IS BUYING AN EXPENSIVE CASE WORTH IT?

June 2, 2016 at 12:28 PM · So, my case is starting to rip up and the compartment in the case for rosin is detached. So, as I was looking for cases, the BAM and Musafia cases were quite appealing, but they are WAY to expensive. First off, are those cases worth the money? Should I get a bow or something instead of a case?

Do you guys have any recommendations? Cases that are cheap but very high quality?

I think I prefer oblong cases over others. Or maybe a shaped case

Replies (101)

June 2, 2016 at 12:57 PM · Design and quality of materials matter more than price. A case must be uncrushable, and have good heat insulation. It must not trasmit shocks to the violin, epecially at the neck, under the soundpost, or over the bridge. The bow holder must not come near the belly of the violin, nor tangle the bow-hair.

June 2, 2016 at 01:00 PM · Define 'expensive'.

A good case is a must-have. How good? Latches must be secure, good quality zippers, internal support, etc.

But what is your lifestyle? I travel with my violin weekly, or twice weekly by car. I might walk a couple of blocks with it.

If I was travelling with it daily by subway, constantly being jostled etc., I'd go for a totally different case.

So get one that is well made and suits your needs. It needs to protect your violin and bow properly.

June 2, 2016 at 01:46 PM · You're playing a rental, so they should be providing your case as part of that, I believe.

Cases should likely be proportional to the value of the instrument. You can get decent-quality cases for a modest amount of money.

A Musafia is a fantastic case, but it's also expensive enough that unless you have the money to indulge yourself in a nice case simply because you want one, and/or you are buying a case that is intended to last a lifetime for an instrument that you really want to protect, it's certainly not a necessity.

June 2, 2016 at 02:33 PM · It depends what is the market price of your violin.

It may also depend on your attachment to this piece of wood.

Expensive is therefore a relative term.

My refurbished Musafia case is exactly 1kg heavier than my old and beaten-up Gewa. It is also a bit bulkier.... yet I decided to use it because I want to protect my violin.

June 2, 2016 at 03:02 PM · Dollar for dollar, I've been happiest with Bobelock cases. They have a range of internal arrangements for holding accessory gear. I've got both violin and viola oblong Bobelock cases.

True - Musafia cases are relatively heavy. Musafia cases have a unique latch design that complements the strength of the construction under a crushing load. I'm sure it is patented, or everyone else would use this design. I've got two Musafia casees, one Dart and one Oblong. I got the Dart for travel purposes 15 years ago, because it was the smallest case I could find, and very well priced for a Musafia. I take the Dart to local concerts because it looks unassuming (when closed) and I'm not going to have 3 extra bows in there while the concert is going on. However, I prefer oblong cases for their 4 bow holders and all the gear they can hold. I got my Salvatore Accardo Musafia oblong case out of pure vanity and because I was passionate about the design - and because I negotiated a 20% discount.

I've several old Jaeger cases (are Jaegers now sold by Gewa?) including one single and 2 double violin cases, but they've shown weaknesses in the hinge attachment area. They were another expensive case, but did not have any of the strength of the Musafias - but that was 50 year old technology.

My "working" violin/viola double case is a no name that has a "horizontal" sliding latch that might as well not even be there. (The maker of my viola sent me this case with my new viola and the W. Siefert bow he included when I bought it 20 years ago. That particular bow was a real stroke of luck! Workshop Seiferts are not always THAT good!)

Check the latch and consider its design on any case you consider - it is critical for safety of the contents, both for crushing and coming open when you might be careless and thoughtless And the WORST THING - some latches have parts that stick up above the lower edge of the case and can scratch the instrument if you carelessly slip it back into the case - and you will at one time or another.

Finally, a "subway handle" at the scroll end of the case can be very handy at times, whether or not you use public transportation. So too can "feet" on the opposite end of the case - especially if it has a subway handle.

I know several people who have the new, lightweight, BAM cases for very, very nice (and expensive) violins. And they are very happy with them. But they can be very expensive too. And the nice shiny black surface is subject to scratching.

Andy

June 2, 2016 at 06:51 PM · I am with Andy. I have Bobelocks for my violin and viola. They are strong, durable and convenient. They are not all that expensive. Unless you have some particular issue, or your instrument is incredibly valuable, it is hard to see why you would want to spend the kinds of money it takes to get a case such as a Musafia.

June 2, 2016 at 07:05 PM · I'm a happy user of the Hiscox cases. They are excellent value, and well engineered for superior protection. I know a lot of people who use them, including luthiers who ship instruments around the world in Hiscox cases. No-one has a bad word to say about them. I think you'd have to pay more than ten times the price to get anything significantly more functional.

Hiscox have a convincing video explaining the benefits of their unique construction method:

http://www.hiscoxcases.com/liteflite-construction.htm

June 2, 2016 at 07:18 PM · I had a nice Bobelock. It was a good-looking, functional, durable case, housing a fairly expensive violin. I got a Musafia as a gift, though, and it's been a great case -- if I hadn't been given one I'd have bought one for myself by now, and I'm intending to upgrade to an Enigma model sometime soon.

But I'd certainly second getting a Bobelock if you don't have much money to spend. You can get a decent suspension Bobelock for around $200, I think.

June 2, 2016 at 07:45 PM · Like it's been said, the case you get should suit your lifestyle.

It should also be proportional to the stuff you're going to put inside them! Musafia is the Rolls Royce of cases. Are you going to get one to store a $1500 violin in it? I would save the money instead and work on getting the next step up violin and bow. For something like that, cases in the $200 range should be sufficient.

