What is a MUST in a violin case (besides build quality, materials...) for you?

Edited: July 19, 2021, 6:10 AM · Hi, I wanted to know what you guys can't "live" without in your cases. This topic must focus on the size, space you want inside, if you need 2 bow holders or 4, if you need a score compartment or you prefer a separated backpack, etc...
Leave aside the security aspects, the materials and the built quality. Just focus on what you need for practice, travelling... Also, I am not asking you to name what you carry inside your case. That would sum up to "I need plenty of space so these skinny cases don't do it for me".

I'm sure many of you have used over the years plenty of different designs and you've been reaping all the different things you find very useful in a case.

I will start with... I have pretty much only used oblong "large" cases because they have plenty of space to put scores, pencils, strings, SR, clean cloth, rosin... they are huge and you don't have space problems. However, I've been thinking for months or years that I could "upgrade" to a one that's way thinner, compact and lighter, such as half-moon shaped or contoured hard cases.

I've find many times the large oblong case quite inconvenient for traveling (through the city) because it's heavy and it's quite large. I've just discovered that you can buy cushions with pockets for scores and install them in these hard cases, so the only thing that I was thinking that it would be annoying (no space for scores) is solved with that.

Replies (26)

Edited: July 19, 2021, 6:35 AM · I like the storage compartment to be big enough for my shoulder rest or a packet of biscuits or both - I hate the idea of keeping the shoulder rest next to the scroll where a bump might make them collide. Two bows are enough. A case has to have music storage - music can be heavy, and carrying it on your back is easiest. I don't care if that storage is separable or not.

If my case didn't have music storage, I'd have a portfolio/messenger bag and devise a way to fix it to the case. Then, like other external ones, it would also act as a cushion between the case and my back.

Edited: July 19, 2021, 6:47 AM · A place to put the violin!! A lot of violin cases come without a place to put a bigger violin!
Edited: July 19, 2021, 7:26 AM · I prefer a leather tie to a Velcro strap. There is an inexpensive case called the Embassy Courier that is very nice and it has good compartments and a leather strap. I made the "mistake" of giving it to my daughter thinking I would prefer a brand-new Bobelock case, and there's nothing wrong with the Bobelock case, but the Courier is more elegant.

In my viola case I keep my SR next to my scroll. They probably collide a lot in there but so far I have not noticed any damage. I'm also not super prissy about a $4000 Chinese viola. I'll be more careful with the Burgess viola that I just bought on auction a short while ago. :)

I like Gordon's idea of having a detachable music sleeve, but it also has to be secure. I agree it's essential that one can carry enough for one's lesson or a few hours of chamber playing. I don't expect it to hold my whole library. Nor do I expect to put any biscuits in there (with or without red-eye gravy). However I am known for always having a supply of mints, as well as extra pencils and mutes. I don't think the bag should be between myself and the case, though, as I might sweat through it in the summer and sully my Kreutzer.

For those considering the Joey as a way to carry one's violin on two-wheeled transportation, I find that I can use it okay with my 50-cc moped but not on my bicycle because the Joey holds my case up too high for the bicycle and there is too much wind drag and balance issues.

I do agree with Lyndon that the case has to fit the violin. That sounds trivial but it's easily the most important thing. Some cheap cases just don't fit well.

July 19, 2021, 9:16 AM · I am finding that, except for double cases, there really isn't good music storage to be had on a case unless I'm just walking short distances. Parts are too large, case is too narrow. For now, I'd use that compartment for extra strings, programs, maybe a checkbook if needed, etc.

My shoulder rest solution is now a tiny Acoustifoam, which always has a place to fit even in a small dart-shaped case. A tiny bit more awkward is the humidifier-- I use the Boveda, which will fit under the scroll but prefer a little more room. So the really tightly packed cases like the Musafia Enigma are not so good there-- the Aeternum and Superleggiero are a little more suitable. A shame, as I do love the Master and Aeternum cases in general.

Otherwise, it depends. I often have more than one case around, so I can use a dart if I know what I will be doing and which two bows I would like to have. Oblong is more flexible, and can carry more gear (rosin, tweezers, etc.) and double has less room for inside storage but can also carry more bows as well as all kinds of things in the 'music' pocket.

