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  • My wife wants to buy a new Rodgers - please help me.

    My wife's recent obsession is learning to play the organ. She would very much like to be our church organist (basic church hymns, nothing fancy).

    She is getting tired of making arrangements to go to the church every day to practice, and has started getting serious about purchasing an organ. The only local organ dealer offers Rodgers and is going to get several new organs in stock within the next few weeks. These will be selling (I think) for $12-15,000. For the money, I'd rather have a car, but I'm trying to be supportive.

    My question is, can't I be supportive with a used organ for much less money? She wants a full pedal board (not sure if that is even the right term) and something "attractive."

    Her main argument against buying a used organ is that you have no idea what you are getting. Is there a way to quality test an organ before purchasing it?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • #2
    We bought a used Rodgers organ last summer...it is an older model (1970's) so it's not digital, but we paid only $500 for it. It's a wonderful practice organ and a huge upgrade from my much older Allen. It has an AGO pedalboard and is all I need for now. I am quite sure, if you start haunting Craig's list, you will find something in your area that is much less than a brand new Rodgers (or Allen) would cost. I wouldn't go with ebay unless it's a local purchase, because you really do need to look at it, play it, etc. Don't buy sight-unseen. You could take a tech with you to go look at it, once you find something you're interested in. She can play it, put it through its paces, and the tech can look inside...you should be fine. I'd go digital if you can, because that would give her all the bells and whistles she probably wants. Our organ was a church organ for 30 years before it came to us, and is in perfect condition, including the cabinet. I don't blame her for wanting new, but I'd first have a look at the other possibilities.
    Good luck!
    Jennifer

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    • #3
      Rogers except for the plastic keyboard model with rubber contacts, holds up very well. You can play a craigslist organ before purchase and ensure it is working. Any electronic component at about 20 years starts losing water out of the electrolytic capacitors. These are very cheap, about $1 each and you might have 200 in a 70's models, but it is hard to get a pro tech to replace more than a couple per service call. I did 71 of them in my hammond in the 6 months after purchase, all at once. Every one or two made it sound better. My church music committee also very negative on "used" items. They have purchased for the new sanctuary a lot of inferior sound gear, while I sit at home 12 hours a day listening to much better sound on my recapped 40-60 year old sound equipment. Fans and potentiometers wear out, too and should be replaced.
      Another option with pro conformation pedals, extreme reliability except for the 25 capacitors, and zero price is the Hammond RT2 and RT3. One is going for $200 somewhere in the US today, they often go for less. Sound is sub-standard to classical fans, but the keys and pedals are in the right place. Contacts are precious metal and the tonewheel generators last forever if oiled. Rectifier tubes need replacing about every 5000 hours, power tubes about every 10000 hours. My 1968 25 pedal organ has 23 original hammond tubes.
      Allen organs sound great but when you buy one, you have entered a partnership with the local repairman, in my opinion. Allen prefers their service people to swap whole PCB's instead of the dried up capacitors, so maintenance can get very pricey over twenty years of age. Service manuals are available on really old ones but they don't seem to contain complete schematic diagrams.
      The Wurlitzer 4700 will also have precious metal contacts and proper AGO pedals, and they are usually free, because they don't sound at all at 25 years. They need about 100 new capacitors to work properly and reliably. Caps can have a twenty year life, and you can buy ones with long life sealant now if you don't want to do the job again.
      A real bargain is the Lowrey C-32 and CH-32. Really a Rogers inside, goes for almost nothing because of the Lowrey name. Also will need wholesale capacitor changes.
      Baldwin and Hamilton by Baldwin Organs can have 32 pedals in the AGO conformation, and most models after the vacuum tube 5 are very reliable, except the electrolytic caps everybody used. I saw one of the italian Hamiltons at Salvation Army without speakers for $150. The service documents are available, generally.
      Be somewhat aware of church organs stripped of the sound gear. The internal speakers might be okay on some models, but it is not on many others, and fitting up a home sound system to a 6 channel pro organ using standard speakers is an engineering job.
      Read the posts of Arie and Jbird about other top end brands under this thread. I think Arie likes Johansen; I've never seen one.
      You can use searchtempest.com to search craigslist ads within your chosen driving distance for organs. Organs show up sometimes on musical instruments, sometimes on furniture, sometimes on free, sometimes on antiques, so this is a real timesaver.
      If you buy the right model for $300 and put $150 in capacitors in it (and probably $200 in labor) you could have an extremely reliable unit, with less than state of the art sound. The Hammond RT3, $400 total including labor excluding movers, probably
      Last edited by indianajo; 05-04-2012, 11:29 AM.
      city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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      • #4
        Chasman,

        The phrase "you never know what you are getting" does not apply to organs in the sense that it does, say, with cars. Generally, if an organ is in good playing condition, it will stay that way for a good long time. Electronic church organs have life spans measured in decades.

        While an organ getting to be 30 or 40 years old will likely need some service, those that are 10 to 25 years old, might not need much.

        You didn't indicate your location, but look on your local & state craigslist pages for organs. Dealers for organs frequently cover the entire state or several states, so keep a broad mind about what "local" means.

        $10,000 to $15,000 buys a very small new organ, but a very large used instrument. $1,000 to $5,000 buys a very nice used instrument these days.

        Toodles.

        Comment


        • #5
          That is very true...I was wondering what sort of Rodgers you could find for $10-$15,000...she might be thrilled with what you can find used for far less than that.
          Jennifer

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I did some searching locally and found a couple of Allen organs -- one for $1,000 and one for $500 (needs repair). I'm following up with a local repairman to solicit his opinion.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have to agree with everyone here. You will be simply AMAZED what $1,000 to $5,000 will buy used, Rodgers or Allen. And these instruments are truly made to last. I cannot imagine spending the amount that a new [smaller & likely inferior] instrument would cost. But like everyone else already said, go look and play any potential purchase first.

