Forum Top Banner Ad

Collapse

Ebay Classic organs

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

what's the life expectancy of an Allen System 100?

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • what's the life expectancy of an Allen System 100?

    Hi, I'm a life-long Church organist well-versed in pipe organs, but I know nothing about the other kind :P

    I want to invest in a practice instrument just to maintain technique on, because I now live some distance from the nearest church I could play at. I can't afford very much, but I may have the chance of an old Allen (about 30 years old give or take, I think).
    It was refurbished completely within a year or so ago and is working fine at the moment.
    Can anyone advise me how much useful life I could expect it to have? because then I'd have some idea what would be a reasonable price to pay.
    Many thanks!

  • #2
    Reasonable would be less than $1,000. It would depend on the past maintenance of the organ regarding how long it will last, but Allens are known to keep going for a long time with proper care and feeding.

    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


    • #3
      I'll second what Michael says, although the price depends greatly on the model organ you're looking at and how much in the way of added value you are getting with the organ. You can often get a good used Allen from an individual or from a church that needs to get rid of one for very little money, but you're on your own for getting it moved, set up, repaired and serviced, tuned, voiced, and so on. You can expect to pay a more serious price for any good used organ from a dealer or a tech (like me) who refurbishes organs, restoring them to like-new condition, and sells them with delivery included, setup, tuning, and voicing in your home, a warranty, etc.

      As far as longevity, Allen organs are built like few other commercial products, built to last indefinitely. Allen can provide any needed parts to repair any organ they've built (since they started in the late 30's), and as long as the organ hasn't been abused or modified unwisely, or subjected to flood, fire, mouse damage, or other harsh conditions, it should always be repairable and theoretically last forever.

      That being said, with more and more really good organs being cast off by churches going pop, and with the earliest digitals having been in many cases retired in favor of later models, it's often wiser to upgrade every once in a while instead of repairing an older organ with problems. So, you might enjoy the one you're looking at for a few years, then decide to move up to a newer or larger one. So repairing may not ever be an issue. But if you get one that you like, it ought to be fixable for a very long time.

      If you post the model number or "system" number (usually found on a metal plate inside the console -- lift the top lid and look toward the back) we can give you a better idea of what it is, what problems it might develop, cost of repairs, what drawbacks or advantages that model might have. Hope you find a bargain! Welcome to the Organ Forum!
      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
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        If you post the model number or "system" number (usually found on a metal plate inside the console -- lift the top lid and look toward the back) we can give you a better idea of what it is, what problems it might develop, cost of repairs, what drawbacks or advantages that model might have. Hope you find a bargain! Welcome to the Organ Forum!
        John,

        He did--look at the title of the thread.B-)

        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


        • #5
          Ooops. Must have been a senior moment, Michael!

          Well, given that info, I'll say what Michael said, reasonable price would be under $1000 for an early 70's, very basic self-contained digital, if you're not getting any extras with it. However, a dealer might ask $2500 if he's giving delivery, a bit of setup time, and any kind of warranty. Knowing the business as I do, I just think a dealer can't sell you much of anything cheaper than that unless it's just a piece of junk he wants out of the store. But these simple little organs can be safely bought from an individual because there is next to nothing to do in the way of setup or voicing and you can do your own moving if you're able.

          Parts are readily available from Allen at low cost, relatively speaking. Worst case, if you had to have a MOS board replaced at some point it would cost several hundred dollars or you could watch ebay and pick one up cheaper. As I said above, all Allens are built to last, and you might get 20 years out of it as long as it hasn't been abused or previously damaged.

          Good luck!
          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


          • #6
            I sold my system 100 C through a "middle-man" who gave me the $500 craigslist price. His transport team picked up the organ a few weeks later to their workshop and completed the final makeover; new battery system for combination action. I saw the sale on Ebay at $1200 (including a folder of 11 alterable cards) and thought that was a very reasonable price for something that had been completely checked out and brought back up to date. Space limitations and oncoming retirement led me to "sacrifice" the organ hoping it would help a younger student with practice. But you'll have to catch them on the secondary market as only a few dealers remain who handle the older technology.

            Comment


            • #7
              Be aware, some of these smaller Allen organs have a non standard petal board. They are known as "princess petals" and both the key length and the key spacing are different than AGO standard. Some claim to not have any trouble moving back and forth between the different styles and some do.
              "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X

              Comment


              • #8
                True about princess pedals on very small Allens, but none of the classical full-line (three-digit or four-digit) MOS-1 organs ever had princess pedals. The only models that ever had these (I think) were the T-12, T-15, and TC-1 of analog days, the MDC-20 in the early digital days (during the MOS era but a cheaper technology, not true MOS), and then during the ADC, MDS, and Renaissance eras there would always be one very cheap (as organs go) model at the bottom of the line with princess pedals. (There were also a few small theatre models with these pedals, but I don't know much about the theatre line.)

