Needed: quality mid-price violin cases

March 9, 2012 at 09:24 PM · 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.

Replies

March 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM · Bethany, for multiple violins you can use Bobelock. Maybe you can order online. My local store has it, and check other stores. The Half-Moon ones are durable, 5 layers of wood, nice durability, and has nooks and cranny's that are not even mentioned in descriptions. ( For example, a hidden string tube, a pocket for pencils, humidifiers) the only bad review I hear frequently is that people abuse the case hinges by putting too much stuff in it. It's also cheap about $150-$200 depending where you get it.The line of Howard Core cases are growing. The Core 525 case is a standard in my local shop. For only about $200 and they have nice interiors. About a 1/3 of the people I know use this or Bobelock. Also check out the other cases these companies sell. Also Gewa is a great company. The lower end models are made in China, while the higher end are made in Germany. The Gewa Venetian reminds me of the Jaeger cases.A list of cases that are affordable, and durable is here

1.Bobelock

2.Howard Core

3.Gewa

4.Tonerali

5.Pro Tec

6.Musafia ( On the higher end)

March 10, 2012 at 05:56 PM · Why does being "bought out" automatically mean an inferior product? Was Bobelock bought out? Hard for me to tell, I recently bought a Bobelock case and it seems quite fine. I got the one that is made specially for Johnson String and it was reasonably priced I believe. If what you want is the mystique of having a case that is "Made in the USA" (or Europe) then yes you will pay more for that.

March 11, 2012 at 01:15 AM · Gewa used to be a great brand, but lately I've been hearing reports of cases literally falling apart, cases where the bow spinners would touch the top of the violin when the case was closed, etc...

I feel like their "strato" style cases are still quite good; a friend of mine recently purchased an oblong one and it's a great case. Perhaps their higher line "thermo" cases are also good, but the lower end ones seem kind of cheap.

My violin maker recommends cheap no-name cases from Korea that cost less than two hundred bucks but are remarkably sturdy (enough so to withstand shipping precious instruments overseas); a violin dealer I trust recommends the Bobelock fiberglass cases, especially the dart shape (although if they've been bought out, the price/quality level might change, and not for the better); a couple dealers have also recommended Concord oblong violin cases for a good value.

March 11, 2012 at 01:54 AM · Can the Gewa Maestro ( Shaped ) hold a shoulder rest? I've been looking at the Bobelock Featherlite case and the Gewa Maestro. Any reviews on the Maestro? I also heard that the Sport model literally broke apart. I use to own a American Case Co. It was nicely built. Although the "Feet" of the case came off, and that the humidifier spilled. It was just too heavy.

March 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM · What about Negri Cases?

They look nice and "reasonably" price.

http://www.negricases.com/for-musical-instruments/violin-cases/canvas-exterior-cases.html

March 12, 2012 at 05:54 AM · The issue here is quite simple, in the end. One either manufactures cases in the "west" (i.e. USA or Europe) or "first world", or they manufacture in a so-called developing country ("third world").

There's not much in between, as the "second world countries" (i.e. the old communist bloc nations) have for the most part passed to the west.

For a number of reasons, manufacturing in the west can permit the creation of a better product, but at a higher price. If you think a minimum of $25 per hour for specialized labor (I've read that a GM autoworker in Detroit costs over $50 an hour), and 10 hours to make a case, you see that's already $250 on labor alone, all else excluded.

Manufacturing in developing countries means you can get a much cheaper product (because of the much cheaper labor cost), but, again for a number of reasons, the quality level is likely to be lower along with the price.

So a mid-priced case is a very difficult challenge. In a way, the lack of mid-priced cases is a metaphor of today's increasingly polarized society.

March 12, 2012 at 07:55 AM · The lack of good cases is starting to get on my nerves. I live in Chicago most of the time, where it's REALLY REALLY hot or REALLY REALLY cold, with spring and autumn being very short (read: two weeks) and often wet. I commute on public transportation and carry my instrument around the campus besides, so it's subject to jostling, occasional falls, being squashed, e.t.c. The only viable case I've seen for this extreme weather is Musafia with insulation against both hot and cold weather.

