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3200 miles! for a Beckwith??

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    3200 miles! for a Beckwith??

    I have an opportunity to obtain a Beckwith Cathedral Chapel Organ, Grand Orchestral Action E (6 octaves), $125 firm price. In the 1904 Beckwith catalogue, this organ is listed as the largest action made by the company. From the sale photos, the case/keyboard/stop board appear to be in very fine condition. I have been told that it plays well, but you KNOW how that goes! This is only the second Beckwith of this case style that I have ever seen, and the first with the extended 6 octave action. The first one, a 5 octave action E, that I rebuilt in 1986 (still going strong, btw!) is in a church in Chittenden, Vermont. I have played this organ many, many times over the years and have always been impressed by the quality and volume of sound that organ puts out; especially given it was a mail order organ through Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    However, I have to make a 3200 mile round-trip to pick up this GOA organ. I would appreciate some input on how crazy or sane you think I am to make the trip to get this organ. Maybe one of you owns or has worked on one of these? Thank you in advance for your learned opinions! Matt

    #2
    If it is something you really want go for it. Twenty years ago I wanted something that was a 2700 mile round trip. Everyone said I was crazy, but I still enjoy it to this day. I've also done several 800 mile trips that when I got there it wasn't what was advertised and 5 minutes later was headed home. Those trips have made me look for things closer to home now.

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      #3
      It's the fact that if I travel 3200 miles I've gotta take it. I know I liked the one that I rebuilt, and this one is "supposedly" the Big Boy for that model, so it should be even better. The woman doesn't know much about reed organs. She doesn't play, and the man she bought if from played it for her 5-6 years ago. I know I can rebuild it as long as it's not missing reeds, which seems unlikely, but you don't know without seeing it, of course. Thanks for you input! My partner keeps saying if I want it, we'll go get it. I'm looking for someone to tell me that it's good to want it..lol!

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        #4
        Just a thought - why not have the seller send you a video of the instrument playing. I assume you've seen lots of close up photos of the internals and condition.

        My own experience: when a seller says "All the keys play", the seller often doesn't know there is more than one set of reeds. And if there's a gasping wheeze from the bellows, seller says "bellows works fine". That's what I heard about mine, which in reality sounded like a lethargic gerbil blowing through a clogged kazoo.

        Tom M.

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          #5
          I would not drive 300 miles for a free beckwith. It does not have any sounds I want to hear. I restored a five-octave (with the four-row action) in 2002 for the Waterford Foundation in Virginia. It had been in one of their buildings since way back when it was the "colored" church, and they wanted it restored.
          It sold for $75, and sounds like it.
          Casey

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            #6
            Originally posted by matran40 View Post
            I have an opportunity to obtain a Beckwith Cathedral Chapel Organ, Grand Orchestral Action E (6 octaves), $125 firm price.
            [snip]
            However, I have to make a 3200 mile round-trip to pick up this GOA organ. I would appreciate some input on how crazy or sane you think I am to make the trip to get this organ. Maybe one of you owns or has worked on one of these? Thank you in advance for your learned opinions! Matt
            I just made a 3000+ one-way trip to pick up an organ in the other corner of the US. I still don't know what I got because the organ is in storage until I get my garage closer to being finished.

            Too bad it wasn't near me–I'd pick it up for you!

            Michael
            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 & 4 Pianos

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              #7
              Probably more than 125 gallons of gas. Wear and tear on the vehicle probably worth twice the cost of the gasoline. That 3200 mile trip is going to cost you at least $1,000 in gas and wear and tear on your vehicle, probably more.

              Then there's the cost of lodging. I hope it's a good vacation, or at least the organ is worth that much to you.
              When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

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                #8
                Why not try to find a shipper? Much less wear and tear on you. Just a thought.

                Michael

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                  #9
                  Any old reed or pipe organ is always worth considering. However, sanity needs to prevail especially in a large country like yours and when the prospective new addition lives so far away. I have hauled electronic organs and one reed organ over about 4000 miles round trip but that included a week's worth of family visit and a short hunting trip. Came home carrying three electronic organs and a Bell reed organ. They are all (except for one electronic one I stripped) sitting pretty where I can look at them and reflect on my crazy madness to travel such a along distance for the privilege.
                  Having said all that, I do admit readily to being a complete organ nut, with reed organs sitting right at the top of my list of loves....

                  You have received the advice of other organ enthusiasts, only you will really know how close these beasts are to your innards so make your own decision - and if you do take on that long road, drive carefully and enjoy every mile!

                  Nico
                  "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

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                    #10
                    Here is a chapel organ worth going the distance for. I encountered one may years ago, it was superb, something you would never tire of playing.This is only the third one I have knowledge of, so they are really rare, too. https://porthuron.craigslist.org/msg...897204829.html

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                    • matran40
                      matran40 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks for your responses Casey. I also appreciate you're steering me to the Putnam. Just so I understand your reasoning on the Beckwith: you feel the quality is just not there with that organ? I take it that you were also not impressed with the reed selection either in quality of sound or potential combinations? Thanks for explaining. Matt

                    #11
                    Beautiful oak wood case! Reminds me of my old Jilles van der Tak which is also residing in an oak case. That is a nice organ and deserves to find a caring home. Someone close by please go grab it!
                    Nico
                    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

                    Comment

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