I have been researching violin cases for over a year now. The conclusion I've drawn is that at this moment in time, there is a real void that needs to be filled. If a company were to grab the opportunity and come out with some quality wooden cases in the mid-price range ($200-$600), I think they would do very well.
My first, quality case was an American case Co. Continental, bought in the mid 80's. It was a fantastic case! I have been wanting another for years now. That is the case that I compare all others too. It was and still is dear to my heart, and I am saddened that the great American Case Company as we knew it, no longer exists.
Last year I had my first, real, near-miss tragedy occur. We had moved. The first thing I did during the move was look after the instruments. One that I thought was in a specific case inside the house however, turned out to have been in a case that got left in the garage. For a year and a half this violin was hidden from view between boxes that never got unpacked. Here in Canada, we normally experience extremes of dry 15-20 below freezing to high humidity in the 90's for summer. Not good for violins. Fortunately that first winter in the new house was a mild one. You cannot imagine the panic I felt when I discovered that the violin was missing and subsequently found the case in the garage. I was in tears. This was not a valuable violin monetarily, but the only one my father left me before he died, and therefore of great sentimental value. I brought the case (an old Jaegar case from I'm guessing the 1960's) inside but didn't open it. I let it acclimate gradually to the indoor temperature. A day or two later I opened the case.....just a crack for a few hours, then finally all the way. The violin looked okay. I stared at it with a perplexed look on my face. I brought it to my violin maker for a check-up. It was fine. No cracks or damage anywhere. Halleluja! I could not believe it.
That is when I decided to look for quality cases for my other instruments. I believe that old Jaegar case, with it's wooden multi-ply frame, leather cover, and silk interior, saved the violin from certain destruction. If it had been left in any other case I own at the moment, I doubt it would have survived.
So....my first quest was to look for another Jaegar case. That's when I found out that Jaegar had been bought out by Gewa some time ago. What they are calling the "original Jaegar" case is no longer made from wood, but a thermo composite material. For $1,500 I would like the same quality as the old one I have.
Then I found out about Musafia. This is what I would like have as soon as I can afford it. But for several violins? It will take some time to be able to do this.
More recently I found out about Bobelock. I went to order one for my precious 3/4 size violin. Guess what? Bobelock was bought out by another company a few months ago. A dealer said there are a lot of changes happening and that many of the cases are no longer available.
Bam, you say? No thanks. I love most things French (even married one), but I never cared for the Bam violin cases. Too minimalist. I want my violin wrapped in padding and comfort. I have also heard stories about melting and parts not holding up. The lack of insulation is just not a good mix with Canadian weather.
So......if any entrepreneur has made it to the end of this message, please consider launching a new violin case company. Or, American case Co. come up from the grave. I will welcome you with open arms.
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