Fiberglass is one of the most durable and protective materials out there. Making it a very popular option when it comes to instrument protection. However, fiberglass comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms.
Bobelock cases have been around since 1901. With over a century of experience, they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to providing exceptional instrument protection.
Bobelock cases are also known for their durability because… well, they’ve been around long enough to prove their durability!
All Bobelock fiberglass cases also come with travel covers.
Musicians often comment that Bobelock cases are as durable and protective as cases that are twice as expensive. The reason they are more affordable though is because of the weight. Bobelock cases aren’t the lightest cases, but they’re definitely some of the most protective and durable cases around.
The Jakob Winter Black Carbon Shaped Violin Case is a great choice for violinists who want a solid instrument case that doesn't weigh them down. They are made with a special, water-repellent outer shell that is coated in the signature carbon pattern. Plus, the interior lining consists of high quality, eco-friendly cotton velvet.
Gewa Cases have protected some of the most priceless instruments, including a few Stradivarius violins. These cases are built with a variety of innovative materials including polycarbonate.
Note, this is not a fiberglass case.So why is it on this list? Because it's so similar, musicians looking for a fiberglass case will be happy with this polycarbonate case as well!
Polycarbonate is type of plastic that has often been used to make shatterproof glass. It's a great material for protection wooden instruments because it is affordable, scratch-resistant, and temperature resistant!
This Gewa case is also adjustable for ¾ and 4/4 size violins. You just simply move the velcro padding that secures the neck of the violin. This is a great option for students playing ¾ size violins that’ll eventually be playing full size violins.
According to our good friends at Wikipedia, fiberglass is a “common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet (called a chopped strand mat), or woven into a fabric.”
“Cheaper and more flexible than carbon fiber, it is stronger than many metals by weight…”
“Applications include aircraft, boats, automobiles, bath tubs and enclosures, swimming pools, hot tubs, septic tanks, water tanks, roofing, pipes, cladding, orthopedic casts, surfboards, and external door skins."
"Fiberglass covers are also widely used in the water-treatment industry to help control odors.”
So fiberglass definitely has a lot of qualities a musician looks for when it comes to instrument protection. If it can keep a boat afloat, it’ll probably do a good job protecting your beloved string instrument as well!
However, not all fiberglass cases are made the same. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to fiberglass cases you want to try and avoid.
What Type Of Fiberglass Cases Should You NOT Get?
Fiberglass is great! But only when you use enough of it. The sad truth is, even a fiberglass-coated styrofoam case can be called a “fiberglass” case; even though it’s fiberglass protection is paper thin. So here are some things to look out for.
Avoid unbranded fiberglass cases
You may notice more and more fiberglass cases with no brand names, or a brand name that is very hard to pronounce. Unfortunately, the majority of these cases are not protective. They often use a mixture of fiberglass and other cheap materials to lower the price of the case.
Look for brands like Bobelock Cases, that have been around since 1901.
Avoid fiberglass cases under 5 lbs.
Fiberglass violin cases with real protection are never under 5 lbs. For fiberglass cello cases, they’re usually never under 10 lbs. The only way to achieve this is to use thinner layers of fiberglass, or fiberglass mixed with other cheaper and lighter materials.
But you’re paying for a fiberglass case for the protection, not just the look!
Real fiberglass cases with real protection and durability is worth paying for. For manufacturers to sell fiberglass cases under $150 and keep their business afloat, they have to use cheaper materials.
Keep in mind, you’ll probably find better protection with a $100 wooden case than a $150 fiberglass case. Thick plywood is still tougher than paper-thin fiberglass.
Now that we’ve got an idea of what to look out for, let’s explore the top reasons you would choose a real fiberglass instrument case.
Top 4 Reasons To Get A Fiberglass Case
Fiberglass cases are protective! These hard shell cases can take a beating. Popular brands will also feature great suspension systems. This means if you drop your case, the instrument doesn’t knock against the case. The suspension system will absorb the impact.
Another reason musicians get their money’s worth with fiberglass cases - durability. Fiberglass hard cases can last for decades.
Often times, good fiberglass cases come with sturdy hardware too; such as locks, hinges, etc. You’ll rarely see a fiberglass case with zippers. Which is a good thing, cause low quality zippers are usually the first things to ruin a good case.
Fiberglass hard shell cases are extremely water-resistant. They do not soak up water like fabrics or wooden cases do. And they’re more resistant to temperatures.
Remember, fiberglass is used for surfboards too. Surfers probably don’t want to be roasting on their surfboards under the sun!
Yes, fiberglass cases are awesome. But they’re not perfect. The downside of fiberglass cases is their weight.
Fiberglass violin cases generally weigh between 6-8 lbs. Whereas fiberglass cello cases weigh between 12-15 lbs.
For musicians that prefer the lightest cases, we definitely recommend carbon fiber, Hightech, or thermoplastic cases. However, if you’re looking for great protection at an affordable price, then fiberglass is still one of the best options out there.
To wrap it all up, fiberglass cases are known for their protection, durability, weather-resistant shells, and many colors to choose from.
Try to avoid any unbranded fiberglass cases, fiberglass violin cases under $150, or under 5 lbs. You’ll find better protection with a $100 wooden case than a cheap fiberglass-coated instrument case.