Decent case for a violin

Edited: September 16, 2017, 8:52 PM · Hey everyone!
I'm an amateur violinist and unfortunately, I don't have a lot of luck with choosing a proper case for my violin. I can't really ask my teacher for a case recommendation so I hope to get some help here. Can someone suggest a case(or a manufacturer) I can get(or order from for around 100$-200$?
(If this violates the "No commercial solicitations" rule I'll delete the thread)

Replies (33)

Edited: September 15, 2017, 3:00 PM · My daughter's case is the Embassy Courier Case from Shar. It was $150. This is a really nice violin case. The Courier has a leather neck tie (much better than Velcro and more elegant too), plus the angled layout gives you two nice-sized compartments for your gear. I thought I was getting a better case than hers by spending a little more money. Mine is a $250 Bobelock from JSI, and it's fine (it's a tank), but I'd rather have hers and she won't trade with me.

Below this price range I'm afraid you're going to start to see mostly fiberglass jobs and stuff that is really not made very well. I was surprised how nicely made the Courier was for $150.

September 15, 2017, 9:24 PM · You can get a Bobelock shaped wooden case with suspension for about $110. I don't know how protective it really is, but Bobelock cases are usually of good quality.
Edited: September 15, 2017, 9:42 PM · First of all, I'd like to say that I don't think your thread has violated any rules (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Any case with the following features should be a good fit:
1. it has adequate padding
2. the violin will not rattle in the case in a vehicle
3. the case is sturdy.
I don't think I'm using a very expensive case (it's probably worth less than $100, but I'm not certain), and it serves me well. Also, you can search this site for similar threads, since I'm sure you'll find a ton of them.
September 15, 2017, 11:33 PM · im actually using an AMD case from amazon (bought it because it had a discount) and it holds up really well (it ended up costing 100 instead of 200)
September 16, 2017, 9:13 AM · For your limited budget I too, recommend you purchase a PLYWOOD case made by Bobelock. Stay away from polystyrene lightweight cases. You will be throwing your money away.

Cheers Carlo

Posted under my own FULL name in accordance with the rules of Vcom.

September 16, 2017, 12:27 PM · Check a tonarelli. THey are cheap, but they are sturdy. You might need to do small adjustements to the pad by yourself (in my case, the violin was not floating, so I added a towel under one of the paddings and glued it back)
September 21, 2017, 9:23 PM · Plus one for the plywood Bobelock. Very hard to beat at price point.
September 26, 2017, 9:11 AM · The ABS molded shaped cases are ok and well under $100. I have some that are over 30 years old. I'd rather one of these than a bargain-basement rectangular case. No room for a shoulder rest inside tho.
September 26, 2017, 10:07 AM · I bought a nice looking cheap case from amazon and put it in my cushy case. Works really well.
Edited: September 26, 2017, 11:30 AM · Nice looking AND cheap. Is that an oxymoron?

Please save yourself money buy spending more on a PLYWOOD shell case by a named maker. On a budget go for a PLYWOOD shell Bobelock. If you have more to spend, Musafia, Negri, Riboni, or Timms, are all good makers.

Avoid no name Chinese, anything made of polystyrene, carbon fibre, or the molded plastic cases by BAM, Gewa, and others.

Cheers Carlo

Posted under my own FULL name in accordance with the rules of Vcom.

September 26, 2017, 1:18 PM · Why so much hate, Carlo?

I've been using a "no name Chinese" violin case for more than a year and it's fantastic. Specially for a beginner, anything between $100-200 is going to be perfect, or even better than perfect.

Just one thing, I've modded the case myself because the straps were very cheap, so I improved a lot the design and materials and now it's more than perfect. I've even walked under the rain for a few minutes and the water never penetrated. It was a $120 no name chinese oblong violin case, plywood.

So, all those things you say about violin cases like mine are not true at all.

September 26, 2017, 2:30 PM · A case will show its value in case of physical impact.
From my experience with the local youth orchestra, those cheaper plywood cases are often to easy to push down in the middle without the corresponding bridge clearence.
Edited: September 26, 2017, 2:46 PM · Yep, cheap cases can be fine, and I use them... as long as you're very careful and don't bump or bang them.

