We’ve been taking a slow tour around the shop, explaining the differences between the instruments first, the bows second, and now the cases. While I’m not going into the kind of detail that will explain the differences between every single model of case and bag for violin family instruments, I do want to paint with a broad brush and talk about what constitutes general quality differences between cases.
Again, we’ll be talking about material quality and workmanship quality – it really all does come down to these two things! Let’s use cello cases as an example. For a given level of protection, cost generally goes up as weight goes down. Why? Manufacturers need to use more exotic material with greater strength-to-weight ratios – carbon fiber instead of fiberglass, for instance. To keep weight down, they need to use fewer latches so the ones they utilize need to be stronger and of higher quality. The same goes for the hinges. Lightweight cases typically do not have wheels, so the backpack system needs to be robust and easy to use. The interior is more sparsely appointed to keep weight down, so what is there needs to be of the highest quality to protect the instrument.
All of the same principles go for violin and viola cases, but you see more varied approaches. Some cases go the minimalist route and attempt to be as small and light as possible. Others are more full featured and allow the musician to store all kinds of personal affects in the case along with their instrument and bow. Some bespoke cases offer features like GPS tracking, gaskets that seal the case against all moisture, armoring, adornment with precious jewels, etc.
While hard travel cases exist for bass players, the day-to-day job of transporting a bass falls to a padded bag. Here, we look for a bag that is well-fitted to the bass – often custom made. Durable zippers, indestructible handles and attachment points for straps, generously sized bow pockets (for bow cases), and tough exterior fabrics are all requirements for a great bass bag.
Do you have a case that you love? Share it with us!