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  • Please help a clueless parent get a used classical organ for gifted son.

    Hello,

    I have a very gifted 7 yo. He plays piano and violin and wants an organ. We went to the local Steinway store where they had Roland organs. He sat down and played! Sounded great. (he picked out toccatta and fugue be ear and has been refining it for close to a year)

    He plays mainly classical music (though that may expand). We just got him a grand piano so we can't really spend a ton on an Organ but we would like to get him something to play on. He said that he wants the 2 octave pedalboard. I am in the process of looking for an organ teacher .....

    So... Any advice on what to look for (avoid ), model/brand etc., what else should we be asking? we live in saint Louis mo if that is helpful

    I posted in the "home organ" group and someone suggested I post here - so here I am... So far I understadn we should look at an Allen or a Rodgers late 1990 models. Any otehr suggestions? Also, how much would these be used? Aprice range would be very helpful. Other than that, we are really clueless about organs and would appreciate any help.

    Thank you!!!
    Bella

  • #2
    Hi I wanted to play as a child and my parents bought a Wurlitzer spinette model with an octave of toe pedals .No organ teacher would take me as a student so I had to learn on my own. Lesson to be learned, if he is into serious music, find the teacher and listen to him or her. The organ should be to AGO specs with a 32 note pedal board and 2 manuals (or More)
    Rogers and Allen organs of similar vintage can be found. Sounds like your young man is gifted indeed. My experience has been with Allen Organs and pipes of sourse, and I can recommend them. Check out eBay and try your local dealer. Many churchs are selling off their instruments as well so check around.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you happen to be anywhere near Arkansas, I have good used Allen and Rodgers organs for sale in my repair shop. We might have something easy on the budget for a beginning student. Send me a private message and I will be happy to work with you, if you are within a reasonable distance.
      John
      ----------
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi again Bella,

        Instead of practicing tonight as was my plan, I am surfing on Organ Forum again. I bet a lot of us have that happen !

        I see you are in St Louis, so I took a look at your local CL ads, just to see what sort of options you have close to you.

        While I have not found anything that might be perfect for your son, there are a couple that intrigue me. They may be worth you looking into them a bit.

        The first one is a Baldwin 630 that looks Ok for perhaps a starter instrument, until you can find a nice Allen. It has the 32 note pedalboard, and I think it is an AGO one, not a Princess one. One of the churches I play for has a Baldwin 720T and I have to say that I absolutely hate it, because it does not sound like a real church organ to me. But then, I'm sorta spoiled in that regard, because I own some pretty nice organs. However, this one may be better ? They are asking 200 for it, so you may well get it substantially cheaper than that.

        http://stlouis.craigslist.org/msg/3328630557.html

        Baldwin Electronic Organ - Model 0630 - Lots of power - good for a small church.
        Measures 43-1/2" high, 55" wide and 22" deep (at deepest point). Bench included.
        Purchased from a local church. Sounds great! See photo.

        This next one is an example of how one really needs to take the time to look at all the ads - even the ones where putting in a photo is too much trouble for the poster . It's title is " Digital Organ - $5200 (Staunton,illinois) " Ok, so we know they want a lot of money for the organ, so we click on the ad and see :

        "Our church is selling our organ. Excellent condition no marks or scratches perfectly in tune. Willing to negotiate on price must be willing to provide transportation and pickup for delivery."

        And that is ALL it says ! Obviously it is probably a church organ, but What Brand is it ? Might be just the Allen you need, and churches that are selling organs these days, can be very nice to deal with as far as price goes. Particularly when you let them know it is for a youngster that is a serious student.

