Searching for and purchasing a brand new cello case can be an overwhelming task. Only a couple decades ago there were only a few manufacturers who manufactured decent cases, lack of options made the decision easier. Fast forward 20 years, and there are more than ten reputable brands, each with many different models. There are carbon fiber cases, lightweight cases, cases with wheels, cases that lock, and cases with room for accessories. If the sheer number of options is making your head spin, you’ve come to the right place. This buyer’s guide should help take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your next case.
Is One Cello Case Shape Better Than the Other?
One of the first factors to consider is what type of case shape will work best for you. Cello cases come in a few different varieties: oblong, shaped, and dart-style. Since shaped and dart-style cases are usually very lightweight in nature, these types of cases are the best choice for beginners and smaller children who may have difficulty carrying a heavier case. Typically available in fractional sizes, they’re the most cost-effective option, too. Oblong cases, sometimes referred to as rectangular cases, are a little more expensive, but have more room for accessories. Since more advanced students need to carry around more accessories, oblong cases are usually preferred by more advanced players.
Which Type of Cello Case is Best?
When it comes to cello cases, you have two real options: hard cases and gig bags. Because of their sheer durability, hard-shell cases are the most popular choice for musicians seeking to protect their cello. In the past, hard-shell cases were bulky and difficult to manage but, as technology improved, hard-shell cases have become lighter and easier to manage than ever before. If your child is small and you’re concerned that they’ll have difficulty carrying their case from place to place, a variety of hard-shell cases come with built-in wheels. With wheels, your child has the option to carry their case by the handle or roll it along the ground like a rolling backpack.
How Many Compartments Do I Need?
From cleaning cloths to sheet music to spare strings, there’s more that goes into playing the cello than just the cello itself. Whether your child is carrying their cello from class to class or flying on a plane with their cello, they’re probably going to be traveling with a variety of accessories. Generally speaking, cases come with between one and four built-in compartments for accessories. Some have pockets on the outside that run the length of the case, while others have smaller pockets throughout. When shopping for a case, you should have a realistic idea of what items your child will be carrying around with their cello. From there, find a case with an appropriate amount of compartments.
What’s a Suspension Case?
As you shop for cases, you may notice that some are described as being suspension cases while others are listed as being non-suspension cases. If you’re curious about what that means, let us explain. Suspension cases have a raised shelf (or shelves) that suspend the back of the instrument about an inch over the bottom of the case. Since these types of cases provide an added layer of protection, they tend to be the most popular choice. If you prefer non-suspended cases, be sure to purchase one that features a foam cushion that’s molded to the shape of your cello. Regardless of your choice or preference, make sure the cello is held securely in place during transportation and storage.
Are Hygrometers and Humidifiers Necessary?
When it comes to playing the cello, protecting it from humidity is essential, especially if you live in an area of the United States with extreme climate. In some cases, hygrometers and humidifiers are actually built into the cases, while other cases require that you purchase them separately. If you aren’t sure what the difference is, hygrometers are devices that measure humidity levels and alert you if your cello is too wet or dry, while a humidifier actually corrects the dryness by releasing small amounts of water into your case in a controlled manner. If the case doesn’t come with these already built in, make sure there’s space in the case for a humidifier to be mounted. Speak with your child’s cello teacher or an instrument repair technician if you aren’t sure if your cello even requires these accessories.
The Dampit Cello Humidifier protects your cello from damage due to excessive dryness. A soft rubber sleeve encloses a special open-cell sponge. Simply soak in water, wipe off, and insert through an F-hole. Instructions and handy humidity gauge included. The Dampit humidifier provides long term humidity protection and guards against your cello cracking and warping. Learn More
What About Latches & Locks?
Finally, the hardware of a cello case can mean the difference between a well protected cello and one in need of expensive repairs. If you’re purchasing a case in person, make sure the latches close all the way. If the latches seem flimsy or don’t close all the way, the case won’t make it very far before busting open and sending your cello tumbling to the ground. Purchasing a case with a built-in lock, if you’re concerned that your child’s cello may be stolen, for some extra peace of mind. Many locks are even TSA-approved to make traveling with your cello easier. Regardless of your choice, make sure the cello case has lots of padding and that the cello doesn’t move around during transport.
Don’t have a case and think your cello is damaged? Check out some Common Problems with Cellos (& What You Should Do.)