Best quality violin case

April 24, 2013 at 05:25 AM · So, I bought a medium-priced Gewa violin case about 4 years ago. My teacher had had the same Gewa case for about 15 years in mint condition, so we figured it was worth purchasing.

After about 6 months, the first pieces fell off of the exterior (snap fasteners), then the fabric started to peel off and by now it just looks like it belongs to a homeless person (who for some reason carries around a violin case... ). Both the interior and exterior are completely fallen to pieces. I did my share of glueing and sewing but the last drop to the cup was, when the shoulder strap broke on the stairs and my violin dropped really hard.

And it's not just me. Almost everyone I've spoken to who have bought a Gewa case in the past 5 years has experienced the same thing.

Now it's become pretty clear, I will have to carry around my violin for the rest of my life, so my family thought, I should buy something that would really last for at least 10 years (nothing insanely expensive though, I am still a student.)

But WHAT brand to trust? Gewa used to make quality cases but as you can see, now the quality has become cheap.

Please make your suggestions.

Replies (28)

April 24, 2013 at 08:13 AM · I would strongly recommend a look at the Hiscox cases.

http://www.hiscoxcases.com/

Check out their video, which explains why they give superior thermal and impact protection.

They are inexpensive, functional and absolutely indestructible.

I'm a happy customer, and know a lot of gigging musicians who use this case and swear by it...

April 24, 2013 at 09:30 AM · Musafia! Even if somehow a Musafia started to fall apart, they have a lifetime warranty.

www.musafia.com

http://www.musafia.com/warranty.html

Bit pricey but absolutely worth every penny. Mine was £800GBP and they go much more expensive than that... eek. If you have a look on the website there's a discounted page, you could find something there.

April 24, 2013 at 09:57 AM · This is very timely. I went to put my violin back in its case last night and noticed it looked skewed. All three hinges had pulled off so the case was only held together by the material. Its lasted exactly 4 years - but I can't see a manufacture's name to berrate!

If the OP doesn't mind - and the topic is already here - I'd like to add some specs. I need a case thats strong (for travel), light enough to carry easily but that also provides some protection against the extreme cold that we get here. One idea is a shell-type case with an over-case for winter.

In particular, are there any shell-type cases that one should avoid?

thanks :)

April 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM · I second the recommendation for Musafia. I own an Aeternum, and it is definitely a superb-quality case.

April 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM · How much does it weigh Lydia? I mean is it something you could easily carry for a mile or so...

April 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM · The Bobelock 1017 and 1051 -- well made, very protective cases.

On the high-end, of course, you have Musafia and Riboni. Protective as well as beautiful!

April 24, 2013 at 12:50 PM · I suppose it depends on what kind of shape you're in. ;-)

I've never found it to be heavy, and I normally carry it with the shoulder strap plus a grip on the handle, with the weight of the case on my back.

Musafia has weights on their website, although I don't have the current Aeternum, but an older one. It's about six pounds.

April 24, 2013 at 01:14 PM · Thanks. I did looki it up and its 6.5lb. I also reread the topic here on plywood vs plastic:

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=23513

And confirmed that wood remains the material of choice for many high-end cases.

I suppose there is a rough case/violin cost ratio - its obviously not necessary to spend $1K on a $500 violin, and idiotic to put a strad in a student case. I wonder if 1:10 or 20 is about right, topping out at the high (case)end of $3-4K. thus, a 5K violin would go in a ~#500 case.

A trip to my violin shop is in order!

April 24, 2013 at 01:40 PM · I am a Bobelock fan. They are sturdy and relatively inexpensive.

April 24, 2013 at 01:52 PM · I got a custom extra reinforced Accord case for just over $1,000 - it is able to withstand in excess of 100 kilograms of force; I tested this by both sitting and standing on the lid (I weigh 160 pounds), which barely buckled. Under sustained force on one area (e.g. when I pressed down on it with an elbow and leaned my body weight on it) the case did flex somewhat.

Previously I had owned cases by Musafia, Negri, Bobelock, Bam, etc.. the Musafia was a lovely case and built like a tank, but after a period of disease (and my muscles atrophying slightly) I found that the case was much too heavy for me to carry, so I sold it. The Negri, when I purchased it, had a problem with the center latch in which it would not properly close the case (and the case would only be held shut by the zippers) - but I have heard that they fixed this problem a couple years ago.

