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I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

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  • I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

    Hi all. I am hoping to get somehelp. I am a complete novice at organs, but I am a fervent message board user, so when I found myself in my current predicament, I knew where I needed to go.

    I recently purchased a home and as a result, I find myself in possession of a Rodgers 321B Theatre Organ. It appears to be in perfect working order. The exterior is a light stained wood. My guess is that it has barely been moved since it was purchased new.

    I would like to know a little more about the organ before I decide what to do with it. It can't stay where it is right now and I am not sure I have space for it (other than in the garage).

    First, I'd be interested to get some idea as to the value of an organ like this. How would I be best advised to go about selling it? What might be a "fair market price". I've read a fair bit on message boards and spoken to a few people, but I get widely varying ideas. I saw on this board someone purchased one for about $500, but it was in need of substantial repair, whereas mine appears to be working perfectly. I've seen ads online for anywhere from $1000 to $15,000.

    Depending on the answer to that question, I'd be interested to know if we might be able to find some use for this organ. None of us knows how to play (I have some basic piano lessons in my past), but I was planning on getting a piano for my daughter to eventually learn on.

    I appreciate any and all assistance you can provide.

  • #2
    Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

    You are talking about our wildest dreams -- a free Rodgers organ! Unfortunately, organ prices have dropped steeply in the last few months due to the global economic crisis. But the theater organs can bring a good price in perfect condition. I wouldn't recommend starting much above the $1000 mark you mentioned unless you want to repeatedly advertise until you reach the person who has been waiting all their life for this instrument. And if you have any other recourse I wouldn't recommend moving the instrument to the garage where it won't be perfect for long. (not that I haven't had to do so because of owning so many, but I assume the risk when I do). This is a precious instrument, one of the truest theater pipe organ tones in the electronic world. If you think you could ever come to love organ music, don't let it get away! PS -- many years ago the Miami Herald did a special feature of people with large theater organs called "Better than a Fireplace". You might find this organ a real conversation piece in you new home?


    • #3
      Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

      I understand - and its something we are still considering. The problem is simply one of space.

      Can you direct me to some resources to help me learn how to get the most out of it?


      • #4
        Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

        Great photo. Your post should attract attention in itself. Wouldn't hurt to add a postsaying whatyou'd like to sell if for and where you are located. If I had financially what I did 10 years ago, I would buy it myself!

        Serious buyers and comparison pricescan be located through free classifieds available at:

        You would need to register, but last time I used the sites there was no fee.

        Ebay and Craigslist are also options. Again discount the effectiveness of the ads you seewith higher prices. A large vintage organ store just had to reduce some Trio's significantly when they retrenched for the economic crisis and became Hammond only. They have a link on Also remember that if the seller has refurbished extensively that represents an increase in the price. Yours looks showroom new. That certainly should help if you decide to sell. Thanks again for sharing the photo. It confirms how blessed you are!

        You say you love it! Find a way to make it work. A few months of having the organ and you'll wonder how you lived without it!


        • #5
          Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

          Well that might be pushing it, but I am interested to better understand how it works so I can enjoy it.

          I honestly don't know how much to ask for it. As I said, I've seen ads everywhere from $500 to $15,000 - so somewhere in between would be nice.[:D]

          But seriously, it is hard for me to name a specific price because I know so little about the market.

          If you (or anyone else around) found yourself in a position to sell this organ, what would you want to get for it?


          • #6
            Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

            The $500 was probably a real fixer up. And the high end $15,000 is definitely off the mark. Probably driven by the fact the a new instrument of similar configuration is in the $50,000 range, but just like American automobiles, those pricey organs loose half their value quickly, and most their value after a decade.You can find previous post on that subject here at the forum under Allen and Rodgers.

            The price for your sale can vary by whether the purchaser can make the trip to you easily, with a rental truck or is at so great a distance that Keyboard Carriage will be the preferred transportation -- local charges can accrue at the point of destination since transfer has to be made at a moving/storage company or big box retail parking lot so there is local trucking involved. The purchaser will have in mind some total expense that he can make to get the organ in his locale. The more he has to commit to transportation, the less he can offer you up front. Some long distance moves can eat up $1000.

            If the organ plays as perfectly as it looks, and you find someone who has been waiting to get the Trio, you could see $2500 to $3000. But that could involve waiting for the right person as I mentioned several posts back.If you want to move the organ as quickly as you can, being glad for having made something from it, start at $1000 and it shouldn't last. There is right now about 300 miles from me a Rodgers Trio on Ebay at$800 which has some issues with the paint finish. And I don't see to much action around that auction as yet. Someone may be waiting to go in at the end, but that's a sign the price won't go up very much.

            Keep in mind hard times are coming on quickly. And organs seem to be suffering the most. A Lowrey that I almost bought last winter for $700never did sell at the keyboard store in the next town. (I picked up an Allen Classical organ that was next to it instead for same $700) A few weeks ago on Craigslist they had placed an ad offering cash & carry to the first person to come in with $95. And as I mentioned in the previous post, even professionals in the vintage organ trade have clearanced the Trio.

            In the way of learning about the instrument, search websites for theater organs. Many of them have descriptions of the various families of tone and how the organ is set up. and some of my favorites. Also see the Walnut Hillwebsite where you can hearreal Pipe organs, ElectronicTheaterorgans, and the new VirtualTheater organ. speaking you don't have to be an advanced player to enjoy the organ. Ebay is loaded with lesson booksfrom the heyday of home organ sales. Learning chords for the left hand and a single note melody in the right hand is enough to get you started. Should the bug bite like it did with some of us, the skies the limit. Piano lessons are not necessary prior to beginning to play the organ since the technique is completely different.

