What’s in my violin case?

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

My Violin

Ben performing with Alternative Symphony in Melbourne, Victoria.

First is my violin. I’ve been playing this violin since around 2000. It was loaned to me as a step up from my previous violin. This allowed me to play a better quality instrument as I progressed through my violin exams. I continued on with it through my university studies. After my graduation recital the owner gifted it to me, 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. However, as this post is being published, it’s currently getting a bit of work done on it at a luthier.

My Bow

Codabow Diamond NX from Amazon.com

Second is my bows. I have two bows in my case. I was in university when I bought my main bow. It’s pernambuco, dark in colour, and slightly heavier than normal. 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. However, 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 fiber bow, such as a CodaBow Diamond or a JonPaul Carerra.

My Strings

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. However 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. This is just in case one breaks before a performance and I need one that is pre-stretched.

Accessories in my Violin Case

I have a relatively long neck, with a relatively narrow violin. As a result, I need to have a shoulder rest. As such, I use a Tido branded shoulder rest. It’s a wooden styled rest with rubber feet and a foam pad. Before this, I was using a Wolf Forte Secondo, which I would also recommend as it is able to fully custom fit it to your own body.

I currently have two cakes of rosin in my case. For many years, I was using a cake of Pirastro Oliv. This 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, during short breaks to put on the mute in orchestral passages, it can be difficult. 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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