards,

Sherman

December 23, 2010 at 01:32 PM ·

I have a Bobelock which works well for me.  I agree with others that suspension is a must.  You also probably need some sort of hygrometer/humidification system.  Another question is whether you want to be able to carry it on your back.  Beyond that, price and weight play a large role in choice. 

December 24, 2010 at 03:48 AM ·

"puffy" in Bobelock terms is "a colorful insulated washable cover".  

December 24, 2010 at 04:16 AM ·

Go with suspension.  It's probably possible to build a non-suspension case that works as well as a suspension case but I think it's hard to do.

Go with wood.  Better for thermal mass (slowing down temperature changes inside the case) and absorbing the occasional hard knock.

If you live where it gets dry in the winter, go with a good hydrometer and humidification system.  Get a Musafia or buy something like a Stretto.

If you travel a lot by air, get a case that looks smaller than  your typical oblong case if you can.  That means a dart case, Bobelock "half-moon" case or Musafia Aeternum.  Most of those cases don't take up *that* much less space than an oblong case (if at all) but they look smaller to fussy gate agents so you're less likely to get into trouble.

And if you fly a lot by air, this is really an opinion but get a case that looks classy and yes, expensive.  If you ever need help stowing your violin safely on an airplane, people seeing a very nice looking case tend to assume that what's inside should be treated with care.  As opposed to seeing a student instrument beater case.  This shouldn't be the case (so to speak) but I think it's true.

Bottom line, my recommendations are Musafia if you can afford it.  Bobelock if you can't.  And when thinking about your case budget, think about how easy or hard it would be to replace your violin -- even if the instrument is insured at 100% of market value.

December 24, 2010 at 08:18 AM ·

Not sure if this is considered as hijacking a thread. But I have a related question anyway. I see most of you have an understandable awareness of humidity on the side of dryness, and there is a solution for that is a humidifier.

How about the other side, too humid or wet side. What I  should look for when I live in a hot (not burning hot as in desert, ok) and humidity is always from 80% up weather? Plus, I travel on motorbike so even if I could afford a Masafia, I could not simple drag it around due it its fancy look, it attracts robber and thieves where I live.

So far I have not found any problems with my weather, except: rosin is more sticky when they’re out for a while on strings, and, my cheap violin bought from ebay which was left alone for couples of weeks in its cheap case grew some molds on the fingerboard, I did have mold problem with my constantly in use previous violin, mold grew in the pegbox, and the body of the peg as well. Yurk, I know, but then I’m still looking for a solution until now.

Any advice?

December 24, 2010 at 12:33 PM ·

Phuong, in your home could you use a de-humidifier? could you afford to spend money on buying one?

I had one and it was fantastic, I could set it so it was constantly monitoring the humidity 24 hours a day and adjusting so that it kept it at 50% all the time, lovely! it was big enough to cover a 3 bedroom house though I used it in a one bedroom flat.....

don't know what if anything could be used in the violin case.....

December 25, 2010 at 04:10 AM ·

Thanks Jo for your suggestion. In my country, a de-humidier is a non-sense thing in house hold. You won't find 3 things a typical house: a dish washer, a dryer and a dehumidifier :)

Anyway, I did a research since I first discovered the mold. They either sell the tiny one for lab purpose of student which is a little bit bigger than a metronome, or an industrial one which is big enough for...a company storage. As you see, since there is zero demands for it as household device so it's not available.

I set my eyes on some on sale on Amazon which can be used with 220V eletricity, but it's too big to be shipped,or to ask for someone to help bring it back here.

I'm now using some silica gel in a cotton small bag, hopefully it helps. They absorb way to fast, I microwave them last night, 3 days later they all grow lol. It's a very time consuming process of microwaving them in 30 seconds, then let the water vaporize, then again and again until they're dry, then let them cool down to put back in the case. And they keep broken during the process so I have to replace them too!

If anyone can suggest a better solution than silica gel for my case then I will be forever in debt, or until next time I go to the States, or until I successfully beg someone to help to drag a de-humidifer to Vietnam :)

December 25, 2010 at 10:35 AM ·

 Phuong, if I ever come to Vietnam I won't pack anything at all but a de-humidifier for you! :)

December 25, 2010 at 12:00 PM ·

 Hi,

I think Singapore has around the same humidity. Recently my violin grew a few molds on its back of the violin. I was very shocked and i removed it instantly.

