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  • Need opinions on rodgers organ

    A few months ago I bought a used Rodgers D35 organ off of ebay. I knew before I bought it that there were a few issues such as some stop weren't working. Overall it seems to have pretty good sound and it's a much needed improvment for me as it is my only practice instrument and the organ I had before was not AGO compliant. So anyway on with my question. What do you guys think of it? Is it junk or not? Don't hold back give me your thoughts! LOL!

  • #2
    Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



    There is nothing junky about any organ that improves the scope of your playing. However basic and faulty, if this is an improvement for you and the price was good, you've done a good thing. Sometimes we revel in being exposed to the "best" organs with the media access we have today. But in capable hands even a limited instrument can make lovely music. I heard on You Tube recently a recording by Jesse Crawford on the Hammond Chord Organ. It was lovely, and showed all the signs of his mastery!</P>


    Don't look down on anything that helps you. And given time and money, a Rodgers is a very repairable instrument. Enhancement is also possible if and when you decide you need more. Thanks for sharing your acquisition with the forum members.</P>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



      k9sfd,</P>


      I'll agree heartily with OrgansR4Me. (I assume your Rodgers is a 35D.) That's a nice organ, a very wonderful and completestoplist. Yes, it's old. Earliest Rodgers technology, but they were built to last for decades. I know of a 32 that's still working perfectly. We had a 660 (only slightly newer) at church until a couple of years ago and it still worked perfectly.</P>


      The 35 is a pretty complex organ, lots of voicing and balancing controls, and of course a huge number of separately tunable oscillators. You'd probably benefit from having it thoroughly checked out by a competent tech who is familiar with early Rodgers analogs and understands organ voicing. Of course, you may be interested in tinkering with it yourself, which is fine too. Getting it properly tuned and voiced will make a world of difference in the sound and your enjoyment of it.</P>


      So, keep up the good work. Enjoy it as best you can.</P>


      John</P>
      <P mce_keep="true"></P>
      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

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      • #4
        Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



        In it's time, and for a 'stock' model (vs. custom), the 35D was a very impressive instrument for an electronic. I'm an afficiando of the 60s and early 70s vintage Rodgers, primarily because of their combination of sound quality, elegant design, and maintenance simplicity. I own a 1970 660D that I reconditioned and use as my practice instrument, as well as a 1965 36D/C (a customized 36D) that I'm in the process of rebuilding and expanding. I've also purchased a number of suitable Rodgers rack sets from people who are converting the consoles to pipe or digital, and over time will add them to both my 660 and the 36, much like adding ranks to a pipe organ (but taking much less of what little space I have).</p>

        I've found these vintages very straightforward to maintain and enhance (especially for an electronics jock like me). Console parts are generally standard pipe organ components (Klann, OSI, Syndyne), most of the electronics are standard components available from electronics parts houses, and any special Rodgers parts can be found from various online sources. After working all day as an embedded computer hardware and software engineer, I have little interest in tinkering with virtual organ software systems like Hauptwerk, so these designs are refreshingly simple.</p>

        The sound can also be improved by adding subtle reverb or spacial effects to the output channels. I've done the latter using Behringer Virtualizers for room modeling on my 660 with excellent results.
        </p>

        These vintages are also very easy to add MIDI to because the key and pedal contacts are all connected to non-multiplexed keying busses for the diode slides and keyers. The existing analog voices can be retained while adding digital voices and features over time.</p>

        Have fun, and if you need any info, don't hestitate to send me a PM.</p>

        -- Tom</p>

        </p>
        Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



          If I recall correctly, back around 1966 the Air Force bought two identical Rodgers 35D models--one for the main chapel at Vandenberg AFB, CA (Inear Lompoc) and one for the chapel at Clark AFB, Philippines. The Vandenberg instrument was dedicated by Richard Purvis, and I attended the dedicatory concert. It sounded pretty good to my ears, but I didn't like some of Mr. Purvis's registrations--he overdid the reeds in some places (which I was later told was a characteristic of his--in this case it didn't work well).</P>


          Wasn't a highly modified 35D the basis of the Touring Organ that Virgil Fox traveled with?</P>


          David</P>

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          • #6
            Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ

            David, I don't know how many organs Mr Fox commissioned but Allen Owners Club News is currently featuring on their site the historical records saying that the original touring organ was an Allen. I saw a 96 independent speaker organ played by Mr. Fox on the Mike Douglas Show once and that makes me believe there was more than one touring organ. This latter was intended to demonstrate the possibility of the same spatial presence achieved by separate pipe ranks.

