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Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?

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  • Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



    In the course of researching what I might consider buying in the near future I was struck by the thought that Yamaha does not (AFAIK) produce church organs. I've owned many of their electronic keyboards and several of their acoustic pianos and have always liked their actions. (I started out as an organist but pretty much now play piano.) </P>


    When I need to bring a keyboard to a job I use my Yamaha P250. There are three or four very nice pipe organ sounds in that P250 and I was wondering why they don't make a church organ. Anyone here have an inside track on the Yamaha mindset? </P>


    I was also wondering who makes the various keyboard actions for the handful of companies? I know that Yamaha makes their own and I believe that Roland makes their own (and probably supplies Rodgers?). Fatar supplies a lot of actions to the other 'piano' companies. Who makes the actions for the big names in digital pipe organs? Just curious.</P>


    </P>

  • #2
    Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?

    Hi Dave,

    Yamaha - why they don't build church organs? Well the storey is kind of complicated. In the 70s, Allen had some patents relating to digital tone generation. Yamaha decided to get in on the action, albeit in a different way. Allen sued, and got Yamaha to pay royalties for a number of years. Part of the settlement was that Yamaha would not get in the institutional/classical organ business. So that is the main reason Yamaha never got in the church business. However, Yamaha did act as an agent for Casavant and possibly Laukhauff pipe organs in Japan.

    I do believe Yamaha ad Roland make their own keyboards. However, the last few years, Rodgers is now using FATAR for standard issue keyboards. I believe Allen may be the only one that still make their own keyboards for all their organs.

    The fact is FATAR is now used for just about all manufacutrers as standard issue keyboards. FATAR makes basically 2 different keyboards, but the can be made in a number of variations, according to manufacturers specifications. For special order keyboards, European manufacturers generally go with UHT, and sometimes Laukhauff. Allen uses Laukhauff for their special keyboards. Other suppliers of keyboards are P &amp; S, OSI, Pratt-Win. Beyond that not many commercially available keyboards out there.

    Do I answer everything?

    Arie V.






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    • #3
      Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



      Do I answer everything?</P>


      I believe you did, thanks! Well that explains why Yamaha is not making digital pipe organs.</P>


      I'm not a big fan of Fatar actions. I played the GEM Promega 3 (digital piano) a little while ago in a music store and was so distracted by the bad keyboard action, I couldn't appreciate the piano sound. I have since learned that Fatar makes many different kinds of keyboards and this particular run of GEM Promega 3's used one that I just didn't like.</P>


      I realize that keyboard actions are personal, but I have to say that the better Yamaha and Roland actions (electric pianos) are first rate.</P>



      </P>

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      • #4
        Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



        In the 70s, Allen had some patents relating to digital tone generation. Yamaha decided to get in on the action, albeit in a different way. Allen sued, and got Yamaha to pay royalties for a number of years. Part of the settlement was that Yamaha would not get in the institutional/classical organ business. So that is the main reason Yamaha never got in the church business.</P>


        I can not find info through google to verify that statement. Does anyone have any links to share where I can read more about this?</P>


        </P>

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        • #5
          Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



          &gt;&gt;I can not find info through google to verify that statement. Does anyone have any links to share where I can read more about this?</P>


          </P>


          You can read Allen's side of the story in a book written by Allen's founder. It's available on Allen's website.</P>


          </P>


          Bill</P>

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          • #6
            Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



            Bill, in the meantime I ordered that book. It cost $20 plus $7 shipping costs. </P>


            I still find it amazing that there are no links to the story that Allen stopped Yamaha from building church organs (as well as the other things mentioned). I will keep an open and skeptical mind towards all of this.</P>


            </P>

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            • #7
              Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?

              [quote user="Dave Horne"]


              Bill, in the meantime I ordered that book. It cost $20 plus $7 shipping costs. </P>


              I still find it amazing that there are no links to the story that Allen stopped Yamaha from building church organs (as well as the other things mentioned). I will keep an open and skeptical mind towards all of this.</P>


              </P>


              [/quote]</P>


              There is a chapter later in the book that talks about the litigation protecting patents that they have been involved with over the years. Yamaha is mentioned with a brief description of what happened. I don't remember it saying that Yamaha was barred from making classical organs, but that they had to pay royalty fees on the patent.</P>


              </P>


              Bill</P>


              </P>

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              • #8
                Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?

                [quote user="Dave Horne"]


                Bill, in the meantime I ordered that book. It cost $20 plus $7 shipping costs. </P>


                I still find it amazing that there are no links to the story that Allen stopped Yamaha from building church organs (as well as the other things mentioned). I will keep an open and skeptical mind towards all of this.</P>


                </P>


                [/quote]</P>


                Checking with my copy of the book, there was a whole chapter about Yamaha, called "The Japanese Connection". Yamaha was mentioned again in the next chapter and it is there where Yamaha had to pay Allen royalties on a patent until it expired.</P>


                It's interesting to note that the digital keying technologythat appeared with analog synthesizers like the Prophet 5, Oberheim OB-8, and now all digital keyboards, was Allen's invention, which was part of the digital organ technology they brought to market in 1971.</P>


                Bill</P>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?



                  <FONT face=Verdana>I don't question the story about the "Allen/Yamaha" patent case but, as a matter of fact, Yamaha has built built classical organs for a short period of time. Interesting enough that there are virtually no detailed information available any Yamaha never sold these organs undert their own trademark, but if you go to this link: </FONT><FONT face=Verdana>http://www.ahlborn-kirchenorgeln.de/orgel.html</FONT><FONT face=Verdana>and then click on "Classica CL-700" or "Classica CL-900", you'll find photographs of these "rare&amp;vintage" Yamaha-made organs.</FONT></P>


                  <FONT face=Verdana>And if you're wondering about who owns and runs this "interesting" website: It's the "Franz Brothers" - the guys who used to own WERSI, a German manufacturer ofcontemporary home organs. They never made classical organs but aquired the rights on the "Heinz Ahlborn" trademark - which is not Ahlborn-Galanti butthe companyofa former major shareholder of Ahlborn who left the company in the late 60s and founded his own classical organ company under his name. Not too successful, by the way...</FONT></P>


                  <FONT face=Verdana>Wersi tried to market several OEM products under their name of "Heinz Ahlborn", making people believe they would buy a "real" Ahlborn organ. Most of these organs were Viscount models butTHESE two instruments were built by Yamaha.</FONT></P>

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                  • #10
                    Re: Yamaha .... digital pipe organs? .... and who makes the actual keyboard actions?

                    Hi organiac,

                    This is interesting!

                    In any case most of Allen's patents would have lapsed by about 1990. My guess is these organs were built after that time. Did you ever hear these Yamaha made instruments? Were they any good?

                    I believe there was another company called Bohm, that sold private labelled Viscount, and maybe Ahlborn instruments. I don't know if they are still on the go.

                    Arie V


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