June 2, 2016 at 08:17 PM · I had a very nice American Case Suspensionair case for 18 years and just replaced it with a Musafia Momentum.Although it is smaller and lighter than the old American,it is beautifully made and goes well with the red brown varnish of the Garimberti violin ( it is an Olive coloured velour material lining the case)

I am having a loose hinge problem with the inner lid but with a piece of foil duct tape placed over it ,it seems to be holding well and you can't see it.

Andrew is right about the lock mechanism.Don't leave it up or the violin risks getting scratched.

June 2, 2016 at 09:51 PM · If your "cheap" violin is your only violin, it still neads maximum protection!

June 3, 2016 at 12:05 AM · Adrian is right. The very few times I've had a Stradivarius or Guarnarius in my hands I realized I had no way to handle and care for it other than the way I had been trained om my own fiddles from the age of 4.

Andy

June 3, 2016 at 12:55 AM · I recently purchased a new model of the Masafia which is an oblong case and very light weight. The price point is attractive (around 675.00), I think. It has the same suspension features and is really attractive.

June 3, 2016 at 03:20 AM · I have to agree with all of you on the qualities of a good case. Here's my list:

1. the case should have minimal padding

2. the case should be strong and does not fall apart easily

3. the instrument should not rattle inside. I once put a reasonable-quality violin in a horrid case when travelling in a car and when I got home, the violin had rattled out of tune.

June 3, 2016 at 05:07 AM · I use a Musafia as my daily carrier. It's saved the life of my instrument on more than one occasion, and in terms of durability, safety, and storage space, I've not found anything else better. I've been using a Musafia for the past fifteen years.

Now, when I have to fly though, I have one of those lightweight BAM shaped cases with the soft cover. It's a lot easier to cram into small spaces...

June 3, 2016 at 05:13 AM · Oh, and plywood doesn't split the way plastics can.

June 3, 2016 at 09:20 AM · In my opinion, buying a cheap case is a waste of money, as is buying an expensive BAM case which is not fit for purpose.

I would only recommend the molded plastic cases made by BAM if you don't value your violin too highly. I have had very bad experiences with two models of these. Chinese made Gewa cases are junk, and in my personal experience, will fall apart quickly.

If you are on a budget, buy a plywood (not fibreglass) Bobelock. These are solid and well made. Get one of the models with suspension. I bought one of these for my teenage son. He loves it and feels very professional; and I know his violin will be safe with all a teen boy at school can throw at it.

If you can afford the best, buy a Master Series Musafia case, or T.A.Timms English model case.

Cheers Carlo

June 3, 2016 at 09:48 AM · Since David's parents would have to finance all his recent violin-related fancies and given that he is still a middle schooler, a Musafia case seems to be quite over the top. The mentioned plywood Bobelock case on the other hand sounds like a reasonable investment.

June 3, 2016 at 11:55 PM · Ok thanks.

June 4, 2016 at 12:59 AM · My daughter has had a BAM case for three years. It is extremely lightweight, almost feels like there is not even a violin in there. We travel a lot and her fiddle goes with her everywhere. It was well worth the money to have a light, durable case that easily fits in tight places.

June 4, 2016 at 09:11 AM · How long does your violin spend it its case?

My violin sits on a stand, or I play it, in my studio, most of the week, and then it travels by car to rehearsals, a job or two, and that's that. (I actually have several violins and only take one out and about.)

I recently spoke to a great luthier/retailer, and he pointed out that a carbon fibre case he sold to a client recently was returned after a sharp object pierced it.

And he showed me a bass he was repairing, because it had been damaged in a "flight case" that simply transferred the shock of an incident straight through to the instrument inside.

If you play a good bass, leave it home, and fly to your job and hire a bass when you arrive. For violins, carry them.

Cases sit in your studio all day long, don't they?

June 4, 2016 at 01:51 PM · A possible disadvantage of an obviously expensive case is that it may suggest to the sort of person whom one does not wish to know, that the contents of the case may be even more expensive.

June 4, 2016 at 09:32 PM · Very good point Trevor! I think the same way with this Musafia .The old American Case that my wife now uses is just plain incognito black with lots of scuff marks making it a less inviting target for riff raff.

On the other hand the Musafia is nicely understated,with the cover being a dark brown canvas colour.A person in my orchestra has a bright red BAM case that says "steal me" all over it...

June 5, 2016 at 05:53 AM · On the other hand, in buying violins, sometimes a scuffed up old case indicates there might be a really old violin inside, not always though!!

June 5, 2016 at 08:57 AM · I think that this thread might benefit by a re-wording of the title. "Protective" or "High quality" might be a good substitute for "Expensive" in this discussion.

The reason is, there are expensive cases (over $1,000 retail) on the market that are truly unsafe for the instrument and there are excellent cases available for half that. So price alone is an imperfect guide.

June 5, 2016 at 05:44 PM · Trevor - Oscar Shumsky, who taught at Yale and was a fabulous violinist, used to carry his Strad in a beat-up old case and dress like a derelict for precisely that reason. The downside was that one day, at the beginning of the school year, he came into the music building with the beat-up old case and wearing an old, torn raincoat. One of the new students, who had no idea who he was, walked up to him and asked if he could help Shumsky.

June 5, 2016 at 07:37 PM · The ultimate anti-theft deterrent is to put your violin in a viola case. The only downside is that people will speak very, very slowly to you.

Cheers Carlo

June 6, 2016 at 04:35 PM · Concerning Oscar Shumsky and his strad, I studied at Juilliard every other week with Paul Makanowitsky when he was Galamian's assistant. He also had a strad, and carried a 38 handgun in his brief case. (He had a permit.) I asked him why and he said because he carried his violin with him. Then I said, what would you do if someone tried to grab your violin case and he said, "I'd shoot him, of course."

