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  • Getting 2 Wurlitzer 20's

    So I will be getting 2 Wurlitzer 20's in about two weeks. One of them is apparently "restored" the other is not working after it was dropped by a transporter. I would like some advice/recommendation on a possible book etc. that could help a beginner who would like to learn more about repair of older organs. I would like to learn how to replace the capacitors my self and clean the key contacts. I just don't want to get burned again financially as I did with a Wurlitzer 4800 that was destroyed by mouse urine. I have been assured neither of these instruments are in that condition. Regardless as a DIY kind of guy with some training in physics (at college) I would like to know where a beginner should start with an instrument such as this. I know that many may wrinkle up their nose regarding the Wurlitzer's but I honestly like their tone, in fact I much prefer it to some of the early Allen and Rodgers instruments. Plus, they are built like tanks and if restored could last another 50 years!

    Thanks for any advice/recommendations,
    Craig

  • #2
    Craig,
    I don't know a thing about whirly gigs, but I have three reed organs, that when combined, have had mice peeing in them for over three hundred years. So please accept my condolences for the departed instrument. I can tell you there are many posts on here regarding contact cleaning, cap replacement, etc. Unfortunately, the site's search engine probably can't even find the site's name. I think most troll for information from this forum by doing a google search for whatever info is needed and including organforum.com in the search criteria. That sounds crazy, but it usually pulls up ten times what this sites engine will. This is a large repository of information. It just needs a better electronic "card catalog".

    I'm surprised to see that no one has responded to your post yet. Many of the member here have or have had Double Vee organs, so you are at the right place. I don't know what a 20 looks like, but there are separate forums here for theater, home, as well as classic and church electronic organs. So perhaps try knocking on one of the other doors of this metropolis. What you want is here. Ya just gotta wake one of us old chronies up that can help ya. Make sure you post some photos of the pieces when they arrive. Especially the one that got dropped. There's always someone here that likes a challenge.....Bill

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    • #3
      Wurlitzer 20

      Originally posted by searchinferu View Post
      Craig,
      I don't know a thing about whirly gigs, but I have three reed organs, that when combined, have had mice peeing in them for over three hundred years. So please accept my condolences for the departed instrument. I can tell you there are many posts on here regarding contact cleaning, cap replacement, etc. Unfortunately, the site's search engine probably can't even find the site's name. I think most troll for information from this forum by doing a google search for whatever info is needed and including organforum.com in the search criteria. That sounds crazy, but it usually pulls up ten times what this sites engine will. This is a large repository of information. It just needs a better electronic "card catalog".

      I'm surprised to see that no one has responded to your post yet. Many of the member here have or have had Double Vee organs, so you are at the right place. I don't know what a 20 looks like, but there are separate forums here for theater, home, as well as classic and church electronic organs. So perhaps try knocking on one of the other doors of this metropolis. What you want is here. Ya just gotta wake one of us old chronies up that can help ya. Make sure you post some photos of the pieces when they arrive. Especially the one that got dropped. There's always someone here that likes a challenge.....Bill
      Thank you Bill, I too am surprised that no one has replied, I would love to hear from someone who has this organ. Hopefully I have not offended anyone! Perhaps some were upset that I had to part out the 4800, but truly, I knew I had to give up on the instrument, it would have cost well over 2500 to repair.

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      • #4
        I Think you may find a theater forum over at yahoo groups as well.

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        • #5
          There are just a few members on here (and indeed on the Electronic Organ History website, where at the last look, no-one had replied to your post) who know about these old instruments.

          You'll be well aware, of course, that they date from around 1946. As such, you're looking at pretty much a total rebuild, unless they've been rebuilt (restored may not cover it - some people's restored is limited to the woodwork!) at some point. So you'll be in for the long haul and it will may well be expensive. As far as changing e-caps goes, there is plenty of discussion and advice already here on the forum if you search, with safety advice as a 'sticky' in most sections. As for contacts, I can't answer that, but maybe someone will. Do you have schematics for these, so that you can check to see what voltages etc should be where? That would be a start when it comes to checking and restoring the power supply, and that might be a good place to start repairs.