My good violin stays at home most of the time, wrapped in silk and in a humidified room, but my other violin (called humorously the mistress by my family) goes out pretty much every day. I have two Gewa cases from the 90s as I bought my scaled violin from them, and the cases are magnificently made, but the recent ones that I've seen look nothing like the cases from the 90s. Shame on you, Germany. What on earth do you have to offer without football and superior craftsmanship?

I wish there were more affordable cases that are a bit sturdier. I'm not asking it to stop bullets (which the Musafia cases might do... hey, I live in the city of Mafia, I may need it someday), but the instrument going out of tune in February just because it was outside in a case for 15 minutes is getting silly.

March 12, 2012 at 08:40 AM · Another reason why case companies in the west have closed is that it has become extremely difficult to find good, talented workers, as well as it is to motivate and manage them in order to obtain the premium results that today's market demands.

This may sound like an obvious problem for any business, but it seems to be more so for case manufacturers. I was told that at American Case Co. the worker turnover was a major problem to the point that they had to resort to teaching new employees by video. Steve Bobelock apparently got so sick of dealing with his employees in L.A. that one day he walked in, said "you're all fired", and moved everything (incuding himself) to the Philippines.

I still remember the day that the president of Larsen Strings visited my booth at a trade fair, and after staring at one of my higher-end cases for a while, asking me: Dimitri, how on earth do you get your employees to make a product like that??

No, it's not easy to run a violin case manufacturing business in these modern times in the western world!

March 12, 2012 at 09:29 AM · You'd think with all the varieties of strings (Piranito to Evah, for example) and violins ($65 to Strads!), you'll be able to find the similar spectrum for cases, with quality and price drawing a bell curve. But oh no.

I'm sort of tempted to check out the Lugano cases, available exclusively at William Harris Lee, because Bein and Fushi didn't have any Musafia cases in stock and I'd like to take a look at the case before I plunk down the money. They aren't insane price-wise, and they looked good (granted, I haven't actually taken a look at them, I merely glanced at them when I took my mistress to get the pegbox fixed). BAM is attractive but the lighter ones don't give you much place to stash anything...

March 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM · @Brian, "lately I've been hearing reports of cases literally falling apart, cases where the bow spinners would touch the top of the violin when the case was closed, etc..."

I wonder if manufacturers added those little pads at the top and bottom of the body section of the case to turn the case into a "suspension" case without checking any of the other dimensions. The extra 1/4" to 1/2" of vertical movement of the violin would easily cause the problem with the spinners touching.

March 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Paul, I think you may be right about that, in which case it'd be risky not to use a substantial blanket over the violin in such a case (if the use of said case can't be avoided entirely).

In my opinion, Musafia cases are simply the best one can get these days, and are worth buying for anybody who wants peace of mind about transporting their instruments. I personally use a Musafia Master Series.. only things I don't like about it are the weight (I've underestimated the weight of the case one time, and injured my knee and my hand on two separate occasions when I accidentally let the case crash onto them), the latch (which I've cut myself on a couple times), and how it draws tons of attention from both strangers and acquaintances.. but these are all things that can be easily dealt with by just being a little more careful.

Oh, and just one other thing about Musafia cases; my bows have escaped from the new bow spinners on more than one occasion (if the hair is too loose, the bow manages to somehow jump out of the spinner), but this is no big deal as the instrument blanket is thick enough to prevent any harm from occurring.

March 12, 2012 at 01:14 PM · to Paul: you are 100% right. Just having pads in the right places does not guarantee that they are the right height and density to provide an actual suspension system.

Last summer I was called upon to examine a famous name case (sorry, can't mention which) in which an important 18th century Italian violin was literally destroyed after what the owner called a "small bump". I was called as an expert to determine if there was a manufacturing defect to this case.

As it turned out, rather than a manufacturing defect of this single example, it was a major design flaw that regards this and thousands of similar cases of the same make. The suspension pads were too low to be of any use, the back of the violin rested on the inside of the bottom of the case, and despite its $1,000+ price tag, it wasn't even padded there! Only velvet was there to offer protection to the violin.