It's not just external squashing of the case that causes damage, but banging the bridge on the inside of the case from any impact. To avoid that, you need a decent suspension case, and most cheap ones aren't (there are some no-name Chinese cases that are close, and that's what I use). I had to do a soundpost crack repair on one of my violins from this non-suspension type of case and a student owner. You don't want this.

Edit: I would never use one of these cheap cases for travel or shipping unless I modified them. Only for hand-carrying carefully. And I really need to get better cases.

Edited: September 26, 2017, 3:43 PM · @Tim. No hate. Just experience and the knowledge that it brings.

My Musafia has been in constant use for ten years. It has protected a very valuable violin from my own clumsiness. Nothing has broken or come apart. I see cheap cases in bits every day belonging to my students.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2017, 6:04 AM · Well, of course, you're carrying a violin, you are not supposed to bang the case all over the streets and test the case's resistance against moving cars.

My experience with one of those evil "no name" chinese cases has been, and is, fantastic. I've been using it for 1 year now, I've walked under the rain, no problem at all. I've (accidentally) thrown it to the ground from like 3 feet several times, no problem at all. About 5 months ago one of the strap's pieces that join the strap to the D holder on the case got broken and the case fell from my shoulder to the ground. No damage whatsoever. I knew I had to replace that piece from both straps cause they looked cheap and weak, but I didn't care that much. There I got it, one of them got broken while I was walking, but even then the violin, bow and accessories were alright. The next day I replaced both pieces and now everything is tight and perfectly joined.

In total, $120 + $10 (carabiners to replace the weak pieces). I knew from the day 4 or 5 after buying the case that I should replace the weak pieces by carabiners, but as I said, I didn't care that much. As I expected, they got broken and I finally had to replace them. But, after that modification a a few other minor modifications, the case is simply perfect.

September 27, 2017, 6:23 AM · Let's hope you never have to test your confidence in your modified "no-name Chinese case" in a serious accident.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2017, 8:09 AM · @Lydia: I have a Bobelock wooden shaped case I use for air travel. I prefer an oblong case for everyday use, but there doesn't seem to be much difference in quality between the shaped and the Hill-style.

Another option that can be found just within Ethan's price range is the Bobelock 1047. Personally, I would avoid the fiberglass version and get the wood shell instead for more durability (and from what I've seen, a better price).

September 27, 2017, 8:10 AM · There's probably some reasonable ratio of case value to violin value, as well.

If you are playing a $500 violin, you're probably not going to spend more than $100 on a case, and in fact you're probably going to use whatever case the shop threw in for free when you bought the thing. If you've got a $2500 higher-end student instrument, the $250 plywood-with-suspension Bobelock (i.e., a pretty rugged high-quality case) probably seems more reasonable, at 10% the value of the instrument.

In between those two values, which is probably where most student violins are (whether played by kids or by adult amateurs, especially adult beginners), is an array of decent but not necessarily awesome cases, but as a percentage of the violin's value, they are probably "good enough", especially if the player doesn't have a big sentimental attachment to the violin. There are probably an awful lot of students for whom the $250 for the Bobelock is better spent on getting a decent bow.

Strings Magazine has a lot of case reviews, and they seem to generally be of the opinion that most of the cases they've reviewed in the $100-200 range offer adequate protection for student instruments.

Carlo, you and I are playing delicate antiques which should be protected as much as possible (and mine has extensive repairs, so needs to be treated with extra care). But our Musafias are realistically just a tiny percentage of the value of the case contents, whereas for most students, the case represents a relatively large percent-value of the contents.

September 27, 2017, 9:25 AM · In the 100-200 range, Bobelock wood frame cases. IMHO, a Bobelock wood shell suspension case is sufficient for an instrument of any value, even of great value.

If you're feeling fancy someday, the cases by Musafia and Riboni are pieces of artwork, and also very protective.

September 27, 2017, 11:49 AM · My recent experience is that a Musafia with Tropicalization is significantly more temperature-stable than a Musafia without (or a Bobelock 1017 plywood suspension case).

