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ChrisBurt

Protective Violin Cases?

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A young friend of mine, nearly 17, is flying on American Airlines from Seattle to Boston near Spring Break to check out Berklee. She’s never flown before, and is worried about hand carrying her violin onto the airplane. My wife and I will accompany her.

This young lady is an active professional and is concerned for the safety for her professional tool. I don't think she'll have any trouble getting her fiddle onboard, but she wants to be covered. My knowledge of today's violin cases is waaaaaay out of date. Can any of you recommend a good quality, protective violin case? Although money is an issue, feel free to mention both less expensive and more expensive, just so that we can get a feel for her choices.

Thank you for your insights.

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I don't think you need to worry.  Nothing is going to happen to the violin in the overhead bin, so pretty much any case should be protective enough as far as that part of the trip goes.  The only concern would be size, so the smaller the case the better.  But the last time I flew, there were quite a few groups of musicians also on my flights.  They all had regular sized cases as far as I could tell, and since I'm interested I was paying attention.  All the cases easily fit in the overhead bins.

 

I suppose though, if I was buying a new case just for the purpose, I'd lean towards a shaped (or arrow) type, BAM maybe?

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In general, the more expensive the case you get the lighter and more protective it will be.

 

Anyway, I think that if there is problem it is best taking the violin out of the case, wrap it in some clothes and take it inside the plane, I had to do that in Frankfurt with a viola.

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In general, the more expensive the case you get the lighter and more protective it will be.

 

Anyway, I think that if there is problem it is best taking the violin out of the case, wrap it in some clothes and take it inside the plane, I had to do that in Frankfurt with a viola.

 

Why were you required to put it in the hold?  A viola case should also fit in the overhead bin.

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Yes...but need determines what kind of case you buy.  

 

Something for travelling by car and air plane might be totally different that something used daily on the subway or bicycle.

 

I'd have two totally different cases for each of those scenarios.

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… Although money is an issue, feel free to mention both less expensive and more expensive, just so that we can get a feel for her choices.

 

 

 Among the very expensive and most protective ones. don't forget to check out Musafia cases, especially their ProtectaSystem™ option.

 

http://www.musafia.com/accessories.html

post-78640-0-02792500-1478997132_thumb.jpg

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Musafia are very nice, I own 3 of them.  If you can use Delta airlines I have found them to be more understanding.  Pay for early boarding if you can.  When they ask if anyone needs extra time in boarding go then.  Musafia has a light weight dart case called the Levissima (or something like that) it does not have the usual do-dads but it is very well made and quite light.  Dimitri says it is just as strong as the other models.

 

http://www.gostrings.com/mulivicalimu.html

 

 

DLB

 

I would never, ever let them put it in the hold.

 

Bobelock also makes very good cases for quite low prices.

 

DLB

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So it's overhead bin space that actually limits the size of violas?

 

 Phrased slightly different: Yes, it's the size of the case the instrument is in, that determines whether an instrument is allowed there.  Think of the size of a piccolo case vs the size of a Cello case.

 

Look among recent threads. The official regulations were posted here not too long ago.

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I don't know... there was space in the overhead bin... The company was Lufthansa... prior to that my violas was tested for.... explosives in the the Frankfurt Airport...

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"I know nothing"

 

With that said, my concerns would be or thing I would be certain of before flying with it:

1. Making CERTAIN that I could carry it on, and not be forced to check it at the terminal. 

2. Shell strength is certainly a concern, but what I have not seen anyone mention is shock absorbing qualities. You skull has tremendous structural strength, but a blow to the head that doesn't break your skull can kill you. Same with a violin, or anything in a rigid container.

3. Assuming it is a expensive to very expensive instrument, I would verify insurance covers flying commercially - and any "rules" the insurance company may have. Second I would consider a ocation tracking device in the case, in the event it is stolen while in transit, they are small, effective and inexpensive today.

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So it's overhead bin space that actually limits the size of violas?

 That's what I have been told - by airline folks and others.

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That's clever... unfortunately, the joke seems lost on certain people here.... -_-

 

No no! We certainly got, and appreciated the joke!  Keep them coming!  :)

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I really like my American Continental.  It has held up well under a bus on orchestra tour, sliding around in my car, daily use, and on the overhead bins in planes.  I threw a fit the one time Southwest asked me to gate check and flat out refused.  They made room even though I was literally last in line in C class boarding.  Point being, if you ask, or take it upon yourself to shuffle bags, room can always be found in the overhead bins.  American cases are a cheaper alternative to Musafia, but are not as beautiful on the inside and outside and probably not as protective.  The biggest tumbles mine has taken have been me standing it upright on the subway feet and using the subway strap and having it fall over flat, my violin was completely fine, not even out of tune.  I've heard good things about BAM but they are too lightweight for my comfort.  I bought my American through Shar and they have sent me replacement parts free of charge on several occasionas as straps wore out, bow spinners broke, etc.  

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 I bought my American through Shar and they have sent me replacement parts free of charge on several occasionas as straps wore out

I think I read American Case belongs to Shar now.  I wonder if they would send a free strap if you bought the case somewhere else?  I could use a new strap...

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I think I read American Case belongs to Shar now.  I wonder if they would send a free strap if you bought the case somewhere else?  I could use a new strap...

Are you a regular Shar customer?  IMHO, their customer service is awesome.  If Shar owns American Cases, I would guess that replacement parts, warranties, and other inquiries would go through Shar now.  If the case was guaranteed and warranted at the time of purchase I would think they ought to honor that regardless of where it was bought as they now own the case company? It's definitely worth asking about.  

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I'm going to mention one expensive alternative for the truly paranoid.  There are several manufacturers of various MIL-standard low-vulnerability equipment cases who can be found on the Internet.  They do custom applications, and while it won't be cheap, you'd get a case that could be checked as baggage without any worries about anything but theft, and some can include locator, transponder, and anti-tampering packages  The sort of cases I'm discussing would likely survive even the airliner augering in, and after six months or so in, say, Jacob's hands (any suspension has it's limits), the violin could be returned to your heirs as good as new.  :ph34r:  ;)

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^Make sure you tell them to leave out the self-destruct on tampering feature.

Yup, roger that.  I was mentally picturing a ramp rat trying to explain how he got the fluorescent dye all over himself.   :lol:

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Yup, roger that.  I was mentally picturing a ramp rat trying to explain how he got the fluorescent dye all over himself.   :lol:

 

- but just think how violetly the violin will fluoresce in the loud passages

 

cheers edi

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Are you a regular Shar customer?

Hell yeah!  I order from them all the time.  I mean I used to.  I guess my last order was about 1987.  You had to fill out an order form and mail it in.  How quaint.  My teacher would say I'm sending an order to Shar this week.  Do you need anything?  One time he said I'm ordering everybody a tuning fork made in England; you owe me $3.  The choice was either Shar, or if you lived in Dixieland it was Weinkrantz, in Texas.  Those were the only two options I know of.  It also needs a new sponge for its humidifier.  The one in it now has deadly black mold.

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I don't know... there was space in the overhead bin... The company was Lufthansa... prior to that my violas was tested for.... explosives in the the Frankfurt Airport...

 

 More violinists disguised as airline/airport personnel. Please be more aware next time.

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