Another case question...

October 26, 2016 at 03:23 PM · Dear all,

I've been lurking around the boards for some time now but finally decided to get a account.

I'm looking to buy a new violin case and have settled on either a pedi streamliner case, or a negri classic violin case. Does anyone have experience with either of these? Since my parents are paying, the price of the case mustn't go over £350, and unfortunately I can't get bobelock cases in London.

And which would be the better insulator? - the pedi streamliner is made of high density foam,carbon composite shell and aluminium bars and the negri case, of course, is made of wood.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Replies (43)

October 26, 2016 at 03:32 PM · Stay away from plastic, carbon, and fibre this and that. Instead buy wood, wood, wood, every time. Wood for strength, wood for insulation, and wood for style.

Negri are good cases made by a company with pride in their work. They are also European made, if that is important to you. You will still be happily using the Negri long after the "plastic fantastic" has broken and been consigned to the trash.

Cheers Carlo

October 26, 2016 at 03:58 PM · What virtues are you looking for in this new case? What do you dislike about your current case?

October 26, 2016 at 04:16 PM · Thanks, Carlo! That's sort of what I was thinking.

There is nothing in particular that I dislike about my current case - apart from the fact that the exterior is falling apart! The subway strap has come off so we've had to sew it back on numerous times, and the D rings are also about to come off.

In my new case, insulation is very important (even though the climate isn't very extreme in London, I have friends with BAM high tech cases who say that their violins die in the heat or cold). And obviously protection, but also weight. I take my violin to school every day along with a heavy rucksack and sports kit sometimes, so the lighter the better...

October 26, 2016 at 07:25 PM · I think a new case is definitely in order. I own a wonderful and light case, but I don't know the brand name. I also recommend a protection cloth in the case for greater protection. Is it possible to buy a case just like your current one? I'm assumming you know the brand name and price. If that's not the case, then I can't give much input into which kind to buy.

October 26, 2016 at 09:01 PM · What kind of protection cloth is it? Silky or thicker...? My violin teacher uses a silk cloth to wrap her violin in, and I was once told to use a tea towel with my 3/4 because it didn't quite fit in the case.

I'd sort of like an upgrade - I've had my case for less than two years but it's already falling apart, so I'm looking forward to getting a fancier one!

October 26, 2016 at 11:56 PM · @Carlo Carbon is quite stylish these days

October 27, 2016 at 02:12 AM · I don't think a silk wrap is any protection against weather; I have heard more violins are dropped and damaged from people fumbling to get the fiddle into the silk bag! From what I have read, wood, padding, and an interior suspension system offer the best protection. My case is a Negri Milano. The D-rings and latches are superior, but the outside covering is nothing to rave about. If your weather in winter is really bad, you an always get an insulated case to go over any violin case; SHAR sells the Cushy backpack oblong and also Cushy dart-shaped insulated case covers. I use one in winter.

October 27, 2016 at 04:27 AM · "What kind of protection cloth is it?"

I can't say what kind, but it goes on top of the violin when it is stored away in its case. For me, that same cloth is used for cleaning.

October 27, 2016 at 05:12 AM · It's called a blanket, and most high quality cases have one. It's not intended to be used to clean the instrument. It is to provide protection to the violin top from the bows and rosined bow hair.

October 27, 2016 at 09:58 AM · @Bailey. It is all a matter of one's personal taste. For myself, I don't like the aesthetic of "plastic fantastic" cases or bows. Some like potato and some like portato, each to their own.

Cheers Carl0

October 27, 2016 at 12:02 PM · You wouldn't believe how many cases I have - and I'm still open to trying more - whatever the materials. As to personal taste - you say "legayto" and I say "legahto", you say "stacaytto" and I say "stacahtto"...

October 27, 2016 at 09:43 PM · " I have friends with BAM high tech cases who say that their violins die in the heat or cold"

OK, how is that even possible?

I've heard BAM cases are fantastic, and considering they cost like $300-500, I can't believe they don't protect correctly the violin, and also that brand has reputation, so...

I know a young professional violinist (makes a living out of it) and he uses a grey BAM 2002XL. My violin teacher also uses a blue 2002XL.

I watched a video where David Garrett was using a BAM REV2001XLN (with his Stradivarius inside).

So... either they have defective cases, or they don't close them properly. I personally don't like wood cases, they are so heavy and way overpriced. I think it's just that you can custom them with extravagant designs, so when you open it you get the "wow" from others.

I'd love to see a violin case comparison video, using like 20 famous cases and comparing them, putting them to the limit.

October 27, 2016 at 11:31 PM · Well. The reason carbon fiber cases are expensive is because the material and labor needed to create items with it is expensive. I'm not sure to the merits of wood, carbon, or any other items, but that would account for some of the price.

October 27, 2016 at 11:54 PM · I have had two BAM hightech cases in my life. I can personally vouch for their complete uselessness. The first was a hightech with the attached music pocket. Within a short time the case edges had buckled. I was told it was because the music pocket was overloaded. Full yes, but not overloaded, never-the-less I got a refund and bought the shaped case.