July 19, 2021, 1:02 PM · For me, being able to fit all the things I need in my case is essential which is why I prefer oblong cases. I have 4 bow holders in my case, but honestly I only ever use 2 bows, so in that sense a shaped case would probably be fine and would be lighter which is also a must for my case which is the only reason I don’t use my wooden case. I could probably switch to a shaped case if I found one that I liked enough to figure out what I can and can’t fit in it.
July 19, 2021, 1:07 PM · String tube, bits-and-bobs storage, and an elegant design.
July 19, 2021, 1:30 PM · I am one of those people who carry a lot of stuff inside their case, and I value multiple compartments for accessories in order to be able to better organize those things. Indeed, I sort of wish that my case had specific quick-access places to clip a pencil and a mute. I also want a place to store strings in their paper envelopes without putting them in a string tube.

I have a built-in A-440 tuner button in my Musafia and I have a vast love for it. I like the beauty of the analog hygrometer but I carry a digital thermometer/hygrometer in my case anyway and would prefer to have it mounted.

A large compartment for a shoulder-rest is a must.

And I'd sort of like one compartment that can be tightly sealed and promised leakproof -- for carrying pens (I don't like the prospect of ink leaking), candy, etc.

July 19, 2021, 4:30 PM · Good point. If I were to get another Musafia for any reason, I'd want to have a digital temp/RH gauge mounted somewhere, probably the lid. Velcro would be fine if we were worried it might break or go obsolete.
Edited: July 20, 2021, 2:05 AM · I'm considering replacing my current viola case, because the attachment points for the shoulder strap came out a long time ago. Even though the case is otherwise in pretty good shape and offers all the protection and storage space I need, it's inconvenient to lug around with no shoulder strap.

For that reason, although I'm fine with either a shoulder strap or backpack straps, secure anchoring in the core material (as opposed to just in the canvas cover) is a non-negotiable.

Also, I want either a large enough compartment for a shoulder rest, or some other way to secure a shoulder rest and keep it from touching the instrument. I'd like to have another compartment for other items (e.g. mutes, pencils) so they don't rattle around with the shoulder rest.

July 20, 2021, 6:30 AM · After sturdy, light, sun resistant and most important, safe I have very few demands. My case can be smaller as I don't use an SR. I only need 2 bows and the end pocket holds all the accessories that I really need (indeed, having a smaller case makes you only lug that which is essential).

Much more important is a great and secure strap AND a subway handle (the short hand strap at the scroll end of the case). I usually take a second bag with music - as said most of the case-attached ones are a great way to wear out your music treasures which tend to be large format (urtexts). And yes, I confess that some extra gizmos like a tuner etc are in there.

A little question: those of you who are using laptops for your music, do you have an attached compartment for those too?

What would I like to see? A built in humidifier with a large enough capacity to actually work. We get very dry air with the wood burning stove and I've been using guitar case humidifiers (and sometimes a wet kitchen towel in a zip-lock). Perhaps I would also like to add an extra slim pocket for a set of spare strings so that the end pocket does not get too cluttered.

[I'm quite happy with my BAM Panther 2kg.]

Edited: July 20, 2021, 7:57 AM · Lydia wrote, "I also want a place to store strings in their paper envelopes without putting them in a string tube."

I tuck them behind the bow silks where most people have photos of their cat. But, unless I am going somewhere far away or going to a performance, I only carry a spare E string, not a full set. If I need to bring a full set I just stuff it into the main compartment with all my other junk. I like to have one big compartment because I don't care if it is organized. I figure I can use rapid analog pattern recognition to spot my pencil or mute in there, and if that fails there is always rummaging ...

July 20, 2021, 1:09 PM · I like oblong cases because of the extra room; string tubes, 4 bow holders preferably, and of course solid support and protection for the instrument. Ideally the label should say Musafia also :)
Edited: July 20, 2021, 2:23 PM · Edit: I did not read the OP properly, so my previous answer further below is off topic. I prefer 4 bow holders, but two are fine. Do not like "external" bow holders to "save space". Decent amount space for rosin, cloths, and a few strings, if not enough space for a shoulder rest im the case, hopefully enough space on the cover pocket. I do need a space for my SR. String tube welcome, though not essential.

