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  • Search for a Classic Organ

    Looking for a classic electric organ to learn on for classical and church music. I don't want to spend much more than $500 and I know very little about organs at the moment but I'm learning slowly. What do you guys think about this one?

    http://corvallis.craigslist.org/msg/3659790116.html

    If you think it might be a reasonable organ for my needs, I can go look at it but it's a bit of a drive. Thanks!

  • #2
    Quite a few years ago I owned the preceeding model (Called D) which had a 32 note pedalboard. The voicing on these instruments is theatrical. My experience with the D was marred by the fact that the tension in the expression was totally shot and the sound would slip to full volume suddenly while playing. I think this may be a "family" trait as the Gulbransen Theatrum I got a few months ago is doing the same thing. I gave the D to Goodwill and bought a Technics GA3; but this time I'm going to dig in and learn a little more (one of these days) about how to retension the expression assembly. I would think because of age you should not pay much more than $100 for a model E.

    If you don't mind waiting, for church and classical training I'd suggest a Baldwin model 48C. It is not baroque (which is in fashion right now) but was built specifically for churches and has 32 pedals IIRC.

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    • #3
      Gulbransen had some good intentions when they marketed these, but they don't really measure up to the efforts of the better known companies such as Allen, Rodgers, Baldwin, Conn, Hammond. This model is pretty old too, and you may find it hard to get service since few techs are familiar with these and they are quite different from the common brands. But who knows, it might be a nice-sounding organ and it looks clean and well-kept, so it won't hurt to have a look if it's local to you. Of course, it may wind up being an interim organ for you, but most of us around here are familiar with having to trade organs as our interest grow and something better becomes available.

      This little organ does have the advantage of being house-friendly. It takes up quite a bit less space than a full-size AGO church organ and has a built-in Leslie speaker, so it should sound pretty decent. The stoplist is surprisingly large, though it really only has (IIRC) a single rank of oscillators and all these stops are pulled from that one rank, producing a rather limited tonal pallette. The audio is just a single channel, and I believe the 16' pedal stop is just a resultant, so don't expect a terribly exciting or interesting sound.

      Personally, I'd recommend that you eventually try to find a fully AGO Allen or Rodgers from the 1980's or newer, though any AGO console will take up more space than a 25-pedal. If your space is limited, self-contained AGO models (speakers in the console) are certainly OK. MADC Allen organs such as the 420/430 and Rodgers analogs such as the 640 and 645 are often available for a good price, though not this cheap. One of these might keep you happy for a very long time, though, while you may be completely done with the Gulbransen in a few months if your ability advances quickly.

      Baldwin produced some organs that can be quite interesting too, though service is harder to get since Baldwin went out of the organ business. The older ones such as the 48 and the 630 are often available for free. Newer Baldwin models such as the self-contained 520, 625, and 626 produce lovely sounds and have more modern technology. They are sometimes nearly free for the taking if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

      Whatever route you take, get yourself something to play and start enjoying it ASAP!
      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

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      • #4
        Wow, thanks for the great advice and recommendations. This is exactly what I was looking for! Yeah, theater sound is not really what I'm looking for. I'll do a little research on the Baldwins and keep my eyes peeled for a Rodgers or Allen and update this thread with more local organs I find that look interesting. Thank you.

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        • #5
          I sent a private message about an Allen organ that is being converted to MIDI to run Hauptwerk. I haven't listed it for sale yet as it isn't finished and I'm waiting for warmer weather before I spend much time in the garage. This is a 300-C that will be extremely affordable if I ever get finished with it.
          http://www.nwmidi.com

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          • #6
            You might also want to have a look at my thread on the Praeludium II that I just purchased. It was $300 plus pickup expenses. It needs some work but would I think be a suitable practice organ for someone who is handy. I will be going a bit beyond what you need in that I have plans for a Church installation with added virtual pipe organ software and probably a third manual but the thread should give you an idea of what one would be like. Hopefully at some point I will have time to post some youtube vidoes.

            http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...eludium-begins

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

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            • #7
              Thanks, I'll check out the thread.

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              • #8
                I don't know Mas, that looks pretty awesome just the way it is. Let me know if you hear of any more of those $300 deals in my area (MI, OH, IN). Come to think of it.

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                • #9
                  Keep an eye on Craig's list. I almost scored a free Allen 300. :)

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

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                  • #10
                    There's a 305B on eBay. Is that any good?

                    David

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                    • #11
                      So, an older Roland Atelier AT90 came up for sale in my area today. I would have dismissed it quickly due to the smaller upper manual except I started reading that they have a big following. They are asking $900. The advantages of this over an older organ is, of course, MIDI, better sounds, and hopefully better condition. Any thoughts? Thanks!

                      Edit: I just read it is not AGO. How important is that for learning to play an AGO organ? Is it hard to go back and forth between the two? Is it close enough?
                      Last edited by Tweedle_Dee; 04-08-2013, 04:39 PM.

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                      • #12
                        If you are learning better to have an AGO spec console so you learn good habits from the beginning. Going back and forth would not be a good idea!

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