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Looking for advice on which home organ to get

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    Looking for advice on which home organ to get

    I have finally decided to really try and learn how to play the organ better, if only to make myself happy. I have a Lowrey GS1 that i bought around 1980, but am looking at various newer organs. I am looking for information on which organs give the user the most help via the screen. Right now i somewhat depend on the screen to verify my left hand chords which is helping me re-learn a lot quicker. Any comments will be much appreciated.

    For what it's worth, at home lessons are a no go due to a severe back injury which limits my time at the organ. That said I intend to persevere this time.

    Thanks in advance for any replies
    John
    Central NJ - USA

    #2
    Having owned the Technics FA/GA series organ, I know the screen will display the chords and the pedal notes you are playing. Technics GA3, FA1, F100 organs are cheap or free these days.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Current: Technics FA1, Yamaha EL400, Yamaha C60

    Past: Technics GA3, Technics F100

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, these Technics are fine and cheap. Also Yamaha AR100 is a nice & cheap alternative. It also shows the currently played chord on the display.
      Owned Philips Philicorda, Viscount Fair Lady and Cabaret de Luxe, Hohner Virtuos, Yamaha electone c-605. Now playing Hammond Aurora Classic, Technics GA3 and Roland G-800.

      Comment


        #4
        You haven’t told us what your budget is but I too can recommend the Yamaha AR100. It came out in 1996 and I bought one 18 months ago. Technics GA3 was 1994.

        For a later model and more money, depending on which version you go for, there are many on this forum who would doubtless point you towards the Roland Atelier range. Good organs but I’ve never had one.
        Last edited by RogerM; 11-04-2019, 01:31 AM.
        Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
        Current: Yamaha AR-100

        Comment


          #5
          GA3 and AR100 would be my go to instruments of that era, with the GA3 my personal choice. Later Ateliers from the SL models onwards, would be even better, but more expensive.

          Teacher's hat on for a moment. I know where you're coming from when you say that you depend on the screen to verify the chords, but be very wary of doing this, as I've seen more than a few people mess up their chord playing that way. 1) Look at chord in music 2) Look at keyboard and place fingers on notes 3) look at screen to check 4) look at fingers again to double check 5) wonder why your timing is now off by a few beats!

          You only really need steps 1 and 2, and plenty of practice. Step 3 is to use the #1 ear and listen! In fact, I've been known to place tape over the section of the screen that shows the chords, or lock the screen so it's showing something else! It gets results!
          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 organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
          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.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by andyg View Post
            GA3 and AR100 would be my go to instruments of that era, with the GA3 my personal choice.
            Interesting then that the GA3, or indeed any Technics instrument, does not feature in your biography. Care to comment? (I’m well settled with my AR, perhaps until I start hankering after an AT800 again, so feel free to be honest 😊 )
            Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
            Current: Yamaha AR-100

            Comment


              #7
              Courtesy of my good friends at Yamaha, I did use the AR100 in concert for a year or so, you'll see a photo in the Gallery! And I played a few concerts on GA3 as well.

              They were certainly two of the best concert instruments of that era, assuming that you wanted organ sounds as well as orchestral. If you only wanted orchestral sounds, the EL900 did them better. However, it's organ sounds were not in the same class, IMHO, and there was none of the emulation of other makes that the other two, especially the GA3, did so well.

              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 organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
              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.

              Comment


              • RogerM
                RogerM commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, interesting gallery. Didn’t realise you had made it to Admiral.

                Knew you had played the AR100 in concert but not the GA3.

              #8
              If i found a Nice used At 80S or SL or even an AT-800, I would think hard about it. They are all 12 inches wider than my present unit but i can fit them in here with a lot of moving stuff. Right now i have dual 44 key- keyboards (on my organ) and I like the idea of a wider range of keys that they have .Its a lot easier for me to move my arms then turn my back. I will look at the suggestions listed here and see what they are. Narrowing it down to a few choices and then searching for them will come.

              When i play (the few songs I have memorized) - i will either play as a piano, an organ or often split it with the synthesizer on top and organ on the lower keyboard. I really decided to try this time to learn more and have been practicing the basics of late. A Major back injury severely limits me, but i make up for that in a bunch of 20 minute sets during the day.

              Comment


                #9
                "Teacher's hat on for a moment. I know where you're coming from when you say that you depend on the screen to verify the chords, but be very wary of doing this, as I've seen more than a few people mess up their chord playing that way. 1) Look at chord in music 2) Look at keyboard and place fingers on notes 3) look at screen to check 4) look at fingers again to double check 5) wonder why your timing is now off by a few beats!

