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Opinion on 1996 Viscount 3 Manual?

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  • Opinion on 1996 Viscount 3 Manual?

    I found a 1996 Viscount 3 manual online for a nice price, picture below. Any opinion on the reliability and ability to service these organs? The alternative I'm considering is an old Allen ADC-2110. My impression is that the Allens are more reliable, but that model is 30+ years old too. Tough choice at the moment. Thanks in advance for your $0.02.

    ***Edit*** Let's make this a little more concrete to compare apples-to-apples. The ADC is from a local dealer who will install it for me, add some toe studs and a headphone jack, 90 day P&L warranty, total $3000. The guy selling the Viscount is on the other side of the country, will go as low as $1800, but I have to pay $1500 shipping for a total of $3300. But since the Viscount is on CL, no guarantees as to whether it's not a scam!

    I'm currently leaning toward the sure deal of the Allen but really like the three manuals of the Viscount...

    Last edited by sraevsky; 05-12-2014, 11:38 AM.

  • #2

    This looks to be a Viscount C-380, available from the early to mid 90s. So roughly 20 years old.

    As has been mentioned before on this forum, Viscounts of this era were not built terribly well, and so developed issues over time. Perhaps the most frequent problem was with the pedalboard, they were notorious for contact problems, clatter due to the rubber bumper stops going hard, These things can be fixed, but whenever I did a pedalboard refurbishment, it was a full days work, plus the cost of materials in replaced all those bumpers with felt ones and swapping the contact system for magnetic reed switches.

    Other issues include key contact issues on the keyboards, stop contacts, potentiometers wearing out quickly, etc.

    They were not voiceable, other than minor tuning off sets, and temulant settings.

    They did not sound too bad if good and sufficient audio was hoolked up to them. In fact they would sound as good or better than typical Allen ADC models.

    I would recommend going with the Allen, even if it is 10 years older. I sure wouldn't pay that much for that model Viscount.



    • #3
      Arie, I appreciate your thoughts.


      • #4
        I own a Wurlitzer (viscount/Baldwin/COS) C-380 which appears identical to your picture. I bought it used about 7 years ago. Mine has been trouble-free, except for the Pedal board, which exhibits some of the things Arie V noted above. Service is available, although far away, so is likely to be expensive. I will be rebuilding the pedal board one of these days. I love how mine plays and sounds, but I am using external amplification and speakers. As Arie notes, the internal sound system is just so-so. The organ in your photo has what appears to be a "pipe speaker" on top of it, which may or may not enhance the sound of it. It was likely an extra cost option.

        If you have concerns about service, you might seek out someone to service it first and give him a call. There is a fellow in or near Baldwin, Wisconsin named Norm Ninneman who has serviced these instruments for years; see my old post on this. There are also a few Viscount dealers around the US, although they appear not easy to find. I agree with Arie, you should be able to get a better price than $3300. For a good price, one can often put up with a bit of inconvenience. My experience has been excellent overall, however.

        Good luck!

        Wurlitzer/Viscount C-380 3 manual with Conn pipes.