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    When did the 'Organ Bug' first bite you?

    Hi all,

    At some point in our lives, we became 'organ fanatics'!

    So, when and how did this happen to you?


    ************

    I first was 'bitten' when in 7th. grade - I was around 12 years old ..[probably before that while listening to Classical music]..

    On our local TV station [Channel 6 in Philadelphia], was a show on Sunday for 1/2 hour called "The Larry Ferrari Show"

    Larry would play and feature various makes and models of organs..
    His 'signature' song was "Once in Awhile" ...

    It was a delightful show, and Larry always had a smile!
    I especially liked the way he would use a particular organ in unusual ways.. like making 'drum' sounds using the lower manual with maybe an 8' Tibia, and bouncing his hand on the keys - going up and down the manual.. [for songs like 'Yellow Bird, etc.]...

    He was a great organist! It wasn't long before I was whining and bugging my folks for an organ!
    After months of such behavior, my dad relented, and bought me a used Thomas Portable Spinet!
    What an odd organ! A full-sized Spinet that came apart so you could transport it! Not like Farfisa's and such, which were 'made' to be portable.. heh

    It came with an external Leslie [one speed], and since I was a tinkerer, I installed a rheostat in the cab, and I could 'dial-in' the speed I wanted! It was so cool to have a 'Chorus' speed at last! My little Thomas sounded more like a pipe organ!

    Around that time, I fell in love with the Electra 812! It looked so cool and modern!
    Also being the 'nerdy' type, I decided to 'upgrade' my cab, by having a friend of the family who was a carpenter - cut out a 'window' [big, nearly the entire top of the cab] in the top, and install a piece of Plexiglas - so that you could see the electronics inside, above the manuals! - That mod eliminated the music rack portion of the cab, and also made the organ a bit more difficult to move [which I did on occasion]..

    Thomas made 2 versions of this model [IIRC], and I had the 'Deluxe' model, which had a few [literally!] more stops on the LM.
    I was happy that it had 3 sounds which had sustain - Harpsichord, Vibraharp and Hawaiian Guitar.
    I eventually added a 'short sustain' switch - after poking around in its circuits.. I found the resistor responsible for the sustain length, and added another value with a switch..

    Here's a picture of a Thomas Portable Spinet [not mine, and this one is not the Deluxe model - also, the connector you see under the keyboard 'cab' is supposed to plug in under there.. it's just dangling in this picture] :


    Click image for larger version

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    Sadly, once I left high school, I no longer had an organ for many years.. but now, I have a small 'showroom' full!

    Ok! Who's next?


    marc
    Lowrey MX2 (NT400x)
    Thomas Floridian Classic -- aka Wersi Rondo Classic
    Kimball K800 'Fascination' Theater Organ
    Conn 650 - Type 1 with Conn Pipes - Model #145
    Baldwin Cinema 2 (214-DR)
    Wersi Spectra DX 700 CD - LiveStyle, Memory Tower
    Wersi Beta DX400 TS - (with AMS)
    Wersi Delta DX 500 - (with AMS)
    Wersi Pegasus Keyboard!
    MOOG Eterwave Standard Theremin & MOOG Werkstatt
    Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer
    Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano!

    #2
    Interesting topic.
    I believe every organ fanatic will have and must have a story. Mine is short: To me, the organ truly is the king of instruments. I can sit for hours just listening to some real experts playing especially the pipe organ. I myself cannot really play, rather enjoy fiddling with anything that looks remotely repairable but my sweet wife is the player. This is a very handy person to have around when I manage to get something to make a sound... A few years ago she was offered the position as church organist and I thought it appropriate to get her something to practice on. Not having any experience and even less money, I invested in a cheapy and carted it home as a surprise for her. It turned out to be a surprise for me ! The innards were infested by a very active mouse family which made the electronic boards their toilet with predictable results.... I kept the two keyboard sets as a reminder never to buy something remotely close to that make and model again! (I will not mention the make or model and run the risk of offending some .... lovers). Then I was given a Lowrey TLOKS by a friend and managed to get it working - that one remains still today my wife's practice organ.
    Now about that time is when the bug really bit hard and deep... Got another several Lowreys and Hammonds and the process of looking where I should not have, brought me face to face with reed organs - here I was bitten by a new kind of bug which still has its teeth in well and firm.... . The end result? Well, let me put it this way - see my other post about knowing when you have too many projects...

