The Proper Viola Case Can Protect Your Instrument
All instrumentalists need a proper case to protect their instrument. There are a vast number of viola cases to choose from, so it’s good to understand the differences in order to match your requirements and budget with the best case for you.
A Hard-Shell Case Is Your Best Option
A hard viola case guards your valuable instrument against the hazards of pressure, impact, weather, and other adverse conditions. The outer structure of a hard-shell case is composed of a strong and rigid material such as wood, carbon fiber, fiberglass, or a composite. Often it’s a combination of two or more materials. When choosing a case, you’ll need to balance the weight (the lighter the case, the easier to transport) against the durability – both of which affect the price.
As a rule, price goes up as strength and durability increase and weight decreases. Thus, the strongest, lightest cases are generally the highest priced, and for good reason: They’re easier to carry and provide the ultimate protection for your viola.
The Interior of Your Case
While a viola case provides a barrier against external dangers, the interior is just as important. A well-designed case will secure your instrument firmly with a soft, non-abrasive surface. Most cases accomplish this with foam padding covered by a plush material such as velvet, velour, polyester, or something similar. To help hold your viola secure, cases are equipped with leather or canvas straps, specially- made blankets, and other features. Some viola cases are also adjustable, meaning that they can accommodate multiple sizes. The best way to see if a particular case will work for your instrument is to try the case out with your viola in the store.
What Kind of Case Is Best?
What kind of protection you need is determined by the amount and rigor of the traveling you do. Just taking your viola to and from school or lessons? A modest case should suffice, such as the models by Bobelock.
On the other hand, a professional musician with engagements in many different locations will require the best case they can get. Bam and Galaxy, among other brands, offer excellent viola cases for the professional musician.
Guarding Against Temperature and Humidity Variance
While unavoidable, changes in temperature and humidity are very hard on violas. Luckily, you have available a number of hygrometers (to measure moisture in the air) and humidifiers (to help keep the humidity in your case constant). They can be purchased separately and kept in your case; some cases come with one or both built- in.
More Useful Features
Most cases are designed to carry between one and four bows. If you need to bring more bows than your case allows for, you can always acquire a separate bow case.
For extreme weather conditions (especially rain), you can get a water-resistant viola case cover that slips over your case for extra protection against the elements.
Do you need to transport your viola often, and/or for extended distances? You’ll want carrying straps. There are two types: long straps that go from one end of the case to the other, and a set that converts your case into a backpack for easy hands-free movement.