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1968 Baldwin Orga-sonic 81A

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  • 1968 Baldwin Orga-sonic 81A

    Does anyone have any information on these organs! I cannot find anything!!

  • #2
    Yo Mark. Welcome to the Forum. I own one of those. What would you like to ask? It has a wonderful deep bass and that is the main reason why I have kept my one... although they are nice when they work well.
    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

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    • #3
      I got my 81A about 6 years ago. A older woman, probably in her 70’s gave it to me. It’s in perfect shape, and everything works great! Has the manuals , warranty, etc. I’m just curious of the history on that model. It’s a 1968 81A, but there is nothing on line about the 81 series. I know that it’s nothing special, but it has some great tones, deep bass, and a built in rotating speaker. I guess I’m wondering if it was a common organ, and maybe any history on the series! Thanks!!

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      • #4
        It was a mid-range Baldwin. The 81 series came out in 1968. Blue Book shows the 81A, with automatic rhythm as being from 1970 but the 'Mother List' shows it as being 1968. The Mother List is usually more accurate with its dating. The 81 series also encompassed the 82,83,84 and 85. The only difference being the cabinet styling. The 81s ran until 1971/72.

        It's high enough up in the range to avoid being a 'buzzy Baldwin', but not quite high enough to get the big, lush sound of the top models. Has a rotary speaker that's either Baldwin's own design or a clone of a leslie (they were licensed to produce them) and 'Panaoramic Tone', which is Baldwin's trade name for reverb.

        Common enough in the USA, perhaps not quite so common in the UK as their distribution and dealership network wasn't as strong as some of the other makes. When I started in the music business back in 1970, the shop that I worked at had an 81A in stock along with a larger 56A. Both nice enough to play but they just would not sell! Perhaps because the Baldwin name wasn't as well known as the likes of Hammond, Lowrey or Conn.
        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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        • #5
          Thanks Andy for the usual comprehensive detail.

          Further to the OP: I got my one for free after being neglected by an elderly fellow who let his grand kids thump on the keys every so often. Nothing is broken on the keyboards but all the button caps on the percussion selectors are missing. I improvised there with some rather ill-fitting ones from an old and tired Lowrey TLO-R. My one also sports a wrist switch to cut off the percussion accompaniment when pressed down with the right wrist. That no longer works. The only issue I had was poor contacts from rather flimsy contact springs. A generous application of patience and a little switch cleaner cured that too and now the old gal is singing merrily...

          I purchased a repair manual from Caledonia Organ Service.

          Nico
          "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks guys! I’ve been looking for info for awhile! Mines in awesome condition, everything works great! It’s a fun organ, the drum machine, and the rhythm section are fun to play with! I’m a guitar, and mandolin player, but have been teaching myself keys. My organ player loves to come to practice and geek out on it. I have a couple organs in my music room, and I spend many a late nights playing along to reggae records with my Baldwin. The built in Leslie style rotary horn is great. It’s nive to finally find out some info, and to know there are a few still out there!!!

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