What happened was that the case received a knock from below the back, which was transmitted directly to the back of the violin, pushing it upwards. Unfortunately, the slim and elegant design of the case didn't offer enough room inside for the violin to rise, so the bridge was compressed against the inside of the lid, breaking the $300,000 violin into pieces. And to think that the bump was considered so minor that the case was only opened hours later.

In my report I provided photographic evidence of all the above. I wish I could name names, but I'd get sued immediately.

March 12, 2012 at 02:33 PM · i own a BAM classic, which has held up very well. it has wooden sides, and is insulated. there are no metal latches to break or leather handle that wears out. the exterior fabric is pretty tough nylon. i beleive they are at 300.00. It seems like it provides comparable protection to many hardshell cases....under the majority of circumstances.

March 12, 2012 at 04:23 PM · Thank you, Dmitri, for adding yet another to my "nightmare scenario" list. I'm hoping at the moment that this is some evil ploy to make me buy the Musafia case and tote it around on campus, but somehow I think you're just being kind by warning. Either way, scream-inducing.

It's really hard to learn just what a good case is. Price tag can only tell you so much, and I'm not a casemaker so I don't see what went wrong or what's being done right until something terrible happens (let's hope that never happens). I haven't had anything yet except a crack in the pegbox, but it was to my dismay that after that got fix the tone changed. I've read too many cases such as "I slipped on ice, fell face forward, and my violin got smashed" "I bumped it and there was a huge crack down the body" kind of stories that make me not want to bring my instrument anywhere at all.

Argh.

March 12, 2012 at 08:34 PM · I bought a mid-price no-name case from an independent luthier a few years ago. It's been fine. On the heavy side, but quite capacious. So you may want to check with a local luthier you can trust.

March 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM · Sounds like the moral of this story is that no matter how good the claims made for any case, the best thing to do is to treat the case and instrument inside as much as possible as if they were made of glass and avoid bumps and knocks. And pay for decent insurance.

It's one reason my daughter is playing a decent but not horribly expensive Chinese violin - with the best will in the world no case is going to provide 100 per cent certainty against the knocks of bus travel to and from school. We ended up with a BAM slimline which was the best bet from the very limited selection of cases available locally - she simply couldn't manage the heavier cases and her school bag on the bus (especially on the days when she takes a trombone as well!)

March 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Bethany, there are some cases in your range on musafias website in the "used" section. Many of the cases have just been floor models at trade shows. I'd go for that, and get a very protective, gorgeous case for a ver fair price.

March 13, 2012 at 09:43 AM · I am not aware that Bobelock was bought out. I do know that their US distributor retired a year or so ago, and that Howard Core Company is the new North American distributor. I think that Bobelock's cases are a good value for the money. I also have credible information that the decision to move the company to the Philippines was based largely on the need to cut production costs in order to compete with the flood of low-cost Chinese cases coming into the country, and not because the American workers were terrible case-makers.

March 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Bobelock moved to the Philippines in 1993, which was way before the mass influx of acceptable-quality Chinese-made cases started to flow into the US.

And of course, there is a reason I wouldn't have anything against American case makers! ;-)

March 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM · I currently am looking for another case also. I've narrowed my choices to a Bobelock, or a Howard Core case ( Sorry Dimitri) The Musafia cases were really nice, but I guess too "Showy" and there were a couple prying eyes set on my case. I was considering Gewa, but after hearing how cases fell apart, damaging violin, I decided not to. I was currently looking at other models of cases to determine what needed to be factored in. I found this gel-like material that "Absorbs" shocks. I wonder if case companies would Gel is lightweight but can still absorb shocks I wonder if that's the solution everyone's looking for. But then again the temperture changes melting it, and that it would leave a inprint in the case....Better safe than sorry. Still looking for a case though....My other case literally fell apart ( The hinges gave in) And my precious Italian violin fell out ( So much for the zippers and the swiss lock.) and made a couple of scratches here and there. I will never use the case again.

March 14, 2012 at 12:21 AM · @Brian I'm now in the process of devising a simple method of ensuring that there is at least 1/4" of clearance between violin and spinner. Should be pretty easy.