June 6, 2016 at 04:37 PM · Bobelock makes really great, safe, understated cases. If you want some thing fancier/better, there are options from Musafia and Riboni.

Dimitri is right -- you can spend a lot of money on a case that isn't safe at all. I've seen cases that had inadequate clearance for the bridge, little padding between the ribs and exterior, and flexible lids. There is a lot of great information about protection on his website.

I'd consider what you are protecting, and how fancy you are. For my personality, walking around with a case that looks like something Liberace would use is not something I'm interested in :-D

June 8, 2016 at 04:56 AM · The downfall of many cases--I've owned quite a few--is not visible when they are new. Even some expensive cases have cheesy fittings. Zippers, latches, hinges and the canvas used in the covers seem to be particular weak spots. The two best cases I have had are 1) a Gordge I bought in 1995 for $450, which was a high price 20 years ago. Despite years of use, everything still works. The zippers are original, the canvas is perfect, the locks and hinges all work. Great case. If you can find a good used one I would grab it. 2) I just indulged myself by buying an expensive Mustafia for my other fiddle. It seems to be made of excellent materials, but being only a few months old I cannot comment on its durability. It certainly looks beautiful.

BTW, keeping valuable masterpiece violins in ancient cases is not that unusual. I was in a shop in LA once and a man came in with a very old W.E. Hill and Sons case that looked on the outside like it had been on an expedition. When he opened it -- the interior was beautiful -- he produced a nice fiddle that turned out to be a Brothers Amati. At a different shop the owner once showed me a Strad, which she brought out in a dreadful cheap case. I wondered out loud if that was for security reasons and her answer was "Why advertise?"

June 8, 2016 at 07:39 AM · You can often find used Gordge cases at the Tarisio New York auction, www.tarisio.com.

Be prepared to pay for them, however. The last one sold at the May 12 auction, a DeLuxe model used but in excellent condition, for $1,560 including buyer's premium.

June 9, 2016 at 01:11 PM · My daughter is a professional violinist that has owned several cases. Her moderately priced American Standard fell apart. She upgraded to a relatively expensive Musafia which fell apart. She bought a $249 Pedi case which has protected her violin well and has been proven very sturdy so far. One can buy four, five. or six Pedi's for what a Musafia costs. She also gets complements on how attractive the Pedi case is. The case has full suspension, has eco protection, and is made with a strong aluminum alloy shell. Why spend more?

June 9, 2016 at 02:16 PM · Musafia Cremona Italy cases have a lifetime warranty against defects of materials and manufacture, and our clients know that already because we provide this in writing with every case.

If this post is legitimate and not a sales pitch for Pedi cases, please have your daughter contact my office directly via the contact button on my profile. If there are any problems we can work them out.

June 9, 2016 at 05:43 PM · You've got a point there Dimitri, probably a made up name too.

June 9, 2016 at 06:18 PM · Looks from a search like "jack rogers" has contributed thoughtfully to other non-case threads in the past, so unlikely to be non-legit. He could be talking about one of the discontinued, much cheaper, Musafia International cases, though.

June 9, 2016 at 06:25 PM · Well, I do not know what one has to do to make a Musafia case fall apart.

Will keep trying and let you know!

June 9, 2016 at 10:11 PM · Jack Rogers is a shoe company.

https://www.jackrogersusa.com/

June 9, 2016 at 11:12 PM · Maybe there was some kicking of the Musafia case in question!!

June 10, 2016 at 12:07 AM · ..and David Kang is the guy who shot a starter pistol at Prince Charles.

Why are so many people so eager to point fingers and assume some con is in play?

June 10, 2016 at 12:38 AM · Because we don't normally hear about Musafia cases falling apart.

June 10, 2016 at 03:02 AM · The case in question was made in Cremona. One of the main problems was the shoulder strap came apart while she was carrying it and the violin slammed into the ground. At the time that was the only case she had and she took it to a shoe and luggage repair shop to fix. Afterwards she realized that she probably voided the warranty. The outside piping was deteriorating and the nails that hold the accessory compartment door in place were coming out. The lining on the inside was also coming off. The zipper broke. The good news is the violin wasn't damaged when the strap broke. Mr. Musafia, let me know if the warranty is still in force and if it is I will have my daughter contact you about repairs. I have no association with Pedi.

June 10, 2016 at 04:22 AM · Shoulder rest straps should be checked regularly as they usually wear at the swivel. Replace them when they begin to wear out. Leave it too long and the inevitable will happen. This is normal wear-and-tear, common sense, and not at all the responsibility of the case maker.

I would not blame my cobbler if my laces wore out!

Personally, I will always be in Mr Musafia's debt, as he has saved one of my violins from destruction.

Cheers Carlo

June 10, 2016 at 05:43 AM · First of all, thanks to all of you who have nice words about my work :-)

To N.A. Mohr, if you look at some old threads at v.com you will see that there have been bogus claims against my cases. As a result, some suspicion is always there when a third person shows up publicly bashing my work, when all the interested person has to do is simply contact us for assistance which we will gladly and promptly provide, as explained on our website and on the warranty card.

Mr. Rogers, as a third person, all you need to know is contained in my previous post. But as you have chosen to make this public, I will likewise render public the outcome.

June 10, 2016 at 06:31 AM · I've slogged my Musafia cases through airports, subways, and trunks of various vehicles on three different continents for over fifteen years. They've always been reliable and I've never had any issues which Dimitri has not personally rectified.

I've sent in my Master Series violin case once for an overhaul, and it came back absolutely gorgeous, with upgrades that made it even better than when I first purchased it.

