Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Harp Case stories

Okay, Grant....I think Jerry's probably have the best current 'Mojo' you're 
 going to find...but I did, finally...take photos (at SPAH) of my own home  
customized 'harp' case. I have to get the photos downloaded - probably in 
the  next couple of days - (I'm still a neophyte at this)....and will post 
them along  with the photos of Chris' most beautiful harps.  
I'd found on EBay a Mexican hand-tooled leather 'train case'...nabbed it  
for somewhere around $17 (if I remember) a couple of years ago. The inside 
vinyl  was in sad shape - didn't matter, I had other plans for it - at some 
point will  replace all the vinyl inside the top lid, and the handle was 
ripped (I knew I  could replace it fairly easily). The case is gorgeous...and the 
dimensions  perfect: 12x7x5" deep.. ..I could have diatonics standing 
I ordered pick and pluck foam inexpensively. Originally I used a  simple 
block of regular upholsterer's foam which I completely butchered in  a hurry 
for Buckeye, and it looked terrible....but for this SPAH I finally got  
around to setting the case up properly. It held (because my needs are quite  
different from most players since I play primarily chromatics ...and then  
different keyed CX-12's):
 - 5 CX-12's, 1 16-hole chromatic, one thinner 12hole Bb  chromatic (a 
Seydel deluxe); one 260 chromatic (10 hole) Hohner in its  leather case; 11 
diatonics (including my 4 custom Chris Michalek's harps. 
My favorite 2 chroms are usually with me in my pocketbook anyway - so I  
could still make more room.
Since I don't really play 'out' I haven't had need for other  
configurations. I just bought the 'bottle o' blues' mic/amp set up at  SPAH (loved LD 
Miller's and his Mom let me try it out, it works  surprisingly well for the 
CX-12, so I bought one.) It fits into the case  with some maneuvering...I can 
reconfigure the case with fewer chroms...rarely  play the F and don't really 
need the 260, or the extra Bb. A purely  diatonic player could fit as many 
diatonics as he/she would need with judicious  planning, as well as a bullet 
mic with cord.
I used the 'eggcrate' 'lid' insert which comes with the pick and pluck set  
as simply a cover over the harps pressing it down to protect them before 
zipping  the lid (for Air Travel) - the lid is too shallow to hold the insert 
properly in  place but worked for me this way. The case is compact and easy 
enough to  carry despite its more concentrated weight now (I had a newer 
soft leather  handle attached at my local shoe repair; cleaned, polished and 
buffed the entire  bag myself with leather cleaner and shoe polish).
I've had offers to buy it from just about everyone who saw the case, but it 
 now has major 'Mojo'... and suits me perfectly :)
Other 'train cases' come up on EBay fairly frequently and make perfect harp 
 cases to my mind.
this next is somewhat along the lines of the kind I've seen lately:
Mine is very different, smaller and zippered...but this particular one  
looks like a good buy. Lots of Samsonite cases are available which are much  
While I was scanning these I just came across another vintage 'faux  
alligator' samsonite leather train case with key, in remarkably good  
condition...a bit bigger than the case I now use and couldn't resist  bidding on it. I 
just won the bid. It cost a wee bit more than the case I  now use, but will 
allow me to transport more items when I'm travelling locally  in the car and 
save wear and tear on my smaller case, which I'll now save  strictly for 
I've also come across an artist who buys the 60's style hard Samsonite  
rounded upright makeup train cases who cleans them up inside and out, uses 
black  pen and ink to draw trees and other designs on them and resells them for 
$80+.  This is the kind she uses:
And just in case anyone's interested, here's another still open for  
It mentions some 'spotting' ...but that seems to be on the fabric - which  
can be cleaned...and besides - a new bottom is relatively  easily installed 
after cleaning and then the pick and pluck (or other foam)''ll never be seen. Anyone interested should just make sure it  isn't mildewed 
(ask the seller) - or it'll have to be removed and relined.  Still very much 
worth it...this is an especially deep case..even 12 hole chroms  could 
stand upright, methinks. Questions to ask are if the handle is intact and  if 
the latches work. 

"Message: 8
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 12:38:36 -0700
From: Grant  Walters <grant@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L]  Harp Case  stories
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx

Another subject I guess...
but the  nicest case I have ever had:
My cousin had one made for me (he is a  professional player) out of Koa  
wood in hawaii.
It was a beautiful  work of art...
over a short period of time and travel it began to get  ruined...
Drunks at gigs (not me..really) would bump into the stage,( table  top  
at best) and the case would fall.
Wood cases cannot take the  beating...

I have had three others custom made by loving friends...out of  sacred  
100 year old wood or cabinet grade oak...etc.
These also  fell apart after hard road use...eventually i even made  
cases for my  cases...
twice, they have been stolen at city gigs... they must look like a  gun  
case or drug case in the back seat.

Lately, I just use the  plastic case from Hohner.  Problem is when I go  
to gigs with  other harmonica players...some guys give me the rookie   
Not a big deal...
but I would love to see a collection of  harp cases...wish I would have  
photographed me long lost ones.
If  you don't go on the road...there are great antique silverware cases   
that are easily customized for harps...
The dark red velvet can get  grodie, remove and refinish before making  
the wood inserts...
Don't  use for traveling set as it will be real noisy.
It does promote better air  flow after playing...

Maybe I will bolt a cool graphic for the dorky  front of my Hohner  
plastic model...or maybe I will just be a dork...It  is just a case.

The best case I have ever seen was a leather one made for  Ralph  
Shine..   calve skin all new  Meisterclause harps (when  
first came out)  work of art..   masterpiece.
Two sided and folded over  itself...



Message:  9
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 13:00:16 -0700
From: Grant Walters  <grant@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Need Harp Case  Suggestions
To: _harp-l@xxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx) 

love the pics ...this is really great..

we should make  a museum...mojo museum

On Aug 28, 2009, at 7:10 AM, Jerry Deall  wrote:

> If you want something w/ some MOJO, check these out and  contact me.
> Jerry
>  ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Opus314"  <opus314@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
> Sent: Friday,  August 28, 2009 7:12:09 AM GMT -07:00 US/Canada Mountain
> Subject:  [Harp-L] Need Harp Case Suggestions
> OK, I'm now getting to the  point that I need a case for my harmonicas.
> I've seen soft and  hard cases.
> I've seen cases made just to hold harmonicas.
> I've  seen cases adapted to hold harmonicas.
> I'm considering getting  both a soft case (for my favorites) and a hard
> case to hold  everything...
> 1 - What do you guys suggest I look at first in  standard "off the
> shelf" harmonica cases?
> 2 - What about  using standard briefcases or other commonly available
> boxes... and  adapting them to hold harmonicas...
> what suggestions are their in this  category?
> 3 - What about soft cases to hold a small sub-set of  favorites?
> Oh, please include sources if you know  them.
> Thanks for any help.


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