What do you keep in your 'Kit'

October 16, 2016 at 12:16 AM · So I was invited by a friend to join him in a group session his teacher has once a week. Since I am not currently taking a class he felt this would be a good thing for me. Anyway, his teachers asked for a pencil. And without thinking about it I pipped up and handed him one of the many I had. He was very confused because he had no idea who I was and he just realized I was in the room. So he looked at me dead in the eye and said. "I must inspect your 'kit' before we continue." I was very confused and my friend said to get my violin case. I did and he had me open it and then started going through the little compartments and expected both my bows and then my violin itself. I was really confused and then he smiled and handed my violin back. "You have the second best kit in this room." he explained that he doesn't care about how "fine" our instruments are just that we have everything we need to care for them.

The items I have in my 'kit'

Two bows


Chin rest tool

Violin Polish

Two Soft cleaning cloths

12 golf pencils

Performance mute

Practice mute

Post Card from a friend

Wine Cork

Nail Clippers

Copy of U.S. Constitution

What do you all have?

Replies (51)

October 16, 2016 at 01:00 AM · First time I heard of someone doing something like that. To be honest, I find it slightly disrespectful.

What's in my case

- Three bows

- Bernardel rosin

- Hill Dark Rosin

- One soft cloth

- Shoulder Rest

- Pencil

- Extra set of strings

I should add a nail clipper. I've found myself in need of one to many times to not carry one in my case.

@Julio A. Cervantes said: "Coby of U.S. Constitution"

You will need to elaborate on that.

October 16, 2016 at 01:05 AM · I've found binder clips to come in handy on a few occasions.

October 16, 2016 at 02:18 AM · -violin

-two bows

-shoulder rest

-spare e string

-couple pictures

-cleaning cloth


-several sets of earplugs

-stretto bags (for humidifier)

-nail clipper

-5 mutes (one practice, four regular of different kinds)

-3 pencils



-hair ties, bobby pins

-chinrest tool

-parking pass


-paper clips, binder clips

-protein bar

-little post-it flags


October 16, 2016 at 02:22 AM · Irene, I think that was a little too much information for our constitutions.

Incidentally, does that all really go in your case?

Why do you need t*****s in there? :-o

October 16, 2016 at 02:28 AM · @Demian Hesse Long story short, cops can be dicks at five in the morning when they're doing their rounds on the metro. They see a guy in dark cloths with a large red violin case on his back they get search and seize happy. After I say no to them searching me I gladly pull out my copy and read them the 4th and then say go @&^% yourself and have a good morning. Normally works, once I did end up in a car and then their sergeant ordered that they let me go. I got an apology email the next day.

October 16, 2016 at 02:31 AM · AO - some of it goes in the pocket, some of it goes in the outside of the case, some of it goes behind the bow ribbons (strings, pictures). I need tampons because sometimes you're in the middle of rehearsal when your period starts - sorry if that's too much information for your delicate sensibilities!

October 16, 2016 at 02:35 AM · Ms. Chan you are really open, honestly gave me a bit of a laugh. Anyway, thank you all for taking your time to answer my simple posts.

October 16, 2016 at 11:24 AM · I never have tampons in my case as I'm far too old to have periods ...

October 16, 2016 at 12:38 PM ·

October 16, 2016 at 03:12 PM · I have to agree, I think going through someone's 'kit', be it an actual kit, or a purse, or a violin case, is somewhat unacceptable. However, nice you passed muster!

If you do a search, you'll find a plethora of 'what's in your case' threads you might find fun to scroll through.

My favourite gizmo: chin rest tool!

October 16, 2016 at 03:13 PM · Sounds like someone with Aspergers.

By the way,mid expect someone with a pocket constitution to also have a concealed carry permit.

October 16, 2016 at 03:50 PM · In each of my two violin cases I have,

1 - Violin.

2 - Spare set of strings.

3 - Two bows (fewer than two makes me nervous).

4 - Assorted pencils and erasers, together with stand attachment.

5 - Nail scissors.

6 - Miniature multi-tool including a nail file.

7 - Because I have thick fingers, a pair of tweezers to assist in installing an A-string with a black-painted end into a hole in a black peg in the dark innermost recess of a black-painted peg box. System design hasn't been well thought through here. Such difficulty of access wouldn't be tolerated in aero engine design.

8 - Miniature torch to help with item 7.

9 - Cake of rosin.

10 - Tourte mute (I never use practice mutes).

11 - A couple of blank sheets of music manuscript, folded underneath item 1.

12 - Cleaning cloths.

