Your favorite dulcimer case!

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
7 years ago
1,199 posts
Great solution, Dusty! You can always stuff socks and other small articles of clothing in the case, too.
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
7 years ago
1,455 posts

I will be traveling this week and want to take a dulcimer with me. The problem? I don't want to risk any of my dulcimers by checking them as baggage, so I have to take something small enough to bring on the plane. No problem, right? I have a baritone dulcimette made by Ron Ewing, perfect! Well, no, for I only have a padded case for it and even if I place it in the overhead bin I would be worried sick.

Solution? It took about 5 minutes of modification (butchering) to get this viola case to fit nice and snug. I am so excited to finally have a hardshell case for my little baby.

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Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
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Kristi Keller
Kristi Keller
@kristi-keller
7 years ago
85 posts

In my opinion the bags made by Lee Felt (Bag Lady) and Blue Heron are the best money can buy. They are made with different protective materials and both are great. Nevertheless I would never intrust the contents to herculean baggage goons!

A hard wooden case will provide better protection if traveling by air. Also very useful are golf club bags which are designed for air travel. One of Lee's bags or Blue Heron will fit inside the golf bag which also has room for extra clothes, etc. If you go the golf bag route, get a carrier with protected clasps since those might be broken. Nice perk is that once destination is reached the golf bag lives in the closet and Blue Heron or Felt bag goes with you.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
7 years ago
159 posts

My very favorite case is the one I got with my Blue Lion. It is difficult to find sturdy cases that will withstand baggage handlers.

Like Paul said, I have made a couple of cases using an appropriate length molded plastic rifle or shotgun case--Plano or Pelican for brand. The measurements are critical for length and height of your instrument and a bit of time may be needed to research the various measurements of the offerings available.

I removed the soft foam that came in the case. I used blue (some brands are pink) styrofoam from my local building supply store. By combining different thickness I got the depth I needed. I glued those together with special glue made for styrofoam (craft stores). Then I cut out the outer dimensions to snug fit the case. Then I cut the shape of the dulcimer inside with a little extra room at the tuner end. Following this, I covered it gluing on soft fabric--anything from felt to false suede to velvet. I typically line the top of the case with a thin later of padding and cover that with fabric as well. I had room in one to make a wooden box with a hinged lid set into the styrofoam for picks, tuner, strings, straps etc.

I suppose you could use the foam that comes in the case and cut out the shape of the dulcimer. I am personally leery of that as I had a camera in a case with similar foam and the foam disintegrated and stuck to the camera.

Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
11 years ago
242 posts
Try taking it to a large music store and looking at cases for other instruments, like lap steel guitars, or double violin cases, etc. If some other case fits and only needs internal modification, it may work out well. Or try a Cabela's or Gander Mountain or Bass Pro Shops. A fishing tackle or gun case may have the dimensions you need. Here's another idea you may be able to use:
Paul
Tom McDonald
Tom McDonald
@tom-mcdonald
11 years ago
26 posts
I'll probably have to bite the bullet and get a new case. You're right about the hinges pulling out of the cardboard eventually. In the meantime, more wood glue and duct tape.I really need the short, skinny dimensions though. A deeper case won't fit in my cockpit coat closet. The whole rig -- rolling suitcase, flight case, computer, lunch bag and dulcimer, needs tow with one hand and fit through a door with the dulcimer held the wide way on the handle of the rolling case.
Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
11 years ago
242 posts
That looks like a cardboard case. If so, you can buy a new cardboard case, and use the 2" thick foam from sewing stores and upholstery shops to custom fit the inside to your dulcimer's requirements. If you want, and have time, you can cover the foam with fabric, but it isn't really necessary. If you regularly check your dulcimer on airlines, a better case might be one made for cameras or electronic key boards. They have cases built for extreme handling. Some have wheels. (And need them!) http://www.anvilcase.com/products/specials.html http://www.guitarcenter.com/Keyboard-Cases---Gig-Bags-Cases--Gigbags---Covers.gc If you don't plan to allow airline baggage departments to touch your baby, you probably don't need the weight and expense of the heavy duty cases. A keyboard or dulcimer gig bag with foam sheeting to make it a custom fit is enough if you are the only "baggage handler" involved.As for fiber glassing the case,It may not stick too well, unless you scuff the colored finish with coarse sandpaper. Use sheets of fiberglass cloth as well as the resin & hardener. You probably won't need too many layers, but it's pretty messy. And carries certain health hazards as well. Wear a respirator when mixing applying or sanding. "Respirator" is not the white paper masks you see some folks using. Those are only suitable for nuisance dusts, not harmful ones. Fiberglass is every bit the health risk asbestos was before it was banned.Before going to the trouble, be sure the card board is still strong enough to support the added weight of fiberglass. Eventually the cardboard tears where the hinges and latches are attatched. The extra weight may be too much. In that situation, you might as well find a new case and pad it to fit.Paul
Tom McDonald
Tom McDonald
@tom-mcdonald
11 years ago
26 posts
My favorite case goes with my travel-size instrument. Ed Weiss found four small cases, none the same size, and custom-built instruments to fit. So, the case would be very difficult to replace.

Unlike most people, I travel with mine constantly. I take reasonable care and put bubble wrap inside, but I don't have time to baby it. As you can see, the case is falling apart, and duct tape only goes so far. I'm thinking of fiberglassing the outside to make it a semi hardshell case. Has anyone tried this? Any other ideas?