          First though, it's the usual procedure of checking what works and what doesn't.
          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

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          • #6
            Dawg,

            The site that Andy refrred to is a google group and can be found here: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group...corganhistory/ A brief look around seems to indicdate it is mainly concerned with Everettes and Orgatrons. These were adaptions of electronic amplification to reed organs. We have one at the Hanover Museum, but it has drove the tech nuts for some time not and still isn't playing even tough bought wind machines have been completely rebuilt. Apparently when the organ was disassembled for storage, the workers just pulled all the rubber hoses that fed the individual reeds off at the reed, or the connection block, or I te case of the bass pedals, chopped em off at the bottom of the organ. All this plumbing disappears into the bowels of the organ where it is almost impossible to see or feel. What plumbing that was left unmolested in now rotted as well. Roger has the amp and the air systems running, but the rest is up for grabs. We have several manuals for orgatrons, but most of the diagrams do not seem to fit what we actually have on the floor. Not sure whan whirly left the reed market and went to electronically generating tones, but would imagine it would be before the 1946 date that Andy suggested.

            As for "restored organs" that usually means some idiot got inside with duct tape and elemers glue and 'fixed things". So, its better to have a completely unrestored instrument then one which has been patched up because you have to undue all the damage the hacker did before you can begin to start on the organ.

            Ypu might also try the Mechanical Music Digest: http://www.mmdigest.com/Archives I am unfamiliar with how to navigate the site, but you may find quite a bit of info there if you have the patience to figure out the site's workings.

            Any, by all means, hang around here and ask questions in any of the several forums that may be appropriate. I'm sure you will generate some response

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            • #7
              Have been out chopping up tree limbs and mowing shoulder high grass , 23 miles from the internet. Not ignoriing you in particular. Tube electronics are usually easy to restore, as they are a bit simple and the high energies make switching more secure than the later transistor models. Don't know about the key contacts in a 20, too old for me. Pitch stability and variety of sounds available are not features of 1946 organs.
              Basic soldering skill can be learned from a tutorial on jameco.com. I use a Weller WP25, although on 4 -5 ground connection points a bernzomatic propane iron or a WP35 is more appropiate. Buy the accessory 7/32" screwdriver tip, heat flows a lot better through it than the pointy tip the WP25 comes with. Tin lead 60-40 or 65-35 rosin core solder is the best.
              The electrolytic capacitors nearest the power transformer are the most likely to burn it up if they short, if you want to be proactive.
              A basic instruction on identifying and purchasing electrolytic caps for tube equipment is http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes...ube-amp-3.html
              Read the safety sticky here, electricity over 25 v crossing your heart can stop it. Follow the rules, and any pain of shock from one finger to the other is negligable. Wear safety glassses desoldering, solder splashes.
              In a 1946 organ, you may also have deteriorated paper capacitors (if not well sealed with wax) or carbon composition resistors (if the paint didn't keep out the moisture). the resistors can usually be measured with the power off and caps discharged on tube electronics, and on a project of this size a cap checker might be useful. However, paper caps are also subject to shortout in tube electronics, which a cap checker won't detect since they check at 1 or 2 volts. Depends on the construction of cap. The worst caps are wound paper and foil tied up with celophane, but those tend to be limited to cheap televisions radios and guitar amps.
              Pity about the 4800. Electronics can be washed off with deionized water, and ethylene glycol if necessary. I've had a co worker that ran multibus computer boards through a steam cleaner wand, successfully. Corrosion that destroyes PCB lands is very annoying, but I'm not sure urine could cause this in most cases. And a 4800 would have a manual that could be purchased from morelock's organ service, of rienzi ms.
              So good luck, and have fun.
              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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              • #8
                Craig, you are most welcome to join our Electronic Organ History Group @ Yahoo. Just send an email to
                [email protected]
                leaving the message area blank.

                I assume you know where the WurliTzer 20 stands in the chronology of "electronic/electric" organs. After you join EOH be sure spend some time exploring the Photos area as well as the Files area.

                Lots of goodies, there!

                . . . Jan
                the OrganGrinder

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                • #9
                  Please subtract the 'c' from corgan history and try to disregard the many other typos. I had carpel tunnel surgery on my right hand and am not very proficient working with only the left.

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