Case Question, Am I worth it?

April 26, 2022, 10:02 AM · Good morning,

Due to a feline-related mishap, my current case is unusable and needs to be replaced. I had a Bam case with a hoodie. I liked the light weight, but I decided my next case needs to be oblong (more storage) and offer better protection. The Bam always felt like it would transmit every impact right to the instrument. Plus it's thermal insulation is a joke.

I can afford a mid-tier Musafia and I'm really thinking about it. But my violin is about 3k and I've got 2k worth of bows in the case as well. It seems a little ridiculous to buy a case of that quality, given the cost of my instrument. However, I really love this violin and while it isn't pricey in the grand scheme of things, it's very important to me.

So, in my shoes, what would you do? Spring for the case, because you can? I don't want to buy twice (i.e. get a cheaper case that I have to replace). I won't be upgrading instruments (I'm 45 and have something I like, I'm not doing this professionally and I don't need to upgrade).

And, if you are curious, I definitely will put a liquid-proof cover on my case from now on.

Replies (34)

April 26, 2022, 10:34 AM · Why not get the cheapest Musafia model, and use the savings somewhere else, perhaps adjustment, rehairs, and strings down the line.

Alternatively, bobelock plywood cases are great value for money

April 26, 2022, 10:42 AM · Alvin,

Thanks for the perspective. Bobelock are a little on the heavy side, but worth looking at.

April 26, 2022, 10:53 AM · The idea of some proportional value between instrument and case is one factor among many in an individual choice of what case to buy.

If the value of the case doing its job is high enough, and if the opportunity cost of spending the money is low enough, why not?

April 26, 2022, 11:00 AM · This is a rather personal decision - I have no idea of the cost or provenance of my case, and I imagine it will last me my whole life, so I can't imagine what deficiency your case might have that you might NEED a new one, unless you are using it to battle newcomers in a reboot of American Gladiators.

So it comes back to what you want to budget for - If your plan is to never buy a new violin or bow, then I think it just works out to whether you like having a nice luxury case and what it means to you. Some people ride Bentleys and others ride bikes.

Edited: April 26, 2022, 1:56 PM · A good case will protect your violin and bows for a long time.

If you have the money and won't be spending it on other equipment, go for what will give you pleasure and let you sleep better.

April 26, 2022, 11:41 AM · I swear by Bobelock cases. They are relatively inexpensive, very solid, and quite durable.
April 26, 2022, 11:43 AM · Thanks everyone, for your comments. Since my BAM is no longer usable, and covered by insurance, I'm getting a Musafia. I figure it will last the rest of my days. I decided to stop chasing gear a long time ago and spend that time practicing :)

April 26, 2022, 1:36 PM · Hey man, if you want to buy a fancy case, then buy a fancy case. Obviously, it makes zero practical sense to buy a case that costs the same as your violin, but then again, buying fancy shoes or clothes makes no practical sense either.

If it makes you happy, just do it.