June 10, 2016 at 07:16 AM · OK, here’s the scoop.

Mr. Rogers’ daughter did purchase a case from us in 2007, a used one, via our website. It was sold for $329 with a 2-year warranty.

When the strap broke, she opted to have it repaired rather than contact us, when it says on our website that we will provide a free replacement set to anyone who has a broken strap made by us. We do also strongly recommend there that the straps be monitored as to the condition of the components and changed when necessary, or at least every 5 years.

The case did its job protecting the violin when it fell to the ground. That’s what makes me happy. If the case itself was damaged that is due to the accident, not to defective materials or workmanship, therefore a repair is not covered under warranty. The case is actually designed to “give”, absorbing the kinetic energy released – it’s the principle of crumple zones - before the violin can be damaged, in order to be more protective. We do however offer a repair service, in which the case can often be refurbished to near-new condition for much less than the cost of a new comparable case, during which any warranty-related issues are taken care of free of charge.

Anyway my office is now in contact with the owner of the case and we will do our best to to make the client happy, as always. I’m sorry I had to make this public, it’s really not my style, but I was dragged into it.

June 10, 2016 at 09:32 AM · "IS BUYING AN EXPENSIVE CASE WORTH IT?"

Only if you have a David Burgess violin ... (Or a Ricardo Bergonzi). But it's not worth it if you only have an antique fiddle. (wink)

June 10, 2016 at 09:40 AM · Like one of those lousy Strada... Stradi... what are those things called??

Besides, if they were that great to begin with, they'd still be making 'em.

June 10, 2016 at 10:13 AM · Hi Dimitri, I'm having some trouble navigating your website, do you have a link for custom-ordering a case? And do you ship to Australia?

June 10, 2016 at 12:17 PM · Hello k d, please contact me personally via the link on our website, thank you.

June 10, 2016 at 04:53 PM · My daughter has been using a Pedi case (oblong shape) for the past three years and it has held up pretty nicely. I would recommend it to student violinists.

June 10, 2016 at 05:42 PM · I also recommend a Pedi case; I have been using it for a couple of years and it is beautiful, not to mention quite nicely built. There is a triple layer of material if I remember correctly from their website, and it cushions the violin quite well. It is also quite affordable!

I have had one of my friends bemoan the BAM cases because they are apparently quite sensitive to heat and the case melted at the seams. That turned me off to BAM cases, not to mention the expensive price. Of course, that was a couple of years ago and they may have made them better now but I wouldn't like to take the risk with my precious string baby.

June 10, 2016 at 07:16 PM · I find photos of the Pedi case a little worrying: apart from the strap round the neck, I see nothing to stop the bridge touching the lid, which sould never, ever happen. Should there not be pads over the chinrest and upper block area?

June 10, 2016 at 08:07 PM · Adrian,

I just checked my daughter's violin case and there is a pad inside the cover over the chinrest area. Also, along the length of the cover, there is a rigid, elongated oval concave space that prevent the cover from collapsing on top of the bridge if the external force is applied.

June 10, 2016 at 09:19 PM · I couple of my students have Pedi cases. The models I have seen are cheaply mass produced from styrofoam. Ok, I guess, for basic student instruments, but I wouldn't recommend them even for that. In my opinion, those looking for an inexpensive case should buy a plywood Bobelock with suspension.

Cheers Carlo

June 10, 2016 at 11:09 PM · What's going for a Pedi are (1) light weight for easy portability, and (2) aluminum outer shell construction, if I remember correctly. When I was on the market for my daughter's full size violin case a few years ago, these two factors were most appealing to me. So far the case has served my daughter very well.

June 10, 2016 at 11:55 PM · When your daughter upgrades to a professional level violin, she may wish to upgrade to a professional grade case too. I would be happy to advise her.

In my opinion, people often argue to justify the partially informed choices that they have made. However at the end of the day, they will buy the level of protection they are happy with, often putting lightness ahead of real protection.

Cheers Carlo

June 11, 2016 at 12:09 AM · OP is a middle school student so I have no problem recommending a Pedi. By the way, do you know any of your students carrying a Pedi case broke their violin due to inadequate protection? Although anecdotal, that would be interesting if it has occurred.

June 11, 2016 at 12:28 AM · Not a Pedi per se, and not a student, but another cheap styrofoam case. Backed over by a car the world lost a fine Gagliano, placed by his wife behind the car instead of in it.

Cheers Carlo

June 11, 2016 at 12:43 AM · Poor Gagliano, it was a victim of human stupidity.

May it rest in pieces...

June 11, 2016 at 01:12 AM · Students probably need *more* protection in a case, not *less*, because they're toting the case around in a lot of environments where the people around them are going to be careless and/or rough-housing.

The OP is carrying around an inexpensive rental so there doesn't seem to be much reason for him to shell out much money for a case (and in fact, afaik, Potters supplies the cases for their rentals). But investing in some protection for a student instrument is worthwhile.

I beat the hell out of a Bein & Fushi case (I'm not sure who manufactures those for them) when I was a teenager.

June 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM · According to their website (http://www.roder.com.tw/En/products/detail/p320v-b), Pedi cases no longer have an aluminum shell, assuming they had one at all; to my knowledge only Gewa made one in significant numbers, about 30 years ago. (I'm not counting flight cases)

One thing is to use some aluminum elements in a foam plastic case shell and call it "aluminum alloy structure case" as Pedi does, another is to actually make a shell out of aluminum, as does for example Zero Halliburton (https://zerohalliburton.com/).

Pedi cases now claim to have a "Steel Shield structure", which is in reality, again according to their website, a styrofoam foam plastic shell with some metal rods imbedded in the foam to provide some reinforcement.