13 - Light weight chamois leather to protect the varnish on occasions when I'm not using a chin-rest.

14 - Tuning fork.

15 - Clip-on stand light for venues where the lighting isn't expected to be good.

16 - A couple of small bulldog clips to stabilise sheet music on the stand.

I think that's about all. There's no item 17 because I don't use a shoulder-rest.

October 16, 2016 at 03:51 PM · @Cole I would rethink that comment if I were you...

October 16, 2016 at 04:53 PM · I also find our OP's story rather disturbing. Why would what you or anyone else had in their case be any of that teacher's business? How disrespectful that was, not only to you, but to everyone else present. What a waste of everyone's time. And who had the first "best kit" in the room? I would have said no, you can't look in my case. Not that I have anything to hide, it's just a point of principle. If the teacher then threw me out, so be it.

October 16, 2016 at 05:29 PM ·

October 16, 2016 at 07:02 PM · Since I assist with a youth orchestra I've got:

My "Mittenwald Strad"

Two bows


Shoulder rest

Practice and Performance mutes

Extra strings for my instrument

Extra strings for full and half size violins

Cleaning cloth

Needle nose pliers with wire cutter (for adjusting the student strings to 3/4 and 1/4 instruments, also removing peg end of broken string and getting a new string started in a small peg box)

Crescent wrench to tighten nut at the base of fixed music stands that are in the practice room of the high school where we rehearse (they are perpetually loose)

Electronic tuner

Tuning fork

Sticky peg convincer (a handy tool that give a better grip than just finger tips)

Some small denomination cash just in case


Music stand glasses so I can read music on a stand if I have to

The nail clippers are on my keychain and a Swiss Army knife in my pocket (the corkscrew is perfect for tightening loose chin rests) The scissors for clipping bow hairs.

Since I handle a lot of instruments owned by children - a small bottle of hand sanitizer

The music that I am playing

Extra parts for the orchestra members who lose/forget their music (we're also the Music Librarians)

October 16, 2016 at 07:09 PM · To address the "disrespect" opinions of you all, I will say this. He did seem a little odd and addressed everyone as a commanding officer would address his soldiers. I'll be honest, I also didn't mind that he wanted to inspect my 'kit' reminded me of my cadet years where my drill instructor would inspect our foot lockers. Also to the gentlemen who thinks I have a conceal carry permit, I do not. I just grew tired of police officers asking to search me on my daily commute. especially after a tragedy happens. I may look like I am up to no good and will sometimes do stupid things form amusement, but I am not a threat to my country.

October 16, 2016 at 07:09 PM · To address the "disrespect" opinions of you all, I will say this. He did seem a little odd and addressed everyone as a commanding officer would address his soldiers. I'll be honest, I also didn't mind that he wanted to inspect my 'kit' reminded me of my cadet years where my drill instructor would inspect our foot lockers. Also to the gentlemen who thinks I have a conceal carry permit, I do not. I just grew tired of police officers asking to search me on my daily commute. especially after a tragedy happens. I may look like I am up to no good and will sometimes do stupid things form amusement, but I am not a threat to my country.

October 16, 2016 at 08:04 PM · "Kit" inspection. Drop your drawers.

October 16, 2016 at 08:37 PM · Ah memories Mr. Burgss! Also how is your surname pronounced?

October 16, 2016 at 09:23 PM · Cole I would rethink that comment if I were you... [Flag?]

Which comment?

October 16, 2016 at 09:37 PM · @Scott Probably that thing you said about aspergers.

October 16, 2016 at 09:50 PM · @Cole; I agree about the Aspergers comment

It seems somewhat rude and uncalled for.

Although, yes, I do indeed have Aspergers, I do not have a pocket-sized constitution or carry any sort of permit.

It is actually a cultural aspect of the Middle East.

You don't talk about matters like that unless they pertain to your gender, which I find quite appropriate, and you also don't swear because it is considered extremely rude to do so in public.

Add to that that I'm very polite and dislike any sort of discussion of matters that should be kept more personal IMHO, and you should be able to understand my (somewhat humorously intentioned) comment.

Thanks for reading.

October 16, 2016 at 11:16 PM · The comment about aspergers. I'm not "triggered" by it by any means but others may be. Just consider your audience. I'm sure you don't mean harm, but nobody here knows your character enough to know that.

October 16, 2016 at 11:34 PM · Just noticed that only a small minority of responses included a violin in the "kit."

October 17, 2016 at 01:07 AM · Bailey, you might want to read the post I wrote above yours, for some perspective.

