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    Walker Double Touch?

    The 'Double Touch' (or 2nd touch) on Walker organs seems to be quite a common feature, so I'm hoping some others out there can shed some light on how on earth this works and what it does?

    I am playing a typical 1960s Walker organ with the 'Elephant Tusk' stop tabs for a concert next month, and hopefully for more recitals in the future. I've tried all manner of 'double touching' the pistons, yet there seems to be no difference as just pushing them once. I have a 'Double Touch Canceller' tab, which I am leaving unpressed (in the 'up' position).

    What does Double Touch do, and how do I operate it on this Walker organ?

    #2
    Second touch is activated by applying additional pressure to the key or piston. As you press with normal force you will encounter an initial resistance. That is the first touch. If you apply additional force, you'll overcome the initial resistance and activate the second touch. So it's not how many times you press, its how hard you press.
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      #3
      Jonathan, the double touch" on a Walker of this vintage applies to the stops themselves, not the pistons. It can be quite useful if, for example, you want a solo trumpet or clarinet. If you press the stop down hard all the other stops will cancel.

      You do have to be careful and, unless you are used to the organ, I'd say it's safer to cancel the double touch. The danger is that you have, for example, stops at 8, 4 & 2 selected and decide to add the mixture: it's all too easy to press too hard and end up playing on the mixture alone!

      Of course, I might have got it wrong as all organs are different, even those by the same maker.
      Last edited by Peterboroughdiapason; 06-25-2015, 07:09 AM.

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        #4
        That's interesting, I've only heard of double touch working with Pistons (or the keys on theatre organs). I never thought about the stops. The stops look so delicate that I never press them heavily anyway - often so lightly that they spring straight back up!

        I'll give that a go (probably next Tuesday) and see what happens.

        I absolutely love the sound of this organ and, for a medium sized church (much smaller than Redenhall and Beccles), it has a really surprising reverberation (longer than either of them). Maybe because a load of pews were removed? I can see why it's a popular favourite of many recitalists. Here's a little recording I did to show the contrast of this instrument and how impressive it sounds:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXTquu0yThM

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          #5
          Originally posted by JonathanP View Post
          That's interesting, I've only heard of double touch working with Pistons (or the keys on theatre organs). I never thought about the stops. The stops look so delicate that I never press them heavily anyway - often so lightly that they spring straight back up!
          I think you'll find they're not as delicate as they look, though they do only need a gentle flick. The good thing is that you can very quickly add a number of stops just by running your finger along the top.

          As far as I'm concerned, pistons with double touch are a nightmare!

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            #6
            Years ago I had just finished installing a new church organ - assisted by the famous (infamous) theater organist Don DeWitt. He was putting it through the paces, looked at me and said "Look! Double touch!" He pressed the keys, then bore down harder and the sound of the reeds and mixtures came on then quickly went off. I was dumbfounded. I had personally wired the console and knew that there was no double touch. What he had done was punched the crescendo pedal and instantly backed off - simulating double touch.

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              #7
              Good playing, Jonathan. That organ has a wonderfully distinct sound. Very pleasing, indeed.

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                #8
                Originally posted by denf View Post
                Good playing, Jonathan. That organ has a wonderfully distinct sound. Very pleasing, indeed.
                Thank you. I've loved every Walker organ I've played; distinct is a great word to sum up the sound!

                I tried the double touch on the stops, and on this organ it doesn't solo out a stop either. This is really interesting, it seems to do absolutely nothing! It was restored in 2008, maybe in this restoration the functionally of it was taken away (intentionally or unintentionally, perhaps)? Or maybe the feature is simply broken and an organ builder needs to visit? I may try emailing the organ builder who done the restoration and see if they know anything about it; at any rate, I need to get them to tune the organ at Redenhall too now the weather seems to have sorted itself out!

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                  #9
                  I'm trying to visualize what playing an organ with the double-touch mechanism would be like. I have enough trouble with a conventional instrument. I came across some information about a Hope-Jones instrument that's loaded with double-touch tablets: http://database.organsociety.org/Sin...?OrganID=19557

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by JonathanP View Post
                    I tried the double touch on the stops, and on this organ it doesn't solo out a stop either.
                    To be honest, it's not that useful!

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                      To be honest, it's not that useful!
                      I don't think it would be, particularly on this organ, as there's no really powerful stops to solo out anyway - they work best supported by others.

                      If there was a tuba or really powerful trumpet, it may be useful, but not on this organ.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by JonathanP View Post
                        I don't think it would be, particularly on this organ, as there's no really powerful stops to solo out anyway - they work best supported by others.

                        If there was a tuba or really powerful trumpet, it may be useful, but not on this organ.
                        Though good for a solo clarinet.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                          Though good for a solo clarinet.
                          It does have a lovely clarinet, but that's about the only stop it'd be useful for.

                          Double touch pistons would be far more useful. In fact, as it's used so often by visiting organists and as it's a redundant church so there's no regular organist, I don't know why they don't have adjustable Pistons (and a general cancel would be nice!)

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by JonathanP View Post
                            It does have a lovely clarinet, but that's about the only stop it'd be useful for.

                            Double touch pistons would be far more useful. In fact, as it's used so often by visiting organists and as it's a redundant church so there's no regular organist, I don't know why they don't have adjustable Pistons (and a general cancel would be nice!)
                            I'm surprised the pistons aren't adjustable on a Walker of that date (though I know it's a rebuild): have you looked for little switches behind the music desk or in little drawers on either side of the manuals?

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                              I'm surprised the pistons aren't adjustable on a Walker of that date (though I know it's a rebuild): have you looked for little switches behind the music desk or in little drawers on either side of the manuals?
                              I had a good look around, and there's way to adjust these at all so it seems. Interestingly, I found out the music rack and front panel folds up entirely (although blocked by a mirror!), but there's nothing to adjust pistons in there, just a hollow empty space.

                              It's a good job the pieces I'm planning to play at a concert only feature a slight registration change between the two!

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