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Recently I came across an older violin (German approx 1901) that was wasting away in the corner of a guitar shop, I asked, they made me a very good deal and boom! I have another violin. The case they gave me is a 4/4 and she barely fits, in fact she's a little wedged in. My other violin has a 20 cm lower bout, my new one is 21 cm. I have heard that older violins are sometimes off the "standard" measurements which has me wondering what cases you use, I can't usually find "bout measurements" except at one site. Does anyone have suggestions? Do I need to go to a 3/4 viola case??
In my experience with (admittedly Chinese) fractional viola is that they have higher ribs than a violin, but have the same proportional width. Obviously, the Tetris model is the exception.
On the other hand, getting a case for a 15 inch viola may work if you do not mind the extra space extending above the scroll.
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The smaller viola case will probably work. You can use foam at the ends to fill the gap. I have a viola case that is designed that way, to hold different size violas. It is not a cheap case, and the foam is not wimpy. You just use the foam to adjust for the shorter lengths of the smaller violas. I upgraded my viola earlier this year and also went from a 16” viola to a 15 1/2” viola. I am using the same beautiful case, i just have the foam insert in use now. It is at the bout end and thinner strips on each side. I don't think there is any at the pegbox end. It didn’t come with foam to secure a viola smaller than. 15” from what it lools,like, but if you need one smaller, just check out a smaller viola case. A case like this is probably made to accommodate the 15” and smaller violas.
You have to make sure, the body length, excluding neck, of the violin will fit the body, excluding neck, length allowed in the viola case. I don’t know the length of a violin back off hand, compared to a viola. Just do the measurements.
If you are getting the case online, ask them before ordering them. Tell them what you have and they can match you up. I would highly recommend the Fiddlershop because I know from personal experience they are extremely good with customer service.
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I'm actually in the market for a new viola case right now, and because I have a Tertis pattern viola, I've had to pay attention to the interior dimensions. Most viola case manufacturers have interior measurements available. I'm not sure whether this is also true for violins, because violins tend not to vary as much in dimensions, but it's certainly worth searching for that information. If you can't find a violin case, a case for a short-scale viola should work nicely and isn't actually that much bigger.
I'm actually in the market for a new viola case right now, and because I have a Tertis pattern viola, I've had to pay attention to the interior dimensions. Most viola case manufacturers have interior measurements available.
Something that might also be useful is that some manufacturers make cases for violas size 15+15 1/2", 16+16 1/2" and if you are lucky, a 16" wide-bottomed viola might fit in such a case because it will also fit a 16 1/2 " viola.
Thanks so much for all your replies! I love coming here with questions, everyone is so supportive. Update! I found an Core case that has a 22 cm lower bout on sale at the beginning of the year. I took her to the luthier and was excited to find out she may not be from 1910-1925 like originally advertised. From looking inside she may be more like 1890, she needs a soundpost and bridge and has 2 cracks that needs cleats but it doesn't appear that she's ever been opened before. It's kind of amazing to think she's made it this far without proper maintenance.