I prefer larger cases, but would be open to a high quality dart shaped case if I could fit the SR somewhere, even externally if needs be. Indeed I do not need any cases now, but would love such a wooden dart shaped case because their small size is so convenient.

(My original, off topic post below.)

Protection/durability first, space second, weight a distant third.

My presumably old pre-owned Musafia case fits these categories in that order-it is not too heavy, but the modern market has super extra light options. I would only have a super light option if it's really protective, and most light options have few spaces for accessories. I am not in the market for a new one because I am very happy with my (1st edition Aeternum?) case, and am certain it won't break down as my older cases used to do over time.

If it doesn't protect your instrument, it still is a case I suppose, but not one I would risk my instrument with. Not worth the "savings." On a very strict budget, you can still find protective wooden cases out there. Won't look "cool", but perhaps may be better for the instrument at that price point over the nicer and "cooler looking" options at that price point.

As always, it is fine to disagree, and I am not disparaging others for the cases they choose to use. Have had my share of decent, functional, but not excellent cases over many decades.

July 20, 2021, 6:12 PM · I'm pretty much limited to oblong cases for their ability to store sheet music. Plus they allow for compartments for shoulder rest, rosin, tuning fork, and some clips to hold the music down when playing outdoors.
July 21, 2021, 6:29 AM · Thank you, this helps to shape the needs that one might now know exists until you experience them, AKA discovering things that you didn't thought were useful.
July 21, 2021, 9:51 AM · During the previous "fire season" here in California I added the capacity for a 5th and 6th bow into the inner lid of my oblong double case (for 3 violin bows and 3 viola). I suspect every double case has room to do this.

My fire evacuation plan is to pack 4 violins, one viola and one cello into our minivan and risk sacrificing one viola and one cello to the fire (I can squeeze 4 bows into my cello case). I gave my 3rd (and oldest) cello ("for keeps") to my musical son-in-law at the same time I made this evacuation plan.

July 21, 2021, 9:55 AM · In a violin case, it may be quite good to have a violin - though certain Italian gentlemen in Chicago may have had other ideas.
Edited: July 27, 2021, 10:29 AM · For me the purpose of my violin case is first and foremost to safely store and transport my instrument and 2 bows. Hence I use a shaped case with little to no space for storing anything else, which keeps it very light. I might put a rosin cake, mutes, spare E string and occasionally small tuner in the zipped accessory pouch, but that's it. Other than build quality and good design, I don't need anything else for my case. All my other stuff (pen, stand pen holder, eraser, shoulder rest, music sheets, stand light, cleaning cloth, metronome, spare batteries, nail clipper, water bottle) are in a separate bag.
July 27, 2021, 7:45 PM · A case that suits my sense of style and my aesthetic tastes.

Cheers Carlo

July 27, 2021, 8:30 PM · The replacement case cover for my Musafia case I bought on ebay for $200 just arrived from Italy, so I'm jazzed
July 27, 2021, 8:37 PM · A small/tiny compartment to hold mutes, chinrest adjuster, and other small items without excessive movement during transport.
July 27, 2021, 9:11 PM · A tiny compartment for small things would be nice. I got around that by buying a small container (probably isn't much more than 1.5 in x 2 in) for about 85 cents and put it in the accessory pouch that came with my Bam La defense. Works like a charm.
July 27, 2021, 10:49 PM · Room for a shoulder rest and multiple secure latches. Too many low end cases use velcro and a zipper.
July 30, 2021, 7:56 PM · Beauty. If I ever get another case, I'll be tempted to get one of those cases that are said to say "steal me - I have/am something great", which I was advised against and regrettably heeded.

Perhaps by having cases worth looking at we'd be slightly more vigilant than our current level of paranoid vigilance; just exceeding the threshold whereby we might forget it on a train?

Edited: July 31, 2021, 5:44 AM · My teacher deliberately chose a viola-shaped case, so she could keep it between her legs on public transport.
July 31, 2021, 4:59 AM · @Lyndon, if you have any issues fitting it one please email me! Although I assume you have more than enough know-how...

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