The Bobelock was also built like a tank, but unfortunately the hinges degraded over time and now the case no longer readily closes properly; I still keep this case as a reserve, though.

I also have an old Bam Contoured Hightech that I use for my spare violin, that had served as my primary case for four years (then replaced by the Bobelock, Musafia, an inexpensive Toshira, and my current Accord, in that order).

April 24, 2013 at 07:33 PM · I have a Gewa Maestro which I've used for about 5 years. The only manufacturing issue I've had with it so far is that one of the snap buttons is loose.

That said, I currently use a Hiscox Oblong case, with a screwed-on cover. The Hiscox provides significantly greater shell rigidity than does the Gewa. The Hiscox case is one of the few that I've seen (along with Bobelock) that actually offers some form of protection for the bottom panel: every other case I've seen (including those by the American Case Company, Gewa, Heritage, Angel) have such flimsy bottom panels that I felt I would put a hole through the case shell if I so much as leaned on the bottom panel. The Hiscox case's bottom panel even at its weakest (thinnest) point still requires that I lean and put about 50 or 60 pounds of force on an area the size of the palm of my hand for there to be any noticeable (roughly half a centimeter) give in the structure.

The exterior dimensions of the case are roughly comparable to other hard-shell cases. However, because of the significant thickness (almost 1" if not more in many places) of the case shell (comprising of the ABS plastic and rigid polyurethane foam), the interior space of the case is slightly narrower than the norm. If you use a bar-type shoulder rest, it can be a challenge to store it inside the case.

The aluminum rims along the lid and body of the case are much more rigid than similar-looking rims found on other thermoplastic cases. These grooved rims help reduce the stress placed on the hinges when the case is closed - cases without this valance rely solely on the hinges and perhaps the latch to ensure that the top and bottom of the case do not slide past each other. The aluminum also contributes significantly to the rigidity of the side panels, which are also much tougher than those of the other cases I mentioned above.

The strap attachment rings are sewn into the cover of the case, attached by thick nylon belts which run the entire length of the cover, and are reinforced with lateral straps doubly sewn into the cover. In essence, to break through one of the strap attachments, you would have to break the metal ring itself, or rip off half of the cover itself.

The case interior does not have suspension pads for the body of the instrument. Instead, the instrument area is padded on an incline such that the scroll is suspended by half an inch above the shell. I use a small chunk of foam to fill the space between the tailpiece and the case lid in lieu of the suspension pad that I would like to have.

If there were things I would change in regards to the design of the Hiscox case, I would add 2 more bow holders, move the instrument to the left such that the accessory pocket is under the bow spinners (as opposed to the instrument itself), add humidity control elements (such as a *large* humidifier), add an instrument blanket, use more conventional suspension padding, use higher-density foam padding, and reinforce the thinnest points in the shell with either thicker plastic or aluminum crossbars such that the area around the instrument is the last place to deform in event of a severe impact.

I got my case through finecases.com, though Elderly instruments also offers the case without the cover. I don't know of any other dealers in the U.S. through whom you can get a Hiscox case.

I hope my long-winded post helps you in evaluating the possible alternative cases you may be considering.

-Jeff

April 24, 2013 at 11:23 PM · I bought a Bam Classic violin case about 15 years ago from Quinn violins and it has lasted very well. It still looks like new on the outside, very heavy duty waterproof material and the inside has no rips, tears or damage. I have adjusted the zippers per the mfgr's suggestions twice and expect many more years of service. The case is lightweight and the violin fits securely (French fit) inside. It's not full suspension but I've never had any concerns that my violin is not fully protected. It also has an expanding music pocket that is the full length of the case so one can get a lot of stuff into it safely. The Classic model is still available new on the Internet and the price is usually less that $300.

April 24, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Liisi,

My experience with single Gewa violin case (can;t remember the model and it is not being sold anymore) is somewhat similar to yours: the exterior is worn out the most (flaps, plastic feet and plastic ring), but the interior is holding well so far. The deterioration slowed down when I started using Moorodian winter cover.

