What Are the Different Types of Harp Covers?

Erik J.J. Goserud

Protective covers for harps are important to avoid erosion and repair work to the instrument. As the term harp can also refer to a harmonica as well as a harpsichord, this article explores the protective options for covering both instruments. Cases vary in price, weight, and sturdiness. Softshell and hard-shell are the two basic types of harp covers, and they generally form the basic shape of the instrument.

Harmonicas come with small, plastic or cardboard rectangle cases.
Harmonicas come with small, plastic or cardboard rectangle cases.

Protecting a harpsichord can be a difficult challenge due to the size of the instrument, which requires a large case or cover. The case holds all the key components of the harpsichord: the soundboard, hitchpins, keyboard, pinblock, and jack action. Many cases have solid bottoms to protect string tension and internal bracing. Musicians who gig frequently will want to invest in a hard-shell cover to ensure protection.

When purchasing a harmonica, it commonly comes inside a sturdy case.
When purchasing a harmonica, it commonly comes inside a sturdy case.

Basic mesh covers are also an option for harpists. Though these covers are not sturdy and will not prevent bruising, they are water resistant and help prevent corrosion. These harp covers are a good option if the harp is not moved often. House harps at music venues and bars are good examples. It is, however, recommended not to leave a harp in places of extreme temperatures, such as cars or moist basements as soft covers will not protect against these elements.

For outdoor performances and festivals, an extra tarp should be kept on the premises in case of rain. Harpsichords can be heavy and difficult to move quickly, so it is vital to cover them efficiently. A wheeled platform makes the instrument easy to move if needed.

When purchasing a harmonica set, it commonly comes inside a sturdy mesh case with slots for five to seven harmonicas. These harp covers can be very cheap yet still water resistant and sturdy. They close with zippers and Velcro straps. Individual harmonicas come with small, plastic or cardboard rectangle cases included in the package. These cases, or covers, fit only one harmonica.

Serious musicians should purchase more expensive harp covers or cases for higher-end harmonicas. Larger, hard-shell cases have foam or mesh interiors to rest harmonicas and their accessories, such as cleaning kits and microphones. These models have plenty of room for cables and tuners. These cases latch shut with a combination or key lock. Many musicians choose to avoid locking harp covers because the keys can get lost or jammed inside.

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