This I used for six months then sold it second hand. The problems were twofold but related. In winter, within a short time the temperature was the same as the outside and the humidity was close to zero. I could check this as I used a stretto thermometer in the case. Then, when the now freezing cold violin was brought into a warm room, water would condensate all over the case if it was shut, and all over the violin if it was open. In summer, just walking around outside, the temperature and humidity would go dangerously high in a short time.

In addition, the rectangular falls over when sitting open, tipping the violin out; and the shaped has its bow holders backwards. The shoulder straps leave black marks on light clothes and the turnbuckles on the catches open by themselves, and finally the case scratches very easily.

I cannot recommend them at all. They are not fit for purpose, and are in my opinion, overpriced junk!

Cheers Carlo

October 28, 2016 at 08:11 AM · Interesting how such a rubbish case is used by my violin teacher, who has been playing since age of 7, and by a guy who goes to one of the most prestigious schools here where I live. Interesting how David Garrett would use a BAM case to protect his Stradivarius. Seriously, I can't believe you.

October 28, 2016 at 09:23 AM · @Tim. I think David Garrett is more interested in the shock value of the scull branded onto his case. As to your teacher, I don't know why he would use a "rubbish" case, nor why some "guy" who goes to school does too. Why don't you ask them? I won't use one any longer for the reasons I outlined in my message above.

I have no vested interest in any brand of case and, as a student, you could heed the advice and learn from the experience of professionals who post on this site instead of "disbelieving" them.

Cheers Carlo

October 28, 2016 at 09:48 AM · I don't need to ask them. The "guy" goes to a music school/Conservatoire that is way too expensive to go without a scholarship. I don't personally know him, I just see him here and there cause he lives near me. So I'm sure if there were a problem with his case, his teachers would say something about it and I wouldn't see him with a BAM case. My teacher uses a BAM case cause they work. I don't think David Garrett would put his 3M violin inside a trash case, after what happened to his last violin.

Anyway, you're free to spend $1500 in an organic wooden fabulous case.

October 28, 2016 at 09:53 AM · I have spent a lot more on fabulous "organic wooden" violins :-)

Cheers Carlo

October 28, 2016 at 01:54 PM · I play with two violinists who have the new BAM cases and it was the light weight that attracted them. They both play violins that sound and would be considered "fine" and at least one of those violins would cost at least 200X more than the case.

One of my cello cases is a 15 year old BAM high-tech that I bought for its light weight (of course now "light-weight" is half what it was then). Lack of insulation is one of the features that makes these cases "light-weight."

Wood itself is a better insulator than many other solid materials and added foam or air-trapping cloth further decreases heat flow. All my violin and viola cases are made of wood.

Hollow carbon fiber containers are strong in tensile strength but not in compression, which is what you need to protect an instrument within. Much as I disagree with Carlo on many of the things he says, I think he has some good points on this.

Another very important part of case design is the latch, which I think Musafia has really nailed down well. I have known of at least one situation where a decent case might have saved a friend $25,000 fiddle, that was crushed to kindling under the wheels of her car. One should think of all possibilities when selecting a case. The case she was using probably dated from 75 years earlier and was probably made of coated cardboard.

October 28, 2016 at 05:22 PM · @Andrew. I know of a Gagliano backed over by a car. It died in one of those lightweight foam cases. I blame the case as much as the fool who placed it behind the car instead of in it.

Light weight comes at a price. One can choose protection both in strength and insulation, or an ultra low weight. There may be a third way. Does anybody here have Musafia's new Lievissima case?

Cheers Carlo

October 28, 2016 at 07:14 PM · Tim, I think you're taking an unwarrantedly hostile tone.

There are previous abundant threads on wood versus high-tech materials; do a search for the threads. The ability to keep a constant climate in the case -- both temperature and humidity -- along with the case's resistance to being damaged by various forces, are critical.

High-tech materials basically allow you to trade off weight for protection. The price of a case reflects its manufacturing cost, not its protectiveness. A case can be well-made and well-designed, yet still be subject to the limitations of its materials and design. For some players, especially those who are doing a lot of walking or other travel where they're carrying the case, lower weight is more important than more protection.

The climate you're in also makes a difference. The plastics don't insulate as well as wood laminate in layers, but that might not matter to you if you're in a moderate sort of climate. I needed different qualities in a case when I lived in Chicago, with its bitterly-cold winters and swelteringly hot and humid summers, versus when I lived in Silicon Valley, with its year-round lovely temperate climate.

I hope one of the case-makers will weigh in on this thread. I remember that there has indeed been a neutral case-testing experiment, but as far as I know the results remain unpublished. Dmitri Musafia has been pushing a standard called Satravi, which has standardized destructive testing.

October 28, 2016 at 07:29 PM · At home here in SoCal, the BAM cases work fine since temperature and humidity are fairly reasonable year-round.

For traveling in the past two decades from Asia and Europe to the South Pacific and Canada, I've hauled a Musafia. That case has saved my instrument and bows quite a few times...

October 29, 2016 at 02:01 AM · I use Bobelock cases. $200-250. in some details they're not perfect, but they're sturdy and inexpensive.

