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  • Baldwin C 340 value

    Hi, I'm new to this site.
    My church is currently looking to replace their very old, very much in need of restoration pipe organ.
    We are considering all options of course.
    I am aware of a Baldwin C 340 Digital 2 manual console organ.
    Condition is impeccable!
    Any thoughts to it's value and?????????
    Thanks.

  • #2
    We have some forum members who are more knowledgeable than I am about the various Baldwin models of that era, so maybe one of them will offer more pertinent advice. Your situation is understandable, and your is certainly not the first church to own a pipe organ and find it in need of serious restoration. Many times the church will find that the cost of a good restoration job is more than they feel they can pay, perhaps more money than they think they could possibly raise toward the project.

    I would say that you shouldn't abandon the possibility of finding money to do the restoration, even if it seems impossible, but I don't blame you for considering all the options, including replacement with a used electronic. A pipe organ is a wonderful thing, but a pipe organ in terrible condition doesn't make very good music and can be a downer rather than a positive factor in your worship services and music program.

    My first thought is to say that you shouldn't invest very much money in a used Baldwin since those organs were not so very great to begin with. Around 1990 Baldwin gave up trying to build church organs in the US and simply started importing some relatively inexpensive Italian organs to put their name tag on. While the largest models from the builder could be quite impressive, the smaller models were not much to talk about. The build quality, the tonal sampling, and the audio equipment on these small models were all inferior to most anything sold by the premium companies like Allen and Rodgers.

    So, if you can get this one for very little money (and I'll let someone else suggest a dollar figure), and if it is in perfect working order, it might be an acceptable option. OTOH, a used Allen or Rodgers, even if 30 or 40 years old, might well be a better organ in many ways, and would almost certainly be of higher build quality, and possibly sound somewhat better. Unless you are really taken with the Baldwin and really like the sound and the feel of it, you might look around to see if there are Allen or Rodgers organs available for the same money.

    Not just any Allen or Rodgers would be a good choice, though. Feel free to post here with model numbers of anything you are considering and someone will give you an opinion of the quality. For example, there are certain Rodgers models from the 90's that are known to have very bad keyboards that can fail and cost you a lot of money to fix, and there are certain Allen models from the early 80's ("MDC" models) that have a lot of limitations, and certain Allen models with "princess" pedals that some of us would steer you away from for various reasons. But still, for the most part, products from those two companies are of good quality and sound better than most others.

    One more word -- no matter what kind of used organ you find, it may not sound very good unless it is properly installed and voiced for the church's acoustics. Some organs have more flexibility in this regard than others, so check into that. And if your church seats more than a hundred people or so, you will need external speakers of some kind, properly placed and adjusted for level in order for the organ to be effective.

    You have come to a good place for advice. People on this forum have been very generous with their advice and professional guidance, so whatever you do you can count on getting some good help here.
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it'd be helpful if Nag could give some more details. What kind of pipe organ? Had the church obtained a quote on the restoration? What is the budget for a replacement organ?

      Unless it's already been investigated and determined that it's impossible to restore the pipe organ, I'd recommend the church seriously consider and try and raise the funds. The Baldwin (or comparable) will sound considerably worse than the restored pipe organ.

      If we knew your budget for a replacement digital organ I'm sure many could make specific and helpful recommendations.
      Viscount C400 3-manual
      8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
      Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm wondering what the Baldwin C-340 is. If it's a two-manual version of the C-400, it might be quite nice in both sound and hardware quality.

        As rjsilva says, more information about the situation would be helpful before our folks offer specific advice. Pictures are also nice, if you care to post some.

        No doubt the RESTORED pipe organ would be superior to an electronic. Of course, a run-down pipe organ can have a lot of troubling problems -- dead notes in ranks, tuning instability, leaking chests or wind ducts, ciphers, worn-out console, and many other issues -- and fixing all this can cost a TON of money. A pipe organ in bad shape can be a real drag on a church, and a well-chosen electronic in good working order may well be an upgrade. You can't support congregational singing or play nice service music on any organ in deplorable condition.

        It would be helpful to know more about the pipe organ in question. If it's a tiny unit organ or otherwise undersized, it might not be that grand even if restored, but if it was once a glorious and powerful organ, it would be a shame for it to be discarded for lack of repair money.
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          John,

          The model in question is actually called Wurlitzer C-340, which was sold by Baldwin.

          It is from the same line as C-400V (this means it has voicing variation, which the C-400 did not have). This model was produced fro, about 1992 to the late 90s.

          The C-340 is a 2 manual tab organ, full capture with toe studs, 6 memory banks, crescendo pedal, etc. Has provision for 6 external audio channels. The sound through internal speakers is mediocre, with 6 external channels would sound much better. Very little latitude in terms of voicing.

