Single and Double “Softy” cases for diatonic harmonicas

Spurred by a customer’s request for a simple case in which he could carry a single diatonic harmonica within his shirt or pant pocket, I recalled a simple stitched leather case with a snap closure that I made for a single diatonic “carry” harp a decade or so ago. I’ve had one in my purse ever since and I don’t know why it took a customer’s suggestion to spur me to include cases like it in my product line. Another customer had suggested a simple case to carry a couple diatonics. Here are some examples of what I came up with.

Black Softy Single Black Softy Double Tan Softy SingleTan Softy Double

These pouches don’t offer the crush-proof protection of one of my rigid molded leather cases. They are meant to be carried in pockets or purses where they are protected from direct contact from outside objects. They do afford protection from lint and fuzz as they are deep enough to cover all 10 holes and have full cover flap with a positive snap closure. I now have a supply of this leather in black and tan colors as shown.

You know that you carry at least one harp wherever you go, right? If you don’t you need to start. And here is the ideal way to do that while protecting your favorite axe from foreign material and minor bumps and dings. Yes, you probably have a free case that came with your harmonica. It might even be made of a leather-like material, but is it full-grain genuine leather through and through? Does it have a flap to close it? Is it guaranteed by the maker? Probably not. You paid dearly for your favorite carry diatonic; you might want to think about how you carry it around.

Please see the Contact page for current pricing and ordering information. Try one and it will soon become your constant companion.

New Compact Multi-diatonic Case

When I first started making leather harmonica accessories, I knew my first big challenge was making a line of cases meant to hold 6 or 7 diatonics. That turned out to be a greater challenge than I initially imagined. My hat is off to Jeffrey Spoor of the now defunct Cumberland Leather Company for his skills and ingenuity as demonstrated by the legion of happy customers out there who still sport a Spoor-made case.

On initial inspection it seems a simple task to design a leather case that will hold multiple diatonic harmonicas. The decisions that must be made abound. As usual in developing a new product, there is a collision between business (market) and technical parameters. The bottom line goal: make a case that fits the intended purpose that is simple enough to be made inexpensively in terms of my time and the raw materials involved.

Early in my thinking I consulted Master of All Things Harmonica, Richard Sleigh, for his experience with diatonic cases. He quickly mentioned one made of a combination of leather and canvas that all the “old-timers” had but that is no longer in production. He further lamented the fact that this case relied on a patch of Velcro to close its top flap. Richard generously loaned me his dilapidated but beloved canvas/leather case.


When I asked him to detail what he would like to see in a leather case, he went down a line of features. Size was paramount so the harps should stand on their ends. No Velcro. He was concerned that an all-leather case might suffer from a lack of ventilation, noting that he was concerned due to the many kinds of crud and growth he has seen in his harmonica customization business.

I responded by developing what I think are very nice leather multi-harp cases that I feel fulfilled Richard’s criteria.


But, Richard knows what he wants and these high-end suede-lined cases weren’t it. His response, “There’s too much there.” In a way I knew he was right even though these new cases are actually smaller than his canvas example. There’s lots of leather there and even without the harps the case is heavy.

Undaunted, I went back to the drawing board, realizing I was going to have to think “outside the box” if I was going to meet the gauntlet that Richard had thrown down. After some head-scratching I asked him what I would think of a hybrid plastic leather case, one with a plastic divider insert surrounded by a leather case. He had no knee-jerk negative reaction so I began experimenting with my idea of using Kydex, a “thermoplastic” that retains its shape when cooled after heating it.

Here is what I came up with. I believe it is the smallest. lightest multiple diatonic harmonica case extant.


Shown for comparison with Richard’s canvas case (R) and one of my multi-diatonic cases (L). Unfortunately the wide-angle lens distorts its relative size because the new case is closer. Here’s couple more views.

CompactDiatonicCase-2    CompactDiatonicCase-5

And a top view shows the thinness of the new case.


