If you could have a custom made violin case

July 28, 2018, 11:50 PM · Hi everyone hope you are doing well ....if you could have a custome made violin case what you would ask for ...materials, shape pockets ect.... we are thinking to design a new modern violin case but we yould like to design it with you and we would like to here your feed back
Thanks for your time all the best
C.

Replies (40)

Edited: July 29, 2018, 6:53 AM · If you are talking about high-end cases then undoubtedly you will hear from folks who want their violin cases to be made from the finest materials and have all the modern features. But if you are going to be making one that's modestly priced, then let me just say that I've owned a number of these over my lifetime and the one that seems to have the best design, layout, pockets, materials and overall construction is the Embassy Courier.
Edited: July 29, 2018, 8:55 AM · I have (and still do) owned a number of different violin cases. Based on my experience with them I do agree with Paul Deck about the general design of the Embassy Courier case (although I have never owned one of that brand or exact design). So I would like to start with what I think are a couple of obvious weakness in the design of that case.

1. The upright metal knobs on the compartments are a hazard to violin safety because the day may come when the instrument is carelessly returned to the case and the back will hit one of the knobs. They look like a nice feature, but a simple cloth grip is actually safer.

2. The latch is century-plus-old conventional design and insufficient to combine with whatever structural strength the case materials may provide to protect against crush hazards.

The cases I own (and have owned) include several Jaegers (bad design), several Bobelocks (generally good design and quite durable), a couple of Musafias (beautiful and generally good and low hazard design - great latch), a couple of no-name (including one obvious faux-Musafia [without the great latch], that I bought mainly to get it out of the store!).


Edited: July 29, 2018, 9:19 AM · I like the Negri Venezia Advance. At least I like it enough to order a custom made viola case from the same model. It's rock solid, made of good materials, and I don't have to question myself where to put the shoulder rest. (It's stored and properly fixed under the neck, without damaging or even touching the violin.) And it's still affordable.
Two things I'd probably change: a string tube or even better a precipitube humidifier, and I'd install two small extra compartments in the corners left and right the scroll, for smaller items like paperclips, rubber rings, eraser, earplugs, collection of mutes and rosin, pegwax, microphone and other random stuff living in my case. The big compartment is nice for larger things like string envelopes or that piece of chamoix I use when playing restless, but it's hard to keep that hole hawker's tray organized...
July 29, 2018, 9:18 AM · ... and before someone's tempted to ask - no, I don't carry a shower cap in my violin case. This one's sitting in the camera bag!
Edited: July 29, 2018, 9:24 AM · Just made a recherche on the Embassy Courier - well, there really is lots of room for storage in there! But - where to put the SR? (Yeah, one could ditch it completely, but we've had this topic often enough...)
July 29, 2018, 9:39 AM · Thank you all for your reply this is very helpful...actualy we are trying to make a violin case with very high end materials and trying to keep it as low as we can. With also modern features...some people asked as to make it airplane friendly, very light ect does this thinks matters to you?
July 29, 2018, 9:39 AM · Thank you all for your reply this is very helpful...actualy we are trying to make a violin case with very high end materials and trying to keep it as low as we can. With also modern features...some people asked as to make it airplane friendly, very light ect does this thinks matters to you?
July 29, 2018, 11:17 AM · Yes, designing your case airplane friendly while protecting your violin against possible damage is very important!

I read an article that discussed some brands that made them. I think it will help you out a lot.

HARD CASES AREN’T FLIGHT CASES: TIPS ON FLYING WITH YOUR INSTRUMENT.
https://hebbertsviolins.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/hard-cases-arent-flight-cases-tips-on-flying-with-your-instrument/

Edited: July 29, 2018, 11:24 AM · I agree with Andy Victor about the Embassy Courier -- that the metal knobs should be instead made of fabric. Regarding the latch, however, these days the case closure is almost irrelevant if you're going to have a zippered canvas or nylon cover. I once borrowed a very nice antique French violin from someone and the case had no latch at all (it was broken and never repaired). He told me just make sure the cover is zippered and it'll be fine.
July 29, 2018, 11:40 AM · Hmm. Let’s see. I prefer an oblong case because it gives me a little more room. Airline friendly cases are one thing but then you always have a space problem that I think for the everyday musician and amateur that don’t travel all the time is unpractical. (And I guess that’s still the majority?) Some features I can think of:

- accessory compartment on the right so when the bow falls the frog won’t hit the violin.
- should come for various body lengths. I recently aquired a new violin with a bodylength of 36cm and it was hard to find the right case, especially because some manufactures seem to find the information on body length unnecessary.
- accessory compartment big enough to even fit a large sr. (I use the bonmusica. Don’t get me started.)
- padded, high quality but detachable shoulder straps.
- high quality protection against impact and temperature and the crashtest information to go with it. I find many cases manufacturers simply lack in the transparency department. I’d like to know and see exactly how much my instrument is protected.