April 26, 2022, 2:40 PM · Buy the fancy case. A Musafia is a fine investment and well worth it if you are very fond of your fiddle. Happy Musafia shopping!
April 26, 2022, 4:09 PM · Get the Musafia case if you like it and can afford it.
A young friend of mine also has a Musafia and his reasoning for getting it was: "it makes me happy every time I open it". I have the same feeling when I open mine....
April 26, 2022, 4:51 PM · I'd buy the fancy case which has a price commensurate with how much you love your violin, not how much it cost.
April 26, 2022, 5:50 PM · I picked up a Demo Musafia momentum case almost a decade ago off of the Musafia website. I had a 3K violin and a 2K bow also. Here's the deal... I still have that Musafia case and it looks great. It now holds a 10K violin and 6K worth of bows. I expect it to last another 10 years before I may just get the case rebuilt because I'm into that kind of thing. Buy something nice and take care of it.
April 26, 2022, 6:18 PM · What’s this ‘fancy case’stuff?
For sure, Musafia cases are aesthetically pleasing but that isn’t the point. I gather from Dmitri’s writing that the cases are designed with carefully worked out measurements, materials and the like for the best possible protection for your instrument. Call t fancy or whatever you like but I am going go with respect for someone who is making an important contribution to the violin world when you think about it. It gives me somewhere safe to stuff my fancy delGesu too. Yeah!
Cheers,
Buri
April 26, 2022, 10:30 PM · I spent my Musafia case money on a Nord keyboard. To each his/her own. I think you should buy it if you're going to enjoy it. I'm enjoying the living hell out of the keyboard.
April 26, 2022, 11:51 PM · Musafia cases are without peer. They are the most protective, beautifully made, yet understated enough not yo draw the eye of the casual thief. I have never for moment regretted buying my Musafia cases.
April 27, 2022, 7:39 AM · Way to go, Dimitri Pappas:
https://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=4977
Edited: April 27, 2022, 8:06 AM · When I borrowed my daughter's violin for my late-life violin playing, I discovered that its old worn case was pressuring the bridge leaving marks in the velvet. I bought a sturdy wooden oblong that proved too heavy to lug around. The violin is lovely and definitely worth protecting so I decided to get a Musafia to use (lightweight AND protective) so that when I finally return it to my daughter it will be in a gloriously made piece of craftsmanship. EVERY time I touch it, open or close it, see it, I know it was one of the sweetest choices I have made. It is a visual and tactile delight.
I live within a mile and a half of Shar so I was able to play with/test a LOT of cases before I made my decision. I ordered it thru Shar and was pleased.
And, YES, you are worth it.
April 27, 2022, 10:16 AM · Please people, you are making me blush..! I do design them, but the praise goes to my highly worthy collaborators who actually put them together! But thank you for helping me support their livelyhoods as well. :-)
Edited: April 27, 2022, 10:35 AM · Spray your case with lion's urine. Cats don't like that.
April 27, 2022, 11:06 AM · I currently use an oblong Bobelock case - My BonMusica SR (just barely) fits, perpendicular to the axis of the case under the violin neck. The space needed is about 9-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches. Does anyone know if Musafia cases can accomodate a BonMusica SR, either in this position or in the accessories compartment? I'm interested in a new case but would like to avoid carrying the SR separately.
April 27, 2022, 12:32 PM · @Charles, I have got to the point where I carry around so much extraneous crap (folding stand, LED stand light, SR, metronome, you name it), that I'm resigned to having a tote bag in addition to my violin case. It's not that much of a hardship. My daughter is a cellist and her case doesn't have room for anything but the instrument and bow, and she manages okay with a sturdy canvas tote bag.
April 27, 2022, 2:31 PM · We've been having to take our own music stands to orchestra due to lockdown, so I've got used to carrying any spare stuff in a shopping bag. But my favourite shoulder rest is petite enough to fit in my violin case, and I'd rather travel light.
April 27, 2022, 3:07 PM · Dimitri and his people will know which of his models fit the BonMusica. When I got my case they checked if my extra high chin rest would fit and still allow four bows in the lid. The model I have has room for the Korfker shoulder rest under the neck of the instrument.
Edited: April 27, 2022, 3:54 PM · What I want is a Musafia case for JUST my shoulder rest. Wouldn't that be cute? I wonder if Dimitri has made any miniatures. Here in the US and perhaps elsewhere, too, it was once common for manufacturers of things like farm tractors to create miniature, fully functioning versions of their engines so that the salesmen could demonstrate them. In fact, no, I want a Musafia case for my ROSIN. I bet those would sell well as gift items. (Can't afford a Harley? No problem -- get the belt buckle.) Gotta be plywood, of course, to protect your precious cake of Baker's Rosin.
April 27, 2022, 4:00 PM · You *can* damage a Musafia seriously enough to make it unusable. My Aeternum suffered a mishap that actually bent the frame sufficiently that the lid doesn't quite close properly any more. (I imagine I could have sent it back to Dmitri for repair, but I bought an Enigma instead. The mishap did not result in damage to anything in the case, note.)
April 27, 2022, 5:54 PM · Timms Cases are very very nice too. The cases are very old school looking (I find them very attractive), but provide excellent protection for the instrument. I believe they are a much smaller operation than Musafia. I bought my Musafia for the level of protection and lifetime warranty. I think among the premium case makers, there is a bit of professional respect not present in many other fields.
Edited: April 28, 2022, 12:27 AM · @Scott, I agree with you on Desmond Timm's cases, they are a wonderful take on the Hill cases of yore.