June 13, 2016 at 04:02 PM · Dimitri,

The product detail included in the link below states "Steel-Reinforced Aluminum Alloy Shell". I think this is the model (except the color) I purchased for my daughter four years ago. Am I misguided?

http://store.fisherviolins.com/Pedi-11100-Violin-Case-p/nvca51150.htm

June 13, 2016 at 04:27 PM · Interesting. That's this one on the Pedi site: Link

That says, "6-8 sets strong steel bars inserted into high density styrofoam". No mention of aluminum at all, oddly enough.

June 13, 2016 at 04:47 PM · Lydia,

Your link states it is a 2016 New Model. My daughter's violin case is an older model. The interior design is also slightly different. That may explain the discrepancy, although I cannot say for sure.

June 13, 2016 at 05:15 PM · Sung, never trust 100% a retailer's website, they can be misguided too in good faith. I suggest the manufacturer's website be the most accurate source of information in general.

June 13, 2016 at 05:32 PM · Dimitri,

When I was on the market for a violin case four years ago, I recollect the aluminum outer shell was clearly included in the description at the manufacturer's website. Thanks for your advice though.

June 14, 2016 at 02:36 AM · Just wanted to update everyone about what Mr. Musafia did for my daughter to make her happy. The case she bought in 2007 was either a demo or used from the Musafia web site, and looked new when she received it. For a reason I don't understand their lifetime warranty is transferable unless you buy the case from Musafia. The warranty doesn't cover normal wear and only covers manufacturer defects. One has to pay to ship the case to Italy and pay for custom charges. Musafia said it wasn't worth repairing it. My daughter realized she probably voided any warranty when she chose to have the broken strap fixed but did so because it would be less expensive than sending the case to Italy. The luggage repair service promised us that their repair would hold and would be much more secure than what was done originally. Over subsequent years the strap repair held up beautifully but the rest of the case wore out. The piping on the seams was made of vinyl and cracked and deteriorated. The other materials were no better than what one would expect in a cheap case. The Musafia case used nails instead of screws to attach the compartment lid and uses glue when stitching would be sturdier. My intention in commenting on this thread was just to recommend an inexpensive case that my daughter had positive experiences with and to compare it to a more expensive luxury brand that she had a horrible experience with. If Mr. Musafia can tout his product and criticize his competition it is also fair that a consumer can honestly reflect on their experiences. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be independent testing on violin cases and consumers are left to relying on anecdotal evidence to determine what case to buy.

June 14, 2016 at 04:35 AM · Out of curiosity, which Musafia model was this?

June 14, 2016 at 06:16 AM · From my previous posts:

"Mr. Rogers’ daughter did purchase a case from us in 2007, a used one, via our website. It was sold for $329 with a 2-year warranty." (expired in 2009)

"it says on our website that we will provide a free replacement set to anyone who has a broken strap made by us." (there is obviously no need to ship an entire case to Italy to get a strap fixed)

Upon our request, your daughter sent us photos in which we determined that the case was damaged beyond cost-effective repair, which saved her the cost and effort of having you send it to us and then receive the same diagnosis.

Mr. Rogers, what part of this do you not understand? While you "honestly reflect" on the "horrible experience" had with a 16-year-old case, purchased (not by you) second-hand un-refurbished for half price, that was damaged beyond repair in an accident years ago, I find your position truly without merit, and disrespectful towards those employees who took the time to assist your daughter, promptly, professionally and with courtesy.

You are entitled to your opinion, but if you make it public stick to the facts, please.

June 14, 2016 at 09:26 AM · Jack Rogers' daughter bought a Musafia case, which was money well spent, as it saved her violin in an accident. Had it been in a styrofoam case, made by Pedi or someone else, she may well have had to replace her violin too. In my opinion, instead of being critical, Mr Rogers should be thankful.

Personally I would never put a serious violin in any styrofoam, molded plastic, or carbon fibre case. I proudly use a high end Musafia case when touring.

Cheers Carlo

June 14, 2016 at 12:51 PM · To be accurate the violin case was replaced after 7 years and the strap broke after 2 years. The strap broke causing the violin to fall about 4 feet. To be accurate the strap broke where it attached to the case and needed to be reattached at the factory. A cardboard box with styrofoam pellets probably would have protected the violin falling 4 feet. No one has been disrespectful to Mustafia's employees. My daughter only contacted the company because Mr Musafia implied there was something he could do to make her happy, knowing full well that nothing could be reasonably done. Mr. Musafia makes a product which is sold to the public and he should be accepting of public scrutiny. It doesn't look good to criticize the integrity of clients and competitors publicly without basis. I am not a shill for Pedi and I and my daughter are intelligent enough to know not to consider spending the money to send a worn out shoddily made case to Italy for a diagnosis. If the case were bought from a private party instead of Musafia the lifetime warranty would have been transferable. I still don't understand how buying from Musafia should lessen the warranty. For those that drink the Musafia Kool Aid I wish you continued luck with your purchase. For those considering a purchase from Musafia do your due diligence. Caveat emptor.

June 14, 2016 at 12:55 PM · Most violin and viola students will benefit from a sturdy and easy to carry case. We have found one of the best and affordable violin cases to be the "Eastman Dart Shaped Violin Case." However, although this case is supposed to offer “Full Suspension,” it really doesn’t, and it requires a piece of closed cell foam to be affixed to the neck support area of the case.* For example, where the case touches the neck of the violin, near the violin’s backplate, superglue a rectangle piece of closed-cell-foam that is about a half inch thick to the case. In this way the scroll of the violin is raised off of the case and the neck of the violin is better suspended.

