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Organ for begining organist

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  • Organ for begining organist

    Last edited by Admin; 10-11-2018, 01:49 PM. Reason: Changed title for better visibility

  • #2
    That depends on a lot on what is important to you. Since you are just starting out on organ, it might be a good idea to try out (or start learning on) some local instruments. That will at least get your feet wet and help you figure out the lay of the land.
    With so little to go on, my advice is try to find the best organ that fits your budget. If you want to go classical, I recommend finding one that is AGO compliant and fully functional. Any mechanical issues make learning harder than it has to be. Mechanical issues can also be very expensive to fix. Try before you buy.
    Disclaimer: I'm most familiar with older used Allen organs and some VPOs.

    Rough price list:
    Allen MOS-1 - Free to $2000
    Allen MOS-2 - Free to $3000
    Allen MDC - Free to $500 (Not usually AGO and pretty cheap)
    Allen ADC - $1000 to $7000
    Allen MADC - $1000 to $5000
    Allen MDS - $3000 to $10,000 (has MIDI)
    Allen AP - $7000 to $25,000
    New VPOs - $11,000 and up
    VPO in used console - $5000 and up (assuming console is nearly free)

    The factors that affect price the most are age, style (theater or classical, tabs or drawknobs), and the number of manuals (keyboards), channels, and stops. Condition, and additional features (like MIDI or a combination action) affect the value but to a lesser degree.
    Home: Yamaha P22 and a modified Allen ADC-4500 ... for now.
    Church: Allen MDS-5
    Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, Chorus/Mixture TC Generator, ADC TC Soundfont, and MOS TC Soundfont


    • #3
      For a minimum, I'd look for an instrument with at least 2 manuals (keyboards) of 61 keys each and a full AGO specification pedalboard of 32 pedals. I don't think the number of stops (voices) is as important as the physical characteristics for a beginner, because you'll be developing habits around the instrument's layout. (The chances are good that any instrument with those characteristics will have enough stops to handle a great variety of organ literature.)



      • #4

        I would concur with Samibe (for obvious reasons, if you read my signature line). Allen organs are (arguably) the most serviceable over time of the classical organs available. The company is quite stable, and supports the repair of all their older instruments.

        OTOH, if you need a starter organ, you can sometimes find an organ with an AGO (American Guild of Organists) console, and you should look for at least 2 manuals. At this point in history, I would steer clear of most analog organs due to their age (except smaller Rodgers instruments).

        Please keep us posted on your progress in your search. Also, if you feel comfortable sharing your approximate location (i.e. State or Province), we may be able to help you find an instrument near you.

        Welcome to the Forum!

        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


        • #5
          Samibe, it is possible to have a VPO for much less than $5,000, especially if the console is free or nearly free. My console was not free and I have spent much less then $5,000 for my VPO. Mind you, I don't use speakers, but even if I bought a couple of studio monitors and a a subwoofer, my overall expense wouldn't be near five grand.


          • #6
            tbeck, I agree that it is possible to spend much less than $5000 for a VPO, but that usually requires the owner to know how to midify their own console. As the OP didn't mention technical ability, I assumed worst case of them having to pay someone else to midify the organ. Recently, I was quoted about $5000 to midify my organ by a local tech (turns out the ADC midi translator board is no longer sold by Allen). So, I used that value.

            When I get around to midifying my organ, I will probably end up spending well over $5000 worth in parts and 'labor.' It's a labor of love, right?
            Last edited by samibe; 10-12-2018, 10:16 AM.
            Home: Yamaha P22 and a modified Allen ADC-4500 ... for now.
            Church: Allen MDS-5
            Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, Chorus/Mixture TC Generator, ADC TC Soundfont, and MOS TC Soundfont


            • #7
              I bought a midified Rodgers 830 for $850. The midi is limited to note on/off for the two manuals and keyboard, as well as great and swell expression. The pistons, toe studs and stops don't send any midi messages, unfortunately. But I'm getting by. I don't use the top 4 or 5 notes on the keyboard so I use them to control combinations in the VPO. For most of my sample sets I have it set so that the top C on either keyboard activates the "Next" button of the combination sequencer.


              • #8
                Something with 2 manuals, a full size pedal, a good sounding independent 8' on each manual and pedal, some other ranks to build a plenum and a solo voice and you can start. Don't forget a good bench, make sure your sheet music stays on the stand (you'd be surprised how bad a lot of organ music stands are).