        There is a phone # in the ad; I left it out here so it is not in the archives forever. Give em a call, and check it out.

        http://stlouis.craigslist.org/msg/3365923087.html

        If those do not work out for you, I have a nice Allen 301-B here in WI (430ish miles from you ), that is available for a reasonable price. Also, I would not hesitate to check out what Jbird604 may have for you down in Arkansas. He is probably about the same distance from you, as I am in the other direction. John is a great guy and knows organs well.
        Regards, Larry

        At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

        Comment


        • #5
          I realize most the people on this thread can afford Rogers and allen prices and maintenance, but wonder if that serious an investment if appropriate for a child whose tastes might change. Besides the first cost, maintenance on the digital integrated circuit based organ is a $60 an hour activity.
          I'm bought a 25 pedal two 61 key manual tonewheel Hammond organ (an H182) for $200 to learn to play JS Bach, and am 3 pages into Passacaglia & Fugue in C min and fiddle with Tocatta and Fugue in Dmin and the Gigue fugue a little by ear. None of these pieces require 32 pedals. The one JSB piece I'm aware of that requires 32 pedals is Fantasy in F, which is not one of my favorite pieces anyway.
          The one drawback to practicing on a 25 pedal organ, is that lessons are given by pros on 32 pedal AGO organs. The teacher in our area will come to my house to teach on my organ for $10 extra per lesson, So this is a consideration. However, low churches have always considered the 25 pedal organ the standard, the 32 pedal organ has pretty much been a high church denomination practice until extremely recently. Many churches still have 25 pedal organs and perhaps a teacher could be found at one,
          The tonewheel hammond organs are fairly durable and extremely repairable by amateurs and even guitar amp techs. They don't require special factory supported maintenance men. The A,B,C,D, G and RT2&3 and RT100 models are extremely simple with fifties primitive tones, and the E100 and H100 suffer more deterioration after 40 years of the more numerous electrolytic caps but sound a whole lot better than the older models once they have new caps. The Hammond models are extensively supported by tonewheelgeneral.com in Kansas City.
          Other durable repairable 25 pedal models which are likely not working at the Goodwill or Salvation Army are the Wurlitzer 4500, 4520, 4700. Some 4700's have had maintenance in churches and are still working. These have precious metal key contacts, simple transistor circuits, support from Morelock's organ service of rienzi mississippi, but likely need 100 cheap electrolytic capacitors and some rubber rotary speaker parts to work.
          The best player IMHO in our local AGO chapter learned on a 25 pedal Conn her parents bought her at age 12, upgrading to a 3 manual Rogers in her forties after she was fully committed to the craft. I don't recommend Conn's for refurbishment, they have plastic key switches which deteriorate from high use or lack or use either one.
          Another bargain model is the Lowrey CH2, which is an old Rogers that was repackaged by Lowrey for much less money.
          I don't know your child, but I began doing my own electronic maintenance at age 8, and still have some AM radios and record players handed down from my parents in the fifties. These older models will require electrolytic cap replacement at some point, the E100,and H100 Hammond and the Wurlitzers more than the others, and it is the sort of simple task anybody with good hands can do. I had a lot of time on my hands 1953-1968, and liked this sort of puzzle. But then, television had 3 channels of middle of the audience fare in those days, there was no U-tube, facebook, or even telephone to distract my every minute the way children are these days.
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            As a trained organist I must disagree with Indianajo. He makes very good points about maintenance costs, which certainly need to be carefully considered. The advice re: pedalboards, however, is very short sighted for someone wishing to learn the organ repertoire. He rightly cites that the F Major Fantasy requires 30 (not 32) pedal notes. He then says that the Gigue fugue requires only 25 notes, which is erroneous. The Gigue Fugue (BWV 577) pedal part goes up to E29 (once only). To say that the bulk of the repertoire fits within 25 note pedal compass is quite erroneous. I would estimate that at least 90% of the repertoire requires at least 27 notes (c-d). A good bit of the French romantic repertoire calls for 30 notes, but often has alternate parts indicated for 27 note compass. Only the larger, later organs of the Cavaillé-Coll period had 30 note compasses. 32 note pedalboards are rarely found even today outside of the UK and North America. The two major pieces requiring notes 31 and 32 (f# and g) are the Sowerby Pageant (with 50 some high g's) and the Dupré Cortege and Litany, originally written for the Wanamaker organ. I don't have the score for this but IIRC there is an alternate part for shorter compass pedalboards.

