BAM cases

December 16, 2004 at 06:34 PM · Hey everyone...

I'm looking for a new violin case. I had been interested in the Bam Liberty, but I heard (from Gengakki) that those cases don't offer as much protection as say a Bobelock or something. ALso, of course, the Bobelock has the hygrometer/humistat etc etc...Anyone had experience with the Bam cases? Suggestions? Touching stories? Anything?

Replies (67)

December 16, 2004 at 06:53 PM · I have a Bobelock which I like. They are relatively inexpensive and sturdy. Shar has some products (e.g., STretto and something a bit cheaper) that permit you to add hygrometer/humidifier to any case. I have no experience with Bam cases. It might help us if you told us what in particular you are looking for and what your price range is. Everyone hear probably has a different kind of case and would be happy to advise you about good/bad points.

December 16, 2004 at 07:54 PM · Bams do not stay upright when opened horizontally.

Carl.

December 16, 2004 at 09:14 PM · No experience with Bam, but I second liking Bobelock. Mine feels rock solid. I have had it for almost 3 years now, and would unhesitatingly buy one again.

December 17, 2004 at 12:21 AM · It really depends on the specific model you're looking at.

I formerly had a bobelock which was really light-weight--maybe it's called featherlight? Anyway, the fabric tore right after I bought it. Then the hinges collapsed. It lasted for less than a few months.

On the other hand, I've had a bam artisto for a year now. It hasn't sustained any damage, despite being lugged around the subway and various gigs. Furthermore, my violin has been well-protected in its case, and I have no nicks or even open seams to complain about. Maybe there's something to their claim that the case helps gaurd against sudden weather changes.

The downside: there aren't a million accessory compartments, so if that's what you're looking for don't get BAM. The artisto model has a huge rainproof pouch, but if I stuff it full of tons of music it doesn't look particularly professional. Also, the case doesn't have a rainflap covering the zipper; that could prove to be a weakness. The other thing I don't know about; if it was run over by a truck how it would fare, since it's not a hard-shell case. The "london" model has additional hard-shell reinforcement. But anyhow that's not an experiment I care to try....best of luck in your search!

-ray

December 17, 2004 at 05:11 AM · Ever thought about the Musafia cases?

December 17, 2004 at 04:27 PM · Ahh. Glad you (violetcat) are now happy with your BAM. I have never used any other models of Bobelock cases besides mine, which (judging from the pictures and features) seems to be this one:

http://www.bobelock.com/violinCases/1050-1051.html#

I'm just an amateur, though, so while it does get dragged around plenty, I don't subject it to anything like the kind of abuse working pros will.

Mustafia cases look absolutely beautiful, but dang, they aren't cheap! (I guess you pay for all that fine Italian design.) Jaw-droppingly stylish, though. :-)

December 17, 2004 at 04:34 PM · Musafias aren't light, either. Even the Superleggero series are heavier than some regular suspension cases.

The only experience I have with Bam is a very nice, light viola case that has done its job well for about two years now. But the comment above about them is right -- they don't stay open easily when resting on a flat surface, or at least this one doesn't.

December 17, 2004 at 05:25 PM · Hi,

Though I don't have one personally, I have several friends who have BAM cases and they love them. The extendable music pouch is the only one that will fit orchestra parts, which is very practical. There are nice, and light. Cheers!

December 17, 2004 at 08:43 PM · I was about to buy a Bam! case for my new violin when a violin photographer (and actually the maker of my violin) came in to tell me that he was taking pictures of a $200,000 instrument that had been absolutely crushed because the owner had fallen down the stairs and fallen on the case. I promptly purchased a nice, solid Bein & Fushi case that has worked very well. My violin once dropped from the top of a mini-van's trunk (basically the top of the van, as cellos and other violins were stacked below it), and it landed on cement without the violin even going out of tune. I was lucky, and have been very careful not to let that happen again... :)

December 18, 2004 at 12:54 AM · Hey guys, thanks so much for the responses. I think I'm going to go with the Bobelock case after all, because I'm upgrading my violin and I'd rather have a more protective case than a light one.