          I would say, as it is a 25 year old, Viscount sold by COS, who went belly up, it would not be worth much. One may want to check with Norm Ninneman about parts and tech support for this instrument.

          If it is in perfect working order, possibly $1,000, maybe a little more or less. If it has issues, try and find something else.

          May be suitable as an interim instrument.

          AV

          P.S. A lot of pipe organs I have seen, are not worth spending a dime on. Even with "restoration", they are at best poor musical instruments.

          Comment


          • #6
            As I figured....this site is a treasure trove of quality information. I came to the right place :)
            Our current church is a real Greek Tragedy! LOL
            I just had the most wonderful restorer stop by for a peek and evaluation.
            For now I see no need to mention all the particulars regarding who and which company. I don't want to offend anyone here.
            I'm just looking to research any and all options to do what's best for the church.
            OK, got that out of the way... whew!

            The third and last tech we had look at our organ was pretty much spot on with the previous builders we had come out.
            Seems that our organ is, um a, Frankenstein!
            Meaning it was assembled from parts of organs past. Some of the pipes date to the late 1800's, and other parts span the next 3 decades. The console is probably a "generic" console, not originally meant for our church, rather put in service to accommodate what other parts were available at the organs "birth". Upper 2 octaves don't work because there are no pipes for those keys!
            Who knew.
            Bottom line is that even if we were to do the restore which at this point could be somewhere between $50,000 -$100,000,
            All the restored agree that this instrument is really not worth it.
            Better to look for a used pipe organ from another church or of course go the electronic route.

            I want to be clear about this point.... I know next to nothing about organs, but am learning fast.
            I am doing the research because,
            (A) I have the time to do it
            (B) I am good at research
            (C) I love learning new things.

            As far the Baldwin is concerned, it is an organ privately owned...never been in church and is available.
            I had to start somewhere.

            I too have reservations recommending our church purchase a 25 year old instrument so I'm glad to hear the reviews about it.

            I am expecting the full report from the organ builder next week, I hope.
            The church will need to decide which direction they want to go. So for now, I will still keep my eyes, and ears alert for a good used organ.

            Our church is a small 150 person congregation.
            His very high ceilings with a lofty loft.
            Small congregation means small funding :(

            Thanks to all who responded to my query :)

            Comment


            • #7
              A church with 150 members is not all that small by today's standards! At least for a traditional church using traditional music; many such churches around here have dwindled to under 100 members, some having only a handful of regular attendees. So your church is in better shape than many.

              With a high ceiling, you may have nice acoustics for an organ, so even a smallish or older electronic will sound pretty good, if the room is live. From Arie V's description, I gather than the 340 is a pretty decent model for the time period. Norm Ninneman has always been a good resource for parts and service info on these organs, and I would trust him to have whatever might be needed to keep that organ playing, for a number of years anyway.

              If it currently only has speakers in the console, I think you would benefit from adding the six external speakers, and it might be easy to do that, if it has the standard 1/4" output jacks, as I've seen on other Viscount-built models of that era. You'd want to get decent speakers, possibly some good powered speakers, unless you have someone who would be willing to wire it all up using a set of three commercial stereo amps and six commercial pro-sound speaker systems. Either way, it might cost you somewhere between $1500 and $2500 to equip the organ with an appropriate set of external speaker cabinets, but that would be money well spent. Another $1000 well-spent would be to pay a knowledgeable tech to come in and do routine maintenance and check to see that whatever voicing/leveling is possible has been done correctly.

              Bottom line is that you will probably spend a few thousand dollars, but hopefully less than ten, getting a good setup done, which will be a fraction of the cost of working over the pipe organ. That would seem to be a wise direction to take, given that the pipe organ may not be much of a musical treasure anyway.

              In the long run, it might all depend on how much the seller wants for the organ. If he/she is expecting to get more than a thousand or two, you might do well to go shopping for a used Allen or Rodgers, as I pointed out above. It is generally easier to find someone to service these better-known brands, and parts are more readily available, though they can be pricey.

              It does sound like the old pipe organ may not be the finest example of the art, and therefore not worth a huge investment in restoration. But you may hear something different when you get your final report.
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                Fantastic. I knew I came to the right place!
                So here are the details....
                First of all let me say that I do not play the organ, nor do I even know this instrument other than appreciate it's wonderful sound.
                I took the task of helping out the church for several reasons.
                1 - I am good at research
                2- I have the time to do the work
                3- I'm always willing to try and learn new things!