            Comment


            • #7
              Whatever you do, let your child hear any organ you are considering. He probably has acute hearing and is very able to detect all of the subtle nuances that either make or break a sound. Many of us on the forum probably share this trait, whether we are aware of it or not. As much as we like to think of the craft of organ making as an exact art, it's still subjective. Especially the art of electronic organ building. With the advent of digital there seems to be the phenomena of 'maximum tone', 'perfected tone'...etc. Well, as you are probably aware, digital technology has been around for a long time and in the most recent years it has been refined tremendously. So much so that it has become it's own entity. All of your latest organs are digital. So does this mean they are better? Not really. We are analog beings, and all of the electronic organs of the 30's though the 70's are analog. There was an organ boom in the 60's and 70's, after a steady build up of players and listeners for the 30 years before this. Analog electronic organs are a proven craft with a huge track record that covers every style of organ playing.
              Do take the time to explore with your child. Make some appointments with various sellers of these analog electronic organs-
              Hammond ( BTW I have a 32 pedal AGO Hammond- the model RT-2) Hammond is all sine wave flute, but very very good in teaching organ registration using the tibia as a basis for creating the 'tone' of every instrument in the orchestra. The Hammond can become limiting to an ear that does not LISTEN TO ALL KINDS OF ORGAN MUSIC. This is the most important gift any child can have- a good ear to listen with, and a good mind to take it in and swim with what they are hearing.
              The Hammond's supposed limitations will drop away once your kid starts listening more to lots of music. The 'tibia only' voice of the Hammond will act as a translator for other voices of the organ like- reed, string, diapason, horns/brass...it's all there.

              He might find that after a couple of years with a Hammond that his desire to hear 'other organ voices' will develop. The foundation a Hammond gives him will make him a far more intuitive player. Since the Hammond was more or less an essence of a string or reed based on the harmonic overtones as shaped by the Hammond's sine waves it becomes more instinctive to add voicing combinations quite readily with organs that have these other voices.

              Play these records for him that I posted to Youtube-
              http://youtu.be/xACN5NsGh2U
              http://youtu.be/Eo-TReksDmQ

              Neither of the above are Bach. I love Bach, but ...but nothing. However, these are two master organists who were not classical organists per say. One was a theaer organist- self taught, and the other played soap operas for 40 years. Still, I invite anyone to say they are not masters. Something to consider in this huge world of organ music- the music of music that one person can play!
              Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
              Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, 1971 X66/& 12-77 tone cabinet w/ 122 kit & TREK Transposer- of which I've retrofitted a Wurlitzer/Lowrey 'PedAL gLIdE' awesome!
              Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
              Conn '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)
              PLEASE SAVE THE WURLITZER ELECTROSTATIC CONTINUOUS-FREE-REED ORGANS 1953'-1961' Hammond TW's ONLY TRUE COMPETITOR! (Ggl> NSHOS WURLI 4600)

              Comment


              • #8
                Bella, I was going to make a post pointing out the questionable advice that certain posters have given you. But today is Thanksgiving, and I am trying to be nice to everyone.

                Only you can tell us just how good a musician your son is at this point. And, if he really seems to have the gift for music. If he does, and is serious about wanting to learn organ and play classical organ literature, then a real church / classical instrument is what you are looking for.

                As well, we would be able to advise better if we knew what sort of budget you have in mind. Really nice organs can be found for reasonable money, but often they are not exactly right down the road from you.

                I agree with Westminster about the pedalboard situation. One "can" learn on any pedalboard, but learning on a standard 32 note AGO board is best. This is particularly true of a youngster, because they learn rather quickly and easily compared to older folks. Once your son knows how to play on an AGO board, all others are going to be no problem to adapt to when playing those sorts of instruments.

                As with most things : It is better to learn the correct way of doing things first, then once that is accomplished, one can do as they want.

                Providing an organ that will encourage poor technique in a young person is probably not a good plan. It is much tougher to Unlearn bad playing techniques, than it is to just learn the correct ones from the get go.

