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Need some Help: Choosing the Right Organ

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  • Need some Help: Choosing the Right Organ

    Heya folks, I'm new to the organ community but I hoped you might be able to help me with something. I'm looking to get my hands on an organ now that I've finally got my own place (I had a reed organ in the past and have been wanting to replace it ever since). I've found a few options on my local listings, with luck I can pick out a better one and save it from the dumpster! Sorry if I sound a bit inexperienced, but I think you folks will know better than me when comparing these models. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Here's what I've found

    1. A Lowry Genie 44. Looks a little tacky but it works just fine, I was able to try it last week.

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    Beyond this, the following are all Hammonds, which I know is a prominent brand (although that depends on the year, or so I hear).

    2. A Hammond of unknown kind. This one is fully functional, but I don't know what model it is.
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    3. A Hammond Cadette VS 300. Don't know anything about this model, if it's desirable or not.

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    4. The last one, a Hammond M3, which I'm told needs a new plug. I know these ones have that classic sound.

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  • #2
    (Be advised ALL opinion, your mileage may vary)

    I have never been a big Hammond guy. I stay to the classical side of the organ house rather than the blues, or rock side of the Hammonds. None of these Hammonds are any of the big time screamers. These appear to be more watered down home units. Plus I see no signs of Leslie controls added to these Hammonds.

    Coming from a reed organ all of these will be a step into the modern world, and offer a lot more versatility. I am kind of liking the looks of the little Lowery. It even looks like it has a headphone jack on the right side to keep the neighbors happy.
    Until The Next Dimension,
    Admiral Coluch.

    -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
    -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment

      What sort of sound/style are you interested in reproducing? If it's hymns or classical music, then you'll probably want to have a church/classical organ. If you're seeking a gospel or pop/rock sound, you'll probably want a Hammond (preferably with a Leslie). If you're looking to reproduce a contemporary pop/rock sound, other home organs may suit your needs. If you are interested in reproducing older music (i.e. silent film music), a theatre organ might be what you seek.

      I hope that helps get you started.


  • #3
    Hi Stu and welcome to the mob.

    Before I say anything else - don't get rid of your reed organ, unless you already have...
    The Lowrey looks nice and is probably a little less old than the Hammond M3, which is the one I would choose (of course it has a tube amp and is generally regarded as a classic and a poor man's B3 among the Hammond fraternity) However, as Michael asked, it depends on what kind of music you are into or want to get into. The first Hammond picture looks like a Japanese version and the VS300 certainly is a Nippon so I would tend to stay away from those, but others may disagree.

    If you do decide on the M3 or even the Lowrey, be prepared to spend a little on getting them healthy again as for sure they will need some replacements of capacitors and who knows what. The electric cords will probably be kind of perished by now. The Lowrey likely dates back to the 1970's (I own one of those and love it) and the M3 probably from the mid 1960's.

    Perhaps not much help but there....


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


    • #4
      Organ preference is such a subjective opinion so I will just say: 1) Don't pay for an organ that does not work--a few dead keys or stops--maylbe. 2) Check availability of parts. Some organs you can't get parts for anymore so you would be stuck with buying used parts on ebay, craigslist, etc, or creating your own organ graveyard.


      • #5
        It all depends on what kind of music you want to play. Classical? None of these will be that good! A bit of fun with pops, standards etc? They'll all do OK. The M3 will have the biggest sound, but might take a bit of work to get into shape. The first little Hammond is a pile of .... IMHO, with a very small spec and thin sound. Don't go there! The VS300 has the typical early 1970s Japanese sound, but is probably the most reliable one there. The Lowrey has, IIRC, just one organ sound, everything else is a preset instrumental voice, so don't expect it to sound like an organ.

        There are better instruments out there, for sure! I'd be looking for something from the 1980s or 1990s. Assuming all these are freebies with the exception of the M3, then why not grab one of them so you have something to play on, and play with, while looking for the 'right one'.

        And to echo what timnc just said: NEVER buy an organ with faults unless 1) you know for certain that all the parts are still available and 2) you can do the fixing yourself (or have deep pockets to pay a pro).
        It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

        New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

        Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
        Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
        Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
        Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1