Other than the previously described and necessary suspension adjustment for this Eastman plywood case, the EC-075 comes in different sizes, offers plywood protection, is easy to carry, and functions well.

The Eastman plywood case EC-075 costs about $90 to $150 and comes in sizes from 1/32 to 4/4

• Dart Shaped Violin Case

• Plywood shell

• Full suspension*

• Velour interior (burgundy)

• Detachable blanket

• Bow holder spinners (x2)

• Backpack with shoulder straps

• Black canvas cover with full pocket

• Upgraded handle

• 1/32 to 4/4 sizes

June 14, 2016 at 01:14 PM · Mr. Rogers, this case was listed as "used" with a "two-year warranty". Not a lifetime warranty. This was in the description of the listing. The reason for the reduced warranty was that it was sold unrefurbished, out of our Seattle office which does not have refurbishing facilities. That is also why it was offered at half price.

Your daughter purchased the case under these clear, written conditions. It was then involved in an accident. No attempt was made to contact us for assistance, which we would have provided. The case was likely damaged in the accident; kept in use the damage worsened to the point of becoming irreparable. Now, years later, you publicly state that we manufacture "shoddily made" cases and recommend people not to buy them.

I'm not questioning your intelligence, Mr. Rogers, and have no problem with public scrutiny. But your claim remains unsubstantiated. Hoc est, ultimum verbum meum.

June 14, 2016 at 01:30 PM · Another good student violin case is the “Kennedy Classic Violin Case” for about $167.89. One problem for some violinists is the magnetic fasteners on the outer case flap. The magnetic fasteners make it difficult to open the case with one hand. Other than the flap problem, the case comes in different sizes, offers plywood protection, is easy to carry, and functions well. *Similar to the Eastman EC-075 violin case the Kennedy Classic Violin case may not fully support the neck of the violin, so an adjustment may be required. Also be sure to “fit” your violin in the case. This case may be too small or too big for your particular violin.

• Oblong Shaped Violin Case

• Plywood shell

• Full suspension*

• Velour interior (Emerald Green, Royal Blue, Burgundy Red, or Periwinkle)

• Lined Protective Blanket

• Bow holder spinners (x4)

• 3 Accessory Compartments

• String Tube

• Backpack with shoulder straps

• Black canvas cover with full pocket

• 1/8 to 4/4 sizes

June 14, 2016 at 01:44 PM · These posts by Lina Lee appear to me to be blatant advertising from someone who has joined today?

I could be wrong of course.

But the whole saga of the damaged case really sounds a bit fishy to me. I wonder what the point is?

And Dimitri seems to be showing willingness to help, so what is wrong with the owner of the damaged case which is also very old by now. (The case, not the father or daughter!)(wink)

June 14, 2016 at 02:01 PM · The originator of this discussion, David Kang, asked, “Is buying an expensive case worth it?... Do you guys have any recommendations? Cases that are cheap but very high quality?”

We have provided some suggestions with informative examples and detailed descriptions. Has Peter Charles offered any such information? If you don’t appreciate our insight and experience, then we will no longer participate.

June 14, 2016 at 02:30 PM · Dimitri Musafia has gone above and beyond the terms of the sale - offering to honor the warranty on a second hand used item bought at a REDUCED price. It is NOT his fault for a case that was not maintained properly - a similar situation would be expecting the manufacturer of your car honoring a warranty on an item that is considered "usage" like brakes or wiper blades, not even to the original owner, but someone who bought the car used as is than took it to a local shop and then expected the manufacturer to fix a poorly done repair. His website clearly states you can contact them for new straps and service questions. Not doing so places the responsibility on the owner.

To answer the poster's original question - buy a case to reflect how much you value the contents and need to protect them, given your situation. I don't agree to a "valuation" equation, like bow vs. instrument. I live at 5,000 ft and have altitude issues, then have a 30-50 deg F swing in temps when I drive down the mountain - this would play havoc with my violin before - so investing in a nice case makes sense. I would much rather know that I have a case that will protect my violin in a minor fender bender, or if it was dropped accidentally, or fell off the shelf it's on if we have a 5.5+ earthquake, and maintains humidity better. (My current case is like a sieve)

Buy a case that reflects the level of protection and security you need - and understand Musafia cases are not mass produced and the price reflects that. As a parallel analogy - I am an amateur astronomer, and I have the option of buying a mass-produced scope from China or one hand made with a hand polished mirror here at several times the price. There are benefits to both options - and risks/performance issues.

June 14, 2016 at 05:28 PM · Andrea, Musafia never offered to honor any special warranty and was never asked to. He merely said he would try to make his customer happy. That is all he offered and it was unsolicited. As it turned out he wasn't willing to do anything. It wasn't the strap itself that failed but a flaw in the design caused it to break away from the case and the violin case to fall. This should never happen. The repair from the luggage company was sound and never failed. The other point I was trying to make was that the case didn't wear any better than a cheap case. I never expected any thing from Musafia but was just sharing the experience my daughter had with his case.

June 14, 2016 at 05:29 PM · I'm curious if all damage done to Musafia cases and others built with similar layered-wood construction is always visible, or if damage can be done to the "crumple zones" without being externally visible. I would guess all damage would be externally visible, but it'd be interesting to know.

FWIW, I've tripped and fallen, hard, slamming my Musafia case (a 2002 Aeternum) full-force onto asphalt with a good chunk of my body weight on it, without any visible damage to the case and nothing at all happening to the violin. (I did considerable damage to myself, though!) Good protection is worth every penny.

June 14, 2016 at 08:03 PM · "If you don’t appreciate our insight and experience, then we will no longer participate."