October 17, 2016 at 02:22 AM · In my case, I have:



towel to protect my collarbone when it is not protected by clothing

some paper (I don't know what)

extra strings

shoulder rest


protection/cleaning cloth

October 17, 2016 at 02:28 AM · Ive got:




One rosin

Extra chinrest plus tool

Two pencils

Key for case lock

Three sponges attached to violin with rubber band

One bow

Ziploc bag for extra strings

October 17, 2016 at 02:57 AM · I'm not following with you here A. O. Do you dissent with my opinion that Mr. Cole's remark is inappropriate?

October 17, 2016 at 08:01 AM · I love this kind of thread, so here's my kit list:


Modern CF bow

Reproduction baroque bow

Two cleaning cloth (one for strings, one for everything else)

Moulded ACS ear-plugs (always used when practicing to prevent hearing damage)

Lubricant for ear plugs

Tuning fork

Peg compound

Spare strings (Tonica + Westminster e)

Screwdriver to adjust chin-rest

"Old Time Southern Fiddle Case Book" - current aim is to commit all 50 of the tunes in this to memory

Bon Musica shoulder rest

October 17, 2016 at 09:05 AM · Do not forget the deodorant.

October 17, 2016 at 09:17 AM · Are you saying that I smell, Tony? ;)

October 17, 2016 at 02:59 PM · It seems kind of funny to me. To be honest, some of you must keep your violins in an upright bass case haha! For some of you have so many things stuffed in your cases. In my viola case I keep:

he Viola

a bow


a pencil

a rubber band

a chin cloth

and a small ball I use to teach vibrato to pupils.

In my violin case I keep:

The violin

a bow


Granted I don't play the violin often since I am a career violist.

And I usually carry more supplies in a backpack such as the shoulder rests, extra strings, tuner and so on. But I try to keep as little in my actual case as possible so I don't damage my instrument.

October 17, 2016 at 04:24 PM · I wouldn't worry about that, unless your case has few compartments.

October 17, 2016 at 05:07 PM · I have:


CF bow

intermediate wood bow

bon musica shoulder rest

evah pirazzi spare strings

humidity control device


sheet music

violin protective cloth

sheet music

microfiber cleaning cloth

more sheet music

rosin cake *2


October 17, 2016 at 05:20 PM · In my kit I keep


-shoulder rest


-2 bows


-1 mechanical pencil

-clothes pins for holding paper

-Extra set of old strings for an emergency

-Cleaning cloth

-List of my favorite solo repertoire to play on the spot- it was amazing how many last minute requests I got to play "anything" and my mind drew a blank.

-Stickers for kids- kind of random I know, I can explain!

-Loose change- I don't know why it's in there, but as soon as I take it out I'll remember why I put it in.

October 17, 2016 at 05:51 PM · - violin

- 2 bows

- blanket

- cloth

- humidifier

- rosin

- pencils and rubber

- spare strings

- chinrest tool

- SR

- tissues

Recently it also contained a little bug which must have crawled onto my violin prior to my lesson (unnoticed) and had already made its way to the fingerboard before I noticed and rescued it. I'm not normally housing living beings in my case.

October 17, 2016 at 06:19 PM · What one carries in their case should spend upon the situations likely to occur. Teachers would likely need more "emergency" gear.

I have carried just about everything mentioned (at one time or another and depending upon the capacity of my case) although 12 golf pencils would have been overdoing it, even for me. One other thing: personally, I would find it a bit dangerous to work with needle nose players around my instruments - I have always carried tweezers for changing strings and installing used strings -the small hemostat I use at home also works safely and more easily.

October 17, 2016 at 06:44 PM · In my kit I keep:



-spare case parts

-chin rest tool

-3 mutes - rubber, metal, & concert

-cleaning cloth



-sheet music

-check book


-old strings for emergencies

-the next set of new strings

-usually at least one pair of dangly earrings

-hair tie

-an essay my son wrote for me http://www.violinist.com/blog/Krista/20159/17025/

-shoulder rest

-violin blanket

-2 bows

-tuning fork

-peg dope

-ear plugs

Wow. That sounds a lot of stuff. Maybe I should clean out my case.

October 17, 2016 at 07:34 PM · I'm a committed minimalist, and carry as little as possible in my violin cases. Usually that includes: violin, (1) bow, (1) rosin, (1) performance mute, a chinrest cover, a small foam shoulder rest. That's it! The Peterson strobe tuner app in my iPhone is so much more accurate than any other tuning tool I've used so that it's eliminated any need for stand alone tuners or tuning forks. And similarly, the metronome app also loaded in my iPhone is better than any other metronome I've ever used, so stand alone metronomes are eliminated too. I carry the iPhone in my shirt pocket. I also carry an automatic pencil in my shirt pocket. And finally, I keep a cleaning cloth in my sheet music bag.