                Happy Thanksgiving to All.
                Regards, Larry

                At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bella:

                  I truly believe you need less advice about which organ and more about how to find a good teacher that will help him make the most out of what might be a precious gift.

                  Someone with a very solid background in music as well as education needs to evaluate your son's talent ASAP. You might check with larger University's music departments and describe your situation. If he is as good as you think he is, they will recognize the raw capabilities right away. Don't be discouraged by them, they probably get dozens of calls like this, but persevere!

                  Then seek advice on what instrument he should have and we can help you find one.
                  Jerry in Leslie, spinning around trying to find my way

                  1990 Korg M1 - moved on to a new life
                  1981 Lowrey MX-1 - giant box of bad connections
                  1975 Lowrey TGS - gathering dust
                  1973 Hammond T-524C w/mods - fun machine!
                  1972 Hammond XTP - moved on
                  1971 Gulbransen Premiere PR (1154) - awesome sound!
                  1965 Hammond E-133 w/mods - her name is Emmanuele, and we are in love

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jkrusel View Post
                    Bella:

                    I truly believe you need less advice about which organ and more about how to find a good teacher that will help him make the most out of what might be a precious gift.

                    Someone with a very solid background in music as well as education needs to evaluate your son's talent ASAP. You might check with larger University's music departments and describe your situation. If he is as good as you think he is, they will recognize the raw capabilities right away. Don't be discouraged by them, they probably get dozens of calls like this, but persevere!

                    Then seek advice on what instrument he should have and we can help you find one.
                    I just realized you are here in St. Louis. I have the word out to a musician friend of mine, for a referral to the Music Dept. of Webster University. I will let you know. If you wish you can PM me off the forum and we can discuss on the phone.
                    Jerry in Leslie, spinning around trying to find my way

                    1990 Korg M1 - moved on to a new life
                    1981 Lowrey MX-1 - giant box of bad connections
                    1975 Lowrey TGS - gathering dust
                    1973 Hammond T-524C w/mods - fun machine!
                    1972 Hammond XTP - moved on
                    1971 Gulbransen Premiere PR (1154) - awesome sound!
                    1965 Hammond E-133 w/mods - her name is Emmanuele, and we are in love

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Larrytow View Post
                      Bella, I was going to make a post pointing out the questionable advice that certain posters have given you. But today is Thanksgiving, and I am trying to be nice to everyone.


                      Happy Thanksgiving to All.
                      By all means be nice anyway:-) My points are valid, however if you believe that a Hammond is a big no no then this is nothing new coming from the classically schooled players, but unless you have spent much time with a Hammond and have exhausted it's usefulness in the scope of learning to play organ you really can't make a judgement ( or opinion rather) against it. Do I believe there are better choices than Hammond? Yes! Do I believe that Hammond tone wheel organs are inferior and of no use to a legitimate classical program? Absolutely not! I say this adamantly because even though a Hammond tone wheel organ is not the best choice for the continued study of classical , and not the best choice for continued study of theater , it can be valuable to the development of the ear. And frankly, unless you are an organist who lives in a cave, the Hammond organ as applied to popular standards over the past 75 years is undeniably unbeatable! The tradition of great organ music didn't die with Bach.

                      You might be wondering, why bother with an instrument like the 'tibia/flute only' Hammond tone wheel organ if you can just go and get an organ with tibia,diapason,string,reed,horn to begin with? Why not just get a good Allen, Rodgers, Conn, Wurlitzer, Baldwin, Gulbransen etc. ? In fact why get a Hammond when these other guys also made tibia-only organs that sounded even better than Hammond for classical and theater.

