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Allen S-14 Rondo

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  • Allen S-14 Rondo

    Hello all! If you want a little background, see my thread in the home organs sub forum. Basically, I've enjoyed playing a parlor Reed organ for a year and want an upgrade to something with more capabilities. I was considering a spinet for the size and cheap prices, but I seem more drawn now to the idea of a classical instrument if I can fit it somewhere. Someone has an Allen S-14 Rondo organ from 1958 on Craigslist that they are asking $200 for. A Google search came up with a few threads on here and a YouTube video, but it seems the one for sale is either an upgrade or custom. The one in the YouTube video with the same model number that seems to match the description of the ones discussed here had only 25 pedals and 3 16ft pedal stops while the one for sale has 32 pedals and 5 pedal stops for example. The pictures don't show the stops well, but it appears the pedal stops are two 16ft, two 8ft and a fractional one. The case looks the same, and it's quite a bit prettier than the other full size organs I've seen for sale by a long shot. Anyway, is this likely a good purchase, or are there some reasons this should be avoided? Thanks for your input!

  • #2
    Here's a little info on the Rondo Special and a note from the service manual about the pedals.

    "This model has two 16’ pedal stops which actually combine 16’, 8’ and 5-1/3’ pitch."

    td

    Servicing electronic organs since 1969.

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    • #3
      Hello, TSP;

      Here is some Rondo info from my Electronic Organ Reference List, aka The Mother List. The order of data is:
      model number, date of introduction, technology*, number of pedals, number of manuals, model name and general info.

      S-10 1951 VI 32 2 Rondo (non-AGO pedal clavier)
      S-12 1953 VI 25 2 Rondo
      S-12s 1956 VI 25 2 Rondo (self-contained speakers)
      S-14 1955 VI 32 2 Rondo (non-AGO pedal clavier)
      S-15 1958 VI 32 2 Rondo (non-AGO pedal clavier)
      *VI= individual vacuum tubes

      I believe the non-AGO pedal clavier has come to be known as the "Princess" pedal board.

      If you are interested in the servicing of these vintage instruments, you might like to purchase my booklet "Allen Analog Organs". Send me a Private Message and I will respond with a PDF giving complete information.

      . . . Jan
      The Organgrinder
      Last edited by Jan Girardot; 09-29-2015, 12:16 PM. Reason: more info

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      • #4
        Well, I called the seller and was able to arrange to see it this afternoon. A bit of a disappointment as the pictures were what the seller's son found on Google, not the actual instrument itself, which actually seems is couple steps beneath what was pictured - only 3 pedal stops, no percussion stops, just 25 pedals, and the case was dinged up a good bit. Oh, and no bench. The pedals were not connected as the instrument is being kept in storage and not being played, but everything else works flawlessly. While the sound was nothing to write home about, it was certainly acceptable and I could have stayed all day playing the thing. Not sure I can get over the different pictures with the more full-featured instrument, though.

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        • #5
          TSP;

          The Rondos were the bottom of the Allen line at that time, except the spinet called the Organette. It only has one set of flute tone generators, using individual vacuum tube oscillators. I would give it a big pass: there are lots of other consoles out there, just waiting to be "rehomed".

          Keep us posted,

          . . . Jan
          the Organgrinder

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          • #6
            That is always difficult; smacks of "bait and switch", even though the seller may not have even been sufficiently knowledgeable to to so intentionally. I've used the odd generic picture for a CraigsList ad myself on rarest of occasion. Since $200 classical organs are not plentiful, better to look at what you receive for your money and if it represents a good value. Something solid state for, say $500, might be a desirable alternative. OTH, vacuum tube equipment is imminently maintainable. I don't know about Allen but Hammond was so conservative in their stressing of tubes that operating Hammonds with the original tube compliment are fairly common, I'm told. Anything with discrete electronics is maintainable.

            The deal killer here for me is the bench, or rather lack thereof, easily worth more than the asking price of the organ, if your skill set does not tend toward cabinet carpentry. These instruments are exceedingly difficult to play without one.
            Roland Atelier AT-90s, AT-80s, AT-70, 30, and 15. Roland VR-760 combo
            Yamaha S-90, Kurzweil PC-3x, Casio Privia PX-330, Roland E-80, G-70, BK-5, Leslie 760, 820
            Moved on:
            Allen 3MT/Hauptwerk, Technics GA1, Yamaha HX1, AR80, numerous Hammonds, including 2 M's, an L, 2 A-100's, XP-2, XM-1/1c, & an XK-3. Roland Atelier AT-30, 60r, 80, & 20r(2 units), and a slew of Leslies (147, 142, 760, 900, 330).
            Korg Triton Le-61, Casio Privia PX-310 & 110, and Kurzweils: PC-2x, SP-88, Pro-III, K1000

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            • #7
              It's all been said! I wouldn't pay $200 for an organ from the early 1950s, apart from a Hammond A/B/C series organ and that's not what you're after. No bench? Disaster, as Kurzweil said, you'd have to pay out that amount to get one.

              If it's that sort of sound you're after, then there are indeed plenty of consoles out there, but they're likely to be old (but not this old!) and all makes will have their own quirks and issues.
              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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              • #8
                The picture discrepancy was due to ignorance on the seller's part. He paid $400 for the organ a few years ago for his daughter thinking it was a piano. I pointed out how the tabs were setup differently than the picture and he looked shocked for a moment. I showed him the ad on my phone and pointed it out and he was like "Oh, gosh! You're right! Sorry about that!" He then asked what the tabs were all for, and why the thing had two keyboards. I explained what the numbers meant, and how different tabs made different sounds etc. and he seemed intrigued. Since I was so turned off by the different instrument than the picture, I don't think I sold him back the organ, though!

                Anyway, I found the sound to be nice in its own way, though it did seem a bit lacking when opening up all the stops - due to there being only one set of tone generators, I'm sure. Using just the basics on it, it sounded better than a lot of organs I've come across that were newer, and I've seen even fewer that looked nicer. Most I've seen have been ugly and broken. For something to have in my house to practice/entertain myself and others on, I think I could be perfectly happy with it, if it had a bench. There are two organ benches, built to match Hammond consoles, on Craiglist at the moment, and each has an asking price of $200. Probably going to have to do some more hunting, I guess.

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