I’ve never weighed my original violin case, but it is heavy duty to protect my violin and it feels much heavier than my acoustic fiddle case. My acoustic fiddle case is not waterproof as I found out some years ago when I had to walk with it in the rain to work one day. So the heavy duty version did the trick for a while, but eventually I had to look into investing in something lighter but still strong and waterproof. What I would really like is to have one of those cases that fits two violins so I could use my acoustic at the sessions, but that would be added weight on my back.
Some underground stations don’t have lifts so I have to drag everything up and down stairs. My amp is only 5.9 kg but it gets heavy pretty fast when you have to lift it all day for a couple of days. I have no idea how much my fiddle weighs, but the case is pretty heavy on the shoulders after a while.
I considered getting cushioned backpack straps for it (and then carry my overnight bag separately), but they cost £30. I’m trying to save money and not accumulate more stuff. I’ve also considered getting a more manageable trolley and the official Roland Street Cube cover so I’m not carting a heavy suitcase around. But the cheapest case I found was between £55-£60 and apparently the zips last only a few weeks. So I think it’s really not worth buying.
I resigned myself to using a suitcase, so I thought about how to carry my overnight stuff. I managed to just about fit my fiddle case in my big backpack with use of the side pockets for my other stuff. But it gets really tiring after a while. After some weeks I decided to put my electric fiddle in my acoustic fiddle case instead and then keep that in the bag. At least the bag is waterproof.
However, I noticed that my fiddle was not entirely secure in that case. The shape is all wrong so it wobbles around in there. I didn’t think that was particularly safe so I have invested in a HIMA Carbon Master Case with backpack straps. Cost me a pretty penny and I’ve already scratched it up, but it’s exactly what I needed. Extremely lightweight and I don’t have to worry about if the violin is protected. The only thing I don’t like is that it slides up my back or to the side if I lean forward. It’s very slippy in that regard.
When I first got it the set up for it was very confusing. I had to contact the company twice to get them to set up the repeat payments feature on my account correctly. Then I had to figure out how to connect to Wi-Fi in the underground. I have to do it through my phone provider. But now that I’ve done it, it automatically connects which makes life easier. After about an hour the Wi-Fi disconnects automatically and I have to stop playing and reconnect that. Other than that I now have an easy routine with it. It’s great to give people another option when they say they don’t have change.
As for my other equipment, I try to bring plenty of spares. Spare batteries, spare leads, spare strings, and plenty of chargers. I also have a couple of signs which I put up. People notice them more if they’re on the floor so I blue tack them to the ground within my space.
And that’s all I have for you on this topic. If you found it interesting, let me know in the comments. I now know more about the rules so may do an updated blog post on that. I’m also planning on writing about booking slots. The London series continues!
Serena Smith is an American British violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.