Please take your ball home then, and do not take part in the match.

June 14, 2016 at 08:21 PM · Whoa, Lydia! That must have hurt! I hope you were ok soon! Good to know violin and case survived the impact! I know if I fell on my case, even though it is a "nice" one in the $200+ range, it would not make it!

BTW, I consider straps and strap attachments the same package - it would be like expecting my suitcase handle never to fail after years of use.

Another thought, Lydia, someone could recover a damaged internally case, and unless you pulled off cover and checked seams, you might not know.

Oh, I had to add - coming back from Russia in the mid 80's - half of our group had nice new good quality luggage arrive with ripped handles, torn sides, etc. Luckily we had duct tape at our stopover in London!! When my husband went back - he used hard shell almost no handle suitcases - even then they got dented. Point is - abuse or simple wear can happen - I would recommend habitually checking anything you use regularly!!

June 14, 2016 at 08:50 PM · @Lina. If you are looking for student cases that are low in price and high quality, Bobelock plywood cases with suspension, have a proven track record. No name, shop rebranded Chinese cases are often stapled together, poorly designed, made from poor materials, and don't offer the same protection. As for styrofoam, that has its place... in a cooler box!

Are expensive cases worth it? In my opinion yes. I would always choose a case made with quality materials, carefully designed and manufactured, and with an asthetic I that I appreciate; over a case made for the lowest possible cost. Musafia cases are made to a standard not a price.

There are factory made cases such as BAM and Gewa, which charge first world prices, but offer, in my opinion, badly thought out products that use inappropriate materials, poor design, and do not put violin protection foremost.

If you have a professional violin and wish to give it the best protection, put it in a professional plywood case. There are a handful of serious case makers: Musafia, Riboni, Negri, and T.A. Timms. Then there are the rest who are merely manufacturers.

Edit: I have been informed, by someone whose opinion I value, that I should add 'Caballero' to my list of serious case makers. Caballero is a case maker based in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Cheers Carlo

June 15, 2016 at 04:15 AM · to Lydia: first of all, I hope all is well with *you* after that incident!

To answer your question, all case shells have a tensile strength which allows them to receive a minor impact without damage. Well-designed cases should allow for permanent deformation once the tensile strength limit is surpassed, in order to absorb the kinetic energy released during the impact instead of transmitting it to the instrument. That's the theory behind the crumple zones, pioneered by automotive engineer Bela Barenyi in the 1950s and introduced in 1959 on the Mercedes W111 series ("Fintail").

You are right, the case can suffer permanent damage without it being readily apparent, especially if it has an integral cover. However close examination usually reveals it.

A sidewall feels mushy, straight parts aren't straight any more, etc. More often than not, the first sign of something not right is that the latch doesn't line up the way it did before. To check for damage to the lid or the bottom panel, run your fingers over the surface, probing and pressing, and feel for breakage. Small tears in the fabric lining of the hard surfaces of the interior can also be an indication, as can be an accessory compartment that no longer closes properly.

Cases without covers are easier to check, just go over external surface looking for cracks or damage, but pay attention also to interior elements that may have become unglued.

If you find anything suspicious, stop using the case immediately and, depending on the brand, contact either your dealer or the manufacturer for assistance. Continued use of a broken case will just make things worse. Some high-end brands offer repair services, thus offsetting their higher price (you may not have to buy a new case) and in part answering the question posed in the title of this thread.

to Carlo: you can add Caballero in Lucerne, Switzerland to the list, they are a small shop that from what I've seen does good work.

June 15, 2016 at 05:58 AM · On all my cases, I have glued, on the lower edge of the lower end-wall, the sort of rubber sausage that one sticks on car bumpers (fenders?) for those times in the train or bus when I cant stand the case on my foot. I see so many cases, covered or not, with worn edges where they have been stood or been dragged upright, or even small, round domes that have pushed their way into the structure.

June 15, 2016 at 11:40 AM · This thread guided me to buying an oblong bobelock. It is much heavier than my other cases both ordered cheap online. However it is much sturdier and constructed much better. As I just got it 2 days ago the jury is still out but I think it will be excellent. It really is quite beautiful.

As to the other drama. Jack Rodgers you said your piece and should have left it at that if you really just wanted to share your experience. Now it just looks like you are mad that you were not given free service or supplies. And you have only made Musafia look professional and competent. If I ever buy a high end case I would be confident and secure with his. So thanks for that.

Jessy

June 15, 2016 at 03:17 PM · @Jessy. Good choice! It will serve you well. Additional weight is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Cheers Carlo

June 15, 2016 at 08:08 PM · My violin and viola shaped cases are from Gewa with "thermokern" shells (a robust plastic honeycomb structure). However, all plastics harden and become brittle with age, and the Thermokern shell starts to split and crumble after, say 30+ years.

Also I have spent much time improving these cases internally and externally: cutting away the rigid neck support, and adding strategically placed foam-filled pads plus the external protecion mentioned above.

But then I have more time than money!

June 15, 2016 at 08:57 PM · Well, once again, my daily life has been influenced by a vcom discussion.

Today, after walking in the rain in a t shirt with my foam case slung on a strap, I switched back to my winter bobelock case with plywood construction, storm flaps and generous bridge clearance, storage, humidity control and heavier weight. Oh my aching back. Shamed into conformance and not touting Bobelock, but happy with plywood construction. Thanks, I guess its good for me like veggies and Wohlfart.

Stay pawsitive,

Dave

July 16, 2016 at 05:39 AM · I am expecting in the post, in the next few days, a new shaped case from T.A. Timms. This has been made-to-measure for my Amati, which is smaller than a typical full-size violin.