Design wise I think it’s tricky. It’s a matter of taste, some people like it traditional, some modern. I personally think the Gewa cases look sleek and beautiful but I can also appreciate the appeal of something like an elaborately designed Musafia ... I personally like completely neutral colours such as black and grey more than the usual dark blue/olive green/bordeaux red.

July 29, 2018, 12:46 PM · Olive green? Did I hear olive green? :-p

Airplane friendly cases do matter to me since also as an amateur I like to take an instrument with me. The problem simply is that you never know what to do with the bow. And the existing solutions with and extra bow futteral that can be mounted on the side of the case never convinced me, neither from an aesthetical nor practical point of view. Although I see that it's impossible without storing the bow somewhere extra...

July 29, 2018, 4:51 PM · Flights, for most people, are a corner case, not normal use. If you are going to fly frequently with your violin, especially internationally, your primary concern is protection, not weight. A lot of overhead compartments don't get properly climate-controlled during flights these days, so a case's ability to maintain a microclimate that will be stable through the entire trip is pretty important, I think. And most touring musicians likely have fairly valuable instruments, and likely antiques that will be more sensitive to climate fluctuations. A high-end customized case for the traveling musician is a niche market, though. (If you only fly once in a while, any ordinary decent suspension case will probably be okay. My $200 - $300 cases did fine for routine domestic and the occasional international flight.)

But for lots of people who routinely walk or bike with a violin, or otherwise haul it around a lot (rather than, say, just walking a handful of steps from car to building), weight matters, and weight has to be traded off with protection. I think you can build a case for either market -- the people who need a lightweight and convenient case (including potentially a dart rather than oblong case) with good-enough protection for everyday use, and the people who are willing to haul more weight to get more protection. These are unlikely to be the same case.

July 29, 2018, 5:04 PM · Planning an autumn flight with violin back in the summer of 2001 I visited Ifshin Violins (with a tape measure) to purchase the most compact case I could find. It turned out to be a Musafia Dart case. By every measure it was the smallest violin case they had. The price (at that time) seemed reasonable enough, at less than $300 (as I recall). Unfortunately September 11 loomed ahead and traveling with a violin case seemed an unlikely prospect just a month later - so I never used it for that (inspite of having tickets) - but it is a sturdy little bugger!!
July 29, 2018, 5:28 PM · I have baroque-style bows that are shorter than modern ones, and they tend to fall out of the bow-holder sleeve in the case because the holder is designed for longer bows. Also I dislike velcro retaining straps that cross the strings as I think they fray my gut strings.
July 29, 2018, 8:42 PM · I use a Gewa Air 1.7 shaped case, therefore I’ll say what I would improve upon if I could.
1. Provide a mean to adjust to varying size violin. My Guarneri design violin is on the smallish side, and I had to add padding to prevent it from rattling inside.

2. Provide dedicated space for shoulder rest at the wide end.

3. Provide dedicated (and replaceable) Velcro ribbon instead of relying on the inside fabric, which is damaged by repeatedly pulling the Velcro attachments.

4. Add a pressure equalized (weather proof) valve

5. Add a thermal layer inside the case similar to that of insulated shopping bags.

6. Keep the high quality hardware, and shell.

7. Add a user removable retaining latch/ribbon for the cover when open, with small square protrusions on the case bottom to avoid rolling when set flat down.

8. Add a user removable metro handle.

9. Add a dedicated humidity control device attachment.

I’ll add more as I think of other improvements below.

Edited: July 29, 2018, 9:32 PM · Will,

2 things you can do:
1. paper tube inserted into bow holder (at the tip)
2. small radius elastics around the frog and latch to secure the bow at the bow holder

You do not need a custom made baroque case 8-)

July 29, 2018, 10:09 PM · Interesting thread. Different users have very different needs. In my personal circumstances I don't need a case with climate control but I need it to be very waterproof. Also, because I move around in a fast bike in not very clean roads, I like it to be easy to clean (any case covered in fabric turns shitty very fast...).