                As Snowbandit says, some people have no problem with this pedalboard, others hate it. I don't mind playing one when I have to service an organ with one, but I wouldn't want to do all my practicing on one and then play AGO at church because I don't need to have to make any mental adjustments. I'm klutzy enough already!
                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


                • #9
                  I'm very glad I found this site, you guys are all so knowledgeable and helpful - many thanks everyone, lots of really useful and interesting points!
                  Most of these posts appeared while I was asleep, since I'm in the Uk. Wondering if with the different economy I can simply translate $1,000 into £600-700 or whatever the exchange rate is, or if there would be adjustments to make, for eg as the same clothes will cost far more in real terms here than in the States. But maybe only a financier could answer that :-P
                  It now turns out the organ I'm interested in isn't a 100 after all but a 120....should be better if anything, right?
                  It would certainly be a deal-breaker for me if the pedalboard wasn't standard, but the owner says it is, and the photo looks like it. It's too far from here to go and check unfortunately, but I've no reason to disbelieve.
                  The thing that most impressed me was this from jbird604:
                  As far as longevity, Allen organs are built like few other commercial products, built to last indefinitely. Allen can provide any needed parts to repair any organ they've built (since they started in the late 30's), and as long as the organ hasn't been abused or modified unwisely, or subjected to flood, fire, mouse damage, or other harsh conditions, it should always be repairable and theoretically last forever.
                  That sounds almost like the real thing!! The pipe organ I've played most was originally built in the 19th century..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Look like this...

                    http://www.organ-classifieds.com/ind...en_120_Console

                    Looks AGO to me.

                    mike
                    If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      yes, looks like that, but what's AGO mean?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hello Curlew,

                        I'm in the UK as well. Allen organs are very rare on the used market in the UK, simply because they aren't around in as great numbers as in the States and because the Churches who buy one tend to keep them for decades (like our Church did for 30 years).

                        When they do pop up they tend to trade-ins with organ dealers. For even the earliest and smallest MOS systems I haven't seen any under £1000. I do remember seeing a larger two computer MOS not too long ago (I think it was from a school) and even then it was in the low thousands £££. Haven't seen any used analogue Allen organs for sale ever in the UK (I must have one of very few still around).

                        Allen Organ UK has several used models available. This should give you some idea on price:

                        http://www.allenorgans.co.uk/index.p...e-owned-organs

                        Also look here at the past sales:

                        http://www.anthonybogdanorgans.co.uk...gans.htm?42,51

                        As a very, very rough rule of thumb, I find used Allen's sell here for at least two to three times the price that they fetch in the States.
                        1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
                        Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Curlew View Post
                          yes, looks like that, but what's AGO mean?
                          AGO is the American Guild of Organists. Among other things, they have developed a set of specifications for classic/concert organs, including dimensions of console parts.

                          David

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Nullogik, brilliant, many thanks.
                            As a very, very rough rule of thumb, I find used Allen's sell here for at least two to three times the price that they fetch in the States.
                            - exactly what I was hoping to find out, no matter how rough!

                            and hi David, that's great, assuming that AGO and RCO have the same standards, which they probably have. RCO = Royal College of Organists = the gold standard (natch :P)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi,

                              Life expectancy of an organ, digital organ, Allen organ...........

                              As a service person I get asked this a lot......like every other service call maybe.

                              It is difficult to answer this, as it entails a number of factors.

                              Maybe another question should be asked...how long does a car last? a TV, a digital camera.... etc. It depends...I suppose.


                              Generally, I would give a digital organ a useful life-span of 25 years. That is not to say it couldn't go on for another 10 or twenty years. But it generally follows,

                              1) does the organ still work musically for you. New organs tend to have the potential of sounding better
                              2) old organs tend not to have some important features such as an integrated MIDI capability, extnesive capture action, etc.
                              3) older organs were not terribly voice-able.
                              4) is there a local service technician that can fix the organ
                              5) is there fairly local manufacturer or distributor around that can provide tech support and supply parts
                              6) does the organ have a custom parts in it.....that are not available anywhere else
                              7) does the organ have parts in it the break down over time, and are replaceable...such as rubber parts, batteries, silicone/rubber contacts, foam suspension speakers, cheap connectors, electrolytic capacitors, etc.

                              The way things are going, there will be problems with some product out in the field, that cannot be fixed, as there will be manufacturer failures, manufacturers will stop supporting certain items, no available service tech to be able to call, etc.

                              As for me personally, as one who fixes organ for a living.... I don't recommend any organ older than 25 years. Doesn't mean they are all bad, and have nothing to offer, just that the best years of an electronic instrument is the first 25 years. Musically newer is better (or should be), they are digital, voice-able, have MIDI.

                              I don't get in the sell/re-sell business as the prices are too low to make money, and customer expectations too high. So, if someone wants an organ, and wants me to be involved they can hire me for standard service/moving.install rates - and I offer no guarantee.

                              The sad thing is many folks want to buy a used organ on the cheap, including Allens, and then are disappointed in having to spend big bucks in having it fixed - that is if it is fixable at all.

                              Just my thoughts...........

                              AV

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X