Lyon & Healy Style 30

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    I’m looking into getting a new harp and LOVE the style 30. I’ve heard that they are made differently than the other L&H harps. I’m wondering if anyone who owns one would be willing to tell me a little more about this and their thoughts on the style’s general sounds compared to 85’s & 23’s. I have an 85 now and want something different, but better. I’m not a huge fan of the 23s Salzedos & 100s. I like the modern look. 🙂 thanks in advance!

    Gretchen Cover

    Brittany, if looks are important to you, you may also want to check out Camac and Salvi harps. Both have very contemporary designs.


    The sound is really what is most important, thus why I’m sticking to Lyon & Healy harps. I would get a different style, if the price and sound was right, but obviously we all have our favorites. I haven’t had a chance to drive out to Chicago to try a bunch yet, so I’m curious to see what those who own 30’s think of their sound as compared to other L&H instruments.


    I’ve heard that they are made differently than the other L&H harps

    To the best of my knowledge this was only true for the early versions of the 30, which had a three-sided soundbox instead of the usual curved body shape. The idea was to create a stronger sound projection, but in practice it just made the harp uncomfortable for many players (those corners!) and was dropped many years ago in favor of the usual style.

    As far as I know they are just like any other concert grand made by L&H today, except for the column style.


    I thought I saw that on a few of the harps for sale. Good to know that they changed to the curved backs. Ouch!


    I don’t know much but the ones I have played have always sounded really fantastic. Quite different to other Lyons. I’ve always assumed it was to do with the shape of their soundboards which are totally different – not curved but with straight edges.


    I’ve played on some great 30’s, but it is not really the case that the Style 30 has one specific distinctive sound, the 23 another, the 11 another, the Salzedo another, etc. Most importantly, especially with such a big, expensive and consequential purchase, is to try out individual instruments until you find the one that is just right for you. It’s just not possible to make a generalization about the sound of a particular model or category of harps.

    Sonya Wiley

    I love the Style 30 also, and saw a technician working on the soundboard for one in Chicago. Floraleda Sacchi plays Tango on one on youtube; have you seen it? Good luck in your search. I just love all those angles!


    Hello Brittany, I am a great fan of the 30. I own 2: an old one with square body and a modern one with round body.
    I do not feel the square uncomfortable, but I think this is quite personal.
    The original 30 square body was built to be more brilliant and “clear”. The middle register (especially from E4 to C5) has much less resonance than a modern harp, high and basses are just as a modern one. You will feel naked at the beginning as the tail of the sound is less, but at the end the quality of the music gains a lot from this clarity. It works also much better if you wish to amplify the harp.
    Round body examples are many on Youtube, on square body I recently recorded a CD on Hasselmans and here you can find music samples:
    But also Judy Loman recorded all her CDs on a 30 square body as well as Erica Goodman (check for ex. the trio Lyra recordings and videos). I think you can get an idea of it. It’s special so you should try to be sure it fits for you.


    Thank you so Much Everyone! and Floraleda, that’s great information. I’ve seen a few used 30s with the square body and was a little hesitant, it’s good to hear the different opinions!

    Now just to find a used one that’s not black 🙂 ….


    I played on an exceedingly dead square-back 30 while in school. The corners were awkward, and I could not use my knees to support it, so all the weight was on my shoulder. There were good ones, too, of course.
    There are slight differences between models, but sometimes it is just the quality of the wood. I would recommend getting a natural finish instrument, not ebony. And if they will give you a glossy finish rather than matte, even if a special order, it is worth it.


    When I was test driving harps, the 30s stood out for clarity of sound, and good projection, evenly through the entire range. My ‘non-harpy’ musician husband also prefers the sound of this model. Of course, you won’t really know whether it’s the right one for you until you sit behind it. For my part, I found just enough variance between harps of the same model that I wasn’t willing to special order one; I had to hear the specific one I wanted to purchase. Theoretically, I agree with Saul about finishes, but it was a matte finish ebony one that sang for me. (On the plus side, the matte finish does seem to hide dust better.)

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