I selected a non-standard colour, from the fabric samples of over sixty colours, sent to me by Desmond. I chose the colour, Air Force blue, as it looks the best against the varnish, making it pop!

I'll let you all know what it is like when it arrives.

Cheers Carlo

July 20, 2016 at 04:20 PM · Just cleared customs...

Cheers Carlo

July 22, 2016 at 05:12 AM · My TA Timms, custom made shaped case arrived today. Beautifully made and a perfect fit. The best praise I can give it, is that it is as good as a Gordge. My Amati has a wonderful new home!

Cheers Carlo

July 22, 2016 at 05:29 AM · Can anyone give a comparison of the high-end cases from reputable makers? I don't think I've ever seen a review of that sort, and the websites are often light on the detail.

July 22, 2016 at 06:48 AM · I guess it's the sort of thing that's hard to test, since most folks don't want to subject instruments to real trials by fire! So everything is anecdotal.

In that spirit, I'll add my story... I've had my (borrowed but very nice) instrument in a Musafia case for the last ten years. I'm not sure it's even gone out of tune from the various drops and knocks that inevitably occur when you're carrying a case for hours every day.

This is in contrast to a more lightweight and "fashionable" case that I had used for several years before that. I'm sure that when the time comes to replace my current case, I'll order another from Musafia. This time I'll really customize it!

July 22, 2016 at 05:12 PM · Timms are really nice-looking, but built for moderate weather. No humidifier, no vapor-tight seal. Also, no suspension until recently. And the latch and handle aren't aimed to cope with the largest hands. Worth having one, but Musafia gets the nod when I leave the house.

July 22, 2016 at 10:21 PM · Timms are made with 11 layers of veneer, so are probably the strongest cases on the market. Certainly there is absolutely no movement when you lean on it with full body weight. I like the restrained English sense of style, the natural canvas exterior, and the extremely compact size. I feel confident it will protect my Amati. At $1400 USD, with taxes, shipping, and customisation, it compares favourably with other cases. Last year Perlman ordered one for his "Soil" Strad.

I also have a Musafia Master series exclusive which I rate very, very highly (it saved my Capicchioni from certain death), a Gordge, a double Gordge, a leather GL case, a couple of old Gewa cases including a quad case, an ACC continental, various other cases, and a Hill Apostle case. All 14 cases have violins in them.

Cheers Carlo

July 23, 2016 at 10:00 AM · Congratulations on the new case, Carlo! When you are commissioning an artisan-made case, you cannot go wrong. Every artisan puts his heart into it. Desmond Timms does excellent work in the fine British tradition - nothing to be sneezed at!

Is a Timms better than a Gordge, a Riboni, a Caballero? Or vice-versa? When you're at that level, it makes no difference. It's like asking if a BMW is better than a Merc or a Jag, or the new Cadillac CT6.

Once quality is taken care of, it becomes a matter of taste, or personal needs.

October 7, 2016 at 12:39 PM · Hey guys! I'm new to this website,but I want to ask some questions which are related to the original question. Basically, I'm 15, nearly 16, love playing the violin, and want to continue to play for the rest of my life. For some reason, when I played lalo symphonie espagnole at a competition, I truly enjoyed the performance, as in i did not care about winning, i just had the best time on the stage. Later on that night, i decided that I will dedicate my life for violin. I am lucky enough for my parents to buy a splendid violin which is labeled as a Ruggieri but most say its a copy, but never the less, it has a splendid sound. This "Ruggieri" is my second full sized violin, which the original was a Chinese copy of Amati. This violin came in a case, which now is used for the "Ruggieri". This violin case is an oblong, which seems tough but has no label. Unfortunately, this case feels slightly dodgy, as in when you push onto the sides of the case, the wood can move easily and makes Creaking sounds. Also, when the case is closed with the violin in it, you can hear the violin rattling inside. I am currently aware that the best case to buy to protect my violin with the up most security and durability is most likely a musafia, timms, Riboni and other cases of such caliber. Unfortunately as I have mentioned at the start, I am 15, meaning that I do not have thousands of dollars to spend on cases. My best chance to get a descenet case is to get one for my birthday which is coming up soon. Are there any recommendations for a case that is at a reasonable cost (a cost that I am able to plead to my parents to buy for me) but is still capable of keeping my violin safe from anything?? Thank you :D

October 7, 2016 at 01:04 PM · A $250 Bobelock will do just fine, honestly. It's not a "safe from anything" but it's pretty darn safe.

October 7, 2016 at 03:06 PM · @Leonard. Symphonie Espagnole has always been a favorite of mine, and yes, it is fun to play:-)

I second Bobelock as an inexpensive, but protective case. I bought one for my son. There are two things to keep in mind. Buy the plywood version, not the fibreglass; and get the version with suspension. Fibre-glass is not as strong as wood and does not provide thermal protection; and suspension will help prevent serious damage to the button area in the event of impact.

Cheers Carlo

October 8, 2016 at 01:38 AM · thanks guys! will have a good look at bobelock!

April 11, 2017 at 10:04 PM · Resurrecting this old thread in honour and astonishment of the durability of Hiscox guitar case.

During my recent trip to Europe, I watched a baggage personnel placing Hiscox guitar case (visibly labeled by at least 3 stickers as "Fragile") upside down on the baggage cart. Then, 3 times 4 pieces of luggage on the top of it - all the way from the neck down to the low rim.... After the luggage was claimed, I asked the owner (an Irish chap) to open the case and make sure his guitar is not broken. It was not even out of tune.... and the case was also intact. That case possibly sustained a vertical pressure of 273Kg and did not break!

Disclaimer: my violin cases are Gewa and Musafia.

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