These are, for me, my priorities:

Exterior:
- Waterproof. You should be able to put it in the shower for 5 minutes and not a drop of water may get in.
- Cleanable. It's amazing how much dirt it can get...
- Extra safe backpack system. I don't like that the 2 straps depend on one single point. If that fails, you are doomed. It should have 2 independent ones.
- A system to attach a pocket of sheet music, integrated in the design.

Interior:
- Clear space for a shoulder rest... Not force the user to play tetris to fit it...
- Adjustable holdings to snug the violin.

I use a Bam Hightech. It has served me well, including falling from the bike without any damage to the violin. It fails in the shoulder rest space and the backpack system.

For my needs, the one I think fits better is the Gewa Air Ergo. If I was a student going to school in public transportation, my favorite would be the Artonus Elipe. Moving around in a car, the classic Bobelock or Musafias or Negri are unbeatable...

July 30, 2018, 3:11 AM · You can separate the functions of containing/protecting the violin+SR and the other functions such as carrying music and having comfortable backpack straps.

There are backpack systems for carrying violin cases, with decent (padded) straps and plenty of storage for things like sheet music and a music stand. I've one of these:

https://uk.gewamusic.com/product/18425/ (GEWA Idea Air).

July 30, 2018, 11:25 PM · On the subject of velcro: New high-end Musafia cases now have a leather neck tie. I originally thought it would be inconvenient compared to velcro, but I've actually found it to take negligible time and effort to tie and untie. Secures the violin just fine, and seems very durable.
July 31, 2018, 4:42 AM · Thanks again for your valuable feedback... durability, waterproof,light and weather secure is a must for us.....do you think a GPS location tracking is needed ???
July 31, 2018, 8:43 AM · GPS is a nice optional accessory.

I own a Musafia Enigma that I like a great deal; it's heavy but otherwise it meets the other traits cited by posters above. But the accessory in it that I might like the most is the A tuner -- push a button, get an A440 loud enough for a group to tune to.

Edited: July 31, 2018, 10:44 AM · Ha! The $150 Embassy Courier has a leather neck tie. I have a Bobelock case for my viola and when you open it, y our eyes immediately are drawn to crappy-looking velcro furnishings. Velcro sucks.
July 31, 2018, 11:07 AM · I have a high-end case that came with a leather neck tie which I find to be very elegant. During a flight overseas to play a concert series, it was worked loose. Although there was no damage to the instrument, I became concerned.

I sent the case back to the maker and had it converted to velcro. It may not look as elegant to some, but my primary concern is protection of my irreplaceable instrument.

July 31, 2018, 12:16 PM · For those long flights you could always just tie a better knot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YVQ79slKzY

Edited: July 31, 2018, 1:08 PM · During my practice time, when I need to lay down the violin to take a couple of minutes break, I have my case open, and I lay the violin in it. So, effective the case, with its lid open, is the violin's resting place for my little breaks. So in this case, the case, would need to be as least intrusive and dangerous (to the violin) as possible. Extra precaution should be given to keeping the lid open (so its doesn't shut accidentally on the violin) and to the latch being out of the way so it doesn't scratch the violin . in fact, it would be great to think of the posture of the violin; sometimes I catch myself having left the violin not completely down in the dedicated space, its nose bit propped up by the protruding bit between the violin shaped void and the neck space. Thank goodness what for the lid that stays open. I should pay more attention but it does raise the question whether the case could be receptive or adjustable -without being too gimmicky- to the violin's posture in between playing. Or maybe Im being too lazy.

Also I prefer and like the Velcro more. I find the ribbon/knot a little too much anyway. Velcro can be nicely worked into the detail.

July 31, 2018, 11:09 PM · I will bet for string & knot safety over any alternative system. Ask anyone used to sailing or mountaineering and most will agree.

However, leather and knot is NOT a good idea. Knots are unreliable in leather and leather is a lousy failable string. Any other string, natural or synthetic would work better and there are plenty to give that luxury look.

