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What is a "C&G" Chord Organ?

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  • What is a "C&G" Chord Organ?

    I think this is the right section for this, but I am not sure, so please move if needed.

    I have a couple "Electric Chord Organ"s which consist of a simple fan, and plastic reeds for one, steel reeds for the other. A Bontempi B6, and an Orcana Model-105D.

    Both have two octaves, though the Orcana also has the C, and D from a third octave as well.

    The Bontempi B6 has chord buttons for B flat, F, C, G and the Orcana for F,C,G,D both major and minor.

    i noticed that both have C&G chord buttons.

    While doing some online searching, I have found music booklets that say they are for "C&G" Chord Organs, some say "magnus, electra, etc"

    I do also have a Magnus Model 300, (though one of the chords on it is broken) and it looks very similar to both the Bontempi and the Orcana, though the exact configuration of chords is different.

    So I am just wondering, does anyone know what a "C&G Chord Organ" means? I think it means those with C&G chords, but I am totally new to this, so that's just a wild guess.

  • #2
    Good question, Twiggy. I've never heard of that before either. Let me move this to the Home Organ section of the Forum and see if you can get more views and possibly some answers.

    Welcome to the Forum!

    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)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos


    • #3
      Wow, I'm reaching WAY back in my memory here, so this may not be totally accurate. I think it is is a reference to the lowest note that the keyboard starts with. The books you are looking at must have numbers ( above the staff usually ) for each note of the melody. The keys then are counted from the lowest note, and you can play "by the numbers" rather than reading the staff notes. Obviously the numbers will differ for each note depending on where the keyboard starts the numbering from.

      There may even be two numbers above each note - one for C organs and one for G organs. It seems to me there were also F organs of that type. They usually came with cardboard overlays for the keys with the numbers, so you would lay it across the top of the keyboard and your keys would be numbered correspondingly.

      Altogether it was a way for someone with no musical knowledge to be able to play songs quickly. Not the best way to learn to read music, but then that was not the intent.

      My very first organ was one like that. I'll bet I still have some of those books in my music library.
      Regards, Larry

      At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.


      • #4
        C and G chord organs are different instruments but very similar and Larry has it pretty much spot on. It's to do with the compass of the keyboard and possibly also to do with the choice of chords for the left hand. Chords come in 'families', dependent on the key of the tune. So a C chord organ might have a slightly different set of chords available to a G chord organ.

        But it's the 'play it by numbers' thing that really matters and yes, you should find two sets of numbers above the notes in the music. Some organs had numbers and note names in a strip behind the keys. As Larry said, you wouldn't learn to play properly from the music but it got you started quickly. Often people got fed up and stopped equally quickly. If they'd had the mental challenge and incentive of learning to read music (and invested in a better type of instrument) they might have stuck with it!
        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 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


        • #5
          Thanks for the information, everyone.

          Yes the keys on all 3 of these little organs are labeled with numbers, but only a single set of numbers.

          Having said that, I am not using the numbers, I have already learnt the basic CDEFGAB keys of each octave, where C is , where B is, and everything in between. I am also learning to read sheet music, I am at the point where I can read the notes, not in real time, but enough to convert them to letters and then play from there. For example I play a bit of the melody from "Ode To Joy like " E E F G G F E D C C D E E D D"". However, I am of course keeping the labels on, as I don't want to damage these organs little organs which are no longer made.


          • #6
            Great that you are learning to read and play the music and everything that comes with it. I wish I had not stopped taking organ classes back in the day, but it is never too late to start all over or to learn from scratch.

            Probably soon enough you want/need a temporary keyboard to further your (self)-education. Could also pick up an organ.

            If you keep at it, try picking out melodies by ear early on in addition to sight reading music, though. I don't know why, generally speaking, many folks refer to "playing by ear" as not the "right way", but I feel only when one can work out a tune by oneself (plus the harmonies), over time one develops the competence needed to dress up "naked" sheet music or not to rely on written music at all.

            Playing by ear requires trial and error, especially in the beginning and in the absence of musical knowledge, but it yields desirable results, aka skills.


            • #7

              I agree that playing by ear is wonderful skill. (I only have a very, very limited ability to do this.) I also agree that "ear players" can dress up a melody. However, playing by ear is not the only way to do this. I can dress up music. See this detailed post of mine on the forum about how I play and dress up music. (I've had many people think that I play by ear.)

              Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

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