            I hope this is the information you were looking for. Thanks for keeping in touch.


            • #7
              Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

              Thanks so much for your help - it is much appreciated.


              I am well aware of the hard times right now - and it does not surprise me that a product like theater organs would suffer.


              If I could get $2000 for it net of moving costs, I would be pretty happy with that.  I'm not in a huge rush to move it, so I'll probably wait until the right buyer comes along. Having said that, I am going to try and get as much enjoyment out of the organ as I can while we have it - and who knows?  Maybe it will win me over.  


              Again, thanks for your assistance. 






              • #8
                Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                Sounds very realistic. If you find a buyer able to do his own trucking, the cost to the new owner still represents a bargain! Glad you plan to enjoy the organ. It will be the experience of a lifetime.


                • #9
                  Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                  I'm not sure if it was ever $15 when new?? I can remember Trios selling over here for around £5-6K.

                  $2K? I think you might have to wait a while for the right customer at that price, and in the meantime values are sliding. I'd personally play it and get to love it. If it sounds as good as it looks you're in for a treat. If not, then get what you can, while you can. Best of luck either way.

                  As an aside, the organ looks great in the photo, but it tickles me to think that the person walking off at the left with the tape measure in hand is telling potential owners "Jeez, this is one big critter!" [;)]


                  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 -

                  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


                  • #10
                    Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B


                    That is a gorgeous instrument you have there. If I hadn't just purchased an organ, I would be at your front door now with my U-Haul (and crew) in your driveway.

                    My advice is to keep it, certainly until the financial times improve (hopefully, in our lifetime). As far as not being able to play one, that pretty much describes my situation. Several years ago, I bought a classical organ for $5K from Vintage Organs in Atlanta. Everyone thought I was nuts because I had no musical experience whatsoever. Yes, I can't even read music and had no experience with piano other than noodling around on a Clavinova.

                    Guess what? I've never regretted buying it. Last month, in fact, I traded the old organ in and purchased a brand new one. I recognize that this may be an addiction, but it is one that brings great personal satisfaction every day.

                    Can I play it? I won't be giving any performances at the local theatre in the very near future, but it sounds darn good to my ears.

                    The bottom line is: if you enjoy the organ enough to buy organ music, then you probably should hang onto it and give it a try. To replace such an instrument at a later time would be quite a large investment.

                    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best. Thanks for posting that picture!



                    • #11
                      Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                      The basic problem is that I can't move the organ out of the room it is currently in without demolishing some walls. I can only get it out of the house or else it has to stay where it is - and that just doesn't work. If I could move it into a different room, that would be fine - but as it is, its just not right.


                      • #12
                        Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                        Not a happy thought, but if you can climatize the garage you could possibly get the organ out the front door and around through the garage door -- assuming you'd still have room to get the car in. If you have a double like mine and only one car that actually works quite well and you can usually play without the sound coming back into the house -- a benefit when the rest of the family isn't looking for a concert. Inside the house, I have even had a tight sqeeze moving large spinets through interior doors so I understand what you mean about interior limitations. A few years ago, the simple mention of an available Trio would have brought buyers flocking. In a way you've benefited from the times in acquiring the home and suffered for the hard times in selling the organ. Be patient and someone may come up with the funds.


                        • #13
                          Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                          I was fortunate enough to pick up a 321B a couple years ago that could be your organ's twin. I had a chance to play a new one in a real organ store back when I was in my teens. Of course at the time it was waaayyy out of my league in terms of price. Kept the brochure and stumble upon my 321B in a garage when I was picking up a freebee Hammond H133. Keeping in touch with the owner I was able to pick it up with a $500 offer when he decided to move and didn't want to take it with him (he wasn't an organ player, he'd inherited it from his uncle). He tossed in the two external Rodgers amps but kept the original Klipsch La Scalas. I gave up looking for a pair of La Scalas at a price I was willing to pay, tossed on a couple of big Allen HC-12's and a miniverb and I finally had my three manual theatre organ :^) The 321B isn't perfect but it's a very nice instrument that does have a number of us fans out there.

                          I'll second the comments about how nice it is to have an instrument in the garage if you're in a climate that's not too extreme. I'm in Southern California (not too cold or hot) and I've got a couple of playable instruments in the garage "studio", my H133 and an early Gulbransen Rialto K. It's a real joy to be able to get out there for some early morning or late evening play without disturbing the rest of the household. I never did like the sound of playing with headphones so even though the acoustics in the garage might not be perfect it works better for me.

                          A few weeks ago I was contacted by a guy that was looking for a similar Trio. He had just missed out on buying one that was being offered at a price that you might find attractive. If you're interested in selling it let us know what part of the country (or ???) that you're in and I'll let him know so he could contact you directly.


                          Current: Rodgers 340 "Special", Gulbransen Rialto K (Both Versions), Allen Theatre Deluxe, Rodgers Olympic 333, Roland Atelier AT70 (I hope)
                          History: Rodgers 321B, Rodgers 740B, Gulbransen Theatrum, Hammond H-133, Thomas Malibu, Heathkit/Thomas Paramount


                          • #14
                            Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B



                            • #15
                              Re: I find myself owning an organ....Rodgers 321B

                              Its a tempting thought, but with all things considered, I am probably going to have to let it go. So yes, I am still interested in selling it. You can direct any inquiries to [email protected] - or post info here as I check this regularly. btw - here is another picture - this time without the person...or the tape.