I think the best solution for the fingerboard of the violin is to get a new coat of varnish or protection. For the fingerboard i will put a thin layer of linseed oil that act as a shield to prevent the board from absorbing too much water. AS the the violin, i keep it clean via using very little violin polish. Hope it helps.

I think at the end of the day, you need to clean the violin everyday to remove the mold spores on the violin...

Hope it helps.

Sherman

December 26, 2010 at 02:39 PM ·

@Jo: Thanks in advanced haha. You would be well taken care of you come here.

@Sherman: Thanks for the advice, that's what I'm doing. But there are days, or even week I can't touch my violin and surely it grows mold. What makes me more worry is the thing beneath it if any. Seeing mold is a good sign, because at least I know there is a problem to take care of...otherwise, I'm damned.

I search and search and see no answer what humidity does to violin, of course, this is not soaking the violin but just a very high humidity. There are at least few more people were/are asking same question in topic like this, one asks about dryness and got lot of answers, and one asks of too high humidity and got nothing, even in thread that included David Burgess. I'm not making violin nor understand the wood's nature, so it makes me worry that what kind of damage it could be done to the violin that I'm not able to know of, such as not seeing or feel it...

December 26, 2010 at 04:54 PM ·

Hi Phuong;

The two major dangers of high humidity are mold growth, which you've already experienced, and that humidity levels over 60% result in the wood being much less resistant to bending and permanent deformation. String tension puts an enormous load on the violin. A major component of restoration on valuable old violins is re-shaping them to undo this distortion. Instruments which are kept in a controlled environment need much less attention this way.

I hadn't posted because I don't have a good solution for you. Even if you could get a dehumidifier, I don't know what energy costs are in your area, and it may be less expensive to have occasional major repair work done on the violin, or even replace it periodically, than to run a dehumidifier over a period of years.

Here's something you might try though. It is a small dehumidifier based on the silica gel desiccant you have been using, but rather than needing to put it into the oven or microwave to drive off the moisture it has accumulated, it plugs into a wall outlet to regenerate. The sample I have here says that it is rated for 100 to 240 volts, so it may work where you live with nothing more than an adapter plug. The smallest size they have (the E-333) is about 15 by 12  by 4cm, so it may or may not fit into your case. You may also need to partially wrap it in plastic to keep it from removing too much moisture. A link is below:

www.eva-dry.com/products.html

If this won't fit in your case, maybe you could keep the instrument and case inside a fairly airtight cupboard with one of these inside.

December 27, 2010 at 04:31 PM ·

Thanks a lot  for your answers, David!! I'm now getting the violin out of its case when I'm home and done the cooking, only put it back to the case when I leave home and can't supervise it.

The reason I take it out because it's under a ceiling fan, better ventilation than a case so i think it might help to stop the mold.

My friend has a theory that my cheap violin made from a not seasoned wood (it's heavy!) so it's easier to prone to mold than a good violin made from wood.

About running the dehumidifier, I plan to turn it on when I'm not home only, because my house has nothing to ventilate when we close the door so I think it's the time for the machine take care of it. When I'm home i can open the door and turn on the fan. I hope that would work. But that's the plan AFTER I have one. I really need it!!!!

Btw, I think I'm going to clear out a small cabinet to put the violin in (without its case) when I can have the dehumidier.

December 29, 2010 at 07:09 AM ·

Phuong, the Eva-Dry E-300 has pretty good reviews on Amazon.com which also sells it for less.  People report good results when used in a small enclosed space such as a safe.  And if it does not fit in your violin case, you may as well get the larger E-500 for a few dollars more.

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H0XFCS

You will want to dehumidify the case too, in order to keep the humidity of the violin more constant when you put it back (and to prevent mold from growing in the case).   See if you can get a large plastic container, such as this Sterilite underbed box (88.6cm L x 42.2cm W x 15.6cm H) which should accomodate the case:

www.sterilite.com/SelectProduct.html

December 29, 2010 at 11:42 AM ·

I've had the E-300 inside a case for 24 hours to see what it would do. Room humidity was 45%, and humidity inside the case was 35% when opened. I would expect it to provide a larger drop at higher humidity levels, but it's rather dry here right now, so there wasn't a convenient way of testing that. Still, a 10% drop could make the difference between mold and no mold.

The case is a Cordura covered wooden shell, and has no special seal at the closure.

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