Edited: August 1, 2018, 8:16 AM · Not all leather is the same, Carlos. Yeah if you get boat shoes with leather laces, they come untied all the time because it's stiff square material. But the leather neck tie in the violin cases is soft material that is in the shape of a normal shoelace (flat). I find it ties very securely. On that note, however, maybe the best thing for the neck tie is a plain cotton shoelace, and put a couple of "eyelets" in the case so that you can replace your shoelace with whatever you'd like. Even neon orange, like the fad some years ago.
August 1, 2018, 3:04 PM · In both of my two Negri cases, the leather laces secure the neck very safely. Usually I only use a simple knot, and the laces still fit as tight even after an hour long walk through the city. Only while traveling I secure the knot with loops, but I guess this is more for my good consciousness than really necessary.

The velcro in my son's Gewa case is also very reliable, but you cannot pull it as tight as you want - the neck always remains a bit mobile. Not a big thing. But then, the leather still looks and feels nicer, and I really don't fancy the noise of unhooking velcro straps...

August 1, 2018, 3:24 PM · My only issue with leather laces is the usual difficulty to replace them when they break (at least those I've seen), and they do break over time. The case design should provide for easy replacement.
Edited: August 1, 2018, 4:55 PM · That's true, Roger. This will happen inevitably, and it will be some work to replace them properly... It should be possible to let them run through some kind of eyelet or to knot them to something instead of having them nailed to somewhere below the linings suture...

What I also like in the Negri is that the blanket is fixed to the case with two small velcro pieces. It's easy to get it out, but it cannot slip in the closed case, and it's harder to loose it.

August 1, 2018, 9:34 PM · I stand with what I said, Paul. No matter how rounded or carefully crafted the leather string is, it will always be les safe and less "knotable" than strings made with almost any other material. And you have plenty to choose, including many very decorative ones like silk thread and ribbon.
I believe that the only reason for velcro is to manage it with one hand.

I love your idea of using eyelets to put any regular string. Here would come another 2 cents for the ideal case: Keep it simple and devil is in the details... Most people complains regarding violin cases are about the
small things: The bow holders, rusting metal parts, weak zippers... Is that attention to the quality of small parts what makes or breaks the brands.

August 2, 2018, 2:44 PM · OP, I think you'll be rich if you design a violin case that allows people to keep their shoulder rest on the violin while it's put away.
August 2, 2018, 3:09 PM · But this would be rather bulky, don't you think?
August 2, 2018, 4:00 PM · A lot of good things are already said in the former posts (I also vote for the waterproof case)
But above all: can you make it not so very BORING! what is wrong with a nice design. There are very few cases with some happy, or cool, or beautifull design
August 2, 2018, 4:07 PM · It would be, Nuuska, but if designed properly it could be less bulky than expected. Obviously if you just took a regular case and then added an extension where the shoulder rest goes, you'd end up with a bulky case.

But there are ways of being clever about these sorts of things. For example, it could be deep on the shoulder-rest-end of the case, and then taper down as the case went towards the scroll. There are probably other solutions I haven't thought of. It would definitely have a different appearance than a "regular" case.

It sounds so unnecessary, but I know a lot of people that mainly use their violin case for storage between practice sessions, and not so much for actual travel with the case. And believe it or not, sometimes the difference between a student practicing vs not practicing is the effort required to have to put on the shoulder rest plus the effort to open the case itself.

If someone made a violin case where the primary function was not to travel, but to display/protect/easily open (but still had the OPTION to travel), I think it would sell reasonably well. I wouldn't be surprised if there would even be some people who would own a separate case just for traveling, but this case would allow travelling. Cello players have to tote around that huge thing all the time, so I imagine violinists could survive the ordeal of having a case that's maybe 20%-30% bulkier in exchange for excellent accessibility and display in the days of the week where they're not traveling with the violin.

I've had plenty of thoughts about this design, but as mentioned in other threads, I'm just too lazy to make most of my ideas.

Personally, I do almost all of my violin related activities in my studio, so I built myself a humidity-controlled display case that can hold 6 violins/violas and then built another one later that acted more as sheet music storage, but still allows about 4 violins in the upper display section.

I've found the convenience of being able to just open the door on my display case and pull out any of my instruments - with shoulder rests already on - to be very helpful. Sounds like it would be such a small detail to just put on the shoulder rest, but that sort of effort adds up over a lifetime of playing. And on a day where your energy is already down to 5%, that could be the difference between playing or not playing.

