Hard cases, soft cases, and rigid cases are the three types of harp cases. The construction, available features, and typical use of each type differ to some extent. A hard case offers the most protection and is recommended for harpists who frequently transport their instruments and require extra durability. A soft case is more adaptable and convenient to store and transport. A rigid case combines some of the advantages of both and, due to its unique features, may appeal to a different group of harpists.
Hard harp cases are typically rectangular in shape and are made of a very hard, immovable, and sturdy material. The case’s exterior is usually covered in leather or a similar material, and it resembles a trunk or hard luggage. A hard case is the most likely to have locking metal latches and wheels of the three types. A harpist who frequently travels with his or her harp for performances or other events would be interested in this type of case. When flying with a harp, a hard harp case may be required to ensure that the instrument is protected as much as possible while being handled in the plane’s luggage area.
Nylon fabric is frequently used for soft harp cases, with a softer lining. Quilting the fabric makes the case more durable and provides better protection for the harp. To make carrying the harp easier, a soft case is likely to come with longer straps or even backpack-style straps. Extra pockets on the outside or inside lining of the case, which provide storage for strings, tuners, or other supplies, are another common addition to this type of case. Soft harp cases are probably best for harpists who only transport their harp on rare occasions or only to local locations, as they provide adequate protection for short trips and are easier to store when not in use.
Rigid harp cases combine the best features of both soft and hard cases, and are typically made of a soft fabric similar to that of a soft case but more structured and sturdy like a hard case. Insulation between the layers to protect the harp from temperature changes, or fiberglass to increase the case’s strength, are possible features of a rigid case. A rigid case can be used for day-to-day transportation or even longer journeys.