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Bench height (again?)

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  • Bench height (again?)

    I know this topic has been discussed before, but I feel my situation is kind of different. Most of you know that the standard AGO height for an organ bench is 20.5 inches from the top of the middle "E" pedal to the surface of the bench. It so happens that on this Johannus, the top surface of the bench is 21.5 inches above the middle "E" pedal. I guess this would be fine for most people, but not for me. Time out for a physical description here:

    I have very long legs (34" inseam), and very big feet (Size 14). Trying to play the pedals the first few days was a trial - I knew I had to be higher on the bench. I have a 2" thick pad of very firm foam rubber, and I started using that. Much better, but still not right. Then today, I remembered that I have a little used boat cushion of memory foam 3" thick, so I gave that a try. Voila! - For the first time since the organ was delivered, pedaling feels really comfortable and natural (when it's right, you know it). I have a fair supply of clear red oak lumber, and I have been planning to build bench blocks as soon as the weather gets warmer. But with either the boat cushion, or the 3" bench blocks, that means the height of the bench will be 24.5 inches. My question is: Does anyone else on group need their bench that high (or higher) to pedal properly? When I ordered the instrument, I inquired about the price of an adjustable bench - it was $1,000. Nope.

    Home: Johannus Opus 370

  • #2
    I have a similar problem. My inseam is 36" and my legs from the knee down are quite long. I have never been able to find a bench height that works for me because once I boost it up with blocks for a good feel on the pedals my knees usually hit the underside of the lowest keyboard! As a result I have muscle strain in my thighs when I play for a long time because I can't keep the bench high enough for comfort.

    Early on in my life I realized that my height and leg length were all wrong for playing the organ pedals so there went the concert organist career. haha. But I soldier on and play for fun. Since I don't carry bench blocks with me and many places do not have them, I rarely play an instrument other than my own.
    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.


    • #3
      I have the same dimensions and problem as Larry. I've actually considered raising up the organ, leading edge of pedals and all.

      Unfortunately I just don't get time to play anymore so it's irrelevant.


      • #4
        My inseam is 37 inches. The organ at my last church had an adjustable bench that was comfortable if I cranked it all the way up. For my theatre organ and the organ at my new church the benches aren't adjustable. I can make do with a couple lengths of 2x4 (1½" thick) but I prefer 1¾"-2" thick blocks. There was a thread a few months back about making some organ bench sleeves that allowed the bench to be adjustable ±2" in ½" increments. I'm going to make some for my organ soon because I have some short family members that would like to try out a three manual.

        When I finally got the bench in the right position, it made playing the pedals so much easier.

        The first blocks I made were for an organ at a regional center (larger church where several congregations meet). I didn't have a shop set up at the time, so I ended up getting some scrap strapping board (the board with a groove for the metal packing strap to sit in) from Home Depot that was 1¾"x3" that I cut into a couple of pieces with a handsaw in the kitchen. They weren't pretty but they worked great (and they could be flipped over to have a slightly lower bench height). I ended up leaving them with the organ so that people would stop using hymnals.
        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.


        • #5
          For those organs where the pedal attaches with a cable, I wonder if KC9UDX has a good solution for you long-legged guys. In that case the pedal board could stay on the floor. If the organ was raised up an inch or two, that might solve the problem of hitting the underside of the keydesk. You could then have the bench at the proper height.

          I have played organs, usually in places like colleges where people of many heights play the instrument, that had a block with one side routed to a shallow depth and the flip side routed to a deeper depth so that one set of blocks could accommodate two different leg lengths. That would not be necessary if you are just making them for yourself.

          My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk


          • #6
            You might want to check with your dealer. I had a customer with the same problem. I went to my distributor, and he was able to get me some blocks that were finished like the rest of the organ, and the cost was pretty reasonable. They looked very nice, and solved our problem.