                So that said, this is what I know about our church organ.......
                At this time, I see no point in mentioning the church or the technicians who have generously stopped out to look our instrument over. All of them have pretty much been on the same page with their assessments.

                The church was built in 1939...organ bought shortly after that and install in 1940.
                From what I understand, this organ was originally purchased for $5000 and came from a church somewhere in Illinois.
                From examination, some of the pipes date back to the late 1800's and other ranks span the next 3 decades!
                The console, I am told was what this tech called a "generic" console. His meaning, that it was not specifically made for our church. The upper 2 octaves of keys do not work simply because there are no pipes associated with those keys.
                Who knew?

                Unfortunately because this instrument is a hodge podge of parts; there is no maker opus # or name plate...at least not that we can currently find. And worse yet, the maintenance has been sketchy with several of the "local" town craftsmen trying to do some of it.
                To put it bluntly, it's a Frankenstein.
                I have not received the final report yet but an educated guesstimate on restore cost are somewhere in the neighborhood between $50,000 - $100,000.

                The honestly of the restorers is quite commendable because not one of them are recommending do the complete work simply because the over all quality of this instrument is, (um humm), not worth it.
                So what to so, what to do?

                Obviously we could completely abandon the pipe organ and replace it with an electronic one.
                But most of the parishioners are purists and would want the real thing. Who wouldn't, however,
                small congregation means small contributions, right?

                The latest restorer did say that there seems to be a glut of pipe organs available and that maybe if we found one in good condition, that would be money wisely spent.

                As far as the Baldwin C-340 I mentioned, I did become aware of it and of course knowing nothing about it, started too do the research. The original owner said it was $16,000 new in 1992.
                I can tell you that what the forum members estimate it's worth and what the owner thinks are worlds apart. But that's the reason why I joined this forum...to try and,"Get the Facts Mamm, Just the Facts"...LOL
                After I get the final report, and the church trustees meet, I'll have a better idea which way they'll want to go.
                And yes, I will be picking your brains once again, I'm sure.

                Many thanks to each of you who responded to my query.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by arie v View Post
                  John,

                  The model in question is actually called Wurlitzer C-340, which was sold by Baldwin.

                  It is from the same line as C-400V (this means it has voicing variation, which the C-400 did not have). This model was produced fro, about 1992 to the late 90s.

                  The C-340 is a 2 manual tab organ, full capture with toe studs, 6 memory banks, crescendo pedal, etc. Has provision for 6 external audio channels. The sound through internal speakers is mediocre, with 6 external channels would sound much better. Very little latitude in terms of voicing.

                  I would say, as it is a 25 year old, Viscount sold by COS, who went belly up, it would not be worth much. One may want to check with Norm Ninneman about parts and tech support for this instrument.

                  If it is in perfect working order, possibly $1,000, maybe a little more or less. If it has issues, try and find something else.

                  May be suitable as an interim instrument.

                  AV

                  P.S. A lot of pipe organs I have seen, are not worth spending a dime on. Even with "restoration", they are at best poor musical instruments.
                  From the pictures I've seen you are spot on. You have described this organ perfectly!.
                  Owner did buy it in the 1992, I believe for an original cost of $16,000 or so.
                  What they want and what you feel it's worth are worlds apart, but as I stated in my overall response, that's the reason I joined this forum...to "Get the Facts Mamm, Just the Facts!"

                  Appreciate your help. :)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Where generally are you located Nag? I have some extra Walker organ speakers I've been trying to get rid of ... :)

                    If you could give a budget I think some here could advise better on a digital replacement. The C-340 may be fine and sound good in your church, but there could also be better options in your price range.
                    Viscount C400 3-manual
                    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We are in South Central Iowa......about 60 miles East of DesMoines.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That's a bit far from me (southeast PA), but if you're interested in making the trip I think you could still save some money and get good speakers. Depending on how much you could offer I could part with six full range (one for each channel of that C340) and a large subwoofer.

                        If you become interested you can message me.
                        Viscount C400 3-manual
                        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Funny, because the C-340 is currently in N.Y.!
                          The jury is still out as far as the 340's overall quality for the price.
                          That organ, i am told has probably less than 12 playing hours on it.
                          But as I stated, the owner is asking plenty more than what others are saying it's worth.
                          That said, i will keep in. With the high costs of doing a restoration on our current pipe organ, I'd be surprised if they didn't opt to look for a good used electronic.

                          Trustees meet this Wed. :)
                          Will know more then.
                          Thanks for the offer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not as far away, just one state separates us, and I'd be happy to help you out if I can. What I have in stock varies from month to month, but when/if you get ready to do something, get in touch and I'll let you know what I have.
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you very much.....i will:)

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