Mary Z. Cox
Mary Z. Cox
@mary-z-cox
11 years ago
60 posts
Love my double dulcimer cases by Lee Felt the best--very handy and they will even hold two really big dulcimers.For a single case--I have a tan McSpadden that is really pretty cool--lightweight, but sturdy and practical.Smile.gif Best wishes,Mary Z. Cox
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 years ago
1,980 posts
Rod Westerfield said:
yeah but my case is easily identifiable...
mine's the one with the big Mountain Dew patch on it...
Yes, I guess that would keep our cases from being mixed up.


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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Rod Westerfield
Rod Westerfield
@rod-westerfield
11 years ago
109 posts
yeah but my case is easily identifiable...

mine's the one with the big Mountain Dew patch on it...113.gif
folkfan
@folkfan
11 years ago
367 posts
Basically I have 4 main gig bags, and no hard cases. Three of my gig bags are by Lee Felt. I have 2 doubles and one single. And I love them.The other case was an early Colorado Case Co. bag, I believe. I got it years and years ago from Dave as they had made up a sample case for him, but it really was too short for his dulcimers. It fits my shortest instrument, a Black Mountain, and also is used to carry my box dulcimer.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 years ago
1,980 posts
Rod Westerfield said:
I have that same case Strumelia... it's the main case I use when transporting my dulcimers. From talking to my friends at Cedar Creek these case are no longer made...
Hey, we never knew we were using the same case! Cool.Too bad they don't make them anymore- they are lightweight yet very protective and somewhat rigid.


--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Rod Westerfield
Rod Westerfield
@rod-westerfield
11 years ago
109 posts
I have that same case Strumelia... it's the main case I use when transporting my dulcimers. From talking to my friends at Cedar Creek these case are no longer made... I also have several cases like Robin T's that I use quite often.. my case choice its depends on what I'm doing or going... usually it winds up be multiple case use.. you know ya can't really leave any behind..

Strumelia said:
I use a double case usually. I don't know whether this one is made anymore, but I love the very dense foam padding it has. I found only this one head-on picture of it online, but I can't find where it's sold anymore. It's very square at the ends, and has one pouch for stuff on the outside. It protects my two dulcimers very well. Anyone else have this one?

foam%20case%202.jpg

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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 years ago
1,980 posts
I use a double case usually. I don't know whether this one is made anymore, but I love the very dense foam padding it has. I found only this one head-on picture of it online, but I can't find where it's sold anymore. It's very square at the ends, and has one pouch for stuff on the outside. It protects my two dulcimers very well. Anyone else have this one?




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11 years ago
1,836 posts
No pictures, but I too vote for the Bag lady Double bag. Not exactly cheap; but has been my carry-all half way 'round the world for at least 10 years, ans still going strong!
Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
11 years ago
239 posts
This one's pretty good if you want a hard case:

I can get my Walnut Creek and possum board inside it. I bought it from Prussia Valley. And it has been on a few expeditions!

But since I got my Dulcimer Bag Lady double gig bag, my MDs tend to go most places in that. I take two MD out to the pub or round to friends houses about twice a week using this bag and they also live in it at home. Lee made the bag slightly bigger than usual so my Galax would fit, plus my Walnut Creek and possum board:

Dave Lynch built a bomb proof case for shipping the Galax dulcimer he made for me to the UK!

I also have a standard single gig bag (one of the cheap fully zipped ones) and that is really useful for just grabbing an MD and heading out to the hills.

I put the MD in a plastic bag inside the zipped gig bag as these bags are not waterproof. I have tested the system in our Welsh weather!!!!

After this day out with my MD it took two days to dry out the gig bag - but the MD was just fine!

I like that T.K O'Brian gig bag that Robin T owns - That looks like a tough and practical bit of kit.

I don't have a very favourite bag/case as I have found that different circumstances require different bags/cases. I travel a lot with my MDs, and I'm not that careful. I would prefer that an instrument lasts me 5 years and was played to death than 15 years but never left my house. All my instruments have dings and wear marks - it's part of the aging process - but none have been damaged whilst in their respective case or gig bag despite sharing the back of an old van with guitars p/a kit and dogs, or being carried across the Scottish and Welsh mountains or going to a BBQ on the beach with kids or being jostled around in a crowded pub on a Saturday night.

Out of them all, I use my Dulcimer Bag Lady double bag the most as it covers the widest range of my uses. Lee Felt makes great gig bags!!!

Robin
Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
11 years ago
242 posts
There used to be a dulcimer builder in NE Ohio, somewhere around Strongsville, I believe. The wooden cases he made for his dulcimers were almost works of art. They were nicer than some people's dulcimers, with dovetailed corners, and form fitted interior padding. A bit heavy for carrying, but if you had to entrust your pride & joy to airline baggage handlers, that was the best thing around to pack it in. I think you had to buy the dulcimer to get the case. His dulcimers were absolutely gorgeous, completely worthy of his cases.Paul
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
11 years ago
1,199 posts

TK O'Brien padded gigbag. Cost: $34.95 Although the color is different, I believe the case at the bottom of this page from Prussia Valley Dulcimers-- where I've bought the 4 cases I own-- is the same case:
http://www.prussiavalley.com/TKOBrienMountainDulcimerCases.htm#TKO009

The O'Brien is a good bag for toting to festivals. If you want a great, highly-padded custom gigbag, I recommend one of Lee Felt's (Thistledew Acres) cases:
target="_blank"> http://dulcimerbaglady.com/
I own two of Lee's cases in which I carry my bowed dulcimers-- the bowed instruments being more fragile than my mountain dulcimers.

The TK O'Brien case is a Corolla--basic and relatively inexpensive-- and the Thistledew Acres case is a Land Cruiser. Lee Felt's cases are definitely worth the money should you want greater protection in a gig bag.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 years ago
1,980 posts
Show us a picture, or tell us about your very favorite dulcimer carrying case, and why you like it so much. :D



--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 02/16/19 04:36:45PM