              And ebay CAN be okay, if the instrument isn't so far away that you can't easily look at it first. But be patient wherever you look, check craigslist and/or ebay on a daily basis. I've found that the one day that I don't look is the day that a 15 year old, three manual Rodgers [only 200 miles away] shows up for $2,000 because they wanted to get rid of it TODAY :-(

              Good luck and happy hunting!
              I'm so poor, my cats get free health care!

              Comment


              • #8
                I just found this on ebay, in Las Vegas, opening bid $2,499. The seller has 97 feedbacks, all positive. If I lived in Nevada, I'd be very interested in this one. This model came out in 1984:

                http://www.--------/itm/Rodgers-Wind...item3a73e4a6b8
                I'm so poor, my cats get free health care!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Car vs organ. hmmmmmm....... be interesting yo see who wins on this one. Lol
                  A legitimate case could probably be made either way, new or used. BTW, please don't consider this to be overly serious. I am smiling as I write this. I wonder how you would feel if you wanted a new car, and she asked you yo get something 10-15 years old so she could purchase an organ? Used organs can be very reliable if you are careful about what you get. If it were me, I would have a competent technician check out the instrument before any money changes hands.

                  One other thing to consider. There is a lot of truth in the old saying; If mommy ain't happy...nobody's happy, if daddy ain't happy, nobody cares! Again. LOL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Chasman,

                    If you could provide an approximate location, I may be able to help you if you're in New England. Send me a PM if you're near me.

                    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)
                    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I chimed in and said a used organ can be wonderful, and my husband said basically the same thing skinnerfan just said...that it isn't very nice to encourage him to get something old when she wants new. :) But I say, get the best thing you can get for the money...just be sure it's in good condition.
                      Jennifer

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                      • #12
                        help

                        The problem here is in how you worded this. The fact that the Mrs. wants to buy a new Rodgers makes anyone offering you help an impossibility. You are in a no win situation period. Just go buy one and your life should. go on just fine until she wants to buy another one! LOL

                        Jim



                        UOTE=Chasman;273010]My wife's recent obsession is learning to play the organ. She would very much like to be our church organist (basic church hymns, nothing fancy).

                        She is getting tired of making arrangements to go to the church every day to practice, and has started getting serious about purchasing an organ. The only local organ dealer offers Rodgers and is going to get several new organs in stock within the next few weeks. These will be selling (I think) for $12-15,000. For the money, I'd rather have a car, but I'm trying to be supportive.

                        My question is, can't I be supportive with a used organ for much less money? She wants a full pedal board (not sure if that is even the right term) and something "attractive."

                        Her main argument against buying a used organ is that you have no idea what you are getting. Is there a way to quality test an organ before purchasing it?

                        Thanks in advance for your help.[/QUOTE]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chasman View Post
                          My wife's recent obsession is learning to play the organ.
                          Let me chime in with some probably very unpopular points but things to consider:

                          1) How serious is this "recent obsession"? Organs are hard, really hard, to sell and you may have to resign yourself to that thing being around for a while.
                          2) Organ consoles can be big. If you're looking at 3 manuals, most 3-manual consoles will not fit through a typical household door. 2-Manuals probably will but remember to check the depth of the console. Though some will talk about putting it on its' side, etc, I've never considered this very attractive given the weight and potential for damaging the console (and house! Seriously.).
                          3) Along the lines of #1, if you decide to go new and then want to sell it, be prepared to take a big hit, worse than a car, and to a far smaller market.
                          4) Organs can take up a lot of space. That Windsor 840 is a nice instrument (and may just barely fit through a 36" door) but, in addition to the console, there is a complement of speakers, and possibly an amplifier rack, that take up a lot of additional space. A smaller instrument, in the $10-15K range, may be self contained. The point is: organs ain't necessarily like pianos: there can be more to them than just the console.

                          I realize that 1 and 3 are kind of sensitive and you may choose to ignore them but 2 and 4 are very much real considerations.

                          Is there anybody advising her on this, like a teacher? Is she familiar with the finer points of organs and different specifications, like voicing style? If not, you can easily come home with something and find out too late that it doesn't suit your needs or that she grows in a different direction.

                          How did she zero-in on Rodgers? Though they are my preference, there are other fine names out there such as Allen.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Last summer, my church purchased a used Rodgers Heritage 990 3 manual organ. The organ is in great shape. Purchased with external speakers for $7800. Spent another $1000 on delivery, setup and voicing. I happened to see the organ on ebay and it just happened to be located 60 miles away. We also considered new and the entry level price for Roland C-330 quickly headed into the $20 to $25K range when you added the external speaker system. I have been very happy with our purchase -- the organ is a joy to play and sounds awesome!

                            One more note - NoTalent is VERY correct about considering pathway space for the console. When we moved our new organ into the sanctuary, there was about 1/2 inch clearance on either side of the aisle at one point! Also had to take the double front doors off of the church to be able to come up the ramp and make the turn into the building!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi
                              Certainly you should try and test drive any organ you are considering and YES! do measure the console, particularly its width w/o pedal board. I own a 3 manual Allen Protege and yes it was purchased sight unseen on eBay and I have had excellent results with it...I do know Allen organs though. Console width is 35 inches, pretty narrow for 3 manuals and it JUST fit through our sliding double patio door.
                              A home instrument DOES make practise so much easier!
                              The other thing to watch is that any organ you purchase meets AGO specs. There are shortened "princess" pedal boards out there for example.
                              Learning on an AGO console means it will be easier to sit at any other AGO spec. organ and play.
                              Just my 2 cents...
                              Good luck!

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