                      For Bella's sake I will clarify that these other manufactures also sold 'tibia-only' instruments as readily as Hammond, but Hammond organs were far more successful in the market for popular music, small churches, etc. Hammond had an identifiable sound that manifested into so many genres of organ playing. It is for this reason that the Hammond organ is the subject of controversy as it applies to traditional classical music. However, the Hammond organ is a classical organ in it's raw form. In the mid 1930's when the Hammond organ was introduced it was pretty much the only choice for an organ that was not a pipe organ or reed organ. It was the first electric based organ for it's tone production. It has a very warm flute, or tibia sound and it's draw bars allow unlimited combinations of these tibia sounds to be combined. I cannot recommend a Hammond organ as a sole organ to own, but I strongly encourage it as a second organ because even though your son might really take to the classical instruction he might wish to express himself differently at times. A Hammond tone wheel organ is very versatile, they are reliable, and they are very inexpensive if you get a spinet model. I recommend the L100 or M100. As far as the main organ for him to learn on, I really like the Conn Classic. See how he likes the sound of the Conn Classic on this record I uploaded to Youtube- http://youtu.be/vTfdq8c0SeI

                      I can't encourage you enough to have your son listen to organ music. If he is a gifted kid he's still a kid and new to all kinds of things that us old people take for granted. I've made several organ playlists on Youtube. None of these playlists are specific to any genre of organ music. Personally I love all organ music- if it's good. Each playlist is 200 videos and covers the whole territory of organ music. Here is my channel- http://www.youtube.com/user/paulj0557?feature=mhee
                      The video that comes on my channel automatically is a record of John La Duca playing my favorite organ ( well one of many) the Wurlitzer 4500. The first song is hokey, but the 2nd song is beautiful. This is excellent organ playing! Wurlitzer 4500's show up often. I do love that organ, but not so much as a classical organ. It is in fact an electronic theater organ ( or ETO). There is an adage that ' a theater organ can play classical, but a classical organ can't play theater'. The truth of the matter is that you are better off getting a theater organ to play theater organ music and a classical organ to play classical. So what happens if your boy likes this record?

                      Man, I wish I had an adult come up to me when I was 7 and say- ' Paul, here is a TV screen. I'm going to play lots and lots of different organ music for you. If you like it then sit and enjoy it. If you don't like it then click this little box and it will play the next one for you. If you just want to listen to it in the background while you are doing something else this is fine too.' Lucky kid!
                      Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
                      Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, 1971 X66/& 12-77 tone cabinet w/ 122 kit & TREK Transposer- of which I've retrofitted a Wurlitzer/Lowrey 'PedAL gLIdE' awesome!
                      Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
                      Conn '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)
                      PLEASE SAVE THE WURLITZER ELECTROSTATIC CONTINUOUS-FREE-REED ORGANS 1953'-1961' Hammond TW's ONLY TRUE COMPETITOR! (Ggl> NSHOS WURLI 4600)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This topic will generate dozens of differing opinions for you to filter through! For what it's worth, the Director of Music at one of the colleges I teach at was introduced to the organ via Procul Harem and Pink Floyd, and his first organ was a spinet Hammond. He progressed to becoming FRCO, but still likes those two bands!

                        I wanted to play everything organ. So I made sure I did, and I still do. My first organ was a spinet too, and it didn't hamper me, as I found other larger instruments to practise other styles.

                        And I'd echo what Paul has just said, please introduce him to all styles of organ music. None are 'good' or 'bad', despite what some might say. They're merely different, each with their own qualities and demands. I enjoy playing it all, from classical to prog rock, but I've made most of my career playing what the detractors would call lounge music or cheese! As long as it's done well, that's all that matters for me.
                        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 Genos, 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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm happy to reinforce JKrusel's advice to find a first rate teacher to evaluate the child's potential as a first step. This is definitely the best advice offered yet (including mine!)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bella,
                            Thank you for encouraging your child. Keep it up. I see some conflicting advice in this thread but don't let it get you down. Different arguments but all have the same goal - encouraging the child to play. Thank you.
                            When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I sure agree with the last two posts. However I would go with the Baldwin that was listed or the Allen and Rodgers that jbird made mention of on here.

                              I have a Baldwin Church organ Model 48C which was the model preceeding the 630 that is listed. It is a very nice organ for classical and church music. The 630 is a larger case with a few additional stops.
                              Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
                              Baldwin Spinet 58R
                              Lowrey Spinet SCL
                              Wurlitzer 4100A
                              Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


                              Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

                              Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
                              Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
                              Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

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