December 31, 2004 at 02:06 AM · The best price/performance/selection of violin cases I've ever seen is here:

http://www.sagamusic.com/catalog/products.asp?CategoryID=3&FamilyID=1

I have the C-3903 and believe it or not, it was priced at only $40 where I bought it locally.

I had a Calton case made for my guitar. You can jump up and down on it without a problem. It's very heavy fiberglass. They make custom violin cases too.

February 7, 2007 at 06:28 PM · I'd like to say that with all the urban legends about x violin crushed in Y case or A violin survived a nuclear bomb in B case, I swear by Bam.

Bam is light and designed for comfortable carrying for a long time. But in the mean time its padding is extremely soft and absorbs a lot of shock. I have a violin that is slightly larger than normal on the lower bout. The pluse/foam padding dented around the lower bout. what other case's padding would comform to the shape of your instrument? I didn't think those cotton stuff would do the same.

I am also extremely clumsy, and knock over my case often. Or I'd walk through a door that fits just me, so the case would slam on the wall. My violin didn't go out of tune, either.

And I have carried my case on my back and walked i n the snow for over an hour, and when I opened my case again, the violin was not even a little bit cold.

The case costed about as much as a nicer bobelock.

I would not hesistate recommending this case to anyone, or buy another one. I'm pretty much determined to use only bam violin cases.

February 7, 2007 at 07:43 PM · Musafias are not very light and are expensive!

BUT...

I own 3 Musafia violin cases and love them for their looks, durability and they do protect your violin very very well. They do make them of quality materials and are well designed.

Regards,

Peter

February 8, 2007 at 04:33 AM · The Musafia Aeternum weighs 6 lbs / 2.7 kg.

That's pretty darn light especially considering the amount of protection and you get a ton of storage space.

Inexpensive it's not, however. But it's a great case.

- Ray

February 8, 2007 at 04:40 AM · Greetings,

I don`t know the modle but I have the cheapest Musafia. Its a very tough cookie, very stylish and not heavy. I would reocmmend them to anyone.

Cheers,

Buri

March 29, 2007 at 06:17 PM · I'm also looking for a lightweight case, and I'd really like the kind you can wear like a backpack. It sounds like it's between BAM and a lightweight Musafia. Does anyone know if the BAM Hightech is one of the models that doesn't stay open? Also, can you get a padded cover for it, or will that not work because of how the straps are attached? The lightweight Musafia doesn't have straps, does it? Also, I can't seem to find any place to look at these in person. Anyone know if they're sold in NY? Thanks everyone.

March 29, 2007 at 11:15 PM · I received my BAM Contoured Hightech a few weeks ago and really like it. The case does stay open because it opens all the way, not halfway like most other cases.

March 31, 2007 at 01:01 AM · I recently bought the BAM Hightech Oblong case and I love it. I decided to go with a small music pocket, so only smaller sized music will fit in it (but not orchestra music for the most part), but I did that so I wouldn't overstuff it. I really love the case- it stays open when I open it, although if I have music in it it often falls a bit backwards by the weight (but then again, what case doesn't?) It's in great shape still and I love it! It's a good deal cheaper than a Musafia as well...

March 31, 2007 at 01:13 AM · Thanks Christina. I'm leaning toward the BAM Hightech Oblong. One question: I'm a little concerned about the accessory pouch attached with velcro, and it zips open from the middle. It seems kind of cheap, and I imagine it's harder to access what you keep inside than if it were just a standard pocket. Opinions?

March 31, 2007 at 03:51 AM · I don't like them although I don't own one myself. They are top heavy when opened especially if there is music in the pocket. This means that in the rehearsal room when they are opened out they tend to easily tip over making life uncomfortable for anyone that has unpacked their instrument and case nearby. In fact they should be BAMMED!

March 31, 2007 at 04:10 PM · I haven't had any problems with the accessories "pocket"/case. The velcro they attached it with was probably the same kind they use at NASA, or at least it seems like it, because it doesn't move. I thought it wouldn't be a lot of room, but since they already have a separate place for your shoulder rest, it works out perfectly. I'm able to fit a metronome, extra mutes and strings, pencils, and other accessories no problem.