    But this is by far the most satisfying practical activity I have experienced in my entire life. My only fear is that I may not live long enough to really enjoy all I have accumulated up to now.... Darn this thing called aging!!

    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Nico,

      Great story!

      -- I heard it said: "Growing older is not for the faint of heart!" heh



      OK! Who's next?
      Lowrey MX2 (NT400x)
      Thomas Floridian Classic -- aka Wersi Rondo Classic
      Kimball K800 'Fascination' Theater Organ
      Conn 650 - Type 1 with Conn Pipes - Model #145
      Baldwin Cinema 2 (214-DR)
      Wersi Spectra DX 700 CD - LiveStyle, Memory Tower
      Wersi Beta DX400 TS - (with AMS)
      Wersi Delta DX 500 - (with AMS)
      Wersi Pegasus Keyboard!
      MOOG Eterwave Standard Theremin & MOOG Werkstatt
      Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer
      Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano!

      Comment


        #4
        The organ "collecting" bug bit me when I visited the Pump Organ Museum in Wetumpka, AL when I was in college. It was either that year or the year later I was given my maternal grandmother's Sears & Roebuck pump organ (1898). She had passed away, and thieves took everything from her Southern country home out through the windows--that is, everything that would fit! Rodgers silver, ladder back chairs with caned seats, pie chests with the punched metal doors, and drop-leaf tables. Fortunately, they didn't know the top came off the organ! The trend back then was to watch for obituaries, and empty vacant houses of their antiques when no one was at home. How rude!

        When I learned (through a visit) that the Pump Organ Museum in Wetumpka, AL had closed, presumably due to the founder's health or death, I decided I'd begin collecting and start my own pump organ museum. Sadly, 8-9 pump organs later, my wife and I have learned through several inquiries, the city we live in has relatively banned "businesses" on all except for a few major streets. So we decided to start a Bed & Breakfast. The zoning board of our city has also virtually banned B&Bs everywhere throughout the city, except for a few major streets. We then learned most of the planning board owned, managed, or otherwise were involved with hotels and motels in the city, and had effectively banned B&Bs (they thought they'd become "flop houses").

        So, we've given up our dream. However, we still have the collection!

        Michael
        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

        Comment


          #5
          I was cruising along all sad and happy and fat and lean and in all fairly satisfied with things. I have an old piano that I've been toting around and ignoring for 30+ years. I had a job with some erratic work. This was a little less than a year ago.

          One day my sister called and said she was giving me an organ for my birthday. Immediately I became suspicious. No kidding, she said, but you have to come get it. So I drove up to an abandoned house and beheld a Hammond M3. The music rack was in the bench. It had an ashtray sitting on it. There was a small roach in it. College students had rented the house and abandoned the organ. There were various boxes and things covered in quilts and blankets around to be moved out. The organ had a internal, external, both switch mounted on it. This meant nothing to me at the time. So I had an organ.

          I did the usual things when I got home. I plugged it in and wondered how to turn it on. Somebody had replaced the power cord, and it was ten feet of thick, flexible stuff. I googled it and found the service manual. And then I found the organ forum. I learned that I had probably left a free Leslie or tone cabinet sitting in the house under a blanket.

          About a month later, my sister called and said she'd seen a "fancier" organ at Goodwill. My niece sent a picture of it from her iPhone. It DID look fancy. I went to look at it, plugged it in, promptly pulled out some drawbars as the M3 had trained me, and it did nothing. Finally, I hit the right tab, and the bottom keyboard - the one with several broken buttons - sprang to life. It sounded like a frog gargling. However, from reading at the forum, I was convinced that ANY Hammond can be fixed. They wanted $100 for it. The cashier asked me if I were a senior citizen, and I showed her my AARP card. They sold it to me for $75 and four big guys put it in the back of my truck.