October 29, 2016 at 02:02 AM ·

October 30, 2016 at 04:05 PM · Lydia, indeed the case safety testing is proceeding. The cases subjected to the compression tests by the Transportation Safety Laboratory of the Milan Politechnic, under the direction of Dr. Fabio Perrone (see a previous post of mine) have just been Xrayed to determine eventual internal damage to the shells, this time by the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostics of Cremona's Museum of the Violin.

Next will come crash-testing, back at the Milan U. It will be likely a couple years before the results will be problished, these things don't happen overnight. As this is not a commercial initiative, and is paid for by public funding, in the research paper the different cases tested will be simply labelled C1, C2, C3 etc. and not with their brand names.

However their shell construction material will be indicataed, and there should be photos of the cases themselves.

November 1, 2016 at 02:43 AM · I have collected 7 violins over the years...I swear by Mustafa and Timms for my instruments. Although I have two vintage Jaeger cases ( that look like they never have been used). As a matter of fact I just put in another order for 2 more Timms cases, an oblong leather case with suede interior and I am also going to try one of his shaped cases. I also came across a German case company, Oliver Bergner. These are a wood shell case and remind of a bit like Jaeger cases. They certainly look interesting. Has anyone had anyone heard about these cases?

November 1, 2016 at 08:08 AM · Sorry for the typos, everyone on my last post. It clearly should have read Musafia. It is just the auto fill spelling option that automatically comes up on my computer and I missed it again! So please do not correct me on this. Sorry again, Dimitri. I am just the worst typist!!

November 1, 2016 at 05:25 PM · Thanks William... appreciated!

November 1, 2016 at 08:19 PM · No problem, Dimitri! By the way, have you hears anything about Oliver Bergner cases?

November 2, 2016 at 04:56 AM · Nothing I can refer here... as a rule I do not comment on colleagues production, but I think (I am not certain) that Shlomo Mintz may have one of his cases.

November 2, 2016 at 08:51 PM · @ Dimitri. I totally understand. Thank you for your reply. I have a question for you. Is it possible to make a Master Series case whereas the the string tube is (partially?) concealed behind the bow as in a Timms case? I would imagine that there would have to alterations to the lid so that there would be proper clearance, etc...I do not know if I am the only person that may have requested this feature. I rarely use the string tube and I cannot find a high quality "french Fit" case with this option (other than the new Jaeger case that have a thermal shell (not keen on that). Please let me know if this can be done. I would SO appreciate it.

November 3, 2016 at 12:31 AM · @William not to speak for Mr. Musafia, but he does have contact info on his website.

November 3, 2016 at 06:53 AM · @William. I don't use the string tube either. They are to keep strings that are supplied straight, straight! I just take them out of my cases.

Cheers Carlo

November 3, 2016 at 10:44 PM · @Bailey. Not a problem. I will try your suggestion. Thank you.

November 3, 2016 at 10:51 PM · @ Carlo. Thanks, Carlo. I cannot tell you the last time I used gut strings. I do not like the look of them at all. However it does not bother me when they are somewhat concealed behind a bow lathe. Although I like his product very much, indeed, I wished that Mr. Musafia could incorporate this into his case design as an option or upgrade.

November 4, 2016 at 08:38 AM · This solution, while elegant, brings the bows considerably closer to the belly of the instrument, posing a correspondingly greater risk of damage in case of accident. For this reason I do not incorporate it into any of my designs.

November 4, 2016 at 12:28 PM · @Dimitri. Understood, and that totally makes sense, but I still think it has a "cleaner" look, of which you seem to agree.

November 5, 2016 at 12:55 PM · Safety is more important to me than a "clean" look. Looks don't provide protection.

November 6, 2016 at 02:04 AM · @Erin Of course safety is important. That was to be understood as a given.

November 6, 2016 at 03:28 AM · Sorry; guess I misunderstood your comment!

November 6, 2016 at 03:42 AM · Quick question, for those who own composite material case, do you ever stay outodoors in the summer for 1 hour, and similarly in the winter?

This summer, with my composite case, I walked everyday with the violin on my back, and I was, and still am worried about the heat and lack of circulation damaging the violin, It actually was detrimental to the adhesive for velcro tapes I use to secure rosin, shoulder rest and etc to the interior.

I am also wondering if it can handle the Canadian winter.

The oblong violin case I've had acted as an insulator, but never cut off air circulations. It didn't worry me in the summer, but winter, I never walked with it because I was afraid of falling on ice with it.

November 6, 2016 at 12:54 PM · @Steven J. If weather is your concern, I would look into and recommend investing in a Musafia case. They have a wooden shell, not composite. Also you can benefit by having 3 features that you might consider adding... i.e., Topicalization, Weather Guard and Preasure Ports. You can read about them on their website. I own 4 cases by Dimitri and they all have Topicalization and they are quite wonderful.

November 6, 2016 at 01:25 PM · For bitter cold, you can enclose your composite case (or a new wooden case) in an insulated cover; here in Wisconsin, I use the Cushy from Shar.

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