While the tipping over problem can be irritating, it's what you get when you decide to go wit something that's made of carbon fiber or fiberglass or anything like that. You have to make certain sacrifices, but you do get a much lighter case. I usually will just hold it down with my knee or prop it up against a wall when I'm opening up my case- I've never had a problem with it.

September 23, 2007 at 02:36 AM · I saw my teacher's Bam contoured hightech viola case, and liked it. She said it was primarily for traveling on a plane these days. I think it only weighs about 3.5 lb, which is great for a small person like me even not flying that much any more.

September 25, 2007 at 04:53 AM · What a helpful topic. :)

I have to walk/take public transportation everywhere I go because I don't own a car. The buses are usually crowded too so I always have to prop my case vertically to save space and I'm always worried that the position I have to keep it in along with the bumps and fast brakes the bus makes are going to damage the violin in some way. I currently rent the instrument from my local luthier so I didn't choose the case, but when I purchase my own I will look into the brands mentioned here...they sound like just what I need.

September 27, 2007 at 11:16 AM · When I bought my Maurizio Riboni viola case about 7 year's ago, the violinmaker put it down on the floor and stood on it to show me how strong it was. I once had the metro gates slam on it and try and chop it in two without success. Barely any signs of wear to date. It weighs a bit over 3kg and measures 275mm across, which is quite compact for a rectangular viola case.

September 27, 2007 at 01:23 PM · The very fact that the BAM cases look very high tech hence,attractive to thieves is why I chose a simple Shar Suspensionaire case.I appreciate its weight especially when walking home from a concert in the winter with a heavy wind pummeling you.They also maintain a steady temperature within the case lasting for the duration of my travel to and from the concert hall.There's my two cents worth.....

September 27, 2007 at 01:36 PM · Do BAM cases blow up as soon as you open them?

BAM!!!

or do they contain guns?

BAM BAM!!

September 27, 2007 at 02:52 PM · I checked out a BAM case when I was shopping a few years back. Yes the padding is fairly good for shock absorption, but if push came to shove the outer shell was not strong enough. Pressure on the outside of the case can result in pressure on the instrument.

September 27, 2007 at 03:08 PM · I heard a horror story about bam cases- i forget where i heard it. A violinist went to the movies with their violin, placed the case under their chair and enjoyed the movie. After the movie, they retrieved the fiddle, and the metal spike-like thing under the seat had punctured the soft shell of the bam case, damaging the fiddle as well. Who knows.. maybe it's an urban myth.

Oh, and you'd think the bam/gun thing is funny, but a violinist friend and I were stopped and questioned when crossing into the US (we're Canadian) and one of the questions was 'Are those actually violins or weapons disguised as violins?'

September 27, 2007 at 09:29 PM · I have a BAM High Tech case and although it is extremely lightweight, it is absolutely terrible when it comes to insulation. You might as well have holes in the case because it does nothing to keep heat in/out. I have an American Cases Continental which I pull out when it gets cold. As for the lack of hygrometer/humidifier, most that come pre-installed in cases tend to be very inaccurate and inefficient. I recommend the Stretto system, I have a digital hygrometer which I just move from case to case. I also like their humidifying pouches.

September 28, 2007 at 12:57 AM · OK man, please listen to me. I have a Pierre Hel violin, 1927. 15,000 bucks it cost me. I went to school one day and my violin was cracked, even though it was cold, i had 2 humidifiers. It is not a very good case to control temp, but for shock absortion there's nothing better.

October 9, 2007 at 04:45 PM · hi all !