          Other than the broken keys, everything worked... BUT it had terrible fluctuations in volume. That turned out to be bare wires in the pedal light sensors. Judging by the shiny pedals and the rubber mat on the expression pedal being worn smooth, I think this was the most used of my organs.

          It was then that the Hammond bug started sucking blood. The T500 is fun to play, but I wanted to learn pedals. I read about E100s on the forum... I found it on CL and took my nephew 100 miles away to get it. I got it for $150 and the seller had a buddy make me a bench for $50. This thing is an atomic bench. It and the cock roaches...

          My mom, sister, and brother-in-law got together and gave me a Ventilator for Christmas. This was after a guy backed out on me on two 760s a state away. I had had visions of having one on each side of the E100.

          Then I saw a Conn for sale in SC for $50 on CL. It nearly killed me and my nephew getting it in the back of my 3/4-ton truck.

          Right before I left to get it, I won another auction for the Triannon - for $27.95. Two weeks later, I went to Englewood, FL with a U-haul trailer and got it.

          No more organs! Four was enough. No more! But I did find some Conn pipes... and went to Tampa (to a Lutheran church) to get them.

          And then one day I read a thread on the forum here about a little Rodgers somebody was selling in FL. I idly asked if it had internal speakers, and a moderator in the UK mentioned having played one and that the speakers were in a pod beneath the keyboards. I gave it little thought, as the organ was listed "for parts or repair" but I DID write to the seller to ask what was wrong with it. He said the power supply was bad, but it provided "common voltages" and another power supply could be substituted by an able technician.

          In the waning minutes of the auction, I made an offer on it, never thinking I would get a 1998 Rodgers church organ with what I could pay for it. Within a minute, I had the "Agreed" notification back and to my surprise, I had just bought a W5000C. A week later, I went to Sarasota (which is near Tampa and not that far from Englewood) and got it. As I was packing it into a U-haul, I beheld a Baldwin CD2 for $200. Get thee behind me... NO MORE ORGANS.

          We are ALMOST up to the day when my sister called me last year. I had to move the M3 and T500 out to the garage to make room for the Rodgers. Then I missed playing the T500 and moved it back in. I now have five organs, a piano, and a desk in a 200 sq. ft. room with two doors that open inward and one that opens outward. I'm thinking of making the back door a dutch-door so I can fit the M3 back in. I have an over-sized AC that blows through that door to cool the garage, to which my little "office" is attached.

          I feel pretty confident that the Rodgers and the Conn can keep me occupied for a long while. I also can have a hobby repairing the Trianon, as it seems to break faster than I can play it, or least it breaks at the same rate I can play it. In other words, every time I play it, something quits working. (Did I mention that it's gorgeous? It's by far still the most glamorous organ I have.)

          So that's my story. I was pretty happy with the E100 sounds and playability. The Conn was just a lark, as was winning the auction for the Trianon, as was making a winning offer on the Rodgers. I'm still amazed that I decided to branch out from Hammonds. (I was looking for an H100 or A105.)

          The forum was instrumental in making me want the E100, feel good about the Conn, find the Trianon, and find the Rodgers. This forum is my BUG. Without the forum, I'd be a happy spinet player.
          -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
          -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
          -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
          -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
          -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

          Comment


            #6
            Yeow! This story sounds so familiar - especially the part that says "no more organs"... But I am so glad that there are other organ nuts like myself.. Lets stay with it and live forever...
            Nico
            "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

            Comment


              #7
              Michael, yours is truly such a sad story with bitter-sweet nuances. I really hope that some day you will manage to have your little organ museum. Do not give up your hopes and dreams.
              Nico
              "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

              Comment


                #8
                I remember Larry Ferrari! Back in the 70's I worked at a store that sold Conn organs, and he was one of the demo artists for Conn. I had an LP of him playing some of his favorites on Conn organs, and I believe he was at a home organ expo in Houston that the dealer sent me to about 1980. He did have quite a smile!