The secret is the “corrugated” strip of Kydex thermoplastic that makes the dividers between the harmonicas.


Please see the Contact page for current pricing and ordering information.

“Concealed Carry” chromatic case


I just uploaded some images of my latest chromatic case to the Gallery page. I’m calling it, for want of better terms, my “Concealed Carry” chromatic case for its resemblance to a hand gun shoulder holster.


It was designed in close cooperation with my old HarpBuddy, Jp Pagán because he wanted a case that he could carry under his arm. He searched the web to find instances of colors and features he wanted in his case and I figured out how to interpret his desires in the practical terms of what can be done with leather and this is what we came up with.

Please check out more pictures on the Gallery page and find current pricing and ordering information on the Contact page.

New Industrial Sewing Machine

Well, folks I have dived into this leather thing deep. I just purchased a 125lb. industrial leather sewing machine. It’s huge, sitting on its own caster wheels. The whole thing came on a 325lb. pallet. Sits about 4 1/2 feet high.

Leather Sewing Machine

This is the preferred machine for professional saddle makers and is capable of sewing leather up to 3/4″ thick. It’s clearly overkill for making little harmonica pouches, but it will allow me unlimited growth moving forward.

Thing is, it takes me the better part of a day to hand-stitch a 9″ x 12″ tool roll. With this baby I can do the same job in minutes. This provides my aching, aging finger joints and back a real relief and allows me to price my products to be much more affordable.

Don’t worry, though, there are many items that just can’t be stitched with a sewing machine, like my wet-formed diatonic cases or my chromatic cases. Plus, if you truly appreciate the beauty and strength of hand-stitching, I will always offer that service.

New box-type chromatic case

I created a simple box-type chromatic harmonica case for my long-time HarpBuddy, Dane Terry, from San Diego. He carries a number of chromes in a larger briefcase-style gig case. As such, he didn’t really want to have a lot of “stuff” attached to the outside, just a nice, sleek case to cradle his favorite axe, a Hohner 280 Chromonica/64.

After showing Dane a number of possibilities of different types of leather and color combinations, he chose a luxurious brown English Bridle Leather with black accents. Here’s what I came up with:

280 case 5

Please take a closer look on the Gallery page for more photos and details and the Contact page for current pricing and ordering information.

Progress on multi-diatonic cases

From the moment I proudly started showing folks my new pigskin-lined single diatonic cases, they almost uniformly said something to the effect of, “that’s nice but I need a case for more than one diatonic.” In gathering information aobut what folks wanted to see in a case that would hold a number of diatonics, many players suggested ones that would hold 6 or 7 harps. That way if they needed a whole set they could carry two such cases. Or if they knew they’d only need a subset of keys, a single case of 7 would often suffice.

Accordingly, I’ve been working on developing the right individual pouch  size and construction method:

test cases

I’m confirming my suspicion that it ain’t easy coming with the right type/weight of leathers and linings as well as accommodating the wide variety of harmonicas out there. My hat is definitely off to Jeffry Spoor of the now defunct Cumberland leather Company!

More to come…

Harmonica Tool Roll à la Richard Sleigh

I’ve created a harmonica tool roll in cooperation with Master Harmonica Customizer Richard Sleigh.


It’s a simple rectangle of thin vegetable-tanned leather lined with pigskin suede and fastened with leather straps punched for Sam Browne studs (buttons). For more pictures and details plus information about how Richard uses his, please see the Gallery page.



Inaugural product: Single diatonic harmonica case

I’ve decided to introduce my new company with its first product, a belt-mounted, wet formed leather case with a full pigskin suede lining. The case is made of vegetable-tanned leather that is wet-wormed to precisely fit particular make/models of harmonicas.


The leather, once wet formed and dried becomes very stiff, providing an extra measure of protection for your favorite axe. Please see more pictures and additional details on the Gallery page and the Contact page for current pricing and ordering information.