Let's not forget here also Maurizio Riboni, my colleague here in Cremona. They are a small, entirely family-operated business which, for those who aren't familiar with their products, make a very well-built, lightweight case with different styling and aesthetics in a different price range than mine.

Bottom line: if you buy a case from any established artisan maker, you are getting more quality and case for your money compared to even the best-known industrial product.

April 28, 2022, 3:34 PM · From one Dimitri to another, I have to say that I'm always impressed here and on maestronet by your humility and complete lack of self-promotion. I'm excited to order and receive my case!

April 29, 2022, 12:54 AM · From one Dimitri to another, I try to promote the concept of artisan case making as a whole. Then everyone is free to choose according to personal tastes, needs, and other factors. Anyway thank you!
April 29, 2022, 9:30 AM · As an update, I am ordering my Musafia case. Thank you all for the advice and thanks to Dimitri and Lorenzo at Musafia cases. There are several other makers as well, that Dimitri M. has mentioned before, who also make high-quality cases. It's good to know we have so many options for protection and comfort.
April 29, 2022, 9:49 AM · Modern cars are designed with "crumple zones." In a collision, the car is absolutely destroyed, but the passenger walks away. That's the idea, anyway.
April 29, 2022, 10:30 AM · @Paul, you are absolutely right. The design was pioneered by Mercedes engineer Bela Barényi in the 50's and came to fruition with the 1957 Mercedes W111 series (aka Fintail). My mom had one :-)
Edited: May 1, 2022, 9:48 AM · Depends how much you value the violin? I have a violin I paid in that range for, which I'd rather have than many instruments 5 times that price.

Also depends whether you are walking around in an area where an expensive-looking case is a liability.

I have a Musafia Leggera (or something like that--very light), a Hiscox case, heavy, bomb-proof, though as Mr. Musafia pointed out online, the ability to withstand an elephant sitting on it, is not the only criterion for protecting the instrument. Also a crude but fairly strong plywood case from the 1970s. They all do what I need them to do, and give a resaonable level of protection. The Hiscox case is tiring to carry.

If you have all the quality of violin and bow you want and need, I'd say buy the case; and if you aspire to upgrade a violin or bow, save your pennies for that and buy the case later?

Or just spend the money on concert and opera tickets ;-)

Edited: May 1, 2022, 5:46 PM · Hi Dimitri Pappas - your question got me thinking about my own violin case. The case is a light polycarbonate oblong case, and very easy to use. It was recommended by the luthier with whom I bought the violin. I also travel just about weekly by car—and occasionally—fly across country. I own a nice “not expensive” violin.

I started to imagine how I would feel if I dropped the violin case, or if a car ran over it, and violin got destroyed. I would be quite devastated, I think. I recall when younger—Dell laptop was stolen—I felt quite lost. All the memories, emails, contacts etc. gone forever. I wished I had backed-up that hard drive more often. I never thought my laptop could get stolen [apartment was broken into, everything but the cats were taken]. There was a lot of “I should have…, I could have…. regrets.” Current laptop is now double backed-up almost weekly.

I am glad your own violin was not damaged in the mishap. A Musafia case can give peace of mind.

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