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            • #7
              Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ

              The Allen organ was the only touring organ ever actually owned by Virgil Fox. The Rodgers ("Black Beauty") was on semi-permanent loan from the Rodgers company-Virgil did not own it. When Rodgers learned they Virgil was thinking about buying an Allen, they offered to sell "Black Beauty" to him at a low price, but he bought the Allen anyway.
              Mike

              My home organ is a Theatre III with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                While most analog Rodgers included at least some continuous-running oscillators, the 35D probably was keyed oscillator only, as was Black Beauty. The 35D had six generators and Black Beauty, fourteen.  (The first digit indicated the number of manuals and the second the number of generators, excluding celestes.)</p>

                Fox toured with Black Beauty followed by a short time with the Royal V Touring Organ.  There are differing reports as to whether Rodgers withdraw free use of the Royal V or whether Fox got angry and impatient over reliability problems with it.</p>

                Then he commissioned Allen to build him an organ.</p>

                He also cut demo records for Baldwin (Model 11) and Hammond (Concert Model), so his endorsement of an organ doesn't indicate much.  </p>

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                • #9
                  Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                  A picture from an appearance on the Mike Douglas show (together with Liberace) shows Black Beauty, with some of its wooden horn speakers in the shadows.</p>

                  Black Beauty was ten audio channels.  The Allen was probably twenty-two (two per computer).  He may have made another appearance with the Royal V, presumably with twenty-eight generators and who knows how many channels. </p>

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                  • #10
                    Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                    I just got a line on Rodgers 660 but I have yet to see it. I think I will have that opportunity next week. Should I consider one that is early 70s? Is there anything I should look for in particulat. It is a stop tab instrument that is currently in storage. As of now I have been unable to find a picture of one although I did see the draw knob instrument that NYCFarmboy posted. Any input will be greatly appreciated.</P>


                    TBert</P>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ

                      I don't have a 660, but I did briefly play that 660 I photographed I guess you saw...VERY nice warm classic analog sound. In my opinion the sound can be characterized as "warm",

                      I do have a 550 which I believe to be very similar and again, I really enjoy the sound of it.

                      My main concern is that you get one that either has reberbation built in, or if you have a local technician who can install reverb. In my opinion home organs need reverberation to sound nice. My 550 has a early reverb that works fine, but is not very sophisticated....I think the newer reverb units available now would make any analog Rodgers organ sound very nice.



                      now a side note..I basically ignore the mixtures on the 550...it can be a screamer if you want it to be, but it also has several lovely celestes which are more in my own preference of playing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                        [quote user="TBert8"] I just got a line on Rodgers 660 but I have yet to see it.. . . Should I consider one that is early 70s? Is there anything I should look for in particulat. It is a stop tab instrument that is currently in storage.[/quote]</P>


                        TBert8,</P>


                        I played a 1974 Rodgers Cambridge from 1990-1998. As already stated many times on this forum, the sound was great for an analog instrument. Overall, it was a nice installation.</P>


                        However, I did have one issue that was rather pesky. As the weather changed, the low G# pedal would sound ½ step off. I found I could use the transposer to move it out of the way, or visually transpose the piece, but it was a consistent problem--especially with a pianist who couldn't transpose. The Rodgers service people came, checked the intermittent (do you suppose it ever happened while they were there?[:@]), pronounced it "fixed," charged $200-$400, and left. After about 2-3 rounds of this, I gave up asking.</P>


