Choosing a violin case for a student violin is simple; but the more expensive the violin, choosing the right case can get tricky.
Before any discussion about violin cases, we must face a simple fact: A violin case is a necessity for any violinist, whether beginner or professional. A violin case is required for safely transporting a violin and for keeping the instrument protected from harm as well as from extreme climates. Among violin accessories, violin cases have become big business, with literally thousands of different cases available on the market. Cases can run between $50 for basic student cases up to thousands of dollars for professional cases. So how does one decide which case is the right case?
First, the point of a case is to keep the violin held firmly in place within the case. Secondly, the case needs to be durable, yet lightweight. Lastly, it’s good to understand how many other options are needed, such as compartments for smaller violin accessories, such as shoulder rests, rosin, sheet music, extra strings and humidifiers. One must also take into account how many violin bows need to be transported within the case.
For purposes of an overview, this discussion will not include excessively cheap or luxurious cases. Typically good, affordable cases for student violins and violas lie somewhere in the middle.
A minimum case must protect the instrument. The interior should be well padded and hold the violin snugly without the violin being too tight or too loose. Padding is usually accomplished with thick felt, velvet or other soft, plush material that envelop the instrument’s body. Most cases today have basic “suspension” systems that assure that the violin does not lay flat against the top or bottom of the case. In the event that the case is dropped, a suspension case can more-than-adequately protect the instrument. Along with the padding and suspension, there must be either cloth strings or Velcro neck restraints that hold the violin’s neck in position for added protection.
Soft exterior cases have basically gone the way of the Dodo, as more players have made clear that durability is the top priority. Hard cases have become the rule rather than the exception. Most hard cases are covered these days with canvas covers that feature additional padding, with shoulder or backpack straps. These covers zip close with zippers, adding an extra measure of protection beyond the latches and locks on the hard case itself.
Exterior and interior compartments may not immediately seem important. They are important. Most serious players will carry sheet music and music books as well as other violin accessories such as rosin, mutes, tuners and a shoulder rest. Anyone performing their due diligence needs to consider how many compartments one realistically needs or wants. Rectangular “oblong” cases – as opposed to violin-shaped cases – by nature of their size and shape will offer more compartments, as well as more bow-holders. Fancier and more high-end professional cases feature humidifiers and hygrometers as well as “string tubes” to house a set of extra strings.
Violin cases are very much of a “you get what you pay for” affair. Avoiding the extremes, one should expect to pay between $300 to $1200 for a very good case that features all the bells and whistles while providing good to excellent protection of the instrument.