I own a BAM hightech latest model with lock combinations. In general its a very pretty looking case , lightweight and seems to be protective. I havent crashed it yet or dropped it from the second floor to test it , nor i am planning to... lol

I had a few problems with it though . One of my strap clips fell off . They are usualy in the style of mountain climbing clips that are screwing in two ways. You must be careful with Bam to have this screw always tight. Also the clips when you carry it in your back are hurting a little bit your shoulders and neck cause they are thick and made of high durable steel or aluminium and although the straps have little cushions it is still not so comfortable. Too bad for such a light and pretty case. Now that i carry it with one strap its a lot more convinient. I like very much the way the violin is fitted inside in a very secure way and i havent seen such tight fit before. I can easily run with the case as i am in a hurry and not feeling the violin move not even a quarter of an inch. I got the large pocket which is detachable and it it extremely good you can put more music than any other case and even large orchestral folders (you squeeze it a little ) but with other music as well. The pocket is made by a very fine material and looks perfectly water resistant. Also the whole case wont allow any rain in cause it doesnt have any zippers and seals tight.

I would sujest you try a Bam for a while if you can see how it feels.

October 11, 2007 at 07:48 PM · I got a BAM Hightech case 4 years ago when they first came out. It has gone through a lot. It protects my violin excellently. I would recommend one whole-heartedly. It is a great case, not to mention an extra-flashy show piece.

October 12, 2007 at 12:44 AM · I considered a BAM... liked what I read about them... liked what I saw. However... when I actually tried my violin in one.. it didn't fit! It would have put pressure on the bridge. So... be sure to try any case before purchasing!

Best fiddling! :)

October 13, 2007 at 01:25 AM · I have had a Hightech for 2-3 years now....at the time I was playing a large-ish instrument, and this was the only case that would fit.

My 2 big gripes design wise have already been mentioned--it won't sit upright, and it has NO thermal insulation.

Now I'm about to fork out the dough for a Musafia.

Why? The BAM HighTech is held together by rivets--and the handle is seperating from the case shell, under the load of music when picking up by the handle (I normally use the backpack straps 99% of the other time). A ~$600 case falling apart after 2-3 years? Perhaps I got a lemon, but it has held up reasonably fine otherwise. Either way-methinks it's time to dish out the $$$ for something that will last.

January 19, 2009 at 05:15 PM ·

Hi,

I'm hoping to breath new life into this thread since I want to get a new, super-lightweight, sturdy, protective case that I can comfortably, safely travel with. I like that BAM hightech 3 pounder.  Has anyone bought one recently?  Thanks in advance.

April 5, 2009 at 04:54 PM ·

I've used my Bam Contoured Hightech for almost two years now... it's never given me any problems, but it gets scratched up pretty easily.  The interior is also kind of uncomfortable for the instrument, so you might want to get one of those silk/satin instrument bags that are going around out there.  I don't use the case handle often (I stick with the shoulder strap(s)) but now it's showing signs of wanting to fall off.

Nevertheless, it's withstood months of commuting in the NYC metro system, but I must admit that it really doesn't insulate the instrument very well.  A few trips in the snow won't kill it (My violin has survived blizzards in my BAM case!) but I would definitely not recommend exposing it to overly harsh temperatures.  It's also nicely waterproof.

And of course, it is NOT indestructible, but it protects better than most other cases, and is extremely lightweight, and of course, MUCH cheaper than a Musafia.

If I were to recommend a case, I'd tell you to go for a Bobelock - my violin teacher uses one that he brought over from Russia, and he's used it for many years.  It's lightweight, sleek, and has never failed to protect his instrument.  The downside: it looks like he's dipped it in something outright nasty a few times, and though he says his case is a Bobelock, it appears to be a model that isn't sold over here in the United States.

I personally want a Musafia right now - based on what they say on their website, after you purchase a Musafia, you probably won't ever need to buy another violin case.  The downside MUSAFIAS ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE.  But they're pretty, they're the most durable cases in the world, they're the most functional, and they'd probably make good chick magnets.

April 7, 2009 at 07:53 AM ·

For my violin, I own both a Musafia Master Series oblong case (of fairly recent manufacture, 2007) and a BAM Hightech Shaped case.