For antique instruments, this matters, and it's a good example of how protection is more than a matter of protecting it from drops/crushing.

My practical need for this is pretty simple. The logical place for a violin-case to go in the back seat of a car is frequently directly up against one or more heating/cooling element(s) in current-generation cars. I want to be able to place the case there and have zero temperature change in the case.

Edited: September 27, 2017, 12:30 PM · @Lydia. You are right that delicate violins that need extra protection, need to have more spent on their safety. My Amati has had major cracks on the front, so does need looking after. It made it more affordable so there are swings and roundabouts.
My issue however is that violinists are scrimping on protection, not due to budgetary restraits, but by making poor choices in case selection. Bobelock plywood framed cases will go the distance, and are modest in price.

In a car I place the violin behind the drivers seat, so that it fits snugly there between it and the bench seat behind. I have a thick pad of memory foam that I place on the floor under the case so that the violin is isolated from car vibration and bumping.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2017, 12:32 PM · That's where I place my violin too. In luxury cars made in the last couple of years, there are usually heating/cooling elements there, as well as under the seats, so a case in that position gets the AC or heat on full blast.
Edited: September 27, 2017, 12:55 PM · That's an excellent point. My violin always rides in the back seat, although I'm mostly transporting it in a 2-door vehicle that basically has a "grocery and purse bench" where no actual human would fit, and no heating/cooling vents in that area. But, I won't have that car forever, and the weather around here varies quite a bit. Upgrading to a Musafia is definitely on my wish list.
October 4, 2017, 10:00 PM · I got a dahan case as a present. I guess its around 150$.
It never damages the violin! :)
October 7, 2017, 9:37 AM · I know it's not exactly on the original topic $100-$200 cases.. but I was looking at Musafia cases which many of you seem to have experience with, there seems to be quite a big price difference for example between Enigma to Superlegerro. Is there a large functional difference across the product line or is it aesthetic appeal?
October 7, 2017, 10:14 AM · The Enigma has a lot of extras already built in, that the Leggioro only has as option.
Edited: October 7, 2017, 12:30 PM · Think of a car brand like Mercedes. You have different models at different price points, from basic to truly luxury. You will get a good safe car at any level, but your wallet and your priorities will dictate which to buy.
Not the best analogy, as Musafia cases are all hand made by craftspeople, but adequate nevertheless. It is not however all about luxury in the Enigma, although this case is truly sumptuous, as this model has all available safety features as standard.

Cheers Carlo

October 7, 2017, 12:50 PM · The differences across the Musafia line are primarily in function, which I think affects both the cost of the materials as well as the cost of the labor in both time and complexity.
October 7, 2017, 2:53 PM · Hope we never see Mercedes A Klasse equvivalent Musafia cases
October 7, 2017, 11:12 PM · @Marc. Too true!

Cheers Carlo

October 8, 2017, 5:44 AM · Thanks everyone, that's good perspective. Appreciate it.
October 8, 2017, 7:48 AM · I have several different types for both violin and viola. I’m currently back to using a plywood bobelock violin and plywood heritage viola for my 1894 violin and 1926 viola. I feel that the half-moon styrofoam case was good, but does not provide the peace of mind that a hard plywood shell does. The half-moon also did not prevent the soundpost from falling In a hard shock fall, which is not what I would have expected given the amount of isolation the foam provided. Some of my colleagues have bought the expensive carbon and in conversation and observation, some of us feel the are a little wanting in the level of protection (see my comments in Musafia’s posts a few months ago.)
October 8, 2017, 10:23 AM · +1 for Bobelock cases.
I have a 1047 wooden "puffy" case, purple (yes, i'm subjected to jokes ;) )

Until now it has protected my violins and bows (important) very well.
It has the minor flaws that the belt locks (included) of the straps tend to unlock. Once it happened while walking and the cases fell down onto concrete.
No damage wherever outside the case, and inside. The violin even stayed perfectly in tune.
So, i taped the the locks, so they cant' be unlocked. Problem solved.

Another thing that sometimes bore me is that it can carry only 2 bows..... i was used to carry at least 4 bows...... :)

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