March 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM · I have a nice Bobelock for sale! Cream outside and wine interior. Excellent condition!

March 14, 2012 at 01:44 AM · I'm not sure what the OP's objection is to Howard Core having bought Bobelock. They're still making a good, solid case for those of us unable to spring for a Musafia. One of the Bobelocks at our house gets used the way cases belonging to kids in music schools get used, and is in fine shape, if a bit scuffed, after almost four years.

March 14, 2012 at 07:56 AM · I understand that Dimitri cannot mention the manufacturer who is selling a high end case that is not fit for purpose.

Presumably this is still being sold and our violins are being put in danger. Can anybody not directly connected with this terrible story shed any light? We violinists need to know! Save our violins!

Personally I will always be in Mr Musafia's debt. Through my own silly fault, my violin was thrown in the air and landed three meters away upside down on a concrete floor. It wasn't even out of tune!

Cheers Carlo

March 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM · My impression of violin cases is that there is a valid reason to have a good quality case to protect the instrument, but it's also possible to go off the deep end and spend a lot more than you really need to.

The same thing happens when people have children. They go insane buying every gadget and furniture and clothes and sophisticated toys and organic food, all with the attitude of "spare no expense -- this is my child." Then when their kid grows up there's not enough money for a decent college education. What a surprise.

Think about what you'll save by buying a reasonably priced, adequate violin case and ask yourself how many luthier adjustments that will buy, or maybe you can get your bow rehaired a little more often or try some different strings from time to time. Maybe even splurge on so-and-so's rosin-to-die-for. I realize there are truly valuable violins out there that warrant the very best possible care. But when your case costs half as much as your violin then I think you need to have your head examined. It's like paying another $1000 a year in car insurance premiums so that your collision deductible can be $250 instead of $500.

March 14, 2012 at 06:29 PM · I've just posted a blog here on V.com that addresses Carlo's points, hopefully it can be useful.

Cheers!

March 15, 2012 at 01:09 AM ·

March 15, 2012 at 01:54 AM · My case actually cost more than my violin:)

May 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM · I hope to respond in more detail about the history of the American Case Company. However, for now, I'm pleased to say that the ownership of the company returned to the USA from Germany. Under my personal supervision, as when I developed the original designs and construction with my good friend and manager, Joe Hovorka, we have initiated extensive quality initiatives which, I'm happy to report, resulted in a first-class line of cases. The challenge of producing the same quality at affordable prices was the issue. Currently, through Shar and selected dealers, the Manhattan case offers the fairly indestructable design of the former Continental. The custom designed bow holders are the best in the industry....all aspects of protection have been addressed. There is more to say, however, I should only answer to the notion that American Case Company cases are not in production. They certainly are. The Continental will again be available fairly soon.

Charles Avsharian, CEO Shar Music and American Case Company.

May 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Mr. Avsharian, I was wondering if the American Case Company "Dart" case would ever be produced again? I know of a great orchestral violinist who keeps his Stradivarius in one; I was disappointed to learn that they are no longer made.

May 7, 2012 at 08:35 PM · Dear Brian, Yes, the new Dart will be available later this year. Details when available...interior appointments. The Dart will be designed as a Suspensionair model with Duracover exterior as before.

Charles Avsharian

May 8, 2012 at 04:48 AM · I too have had a Gewa case fall apart on me. In the the UK I was able to get a full refund as, under the "Trade Description Act", the case wasn't "fit for purpose".

My cases which are "fit for purpose" are by Musafia, Gordge, and the leather GL case.

Cheers Carlo

May 9, 2012 at 12:49 PM · I have used a American Case Company Continental Suspensionair case with a Cushy Bag for 16 years and loved it. It survived a crazy accident when it fell from a plane (UA forced me to valet check-in the violin when I flew to Chicago.). Any violin can suffer serious damage with accidents like this. I must be lucky because the violin was not damaged at all.

I recently shopped for a new case because the interior of the case started to be a bit old with minor wear and tear. However, there are not many good ones available. I finally went for the Bobelock Corregidor case. The price is okay and appears to be well built. Hopefully it does not need to go through any accident again...