I agree with Elise that the money worth investing in a violin case is proportional with the value of the instrument.

On the other hand, one does not expect to wear the same hand bag for life, so why would it be different for a violin case? When it served the purpose, by another one. Keep the economy going!

Some folks on this site gave quite a few positive reviews about "Concord Delite" case.

http://www.gostrings.com/covicade.htm

April 25, 2013 at 02:08 AM · I bought one!

I almost got a Bam Lucy model for $555 but then last minute was shown a Bobelock #1047 Fiberglass Half Moon Violin Case for just under $300. It comes with a removable waterproof outside cover - a great idea in our climate. Mine is in ivory with a black cover and royal blue inside. I almost bought the pink one but realized that I'd never be taken seriously as a violinist thereafter!

Those of you on FB will see it soon... :)

April 25, 2013 at 02:29 AM · OP - too bad we don't live closer. I have several extra cases - single and double - ranging in condition from really good to absolutely mint, that I would sell very cheaply. A very solid semi-folding music stand, too. If anyone is interested and is in or can come to the New York City area, let me know, and I can list more details.

April 25, 2013 at 09:23 AM · Wow, cases really are a hot topic.

By now I have found a different alternative:

Obviously I can't afford a Musafia violin case (in the far future, I'm hoping) and my local case dealer, after hearing my story about the Gewa, just told me: "Buy a cheap one from China then. It will also fall apart soon but at least you get exactly what you pay for." That being kinda depressive, I figured I will reincarnate my old Gewa (since the interior material is pretty okay not to mention gorgeous, and the hard protective parts are also intact). We have an instrument case renewer-guy in Estonia who is told to do excellent work for less than half the money a handmade leather exterior case would cost. I also believe his work is of a higher quality than of another medium-priced massproduct.

I'll let you know how it turns out and if I can recommend it. Maybe you'll find someone like that in your area too.

April 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Like violins and bows, cases from China come in a range of types and qualities. I have two idenitcal double cases from China - which are not for sale - that are very well made and as solid as tanks. But they're heavy.

April 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM · At the shop yesterday I almost bought a chinese case - which was almost identical to the one that lost its hinges on the weekend - but it was solid, servicable and good value at ~$290. It was only at the last minute that the assistant showed me the Bobelock fiberglass line. For almost the same price I got a truly lovely case, stylish (ivory and black) and, based on many reports, well made.

There seems to be almost a tacit assumption now that for something to be cheap and good it has to come from china. This was obviously not the case ('scuse pun).

April 25, 2013 at 09:24 PM · Bobelock fiberglass line

Oh Elise! I could have sold you mine much cheaper!

April 25, 2013 at 09:34 PM · I look for 5 things to determine ideal qualities in a case.

1. Impact protection

2. Weight (lightest with most impact protection)

3. Quality of construction (how sturdy it will be)

4. Aesthetic

5. Price (luxury to price ratio)

Others might choose a different order of priority, but for my needs, this is the order of importance for me. Someone might want the lightest case possible and see that as their first priority and are willing to pay any price for that and decent protection.

That said, a quality plywood laminated wooden case will last the longest and absorb the most shock; a priority when evaluating a case protecting a valuable instrument. Bobelock and shar american case co. makes the most quality lower priced plywood cases, and while Musafia & Negri are at the high end. I know of some people with bobelocks and american case co cases that have lasted decades. I use Musafia for styling and longevity. Any case won't last as long if it is abused, however.

I've bought and tried over my lifetime bobelock, american case co, Bam hightech, and Musafia cases. If you can own more than one case, that is ideal, because you get benefits from different cases for different situations. I have a main "go to" Musafia dart case and swap out depending on what I need. If I know I'll be carrying my case a lot, I'll bring a light composite case or a wooden dart, or if I need to use many bows and carry scores, I would take my oblong case, etc. My favorite traveling combination is taking the Luis and Clark carbon fiber violin with BAM hightech contoured case for the lightest carry ever. That instrument is sturdy itself.

April 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM · Raphael - ah well, I guess in this case destiny did not have it in her ....

I hope it wasn't the ivory one... :-ee

April 26, 2013 at 02:59 AM · No, it's a black half-moon with a detachable cover...