                        Overall, I have been much more impressed with the older analog Rodgers than their more recent digital instruments. I've heard two of their instruments less than 7 years old, and they weren't impressive! No, it wasn't the organist--it was the instrument (or, perhaps the installation).</P>


                        Hope this helps.</P>


                        Michael</P>
                        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                        • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                          Michael,</P>


                          Too bad your tech didn't really work on that quirky oscillator. Usually a jumpy oscillator in the lowest octaves is caused by a dirty or faulty tuning pot -- if the organ uses RC (resistor/capacitor) oscillators in the bass. Quite easily cured. If the organ uses only LC (coil/capacitor) oscillators, the problem could be a faulty solder joint or tremulant diode.</P>


                          TBert8 -- we had a stop-tab Rodgers 660 in our church until we replaced it a couple of years ago with a newer Rodgers. The 660 is a decent organ, but is a little thin on resources. Here's a description of it:</P>


                          The great and choir are basically identical anddraw all their stops from just two commonranks -- a unit principal and a unit flute.For variety, the choir flutes can be drawn with chiff. But the choir is in reality just a subset of thegreat and not terribly useful. In its favor I'll note that there are both principal and flute stops at all the expected pitches, including mutations. I just remember thinking that the choir was puny, having no reeds, no mixtures, no celestes, not one stop to call its own. Just a convenient keyboard to couple the swell down to. (The great has a mixture, but that is the only one on the organ.)</P>


                          The swell has a handful of 8' and 4' stops that are independent -- in the sense that they are not drawn from the unit ranks. Butthe swell has no upperwork of any kind.The swell also has both a flute and a string celeste and has a quite powerful unit trompette stop appearing at 16, 8, and 4.</P>


                          The pedal division uses the great principal all the way down to 32' and also has some independent 16' stops. Otherwise it uses the same unit stops as the great and choir, and the 16' reed from the swell.</P>


                          It does have an amazing number of couplers, both intra- and inter-divisional at 16, 8, and 4. If you recognize the limits of using these couplers they can be quite effective.</P>


                          Our had the optional computer capture ("core" memory)action. It still worked almost perfectly, even though that was considered a somewhat shaky system. There was a stop or two that wouldn't capture, but it was much better than any other action I'd used to that point. If yours has the setterboard instead of capture, it will probably work perfectly, as that system is quite stable and not quirky at all.</P>


                          So, it has a lot of tabs but not a lot of truly unique voices. Quite acceptable for practice, and we enjoyed it in our small church. If the price is right, go for it. I'd recommend setting it up with as many speakers as you can find space for. It has mixing switches, so it will actually play through just one or two cabinets. But the full complement of (I think) 5 or 6 cabinets would make it much more enjoyable.</P>


                          John</P>
                          <P mce_keep="true"></P>
                          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


                          • #14
                            Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ

                            I have always been a "fan" of Rodgers organs. I grew up in a church that had one of the early Rodgers 3 manual organs and though it was older technology it served very well. The church replaced it with a new Rodgers 960 that was installed in the mid-90's and it sounds great! I currently play at a church that purchased a new 3 manual Rodgers Trillium 957 with Midi. It has been wonderful to say the least. I played a 40 rank pipe organ for amost 25 years and considered the tuning and mechanical ailments of that organ, this Rodgers has been really great! I have played a few Allen organs, one a fairly new large 2 manual and was not impressed at all with the sound or the mechanical action of it! So I will always be a big proponent of Rodgers organs.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Need opinions on rodgers organ



                              I too have always been a fan of Rodgers instruments. When I started taking classical organ lessons the dealership featured Allen organs and then one day I went in for my lesson and the studio had a brand new Rodgers ... and I was hooked ... that was in 1971 ... to this day I still prefer Rodgers instruments and have owned four residence instruments. I live less then 20 miles from the Allen factory ... so there are many Allen's around and I get to play many ... not one lights a candle to Rodgers instruments. The newer Allen's are getting better ... but there's just something about the sound and performance of a Rodgers Instrument.</P>

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