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Best of Both Worlds

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  • Best of Both Worlds

    Hi, I am new to this forum, but have been posting on pianoworld under the same username for quiet some time. I am a huge fan of well built reed organs, I currently own a 21 stop Clough and Warren with 384 reeds that blows the windows out of my turn of the century home in Oregon! I have the ability to purchase an Estey T and was wondering if anyone was familiar with adding midi to an organ of this vinatge, not to become a player, but to control a system such as Hauptwerk. Just an idea that is running through my brain.
    As a pianist (Clough and Warren sits next to a 1929 restored 6'2 Conover 88 Grand) who is now interested in venturing into the world of two manual plus pedal organs are there any methods or books that anyone could recommend? I am an accomplished classical pianist, and just playing the Clough and Warren has really improved my Legato playing to a new level, but I would love to learn classical pipe organ. Thanks for any advice you can offer!

    And, if there are any members to this forum in Oregon that know of a Wurlitzer 4800 I would love to find one.

    Craig

  • #2
    Welcome and glad you are having fun with your reed organ. Midi conversions are covered extensively below under organ restoration etc, but you have to change the defaults yourself to see more than one day's posts. I suggest searching (google, not internal search) for posts by picothinker and kinkennon. I also suggest if you do a conversion, select an organ that has precious metal key contacts.
    Organ ads tend to be very hit and miss since so many are listed by heirs. Organs on craigslist can show up under musical instruments, antiques, furniture, household items, or free. To peruse the ads effectively, use searchtempest.com which will search all categories at once. As the Wurlitzer 4500 I was looking for showed up as a "Wurlitzer multimatic organ" I suggest deleting any qualifier, and just looking for Wurlitzer ads with a picture. Also, stop at charity resale shops as much as you can stand, as I scored a Wurlitzer 4300 for $35 just by dropping in on the way to the grocery. Wurlitzers of the late sixties tend to not work due to the dried up capacitor problem, and aren't given much reverence (shelf life) by heirs or floor managers either. I think replacing every electrolytic capacitor in my 4500 would be under $100 in parts, so this is a matter of tedium, not great expense. I'm more concerned about the robust keys, precious metal contacts, tabs, and reputed Wurlitzer sound (latter to be determined after some cold winter nights with the soldering iron).
    I'm a pretty good pianist who just jumped in playing JS Bach Tocatta and Fugue in C minor, which is not elementary according to an AGO member I met at a concert. 1000 tries on the first 8 measures gets one sight free accurate bass over an octave, and a year with the first two pages gets familiarity with 25 of the pedals. I'm actually having more trouble with the right hand crossovers on page 3, than I am the pedals at this point. Anyway, I don't see the point of playing boring student music or exercises when a year of something real gets true satisfaction. Right hand alone, left hand alone, feet alone, not together until perfect, you know the drill already. Posture is the one tricky thing, and after a lesson from the local PHD I find I didn't guess too badly. The other tricky thing is the obsession organ professionals have with Organmaster shoes.
    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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