May 9, 2012 at 06:50 PM · I really like my Negri Venezia. I've only had it since christmas so I can't say much about durability, but it seems to protect my violin very good. January in Sweden can be quite cold, but my violin has been kept warm the few times I've had to take it outside for longer walks.

May 10, 2012 at 05:07 AM · Another thing that you have to consider (if you don't travel by car everywhere) is weight. It's really hellish when you have a laptop, a violin + 8lb of a case, a rolling carry-on and you are waiting for 40 minutes standing to board a plane. I don't drive very much so I always have to consider the weight too, and that's why I ruled out Bobelock Corregidor; I will suffer if I had an 8lb case on my back. The case itself is almost as heavy as a baby!

May 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM · I brought the Manhartten case during Shar's Inventory sale. And I am very pleased for the features that it has, especially their hallmarked Suspensionaire pads. So far everything funtions as advertised. I think this is a GREAT case for its price, and it will sure give its competitors a good run for their money! Thank you, Shar.

My ratings for the Manhartten case are:

craftsmanship 3/5, durability 3.5/5, protection 4.5/5, value/price 5/5. IMHO...

June 4, 2012 at 08:07 PM · The answer is simple: Buy one case for life that is correctly made in the first instance, and you'll have it for life (as Mick Gordge before me proved time and time again). It will prove to be the very cheapest case you ever bought.

We produce a "mid-range" case, and nobody, but nobody, is in the sightest bit interested in it, so please don't let me hear any more of this bleating.

You get what you pay for, as with all things.

Desmond Timms www.TATimms.com

Desmond@TATimms.com

June 4, 2012 at 10:41 PM · Mr. Avsharian, may I ask what you feel sets your bow holders apart from others? When I used to own one of the former Continental cases the only thing that stood out to me was that the spinners did not lock and I often found my bows had come free after flying.

June 24, 2012 at 01:07 AM · Resurrecting this ever-present question...

After having a narrow mishap hauling my instrument around on Paris Metro, I've decided to invest in a new case for the coming autumn and beyond.

What I'm looking for:

1. Sturdiness (I carry my instrument around by public transportation. Jostling happens. A lot.)

2. Relatively big compartment for shoulder rest, wristies, e.t.c.

3. humidity/temperature protection. My violin is very fussy for some reason.

My current options are Riboni, Musafia, and GEWA. I used GEWA violins and cases as a child, and I remember their cases being very sturdy, so I'm currently looking at Gewa Diagonale Oblong. I considered Musafia for a long time due to its reputation and the use of silks, but it's nearly a kilo heavier than GEWA for the same shape and as a female with a thin frame, a kilo makes a big difference when you have an instrument on your back. And Riboni's are difficult to get hands on (and I have no idea what they use for materials that line the case).

Any insights? If I do get the Musafia it'd be custom. My violin's not a Strad but it wasn't anything cheap either, so the last thing I want is getting jostled on the train and having the horror story come live.

June 24, 2012 at 03:04 AM · Musafia and Riboni can't be beat in terms of durability... I hear you can stand on them. I haven't tried that on my Musafia, though.

Gewa "Strato" cases are lightweight and seem to be a great value for the money; one of my friends bought one for her fine Italian violin and she loves everything about the case.

June 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM · The reason that the Gewa cases are lighter is because they are less strong. You have a choice as a case buyer, more protection and more weight, or, less protection and less weight.

I would not put my Italian violins in either BAM or Gewa cases.

Cheers Carlo

June 24, 2012 at 09:43 PM · I spent much time researching and searching for the 'right' case. I found Musafia to be the One! I also found some very good discounted prices with dealers- talk to them and you may get a 10% reduction...or more.

