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Baldwin 46C

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  • Baldwin 46C

    A Baldwin 46C was donated to my Church. I have replaced all of the bad tubes. Now we have some keys with a popping noise which I guess may be bad capacitors in the Tone Generator. Also when you hold a few of the keys down like number 6 it sounds like heavy tremelo or maybe the sound is coming and going. Don't know what is causing that. Could it be a bad coil. Is there parts available to repair the Tone Generator? Is there repair manuals still available or schematics to get the capacitor values?

  • #2
    Unfortunately, that organ probably needs a complete generator rebuild. It's 60+ years old, and the divider circuits on those were calibrated at the factory with extreme precision in order to properly produce all the octaves down the scale from the 12 top octave oscillators. Over time, the calibration gets out of whack and you get "gurgling" noises instead of clean tones in the lower octaves. SOMETIMES the gurgling can be temporarily alleviated by installing a bias trimming resistor into a socket on the side of the generator chassis. If you look you should see such a socket with two pins. Trying resistors there, starting with about 1 meg and working down, you MIGHT get it to clear up, IF the problem is in relatively early stages, though I wouldn't count on it, at the age of the organ.

    There was an extremely complex calibration device used at the factory to set up these dividers when the organ was built, and there really isn't any way to accurately re-do the calibration without that device. A man in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area named Lynn Spelts used to specialize in doing these, and he had the old factory equipment, saved from the Baldwin factory when it closed down decades ago. He has been in bad health, and I'm not sure that he works any more. You might check on him. I don't have any contact info, but I know he is on Facebook.

    And be aware that the procedure requires removing the generator from the console (which is actually not that hard, though it's heavy) and shipping it to him (which costs quite a lot of money). And his labor for doing this is quite expensive too, many hundreds of dollars for sure.

    Bottom line -- this is an old organ whose sound and resources pale in comparison to most any decent Allen or Rodgers organ built in the past 50 or 60 years (and they are far more readily repairable). It may be best to just pass that one on and look for something in better shape. Discussions here on the forum frequently refer to Allen organs from the 70's going for free or nearly free.

    Given all that, there may be someone on the forum who still owns and maintains a 46 who will give you a rosier outlook. I hope so, but I am doubtful.
    *** 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!