The Musafia is my main travelling companion on the road and abroad. It is actually quite lightweight compared to similar offerings from American Case, Bobelock, etc., and the protective features are exceptional. I have banged up this poor thing on airplanes, in the car, stacked on top of amps and stands other equipment, accidentally tripped over while sitting on a curb, you name it. I'm about to send it back in for refurbishment because the outside has gotten extremely dirty and I've managed to break off some of the mounted metal parts in collisions with various doors, walls, and people. I can't imagine any of the previous cases I've owned taking this much abuse and still locking shut perfectly...the interior is wonderful, the humidification and temperature resistance works very well, and it's gorgeous to look at. :)

In town, going from my classroom at school to my private studio, and local gigs, I put it in the BAM Hightech shaped case because of it's incredibly small size, light weight, and "good enough" protection. It's not going to hold as much weight under crushing pressure that the Musafia can, but it's slippery and angled surface tends to deflect blows, whereas sharp objects tend to catch on the textured covers of other cases.

I also have a BAM Hightech shaped case for my 16" viola, and despite it's now-ugly appearance (lots of scratches and small nicks) it has held up admirably over the two years that I've had it. I've hated the big heavy viola cases I had in the past (even dumped the Musafia, compared to the violin case the viola version was a beast), and this one is just perfect.

I don't play with a shoulder rest though, so the lack of interior storage space really doesn't bother me...all I have is my mute, rosin, nail clippers, chinrest tool, tuning fork and extra strings, all of which fit into the little BAM pouches just fine.

April 7, 2009 at 01:15 PM ·

I had a silver BAM case with a huge grey pouch attached to it.  I switched cases last week because I find BAM cases awfully heavy to carry around, especially when I have to travel so much. 

October 24, 2009 at 10:34 PM ·

 I just got my BAM contoured case this past April and I love it! Its so light and easy to fly and travel with. I was worried about not having space to put music, but I think its really liberating just carrying the necessary in my case. My violin stays in tune when I fly or when I drop/bump my case against a wall. I used to get hassled for my violin case every time I flew, and now I walk onto the plane without a problem!! It's wonderful. I will always have a bam case!

October 25, 2009 at 05:51 AM ·

I know this thread is old but I have a BAM double violin case.  The case will not stay open without coaxing and the four bow holders do not hold the bows snug (I know too snug is bad but this is ridiculous).  Also there is no latch, just the zippers, also the violin necks are held with string rather than a convenient Velcro strap.  I recommend you go Bobelock...I've had one of their cases for another violin for over 10 years and it still works just swell...hopefully those are still well-crafted.   Sorry BAM but thumbs down for you (at least for your double). J

March 17, 2010 at 02:11 AM ·

Hi!

One question: Are bam violin cases- in particular, the classic compact 3-  suppose to tightly hug the instrument?

Thanks,

N

 

March 19, 2010 at 04:26 PM ·

I know that this is a shameless plug, but I actually work at a store that sells cases. If you're interested, you could give us a call and let us know what you're looking for...of course, you're free to inquire where ever, but if you like what you see (price-wise) then just give us a call. You can click on my name and you'll see all the information on my profile. if you're interested of course!

March 20, 2010 at 04:00 AM ·

I must second the "shameless plug," GoStrings is a wonderful store with great prices and the best customer service! I highly recommend them.

December 14, 2010 at 05:18 PM ·

I just joined Violinist.com, so I'm not sure where is the best place to put this note. In response to the comments about Bam™ cases, I recently bought two of them—both are the Hi-Tech Contour design in black. I love them because of the light weight, and the straps make them easy to carry. (One at a time, of course!) I made thick inner bags for each of them, which allows a bit of protection from the cold. The major concert amongst my friends who also have Bam cases is that they are easily scratched. I found that a good quality automotive rubbing compound, available at any automotive supply store, removes the scratches like magic! I'm thinking I could also apply car wax for added protection from scratches.

December 14, 2010 at 05:47 PM ·

If you worry about scratches on your case, then you need a case for the case!  Just get a cheap Viola case, and put the violin and its case in it.

