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  • lowery organ

    What are the pros and cons and value or the lowery SU/500 organ

  • #2
    Pros. Has a decent spec, lots of fun things to play with, if you like a lot of automatic this and that. Big overall sound. Usually pretty reliable - it's Japanese Kawai electronics under the skin. Good user group support from the Lowrey Forum and the Lowrey Facebook group.

    Cons. Can be a bit of a pain to drive manually, with no automatics. Not the most intuitive set of menus to navigate (of little importance to many owners, who only ever use the factory set-ups, of which there are hundreds on board). Little or no spare parts available and no support from Lowrey/Kawai USA. That's where the groups come in.

    Value? A fraction of its original price. Value does depend on location, condition of the organ and local supply and demand. Also in the USA, shipping costs can be a deal breaker. A great value organ on the other side of the country is usually a poor deal overall. The Lowrey groups have an idea of values, but they're all Lowrey owners (plus one or two dealers) so their valuations can be a bit high sometimes.
    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

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    • #3
      Opinion on the Lowery Stardust Organ Quality, Current value, Durability

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      • #4
        Given it is a fairly recent Lowrey (1990's), you would expect it to last fairly well. However, remember that all consumer electronics are designed with a 10 year lifespan in mind. Some organs last longer than this reliably, but not all do. Given that, I would expect to have some small problems crop up electrically during your ownership of the device. If the speakers have foam surrounds that haven't been replaced, you can expect to have to do this sometime during your ownership of the organ as well. A big pro is that it is probably new enough to have built in Midi. These 10-20 year durability problems tend to tank the value of an instrument, but I don't know enough to give you an estimate on a Lowrey. Check Ebay/Craigslist/Kijiji/Facebook marketplace for listings. It also matters how much it is worth to you.

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        • #5
          Lowrey organs were grossly overpriced and now that they are no longer built, it is hard to know how serviceable they will be in the years a head. I played one for a church and some of the velocity key contacts had to be replaced. It was a bit frustrating as a church instrument but I was able to get what I needed out of it (Baptist Church not interested in organ literature.) There are a lot of interesting solo stops. Lowrey's market was to people who wanted to enjoy the organ by using all the automatic features. Generally, dealers provide free lessons to teach people how to read music so they could at least play with one finger and let the organ do the rest. As to price, it is really whatever you can get for it. I see them listed and relisted on Ebay which leads me to believe that the seller has over priced the organ and it is likely, that there is a shrinking demand for Lowrey instruments.

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          • #6
            It's not often that you need to replace the rubber/carbon contacts. Kawai have been using them since the mid 1980s and every Lowrey post 1989 has had them - made by Kawai, of course. They're usually very durable unless the instrument has been 'hammered' or otherwise abused. But they do, like all similar contacts' suffer from the ingress of dust and grease, which means that some periodic cleaning is needed. I have come across instances where a 'technician' has simply decided to replace sections of the contact strip rather than just clean them. Probably the same person who would change a whole circuit board for mega bucks when all that was needed was a change of a $1 capacitor and a little soldering. :(

            The main price killer is the availability of spares. If a major board fails, that could well be terminal. Same for all makes of organ made in the last 35 years or more. Buyers aren't willing to put $$$$ into something that could become a large boat anchor if there's a failure.
            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

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