June 25, 2012 at 01:52 PM · Ms. Takahashi,

The Gewa Diagonale case is an excellent one, and for the price you probably can't get any better, as far as I know (unless you get a wonderful deal on a Musafia, but I doubt their prices will ever get that low, and as you said, they are indeed heavy, although obviously offering great protection to your valued instrument.) It is no Musafia, but it's pretty easy to carry; not the lightest, but really, really light on your shoulders. In my humble opinion, it also looks beautiful, although in a different way than the most high-end of cases. It's just really nice, without any fluff. I bought mine here, when I needed to balance my needs vs my budget: http://www.quinnviolins.com/qv_violincases_gewa.shtml

It's the best deal on them that I know of, although I am not sure about the final price tally since it needs to be shipped where you live. :/ That said, if you are able to find the Diagonale Oblong in Europe for the equivalent of $299, I could hardly call it a waste of money at all. Lovely case it is, pretty effective and practical, beautiful, and quite affordable to boot.

Hope you find the ideal case for your beautiful violin soon.

July 5, 2012 at 11:57 PM · I have a Negri Milano, which has been an excellent investment. A bit pricier than Gewa cases, but infinitely better made. (I had to return a beautiful looking Gewa Jaeger case because of a faulty latch and upholstery, and the troubling discovery that my bows actually rested on the top plate of the violin when the case was closed.) The Negri case is strong and sturdy, has good humidity and temperature protection (essential in Canada), and an elegant design. Stitching and upholstery are impeccable. The violin sits diagonally in the case, which opens up more space for accessory compartments, including a neat little cubicle for your rosin. There's even a leather holder for a pencil in the shoulder-rest compartment. The main accessory compartment is at the right end of the case, so if one of your bows should accidentally come loose, it cannot fall on top of the violin. A simple solution to a common source of damage --- I don't know why all cases are not designed this way. It also has a well-made latch and fittings plus comfortable carrying straps. I've had this case for about six months, and am really very happy with it. It's not the lightest, but that's the trade-off you make for strength and good protection. Musafia is tops, but this is a excellent alternative for a little less money.

July 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM · I second Desmond - the cheapest solution is to make whatever cheap case you have make do until you can afford a really good case once, and never have to buy another. I'm a happy Musafia customer - one good case, one good violin, one good bow, and hopefully now I'm all set for one good long time! I think it's the buying multiples of everything that eats into the budget so much. Plus, I'm old-school enough to value the mentality of time-intensive craftsmanship and quality rather than accessible, cheap, and disposable availability.

October 5, 2012 at 02:19 PM · Bobelock was not bought out. Steve Bobelock is still in charge, operating in the Philippines. They are now distributed by Howard Core in the U.S. They have been offering more of the low-end cases than they used to. They make and sell more foam cases than they used to and the new cheaper models have cheaper fabrics, etc. Also, the better quality cases are no longer available in silk, which is a shame. But, their upper level cases i.e. 1051, 1017, are still excellent and offer the same protection that they always have.

Concord is another excellent option in this price range.

Gewa did indeed buy out Jaeger. And, I've had so many complaints about Gewa case handles, zippers, etc. breaking that I won't sell them anymore. But, I do still carry the Jaeger line because they are still made to the old Jaeger standards. Gewa does now make a 'thermo-plastic' shell case, as mentioned above, under the Jaeger name. It's called the Prestige model. It's well-made and not a bad option for a composite case. But, they do still make the old Jaeger cases from wood, and they are still excellent. I believe they are still made at the same facility, by the Jaeger folks, even though they are now owned by Gewa. I can vouch for them being excellent, if expensive, cases. Just be sure to get the 'Jaeger' not the standard Gewa.

Pedi is another good new option for a protective, inexpensive case. Their cheapest model 11100 doesn't hold the instrument very tightly (it slides around within the case a little), but the better model model 8300 is great and a good value.

Bobelock is still my favorite though. The old high-end wooden Bobelock cases, not the fiberglass or foam.

October 5, 2012 at 03:03 PM · I recently purchased a Bobelock plywood half moon case and I am very happy with it. It is extremely solid and well built. For $200 I doubt that you will find better.

October 22, 2012 at 08:45 AM · I have used Gewa shaped cases for several decades: the shell is a thin, hard honeycomb sandwich, which is very resistant to shock, crushing and scratching.

BUT, as with all plastics, it deteriorates with age: the little steel domes sink into the shell, hinges begin to tear out etc.

