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Recommendation for affordable church organ. What's your opinion?

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  • Recommendation for affordable church organ. What's your opinion?

    I'll apologize in advance if this is an old, worn out topic. I would dearly love to get rid of the piano in our church and replace it with an organ. Like most churches, funds are limited. A real pipe organ is out of the question. Any recommendations on an affordable organ with a big, near-pipe organ type sound without breaking the bank? This would be for a Catholic church and I'm looking for something that would have that "Notre Dame" sound. LOL! I realize how ridiculous that sounds. But hey, I can fantasize, can't I? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Used Allen MOS organs are generally bargain priced, last forever, and sound pretty darn good in spite of the technology being 40+ years old. I see them on ebay regularly for under $2K. You also will see small ADC Allens for around $2K, such as an ADC520 that's been for sale lately.

    Rodgers analogs from the 80's such as the 640, 645, 650, 705 are worth considering if you can find one. These models all have speakers in the console, no need for running any speaker wires or putting speakers in chambers unless you want to. These organs are of course small unit organs, as all small Rodgers analogs are, but they sound good and have nice features. The higher up you go (numerically) the more features you get. These sometimes come up for sale at bargain prices.

    Even Baldwin organs from the 80's (or even 70's) can be quite good. The self-contained 626 was a favorite of mine in the classical series, and the 520 sounds marvelous though it is a bit on the theaterish side. Older models such as the 630 are acceptable, though quite old-fashioned from a technical standpoint.

    You might pick up a good organ as-is where-is for $2K or less, but if you buy from a dealer or qualified re-seller/re-furbisher you will pay more but get more value and service. If you do buy as-is, be prepared for at least some repair and service costs, tuning, routine maintenance, etc., can be needed and will be well worth the price.

    There is no need to settle for any organ that doesn't have AGO pedals, unless you are looking for a freeby. Even if your organist is not trained, the AGO pedalboard is an organist's friend. You might also try to get a good capture/combination action, at least lighted tabs or indicators of some sort. It's a buyer's market, with lots of available church organs from the 70's and 80's (and sometimes even newer) on the market with relatively few people looking for one. So keep your eyes and ears open and pick up a premium organ that's still got years of life in it for peanuts.

    It would be useful and helpful to consult an organ technician in your area. He or she might even know of a church with a good organ for sale, and would be happy to let you know which brands and models are worth considering and which are not in your area.
    John
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    *** 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!

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    • #3
      I just looked on ebay. Search for "Allen organ" and then for "Rodgers organ" and you will see several nice models under $2K that would be great starter organs.
      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
        It would be helpful to know where your church is located. There is a quite nice Allen 123 on eBay right now in Florida for about $1300. I'm sure a search will find others that may be better for your purposes, though.

        David

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