April 26, 2013 at 03:13 AM · I have a Bobelock 1002 which has worked well for me. I dropped it from the top of a pickup truck bed once and my violin was unscathed. I was impressed as I expected the instrument to be in shambles.

August 30, 2013 at 06:21 PM · I have an old American Case Co. case of unknown type -- probably 30 years old. It's well past its prime and needs to be replaced. I'm an amateur and I tend to carry a fair number of small items with me, so I wanted some storage room. My current case is not a suspension case, but it should be given the value of my instrument.

None of the name brand cases are completely without flaw or blemish -- I've read of various failures in all of them.

The Muasfia cases are beautiful, superbly made but outside of my price range. The Negri Milano is also beautiful and a design that I very much like, but also more than I can reasonably spend. Next in line is a Gewa Diagonale. It's a design similar to the Negri Milano and one that I like because, among other things, should a bow somehow come loose form the spinner, it can't damage the top of the instrument. I found a Gewa Diagonale for about $470US plus shipping out of The Soundpost (http://www.thesoundpost.com) in Ottawa, Canada, and that's what I chose. Gewa says that the Diagonale is made in Germany, though I'm not sure that's a guarantee of anything special. I've seen their other cases and liked the fitment and the hardware. Hopefully, it will serve me and my fiddle well for a longtime.

February 9, 2016 at 12:04 PM · I commissioned Wiseman Cases (UK) to make a violin case for me last year, and although it took a long time (there is a long queue of orders), it was well-worth the wait. They are not cheap, so if you have a week heart, be warned!

The case's features include:

Carbon Fibre shell with special reinforcing pillars, for lightness and strength (both incomparable in any other violin case)in a range of colours. I chose to have mine without the high-gloss finish

The lid of the case is supported by an adjustable strap which can be disconnected to allow you to open the case flat (useful when brushing out or vacuuming, I would think

Apparently you can drive over these cases in your car, without any concern for the instrument inside (I have not tried this!)

Water proof (sealed lip all round)

Case retains the outside temperature for up to twelve hours, so the instrument does not suffer shock when unpacked in a different location from where it was put away

Designed to resemble a bassoon case, because bassoons are low-theft instruments, compared to violins being high-theft instruments

Marine grade stainless steel fittings (lock catches are designed to swivel out of the way to avoid damage to the instrument, and are extremely robust)

Bow storage (for 4 bows)prevents the possibility of bows becoming loose in the case and damaging the instrument

Hidden tracking device, which can be monitored online or on a smart phone (see where your violin is, set it to warn you if someone moves it) - you would never discover this device by yourself, it is very cleverly hidden

Extremely practical storage compartments for rosin, mutes and pencils, string tube and string pouch, plus Velcro loop to keep shoulder rest secure inside case

Comfortable handles for horizontal or vertical carrying, plus straps for carrying on your back (all leather)

Detachable music pocket on outside of shell (leather)

Smaller and sleeker than most cases, because the strength of the carbon fibre shell does not require the traditional construction

Choice of lining fabrics and colours

Bespoke - your individual preferences may be incorporated into the design

The instrument is held in position within the case in such a way that not the slightest movement is possible during transit, and a pad is included for adjustment to accommodate instruments which are smaller than standard measurements

The strength and features of the case may enable you to ask for a discount on your insurance premiums (I wrote to Aviva three weeks ago to ask, but they have so far not replied)

First-class customer service from the makers

This case will last forever. It has attracted a lot of attention from other string instrument players, and is very modern-looking and exceptionally elegant. It is so easy to carry and stow. Well worth the price. Forget all conventional cases, this is in a class of its own, just like a Bugatti Veyron may be compared to a Mercedes, Bentley and other luxury marques, which may be employed as suitable useful accessories!

My playing has improved considerably since my case arrived!

February 9, 2016 at 04:05 PM · Has anyone else successfully gotten a discount on their insurance due to its case?

I use Clarion, and have a Musafia Aeternum case.

February 9, 2016 at 10:43 PM · Franck - show us a few pictures of this wonder, please.

February 10, 2016 at 07:18 AM · It's quite interesting, actually. You can find it here:

http://bormanviolins.com/wiseman.html

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