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Considerations When Purchasing a Violin or Viola Case

Considerations When Purchasing a Violin or Viola Case

Whether you are a beginner buying your first instrument, an adult amateur, or even a seasoned professional, purchasing a case can be a trying experience.  There seems to be an infinite number of choices, an extremely wide price range, and features that you don’t know if you want or even need.  What should you look for when buying a case for your instrument?   What makes the “best” case?  How much do you need to spend to adequately suit your needs and protect your instrument?  You can establish guidelines which will help you make your decision.


One of the most important considerations is your budget.  Obviously, if you just purchased an instrument, you will certainly need to buy a case and, hopefully, you set some money aside for its purchase.  The least expensive cases start at around $100 where as a high-end case can set you back more than a thousand dollars.  A case for your violin or your viola will cost more based on the material it’s made from, the features it has, and how much it weighs.  Think about your lifestyle and which features are important to you and look for a case that has these amenities and fits into your budget.


As with any major purchase, consider the features that you need as well as the features that you want.  Protection is very important and we recommend a suspension case.  A suspension case includes padding that prevents the back of your instrument from coming in contact with the bottom of the case.  It greatly protects your violin from shock, should it be dropped.  Are you a gigging musician, hopping on and off a train or a bus in a city?  Do you occasionally travel by air?  Are you a student that might be upgrading from a less expensive case? Some attributes that you might consider are size, weight, durability, shoulder or backpack straps, and a subway strap so you can stand the case on its end and hold on.  An example of a modestly priced case would be the BAM Classic III or the Pure Shaped Violin case.  The Bam Classic III, and its sister case, the higher end Bam Saint Germain, are foam cases with weather resistant Cordura material exteriors available in several stylish colors.  They are suspension cases, weigh about five pounds, feature convertible shoulder/backpack straps and offer superior protection.  Weighing in at only four pounds, the Pure shaped suspension violin case is made from polycarbonate so it has a hard exterior instead of fabric.  It features a moveable neck support to custom hold your instrument in place.  This is a bonus for someone who plays a ¾ violin who is sizing up to a full size at a later date.  It includes a subway strap and backpack straps and is also available in several different colors. All of these cases would be well suited to anyone looking for a smaller, lightweight case that is well made and relatively affordable.

Closing Mechanisms

What about the locking system?  Do you feel comfortable with only a zipper?  Some cases have a zipper and a lock, some only a lock.  Be sure to look at the closing mechanism.  How many bows do you have?  Some cases hold two bows, some hold more.  Is there an included blanket to protect the top of your instrument from coming in contact with the bow or its sticky rosin? 


Accessories are a must for a musician and most violin and viola players like to store them in their cases.  What do you carry with you?  Extra strings, rosin, a shoulder rest?  Do you play in an orchestra and wish to take them to your stand with you so that they are handy during rehearsal?  Some cases feature a removable pouch specifically for this purpose.   What about a music pocket or other exterior pockets?  Are they padded so you can use it for your tablet and foot pedal to electronically turn the pages?

Hardware is also important.  Be sure to look at the quality of hooks on the straps, the bow spinners, the lock, the handle, the hard rubber feet.  If purchasing a hard case, how scratch resistant is the exterior?  How durable is the fabric?  Will the case wear well?

You made an investment when you purchased your instrument.  If you take care of it, it will serve you well and even outlive you.  Some cases include a hygrometer and better cases seal nicely and tightly.  We recommend using a Boveda inside your case to maintain proper humidity levels.  Cases that seal well will ensure that your violin or viola is kept at the proper levels.  This will help prevent damage such as cracks and open seams.  Are you curious about luxury features?  Very high-end cases include a well-designed humidification system built into the case, a thermometer and hygrometer.  They have lights to illuminate the interior, built in A-440 tuner, and a GPS tracking system.


A case that is right for you is functional.  You may be out of the house with your instrument and have a very long day.  Maybe you travel by air with your instrument.  Are you the parent of a young child and concerned about them carrying a heavy case?  A lightweight case with comfortably padded backpack straps would be your top requirement.  Perhaps you are purchasing a case for a second instrument that only stays at home and only need a basic case.  An example of a highly functional case is the Bam Peak Performance Violin Case. It has features you might not even think of when purchasing a case.  It’s heavier than the afore mentioned at a little over seven pounds, is oblong, sports a roomy plush interior, four bow spinners, two exterior accessory pouches, one with ear plugs and a power bank.  It also has two pouches on the front, a side net to hold the included Bam water bottle, backpack straps, a subway handle and more.  It’s only available in gray with orange trim and has a higher price tag than some of the others but with all of those pockets, it might be possible to use it as a violin case as well as an overnight bag.  It could also serve a busy college student well as there’s a place for a tablet, lunch, notebook, music, and water.  It’s easy to see that there are cases to suit everyone’s wants and needs.


You’re at rehearsal and the cases were put in another room and there’s a sea of black cases and a hundred people trying to pack up.  Aren’t you glad your case is the only orange one?  What’s your style?  Do you want a retro look?  Plain? Elegant?  Or perhaps you’re vegan or interested in the environment.  Choose a case that matches your style.  The Crossrock Violin CRF1020 cases are very popular, very affordable, and are available in awesome colors such as mint blue, have a soft velvet red interior, a removable accessory pouch and are also lightweight.  They are a student favorite and won’t break the bank.  The Jacob Winter Green Line Artist cases are available for violin and viola and are made from renewable materials.  They have basic features such as two bow holders, suspension, and accessory pouch.  They have a backpack system and only weigh three pounds.  The fabric patterns are spectacular, ranging from colorful marble patterns, to jungle scenes, to techno patterns and they vary from case to case.  That means even if someone chooses the same material as you, their case is unlikely to be an exact match.  Another good-looking case is the Pedi.  They are available in several colors, oblong or a dart style shaped version, and feature a plush two-toned gray suspension interior, hidden backpack straps, reflective trim so you can be seen at night, and superior insulation.  The shell is super impact resistant and will withstand over 100 lbs.  There are straps instead of a handle and the case is very comfortable to carry.   Pedi cases are available for violin and viola.

It's a Gift

A new violin or viola case makes a fabulous gift!  It’s personal, it will certainly be appreciated, and it requires a bit of thought.  Many musicians often put purchasing a new case on the back burner.  They may think about stepping up their violin or viola or even their bow before thinking about buying a new case.  If you’re the parent of a budding young musician who has been running all over with school orchestras, youth orchestras, and participating in numerous extracurricular performance ensembles, it’s easy to see the mileage on their case.  They would be very happy to receive a stylish, functional case. 

The Takeaway

Whatever your reason for purchasing a new case, it is clear that there are so many options.  These guidelines form the basic foundation of what you should consider when purchasing a case.  

Thinking about the cost, desired features, functionality, and style, will help you will make an informed decision.  Not all cases discussed in this article are made for both violins and violas and not all violas fit into all viola cases. If you need assistance, please contact one of our shops and one of our managers will be able to assist you with sizing as well as making an informed decision.  We are a dealer for multiple brands and not all are pictured on the website.  We are more than happy to special order for our customers.

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