Lyon and Healy Style 15 a good harp?

  • Participant
    Harper10 on #253478

    Does anyone have any experience with playing a Lyon and Healy Style 15, more specifically a 46-string model? I’m looking at a 1960 model and am very attracted to its light-weight design and portability.

    Thanks in advance!

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by Harper10.
    Participant
    balfour-knight on #253515

    Hi Harper 10,

    I would be very careful about a L&H of that age. Has it had service over these many years? Is the neck still straight? Has the soundboard pulled up? Does the pedal mechanism have any rattles, hesitations, etc.? It probably has a straight soundboard, and you would get a much better full, round tone from an extended soundboard. If possible, I would get a harp tech to examine it before I purchased it, to check for all these things and any additional structural issues.

    Good luck!
    Best wishes,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253517

    I have a LH 15, bought new in 1971. I had it re-riveted sometime in the 90s. Neck straight, no soundboard pull up. I moved it 35 years during my playing career…from ’82 till about ’17…very glad that I couldn’t afford a bigger one when I bought it.
    People complimented me on the sound all the time.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #253530

    Hi, Sylvia,

    I remember your L&H 15 being a good harp. Sorry to hear that you have stopped doing weddings, but I’m sure retirement is grand, as it is for us. We still enjoy reading your wedding stories!

    I just saw an ad posted here on HC for a L&H 15, natural finish, for $9000. in the NYC Metro area–contact David. It looks very nice and cared-for in the photos. Is this one you would be interested in, Harper 10?

    You all have a great day!
    Balfour

    Participant
    Harper10 on #253535

    Hi everyone!
    Thank you so much for your insight and advice. I really appreciate it.

    Thank you, Balfour, for your words of caution. I also noticed that Style 15 on the Classifieds. It looks lovely!

    While that isn’t the harp I’m looking at purchasing, it is similar in condition and price. It has a straight neck, very little baseboard movement, was played for pleasure for 30 years and has been sitting in a house since then. It also has been rarely moved. It hasn’t been regulated in many years and will need new strings and a regulation so I’m planning for that $1k expense. I also did a video call with the owner and they showed me the pedal movement (I didn’t hear any strange noises), no broken discs or cracks. Baseboard has minimal movement. Maybe 1/8 in?)

    I did send photos and talked about the harp with a more experienced harpist who advised me to purchase it. But I’m so research focused I’ve done so much work weighing the pros and cons that I get myself confused! Haha. There’s definiteky risk associated with buying a harp of this age. But I also have never played a Style 15 and it’s hard to find much info online about it so it’s hard to know what it’s like.

    I do know that I’m planning to have it stay at home only and to rarely move it. I really like that it’s 46 strings and light-weight. (I’m 5’1.) I really don’t want a 84-pound harp, but would still love to have the 46 strings.

    Thanks for listening and for humoring me on this! I’m a lever harpist and the pedal harp is an exciting (and intimidating) new world for me!

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #253537

    Hello Harper 10,

    Thanks for your kind words. The harp sounds like a good deal, from your description. I have played many L&H harps over the years but have never played a #15. Some of the older #85 harps with straight (not extended) soundboards must be very similar to the #15, and I have had great pleasure playing those.

    I agree about the 46 strings. All you will lack will be the Low C, which I dearly love on my concert grand, but a neat trick to know is that you can tune the Low D down to a Low C any time you need it. Of course, you have to decide between C and D; you can only have one or the other, ha, ha! It is like tuning in the Key of C on the lever harp and using A# for B flat–you give up the A natural!

    Good luck with getting the harp!

    Best wishes,
    Balfour (and Carol Lynn)

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253552

    I tried to post again, but it wouldn’t go.
    I put my website so you could see my 15.
    Maybe HC doesn’t allow posting websites.

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253553

    I’ll try again.
    WeddingHarpMusic.yolasite.com

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253554

    BTW Balfour, I’m not really retired.
    I work as a sub in a couple of high schools. Love it.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #253555

    Glad to hear that, Sylvia. We are not totally retired yet, either–we call it semi-semi retired, ha, ha!

    Participant
    Harper10 on #253611

    Your harp is so beautiful, Sylvia! Thank you for sharing! It shines in the photos. The sound must be fantastic.

    Thanks so much for all the encouragement and sound advice. After much thought, pros and cons lists, and a video call with the owner to look at the harp, I drove a 7-hour round trip (with careful social distancing and mask wearing in the few places we went on the way) with my husband to pick it up. It’s so beautiful and is as I hoped it would be but better. For a harp that’s been sitting unplayed for awhile, the strings have good tension and most are in tune. No clicking in the pedal mechanism, very few cosmetic dings and it looks really nice. I’m going to slowly replace the strings (a few at a time over a period of weeks). I’m hoping Carl Swanson’s Harp Care Guide for Harpists might be helpful as I learn some general tips for getting it in somewhat playable condition before a regulation.

    Thanks so much everyone! It’s wonderful to share this exciting news about my first pedal with you.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #253614

    Hi, Harper 10,

    So glad to see this post. It is wonderful to be so excited over a new harp purchase! My wife and I are so glad that your adventure worked out so well. You were very wise to do a lot of research before taking this big step, and we would have done the same.

    It is very good to replace one string at a time; this makes for less change of tension on the harp. You will have the freedom to string it all in gut, to the top, or have the 1st octave or two in nylon. Bow Brand bass wires are probably what the harp was intended to have, but there are other choices there, as well. It is so exciting!

    You can look forward to many hours of happy playing on this “new” beauty. I always name my harps, “Cherie” is my Dusty lever harp and “Angelica” is my Camac pedal harp, so let us know if you name yours!

    Best to you all,
    Balfour

    Participant
    jzydek on #253669

    Congratulations on your new Style 15. Such a nice harp!! I believe it was Carl who advised me on my Style 15. It had been sitting for at least 10 years and had 5 broken strings. I restrung the entire thing, but I only tuned it a minor third low from what they should be. So the Cs were tuned to A, etc. Every day I retuned it. And every other day I nudged it up a tiny bit. After a couple of weeks I had it up to pitch, and then I had to tune and retune for awhile to keep it there. Now it’s just fine — happy and beautiful. Enjoy it!!

    Briggsie

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253677

    You can listen to the music on the websites. Just scroll down and click under the titles.
    There are two websites linked. The Weebly has more music than the Yola.

    Participant
    Sylvia on #253685

    Also, you’ll notice there are two harps. The bigger one is the 15. The other is my Aoyama Etude, which is good for outdoor playing and house parties.
    All the music is recorded on the 15. Take the link to the Weebly site to hear more.
    Both harps have walnut finish and plain soundboard.
    I had to fight LH for the 15 undecorated soundboard…they said it would be too plain.

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