                I grew up playing the piano but was fascinated by the occasional organ I heard. A pastor's wife had a Hammond M-something that she let me play around with when I was a young teen, and I quickly figured out how to use the spinet pedals to enhance the bass on my hymns. My first exposure to pipe organ was in the movie "The Sound of Music" and I immediately knew that was the kind of organ sound I wanted to make.

                I made a general pest of myself hanging out at music stores during my college years, playing the pianos and organs but having no way to buy anything. But when I was about 23 one of the dealers offered to let me have an old Connsonata (2 - 61 note manuals, 25 pedals) with a big external speaker cabinet for $50. The stoplist was unremarkable, with three tones (string, flute, and reed) at soft, medium, or loud. The chosen tone and volume played on both keyboards, since there was only one set of oscillators and filters for the whole organ. But each keyboard had its own set of couplers at 16', 8', 4', 2', and even some mutations. So I could set up some interesting contrasts and actually make music with it. I kept it two or three years then sold it to a small church for $300. Not a bad deal, I thought.

                After that, we normally had a piano (my wife's instrument) in the house but I always had to go to church to play the organ. Then about 20 years ago a sweet little old lady whose Hammond I had been maintaining passed away and left me her spinet. (8100 series). I was awfully busy at that point in my life, with two children at home. But I played it some and soon got the bug for a real organ. Since then, I've had a string of pretty good organs, and I'd play each one for a year or two or three before someone came along I could sell it to. Then I'd find a replacement, usually bigger and better. I've had a Baldwin 626, Conn 651, Baldwin D-432, Rodgers 791, and two different Allen MADC organs at home since then, but always just one at a time. I'm pretty happy with the current Allen ADC-2160, but if the right buyer comes along, I'll be swapping it for something else!

                When I get rich, I'm going to have to convert the garage into an organ room so I can have several of them at a time!
                John
                ----------
                Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Organfella View Post
                  Michael, yours is truly such a sad story with bitter-sweet nuances. I really hope that some day you will manage to have your little organ museum. Do not give up your hopes and dreams.
                  Thank you, Nico.

                  I'm getting of the age where we begin thinking of those who will (presumably) inherit what we have collected, and weeding out instruments. Of course my cup is always half empty, so I guess part of it is me too--musician's temperament! I'll blame it on that!

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have always liked organ music and have a large collection of organ records. My neighbor had a Schober concert model organ made from a kit. The sound was the most pipe like that I had heard which stimulated my interest in getting my own instrument. I started building a Schober theatre organ from kits. For about 3 years this instrument fulfilled my desire for an organ. The church where I was taking lessons obtained a new pipe organ which had a better build up with combinations of pipes than my electronic causing me to desire better. On a trip to New York, I purchased a book "Two Centuries of American Organ Building". One of the chapters described the development of the theatre organ. One of the organs described was the Style D Wurlitzer, which is a small organ with one of each necessary rank of pipes. Within a short time an ad for a Style D was placed in "Theatre Organ" magazine. This sounded like the ideal small instrument to replace my electronic organ. I purchased the organ sight unseen and arranged to travel to Detroit to get it. I decided to rent a medium size Uhaul truck to bring it home. When discussing the size of truck, the previous owner told me to rent the biggest truck they had. The "small" organ completely filled a 24' truck. The lesson is that even a small pipe organ takes up a lot of space.

                    The organ has been installed in three different houses over the years. I still have it and love playing it. It is big enough to have quite a variety in registration and small enough to maintain. I was quite lucky in that the organ was in excellent condition and did not require rebuilding.