Also, I have had to radically modify the interiors:

- I increase the dip in the bulkhead so it does NOT touch the neck (risk of fracture in case of shock);

- Supension-type foam inserts in the right places (the bridge should NEVER leave marks in the lid, and the scroll should NOT rest on the case bottom)

- I add rubber car-bumper ("fender"?) protection on the bottom end, and a handle at the top for the Paris metro.

December 14, 2012 at 10:32 PM · I would just like to clear up something at the top of this article about Bobelock being bought out. This is not true in that I am still making cases. Before my cases were distributed by Bruce Weaver. Now that Bruce has retired they are distributed by Howard Core & Co to dealers. I myself(Steve Bobelock) still run the mfg end and as I have always done try to offer a case that will last and protect your instrument. I started making cases when I was 19 yrs old and am still doing it at 65 yrs old.

December 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM · I work for Howard Core Company. We are the proud distributors of the Boblelock cases. I myself have carried a B1047 velvet case for more than ten years (which predates my employoment here by seven years!), and it is still a wonderful case. I also managed a violin shop for several years, during which we sold hundreds of these cases. Not one ever had a problem,and that is quite a statement when it comes to cases. You can't go wrong with any Bobelock product, imho.

December 18, 2012 at 11:26 PM · In response to Momoko's posts: "The lack of good cases is starting to get on my nerves. I live in Chicago most of the time, where it's REALLY REALLY hot or REALLY REALLY cold, with spring and autumn being very short (read: two weeks) and often wet. I commute on public transportation and carry my instrument around the campus besides, so it's subject to jostling, occasional falls, being squashed, e.t.c... My good violin stays at home most of the time, wrapped in silk and in a humidified room, but my other violin (called humorously the mistress by my family) goes out pretty much every day....

What I'm looking for:

1. Sturdiness (I carry my instrument around by public transportation. Jostling happens. A lot.)

2. Relatively big compartment for shoulder rest, wristies, e.t.c.

3. humidity/temperature protection. My violin is very fussy for some reason."

Coincidentally, we just received a message yesterday from another violinist in Chicago who expressed the same sorts of concerns. She shares a car with her husband, and as a result she is often forced to ride her bike around the city and the surrounding areas to teach lessons in homes and schools. She is very concerned about the safety of her instrument, particularly as we get deeper into winter. Our cases were designed to address these exact issues, and to protect violins and bows in places like Chicago that experience extreme climate conditions and fluctuations. Tempo cases actively warm the interior using electronics so as to maintain internal temperatures above 60F at all times, even in extremely frigid conditions. They also actively cool the interior so as to maintain safe temperatures for your violin and bows in hot weather conditions, and they protect against both high and low relative humidity levels.

In terms of sturdiness, nothing is more important than solid design and construction, high quality materials, and expert craftsmanship. As others have said here, that is often difficult to find overseas, where labor and parts are often cheap and unreliable. If you need protection against jostling and impact, then I would strongly recommend a case with an impact-resistant hard shell exterior that is designed to absorb and dissipate the energy of an impact. Some companies use materials that can crack or shatter on impact, so be sure to read the fine print in the warranty before purchasing to see if the shell material requires extra care or special handling. In my testing and experience, nylon, canvas, and other fabrics can break down or tear, exposing the interior frame (and sometimes the interior of the case) to the elements. Also be careful about water-resistant coatings on exterior fabrics, as they can wear away over time, and water can often seep through the seems.

Our cases do not necessarily fall into the lower price range mentioned in the original post. However, many people have mentioned other higher end cases that are available on the market and their value compared to lower-cost cases. Many people have also discussed the importance of finding "adequate" protection, and what "adequate" protection really means, but some people seem to be unaware of the advanced technologies that are now available, so hopefully this information is helpful.

December 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM · I bought a 2nd hand Hiscox shaped case on Ebay earlier this year after an old case fell apart at the hinges. The Hiscox is very tough and lighter than I suspected. In common with several shaped case designs, it only just holds a shoulder rest and there's a small storage section for rosin. I'm upgrading to one of their oblong models this Christmas so I'll have space for spare strings and an exterior music pocket. Really not expensive and worth every penny for the peace of mind.

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

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

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

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & 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

Subscribe