December 19, 2010 at 02:29 AM ·

 I agree with Bill. Just buy a viola case to encase your violin case, a cello case to encase the aforementioned, and a bass case (preferably a flight case) for the cello case. Then you're set. My daughter is one her third Bam case in about 6 years. The first one fell apart (bad design, discontinued.) The second famously melted. The third we bought in spite of ourselves as a travel case because it is SO light and inches smaller -- all the better for fitting in those overhead compartments. Although it is the least sturdy-seeming of the three, it is holding up pretty well. Its lightness was so alluring that she stopped using her everyday case in its favor.

We do have a lot of Bobelock cases around the house. Yes, they are extremely sturdy and you do get a big bang for the buck. But they are so heavy and awkward, that their use is prohibitive for constant every day use. If you must carry your instrument around all day, you might have to resign yourself to the idea of buying a lightweight, high-end case and replacing it every few years. If you only take your instrument out of the house once or twice a week,  or if you are extremely strong and don't fly much, then go with Bobelock.

December 19, 2010 at 03:55 AM ·

Greetings, all. An interesting thread of discussions... Anyway, your humble correspondent CRW now lives in Bangkok and plays in the local TPO. BAM seems to have cornered the market here for higher-level violin and viola cases. To be honest, though, and not knowing much about the details of the various models, it is incredibly perplexing to read all the comments about the "lightweight" BAMS. On occasion i've had to move two BAM (violin) cases owned by high-level students at my school, and the cases seem incredibly heavy--- far more so than my own viola case (a fairly anonymous brand from Korea). There's a lot of paraphanelia in my case, too, so even if the students have a lot of extraneous items in their cases that doesn't account for the huge discrepancy in weight. Could someone actually post a list of the weights for the various BAM models? Thanks.

  

December 19, 2010 at 04:27 AM ·

I use a bobelock -- tough but heavy.  Too heavy for my daughter, and too big, for those crowded subways, so she uses a bam hi-tech countoured case. It clocks in at 3.5 pounds, and feels light to carry, especially when you're carrying a ton of other stuff as well.  She loves her case, but it hasn't been without issues.  Scratches -- the thing is a scractch magnet. It used to bother us, but for some reason it's become a non-issue.  At one point the velcro on the accessory pouch came away from the case with the pouch.  A hot glue gun took care of that and hasn't been an issue since (did this on advice from Bam).  And then the fabric around the velcro tie started coming loose so it didn't seem the violin was as secure as it might be.  Some reinforcing with needle and thread took care of that.  Wasn't particularly easy to work with.  Finally, this year, one of the latches started coming apart.  Two minutes with Krazy glue took care of it.  By comparison, my big and clunky bobelock hasn't given any troubles in as many years.  So.  Not without its issues but my daughter loves the thing and doesn't want another case -- unless it's another bam. 

One thing: a friend of ours was told by her luthier that the bam cases cause corners to get knocked off.  I don't know -- doesn't seem possible from what I can see.  And my luthier agrees with my  assessment. So who knows?

 

December 19, 2010 at 05:20 AM ·

 I use a BAM case for my cello...great thing except the clips for the straps are unreliable, and despite switching them out with my own heavy duty clips I seldom use the back straps any more. Despite this, it's in remarkable shape for five years of copious travel.

But!

To get rid of scratches, apply a small amount of nail polish remover with a tissue over said blemishes. They disappear completely. I do implore you to test a small section of your case first, though, just in case the paint stuff on the cello BAMs is of any substantial chemical difference than those for violins. Which I doubt, but a disclaimer never hurt anyone...

December 21, 2010 at 12:40 AM ·

 I'm reluctant on BAM due to this story, see the photo about halfway through.

December 21, 2010 at 07:20 AM ·

I thought I'd provide my own two cents, while I don't usually on the subject of other case makers. But since we have such a different approach, I really don't think it's bad form if I comment here.

One reason why Bam is popular in Thailand is because they have a factory there! So no staggering import duty to pay for importing cases to that country. Regarding the issue of heat sources, on their website Bam themselves say to keep the case away from light bulbs and even direct sunlight (if I've understood correctly). http://www.bamcases.com/new/english/care4.php

Anyway they also give pointers regarding how to eliminate scratches and in general how to make the case last as long as possible. It's a very informative website, one of the best case makers'  websites I've seen.