                    My organ lessons did not start until I was 35 years old. I am now 74 and still enjoy the Style D.
                    Allan

                    My home organ
                    Style D Wurlitzer pipe organ
                    http://bluemoonwalkinghorses.com/Sty...tion5_rev3.htm
                    Five Newfoundland dogs
                    Sixteen Tennessee walking horseshoes

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Aaaah, yes, those pipe organs really fill one's life with the best music of all. The nicest thing about these beautiful instruments is that even a complete novice player like myself can make good sounds coming out of it. This is not true of most other instruments.
                      The latest trend in this country, as I am sure in many others, is that churches consider the organ a kind of redundant instrument. Partially because dwindling membership struggle to maintain them and partially because happy-clappy music appears to attract more members. I do not know what the real reason is but I would just love to get my greasy paws on one of those "redundant" gems. Trouble is where to go with it. As Allen has discovered just transporting even a "little one" can be a challenge. Then there is the dissembling, re-assembling, tuning, etc. Oh why must life be so short and have so many limitations...? . And then age creeps up on you like a thief .
                      Lets make the most of what we have right now - I think I will go and play a little on Big Mama (1880-ish Jilles van der Tak two-manual harmonium)
                      Nico
                      "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I wanted to interject a Thank You to those contributing to this thread!

                        It's a nice way to get to know 'Who's behind the Avatar' !

                        I wish I could've told Larry Ferrari how I 'turned out' - and that he was the inspiration behind my organ-itis! LOL

                        I'm really excited about my up-and-coming acquisition of my Kimball 'Fascination' K800!

                        Well, here's a 'Toast' to all of us here on the Forum - Keeping the 'King of Instruments' on the 'Throne' !!

                        marc
                        Lowrey MX2 (NT400x)
                        Thomas Floridian Classic -- aka Wersi Rondo Classic
                        Kimball K800 'Fascination' Theater Organ
                        Conn 650 - Type 1 with Conn Pipes - Model #145
                        Baldwin Cinema 2 (214-DR)
                        Wersi Spectra DX 700 CD - LiveStyle, Memory Tower
                        Wersi Beta DX400 TS - (with AMS)
                        Wersi Delta DX 500 - (with AMS)
                        Wersi Pegasus Keyboard!
                        MOOG Eterwave Standard Theremin & MOOG Werkstatt
                        Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer
                        Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Long time lurker....small time writer. Great topic

                          Started for me at I think 7 yrs. Heard the organ in church and that did it..had to learn to play. Drove my parents crazy till they grabbed an old Wulitzer..I was in heaven. My folks offered to pay for lessons, but stubborn as I am, refused and through much frustration could actually play.

                          At our local church, the organist was an older lady wanting to retire. I think by my constant question asking, she decided I had some talent. She helped me with pedals and then after approx a year she retired leaving me as the "temporary organist" Played for a few months and then was asked to become the organist/choir director.

                          Started playing for 15 years and then moved to the west coast..could not take my trusty old Wurlitzer. Work came along, could not spend the weekends playing, so stopped for 20 yrs. One Christmas my wife finally spoke up...she noticed I was always a little down during Xmas season and listened to any music I could find. She said if I really missed the organ, then go out and buy one......think she regrets that statement.

                          Went out bought a Rodgers Scarborough played till it died then purchased a Rodgers 360. Started playing at the local church (smallish II/11 Moller pipe celebrating its centennial this year)
                          Now looking to upgrade from the Rodgers 360 to a more classic style...(driving my wife crazy)

                          If I am trying to clear the garage for more room to place another organ or 2 does that mean I have been bitten?????

                          Jim

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Jim,

                            Welcome to the Forum! Glad to have you aboard.

                            Originally posted by Unsanity1 View Post
                            Started for me at I think 7 yrs. Heard the organ in church and that did it..had to learn to play. Drove my parents crazy till they grabbed an old Wulitzer..I was in heaven.
                            Since you were in heaven, there was no need for church was there?

                            Originally posted by Unsanity1 View Post
                            If I am trying to clear the garage for more room to place another organ or 2 does that mean I have been bitten?????
                            Nope, you've not been bitten--just smitten. Bitten is anything over 5-10 instruments! I hate to use technical terms, but . . . . Consumed is anything over 10 organs!

                            Michael
                            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Considering I don't own an organ at home, only about 20 other instruments I probably haven't been "bitten", but I enjoy playing the organ enormously and have actually been thinking about getting a practice organ for my house.

                              Comment

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