                You only really need steps 1 and 2, and plenty of practice. Step 3 is to use the #1 ear and listen! In fact, I've been known to place tape over the section of the screen that shows the chords, or lock the screen so it's showing something else! It gets results!"

                -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                The screen makes it easier for me, at this stage, for learning the chords themselves. When i play I know instinctively if i hit a wrong note (or the timing is off) since I only play songs i like and even then it is often that i play it be ear, write it out and then learn it.

                The screen also opened my eyes to inversions and the changing names of flat chords. I've got about 15 chords down pat at this stage and am trying to make my right hand do more than hitting a melody note.

                And i am always open to hints, Just understand that learning music theory is not on my agenda at all. My wife and i are the only ones who will ever hear me.

                Comment


                  #10
                  For an organ sounding organ, for its price, you cannot beat the Yamaha AR100. I have had both the GA3 and AR100 both really good organs even by today's standards but I would say that (for me) the Yamaha AR100 was a wonderful organ with very realistic sounding flutes!
                  Chris Nabil - Owner of a Roland Atelier 900 Platinum.

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by sweet melody 79 View Post
                    For an organ sounding organ, for its price, you cannot beat the Yamaha AR100. I have had both the GA3 and AR100 both really good organs even by today's standards but I would say that (for me) the Yamaha AR100 was a wonderful organ with very realistic sounding flutes!
                    You say todays standards, But who is left producing new Organs, I have an Orla Ringway RS600 which I like very much it does show the chord only as G or whatever. I have some books which show the chords in a Song underneath the music at the bottom of the page which is helpful if your learning them.
                    https://www.musicroom.com/product/fa...-keyboard.aspx

                    Comment


                    • andyg
                      andyg commented
                      Editing a comment
                      But be VERY wary of those chords, Max!

                      These books are often written 'by committee', with different arrangers for the pieces. So the chords are often in different places from piece to piece, and they are often in, let's just say 'unusual' inversions. Often an inversion, sometimes two inversions, lower than the accepted norm.

                      Much better by far to learn the chords separately, and then cover up the ones in the books! There are 'chord dictionaries' available, but some of these are aimed a the piano player and show only root position chords! There's a free chord chart on the downloads page of my website which will show you just about very chord you'll need in normal playing, all grouped together around Middle C (which has been the accepted position for left hand chords when playing home organ for as long as the instrument has existed!) and shown in 'families', rather than alphabetical order. Your left hand will move around less - we sometimes call it a 'lazy left hand'.

                      As for who is left producing new home organs, it's a handful. Ringway, Wersi, Bohm, Bemore, Estey (the up-coming 'replacements for the smaller Lowrey organs - and made by Ringway), Yamaha (direct import via Tarotrade) and Tokai (from Brazil and even they may have gone over to making Hammond clones).

                    • seamaster
                      seamaster commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Tokai are still making a pretty decent little range. I’m slightly surprised the zombie-Lowrey contingent didn’t go with them. I assume they were considered.

                      http://www.tokai.com.br/orgaos-eletronicos.php

                      Their new spinet sounds pretty good to me for a local price of about £2K:

                      https://youtu.be/bWXsr_fX6xc

                    #12
                    Yes I agree with your comments Andy and often play them in a different inversion to that shown. I learnt most of the basic Chords years ago and it is then easier to work out the inversions, Am I right in saying where ever possible you should only have to move one or two fingers for the next chord using an inversion.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      That's quite right. A lot of chord changes use one or more 'anchor' keys, with the others usually moving a note or so up or down. There are obviously times when you'll have to move your whole hand, but even then it shouldn't need to move that far. And often what looks like a complex chord change - going by the chord names - is actually quite subtle.
                      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 organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        I only play songs that i enjoy and have heard. How i learn is to first play the melody notes and get that down in my right hand. Then i play the chords in my left hand. Next is to play it together. Next I figure out the easiest way to invert the chords while retaining the proper sound. I know this is real basic but i am getting good practice . The past few weeks i have learned a few Christmas songs using piano sounds and these sound really nice, especially with (left hand) broken chords.

                        What i am trying to figure out now is adding notes to the melody notes. Sort of playing chords instead of a single melody note.

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Adding right hand notes is simple enough. Just take one of the notes in the chord and add below the melody note. Then try the other notes of the chord. Which one sounds best? That's the one to use. You can often hold that note down underneath several melody notes, all the time the chord stays the same. Give it a go!
                          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 organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                          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.

                          Comment

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