Cheers!

December 21, 2010 at 11:34 PM ·

Strength isn't the only attribute that matters in a case.  Impact absorption is a major factor that I think many people overlook.  Think crumple zones in modern cars where the car is designed to crumple so that the passengers don't.

Wood absorbs impact force.  In the process, it may permanently dent, compress or break so that you'd want to replace the case in question but bottom line is that it will absorb a fair amount of the force that would otherwise be transmitted to the instrument inside.

I don't trust high-tech materials to do that as well as wood.  And even if they do, I don't trust them to do it when the case has gotten rather hot or cold.  High-tech materials have a tendency to soften as they get warmer and get brittle as they get colder.

Soft cushy interiors can make a difference if the impact causes the instrument to bump up hard against the interior of the case.  A cushioned, yielding surface is more likely to keep a wood instrument from chipping or denting than a relative hard unyielding surface.

I think high-tech cases make sense for cellos and basses.  They're so big that a normal wood case is just too heavy to be practical.

But for violins, the tradeoffs involved lead me to favor Musafia cases (or Bobelock if you're on a budget) over BAM.  I think it's worth the extra pound or two of weight to go with wood and a cushioned interior.  If the weight is a problem, get a dart case and a very good, comfortable shoulder strap.

December 22, 2010 at 01:48 AM ·

Ray has nicely outlined much of my thinking. I also consider Musafia and Bobelock 1st. We have a Bobelock for the good fiddle. The Worst cases are those which pretend or appear to be equal to the above, but which in reality are not. There are many budget (and some not so budget!) cases on the market which tout "suspension" and/or "durable rigid arched shell" or something like that, but which are in fact very limber or with no real suspension, meaning that the top collapses under very little weight and the lack of suspension leads to the bridge being pushed on. I'd almost rather have a flimsy case than that--at least you are more apt to be more careful with the latter and avoid putting anything on top of it.

However, there are some details to my reasoning that differ a bit. Impact resistance, absorption of energy are very important, but so is mass.  A heavy case will accelerate/decelerate at a lower rate. If you accidentally kick a heavy case, your violin feels it less. Of course if you drop it, the heavy case accelerates at the same rate, but if is both heavier as well as built with more suspension and space for that suspension to work, then the deceleration is reduced--putting less load on your fiddle.

Extremely lightweight cases are less apt to have lots of space, and robust suspension. I think of lightweight cases as "scratch and ding" protectors. They are useful, but you should really baby them--act almost as if you have the fiddle out. They aren't suitable for bicycle transportation. And even Junior Orchestra (boy, is that a scary thing to behold!).

I don't really agree with all Ray's details on modern case materials. It is true that some plastics are temperature sensitive. However "hi-tech" is usually either ordinary fiberglass, or carbon fiber. The former can be designed to be superior to wood in both strength, toughness, and flexibility--the ability to deform under load to take the deceleration. Carbon fiber is not a good energy absorbing material. It is rigid for its weight, not really any stronger than fiberglass for its weight, and elongation to failure is very low.

There are really a number of different philosophies behind case construction. One could build a tough, rather deformable shell that absorbs a lot of deceleration, or you can build a very rigid, and strong, outer case with a internal suspension system. Styrofoam cases take the former route (some have shells to make them stronger, others merely cloth). For "get run over by a car" protection, Obviously you have to choose the really rigid, strong, and pretty heavy cases. For keeping your fiddle safe in the house, all you need is an old-fashioned cardboard case with some nice plush lining!

Finally, you cannot overlook the environmental aspects. If you travel with your fiddle regularly out of the house, you need a case which moderates swings in temperature *and* humidity. Lightweight cases have less thermal mass, though the styrofoam ones are excellent thermally due to their insulative properties. The velvet lining affects the rate of moisture change. If it is a hydroscopic material, it will really slow the change-it will absorb and release moisture, meaning that even after opening the case into a dry room, if you close the case while playing, and then open the case and put the fiddle back when you are done, the relative humidity inside will be very close to where it was before.

