Lyon and Healy Troubadour IV

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    harp husband on #194916

    Greetings Harp Column community. I am considering a used Troubadour IV lever harp as an anniversary present for my wife. We have a full sized L&H pedal harp that she has owned for over thirty years but hasn’t played in at least ten years. She has expressed an interest in starting to play again but wants to try a  lever harp.

    I am looking for any guidance on what to look for when purchasing a used harp. I don’t play harp but I do play guitar and several other instruments. I have purchased many used instruments over the years but never a harp. I plan to check each lever for functionality and corrosion as well as accurate pitch when engaging and releasing the levers. I plan to check the wood for any cracks, swelling or damage. The harp appears to be in great condition in the photos and from what I can tell the $2900 price tag seems reasonable.

    I would also be interested in any information on the changes made to the Troubadour from between models numbers. I know they are on version VI of the Troubadour now. I plan to call L&H today and they can probably help with that. I know they upgraded the levers from the original model but I’m not sure when.

    I understand that the Troubadour has similar sound and string spacing to a pedal harp and is less of a folk harp sound which is fine. Any guidance will be much appreciated.



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    Biagio on #194920

    You see to have most of the bases covered Jon.  A few other things to look at:

    -Is the column/pillar reasonably straight?

    -Does the neck-column joint show any signs of separation?

    -When were the strings last changed?

    It is not uncommon to see some leaning (first two items) but there should not be any more deflection than 1/4″ from the vertical at the most.

    Best wishes,



    harp husband on #194921

    Thank you for your reply. I will definitely keep my eyes on that. I’ve looked at many a guitar neck for straightness.


    balfour-knight on #195059


    Have you purchased the L&H Troubadour yet?  What a nice gift for your wife!

    I wondered if you had explored any other options for a lever harp, such as one made by Dusty Strings?  String tension is medium on most of their harps, unlike the higher tension of the pedal harps, and requires less work to draw the tone out of the instrument.  Playing my Dusty FH36S is a breeze compared to my pedal harp–I am getting absolutely lazy in my old age, and quite spoiled by this wonderful new lever harp!  The new Camac levers are absolutely the best, in my humble opinion– I finally have tone quality as good as on my pedal harp when the levers are engaged, and they move very smoothly with NO scraping on the strings!  The leverage is amazing.

    You do not mention where you are located, but if you are anywhere near the Atlanta Harp Center in GA, I heartily recommend them for your harp purchase.  Also, the Virginia Harp Center, owned by the same family.  They are all lovely folks to do business with if you are in the area.

    Good luck with your harp purchase, and I know your wife will be thrilled!

    Best wishes,


    patricia-jaeger on #195990

    Jon, Mr. Steve Moss is a respected Harp Technician who regularly services harps, living in West Lafayette, Indiana. He has encountered many flaws through his work on used harps over the years and generously helps owners or people searching to buy used harps. In his blog on the Internet, he posted a series of articles to help people become more informed: How to Buy a Good Used Harp. In December 2013, VOLUME 5, ISSUE 1. I copied an abridged 6-page illustrated version of that series. He is listed in the February 2016 issue, page 73 of the Directory of The American Harp Society with his street address, telephone,e-mail, and website contact so you could start with his website: since that is public on the computer and that would lead you to get that helpful article. I owned a new Troubadour IV for many years and found no problems with it before selling it to move to a pedal harp with 46 strings to play more advanced, chromatic harp repertoire. Best wishes for help from this expert technician.

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