Edited: August 2, 2018, 4:57 PM · I understand what you're telling, Erik, and (as many of us) I'm sometimes struggling with the same issues. And I'd also like to have something like a small humidity-controlled closed for immediate access to my instruments. But even in there I would take the SR off. There are sensible oil varnishes that would suffer cosmetic damage from a SR being clamped permanently. I've seen it. And if you look under your chin rest, you will find imprintings there even in the hardest spirit varnishes when time passes.

However, one possible design for a case allowing to leave a SR on could be like an ordinary oblong case, but just adding some extra height under the back of the violin, but this extra room would only communicate with that violin shaped compartment where typically a SR would be mounted, the rest of the case could remain as it is, including the suspension system. What's left of this extra space could serve two purposes: on the one side enlargen the storage compartment (or add a second one to store the shoulder straps when not needed), and the bigger part be accessible from the outside to store sheet music. Most of the time I carry at least 3 books plus a pack of loose sheets with me, and I would appreciate the change of balance point this design would cause: usually the case for sheet music is in the lid, and even if it's not completely filled the case always tends to tilt backwards. And it would be more comfortable to carry with the backpack straps when the weight is closer to the body. For this I eventually would accept the extra bulkiness and weight. But still I don't need that SR on. So, from my point of view I'd rather prefer a design where the sheet music could be stored in a generous compartment at the bottom of the case instead of into lid.

August 2, 2018, 6:08 PM · It could be tricky to design it such that the violin is safe in case of an accident. I wouldn't like metal objects around the body of the violin during transport.
August 2, 2018, 7:28 PM · Nuuska, I think permanent finish wear/damage from a shoulder rest being left on would be attributable to having a shoulder rest that is far too tight in the first place. The term "clamped" already gives me concerns about the varnish (and the acoustics).

I would actually argue that repeatedly taking the shoulder rest off/on each day causes far more wear/damage to the varnish than simply leaving it on, since the friction is pulling varnish off each time you put it on (even if you are very careful about the way you put it on). Besides, whenever you are playing with a SR on, there are constant, small shuffling motions being imparted which will "sand" the varnish off much more than anything that would occur as a result of simply leaving the rest on when it's not being used.

The chinrest is a much different case, since it is pressing a relatively hard material (cork, as compared to rubber on most SRs) with a very high PSI into the violin. If the clamping pressure on your shoulder rest is even 1/5 of the PSI that your chinrest uses, I would be very concerned. So, I don't feel that the wear from chinrests is a good example to use to speculate on the long-term effects of keeping the SR on.

I would be interested in seeing a photographic example of imprinting left because a shoulder rest was left on too often during periods of non-use, and I would be very curious about how tightly the the SR was on if this actually occurred.

This is all moot to me anyways since I have no plan to ever design/build cases (there are people WAY more experienced in case design than I am, and they're too many light years ahead of me for me to bother trying to compete with them). But, I do feel that some people would appreciate/buy a "practice case" that was designed more for easy access as opposed to easy traveling, but still had the ability to be thrown in a car if it was needed.

And for those concerned about the shoulder rest being left on during travel, you could always just take the SR off when you're actually going to travel somewhere with the violin. The ability to leave it on would be mostly utilized at home, when the violin was put away between practice sessions.

To put it in simple terms, I'm thinking of a case designed around the needs of being an 80% "home" case and a 20% "travel" case. With a "home case", one could use the extra internal volume to do some pretty cool things, like not only leaving the SR on, but putting a more effective humidity control system inside, or perhaps doubling as a standing display for the violin when not in use. I'm only speaking from my perspective here though, because I rarely actually travel with my violin. I'm usually more concerned about how regulated the humidity is, how convenient it is to remove them, and how nice they look when they're not in use.


August 2, 2018, 9:05 PM · I'm not quite lazy enough to need a case that lets me keep my shoulder rest on 24/7....yet.
August 2, 2018, 10:34 PM · Actually, it is not a crazy idea a case that leaves the shoulder rest on. I bet it will be popualr with students.
Modern cases already elevate the violin so that its back doesn't touch... It would just add some cms...

Here is another thought/idea I always had... That the accesories compartment can be opened or even detacched without opening the whole case. That it's another/different partition. If you combine that idea with using the hump that a case allowing the shoulder rest on would have... then you get something really different...

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