December 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM ·

Excellent post, Bill.

December 22, 2010 at 06:05 PM ·

I'd been saving for years, thinking about getting my hands on a Musafia case.  Yesterday, while trying out bows and instruments, I opened my case, a garbage freebie I was given when I bought my violin a few years ago, and admitted to myself it would never get replaced if I went for the high-budget case because I would always find something else I need to spend the money on (in this case, Christmas presents for my family).  So I caved and picked up a screaming deal on a bam to replace my horribly tattered case, and I still have enough money to buy all those Christmas presents I've neglected to buy up until the last minute again.

It's got a tidy, simple construction, safely snugs my violin, and I like how the handle feels when I hold it.  I don't have any issues with keeping the lid open.  I don't have much with which to compare it, and I haven't had it long enough to see how well it wears, but it's a nice step-up from the last case.  And, I can still hope to get a Musafia some day.  Maybe someone will get me a Christmas present...

December 22, 2010 at 07:21 PM ·

I too agree 100% with the logic of Ray and Bill.

December 22, 2010 at 10:37 PM ·

I'm slightly bored right now, hacking through the starting stages of two violins and one cello, so what say we buy Emily a Musafia case, just for fun and giggles, and some entertaining feedback from her? We had some fun providing a fiddle for Timothy Weston, the soldier in Iraq....

I'll kick in a hundred bucks.

Oh shoot, looking at various threads, I see that several people are drooling over these cases. If we can raise enough money for all three(?)  I'll kick in three hundred bucks.

December 22, 2010 at 11:32 PM ·

 

Hi David,

In part because I feel I owe you for your kindness in bringing my fiddle back to life a few months ago, it would be my pleasure to kick in $100 toward that Emily gift.

All the best,

Lothar

December 23, 2010 at 02:34 AM ·

Bill,

Looking back at what I read, even I don't agree with it :-).  Meaning that I overstated things.  The takeaway there is I like wood for violin cases for its combination of strength, impact energy absorption, stability of said characteristics in different temperatures and as you so rightly pointed out, thermal mass.

David, this sounds like a great idea for the holiday season.   I'll kick in $40 towards a Musafia case for Emily.  If we get enough for 3 cases, I'll kick in $30 a piece.

 

December 23, 2010 at 03:39 AM · in for $25 for Emily's Musafia...

December 23, 2010 at 10:19 AM ·

What?  No no, I didn't mean for that comment to be taken that way!  You guys are just too generous! You make me blush!

December 23, 2010 at 01:13 PM ·

 

Hi Emily,

Blush if you must...

But then step aside. We are trying to put something together here!

All the best,

Lothar

December 23, 2010 at 04:03 PM ·

 Emily IS our best-loved and most intrepid blogger! 

December 23, 2010 at 06:49 PM ·

I don't know why I feel a little under observation... and I haven't even prepared those scallops that are supposed to be in the oven in half an hour! My mother in law's gonna kill me.

December 23, 2010 at 08:49 PM ·

Mr. Musafia, please forgive me!  In jest I wrote, without giving a second thought to the implications of such banter, nor to the members of my invisible audience such as yourself.  When I hinted at Christmas presents, in my mind I was directing that at my family.  I'm so sorry, please enjoy your scallops with your mother-in-law, and merry Christmas!  

December 23, 2010 at 09:47 PM ·

Does anyone have any experience with negri cases.  I was looking at the Manaco...and maybe....MAYBE the prince.

 

Thoughts?

December 24, 2010 at 02:07 AM ·

Several of my friends own Negri cases, the Prince and Lord cases seem to be the exact same thing as the Monaco, but with a fancier interior; everything else is basically exactly the same. The central closing latches don't work very well; I used to have a Lord and the latch would never "catch," if you know what I mean, and so the case was held together by zippers 95% of the time, which I was not comfortable with at all. Also, it's not really good at standing on end, unless you prop it against something.

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