You might think that a violin case is relatively simple – it’s got a violin, and a bow, and not much else. However, in the case of a violinist are multiple things that help you get set up, and be prepared for any contingency. Here’s a list of what I have in my case.

Ben performing with Alternative Symphony in Melbourne, Victoria.

First is my violin. I’ve been playing this violin since around 2000, when it was loaned to me as a step up from my previous violin to enable me a better quality instrument as I progressed through my violin exams. I continued on with it through my university studies, and it was gifted to me after my graduation recital, something that I am immensely thankful for. The violin is a German made copy of a Josef Klotz violin from Mittenwald. The Klotz family made Mozart’s first violin, and this violin is a very nice violin. It has a narrow body and neck, with a very delicate scroll. I’ve had very few works done to it in the 20 years that I’ve had it, although as this post is being published, it’s currently at a luthier getting a new bridge cut, a couple of cracks looked at, and a bit of a clean up.

Codabow Diamond NX from Amazon.com

Second is my bows. I have two bows in my case. One is a pernambuco bow that I bought when I was in Uni, the other is a bow that came with my violin. The hair is very old, and it’s not one that I use by choice, but it is one that I keep just in case something happens to my main bow. Ideally, one day I would love to get a quality carbon fibre bow, such as a CodaBow Diamond or a JonPaul Carerra.

Next up is my strings. Currently on my violin I have a set of Pirastro Tonica, which is an affordable quality string. In the past, I have also found that Pirastro Evah Pirazzi sound really good on my instrument as well, but the cost isn’t always one that fits in my budget. I always keep my old strings in a packet in my case, as a back up just in case one breaks before a performance and I need one that is pre-stretched.

I have a relatively long neck, with a relatively narrow violin, which means that I need to have a shoulder rest. I use a Tido branded shoulder rest, which is a wooden styled rest with rubber feet and a foam pad. Prior to this, I utilised a Wolf Forte Secondo, which I would also recommend as it is able to be fully custom fit to your own body.

I currently have two cakes of rosin in my case. For many years, I have used a cake of Pirastro Oliv, which is a darker rosin aimed to create a good grip and excellent tone. However, I dropped it and it cracked, so I’ve recently changed over to a cake of Pirastro Gold, which is a ligher rosin that I am liking the clarity in tone that it produces.

I keep two mutes in my violin case. First is my Heifetz Mute, which sits straddled on my A string between the bridge and tailpiece. A rubber mute with an adjustable metal strip that allows you to adjust the level of tension on the bridge. Being only held on one string when not in use, it doesn’t rattle or produce extraneous noise. However, sometimes it is not easily able to be placed on the bridge in the short amount of time that is sometimes needed in orchestral playing. In those cases, I often will roll up a $5 note, which can act as a makeshift mute. I also have a heavy gold mute, which is a practice mute that allows me to practice late into the night without disturbing people.

It’s important to be able to get my violin in tune. While there are many ways of doing that, using a piano, or a tuning fork, I keep in my case a Korg TM60, which is a digital chromatic tuner and metronome. Having a metronome is a vital practice tool, and to have it included in the same package as a tuner is so vital. The TM60 is useful in that it is an adjustable chromatic tuner, so if you need to tune to something different than A=440hz, you can do that. And the metronome allows you to set the beat to different numbers, different subdivisions, and even tap the tempo which makes it very easy to set up.

In my main pocket, I also keep some general accessories – some clothes pegs, to hold music down for outside performances, a pencil (my preference is for 6B), and an eraser.

I have a secondary pocket in which I keep some accessories which are useful to have, but I don’t use all that often. First is a spare bridge and soundpost that happened to be in the case my violin originally came in. Second is some Hidersine Peg compound, and Hidersine Hiderpaste. The Peg compound helps pegs to move smoothly, while Hiderpaste helps slipping pegs to grip to the pegbox. And finally, I keep a soft cotton cloth to clean off the rosin dust from the strings and body of the violin.

So that’s what’s in my case. What’s in yours?

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