And Johanna, re: the bug on your violin, if I were you I would at a minimum carefully vacuum out my case to be sure there aren't any more. If you live where there are still some warm, sunny days, leaving the case outside open in the sun for a few hours can drive out carpet beetles. I once had carpet beetles in a case with a violin that I wasn't using and they damaged the bow hair. I put the empty open case in a large plastic bag with moth crystals for a week, to be sure they were gone. Carpet beetles are endemic. They are in everyone's home, but they only thrive in darkness. Bugs can do real damage. You don't want them in your "kit." I think that case vacuuming should be done regularly.

October 18, 2016 at 01:09 AM · I like having a lot of gear, but for most excursions (a rehearsal, etc.) I really just need a performance mute, a few pencils (always one or two to share), rosin, clip-on tuner, and a cleaning cloth, in addition to violin and bow. What I did with all the other stuff was pile it into a huge tackle box labeled "violin stuff" that travels with me to more serious excursions like music camp. There's everything but the kitchen sink in there.

October 18, 2016 at 07:48 AM · If you forget to take a mute as I often did you can place a correct size of coin between the strings at the back of the bridge just touching it and you get the same (sort of) effect. The problem is it takes ages to get it on and off ... (You could also try small lumps of blue tack on the bridge but many people will be against this. I've tried it to get rid of a wolf with very small amounts. Now I just send my dog after the wolf ...)

October 18, 2016 at 11:49 AM · @Mark: Thanks for the advice, glad to say that this was just one adventurous little bug.

Regarding forgotten mutes, accoding to this article from a German luthier and violinist folded banknotes (as stiff as possible) work surprisingly well as emergency mutes: http://www.geigenbau.com/tippsundtricks/tipps/geige/geigendaempfer.html

October 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM · I'll have to experiment with one of the UK's new plastic £5 notes, which are stiff but sufficiently bendable, as a mute. If I can afford it ;)

Plastic £10 and £20 notes (but apparently not £50) are scheduled to come into use in the UK over the next couple of years.

October 18, 2016 at 01:36 PM · They are meant to compete with plastic credit/debit cards ...

October 18, 2016 at 01:42 PM · In my kit I keep a loaded revolver - just for conductors ... to put them out of their misery ...

October 18, 2016 at 01:49 PM · Peter, there are certain "Agencies" that monitor discussion forums ;)

October 18, 2016 at 02:57 PM · I have:


2 bows (my regular bow plus a CF backup)

Set of old-but-still-usable strings (for emergency replacements)

2 rosins (one dark, one light)

2 mechanical pencils

2 cleaning cloths (1 big, 1 small)

Menuhin Shield mute

Big rubber practice mute

Chinrest tool

Three fluorescent colors of small post-its

One variety-pack of Post-It Flags

One sheet of Post-It dots

Binder clip

Nail clippers




Back before smartphones, I also used to carry an A-440 tuning fork and a small Korg card-sized metronome (that could also generate an A).

October 18, 2016 at 04:49 PM · Peter, there are certain "Agencies" that monitor discussion forums

It's OK, I'm in touch with them. The American agency is in Northern England ... It all revolves around which chamber you belong to ... (I think that should really confuse them).

PS What makes you think they have concerns for conductors? (wink) Or you could say it's not worth the waste of a cost of a bullet! (wink)

October 20, 2016 at 08:51 PM · Right now, the summer and fall season, I have a kit with limited room, when winter comes, I have a cushy bag to cover my case, which gives me more room. So right now, I have

- violin

- one bow

- blanket

- rosin

- nail clipper

- money

- cleaning cloth

- hygrometer

- humidifier

- a list with all the important violin-related dates

- the original tag that I kept from the purchase of the violin

- a cloth for the protect my neck from the chin rest

winter times, those two items will be added

- shoulder rest

- music

I am sure I can add more as when whatever items are needed.

October 20, 2016 at 09:31 PM · I meant nothing whatsoever disrespectful about people with Aspbergers.

But go back and read the original post--It's less about what's in someone's case than the unusually unfiltered way in which the person inspected, criticized, and announced the results of his "kit inspection." The first thing that came to mind was simply that this person had the condition. Had the person come up and started swearing, I'd probably have said that maybe he had Tourette's. It was simply an observation, not a criticism.

And likewise, if someone said they had lack of muscular control over their playing I might suggest they had dystonia. As I said, just because something is mentioned that you have does not imply criticism or negativity.

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