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Beatty Beethoven, is it worth it?

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  • Beatty Beethoven, is it worth it?

    There is a Beatty Beethoven organ for sale near by me but I’m not sure if it’s worth getting and could use some help. It’s a 22 stop organ that looks to be in decent condition in the pictures and the seller wants $125 for it. I’ve not looked at the organ in person yet but am planning to soon if you guys don’t warn against it.
    I’ve heard that Beatty was a shady businessman and was convicted of mail fraud, but does that means the instruments he made are generally junk? This would only be my second organ after I refinished and got a Beckwith organ my aunt gave me going again. So I need some guidance on what to watch out for with these old organs since I haven’t found much out there. As much as I wish I could get my hands on a well equipped Mason & Hamlin, I’ve only seen one go for sale here and it was too expensive for me.

  • #2
    TP Leavitt,

    Welcome to the Forum. While I've never played a Beethoven pump organ, I do know some like them. You can compare the organ with what you find on the Reed Organ Society Database (https://www.reedsoc.org/index.php/ro...=0&type=Search). It sounds like those organs were mass-produced, however, that doesn't necessarily mean the organ would be poor quality. It's hard to believe 22 stops would mean an organ with only 4-6 sets of reeds, so it should be worth it if it's working.

    Personally, I'd only pay that amount for a fully-working organ. If it needs repairs, you can negotiate.

    Michael

    P.S. I see a number of band instruments being sold in Kennesaw, GA, but can't bid on them or pick them up due to distance. I understand the dilemma.
    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 & 6 Pianos

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    • #3
      Echoing Michael, I'd say you need to see it in person and hear it play before making any decisions. Do all those stops actually do something? Is the air handling system in good shape? What's the instrument's history and maintenance record?

      Another Beatty discussion:

      https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...-organ-project

      Interesting comment there about lots of stops but "only 1 and 1/2 sets of reeds".
      Tom M.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the responses so far guys! I do still plan on checking it out, I’ve not been able to find much about Beatty organs out there. They went under early on so I imagine many did not survive. The 1-1/2 sets of reeds comment on that other post is what triggered this. Apparently many of the stops on Beatty’s were either half stops or connected to only a single octave of reeds. But it’s hard to tell what’s in this one without actually opening it up and looking inside, which I definitely want to do.
        And there are a lot of instruments of all kinds for sale around me, Atlanta is a big city! As far as reed organs go though, most are way over priced with people wanting $500+ for a small organ with lots of needed repairs.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by TPLeavitt
          As far as reed organs go though, most are way over priced with people wanting $500+ for a small organ with lots of needed repairs.
          Unfortunately, that's the way people think–priceless antique, but they never wonder why a pump organ is never featured on Antiques Roadshow.

          Michael

      • #5
        Well, I gave it a thorough going over and decided to buy it. It’s very very dirty inside, and there is some rodent damage, but it looks complete. Some of the keys are down but I’m hoping that the springs have just slipped off to one side rather than being broken. We’ll find out one way or another once I get the action removed. As for the number of reeds question, there is one rank of foundation reeds in the back and two ranks of accompanying reeds in the front. The front reeds seem to span the full 5 octaves but they are broken up into 7 or 8 sections, with some only being an octave or so. So I’ll be very curious to see what’s inside as I clean the instrument up and return it to playable condition.
        If there’s any interest, I’ll gladly try to document the process on here.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          TPLeavitt,

          Thank you so much for keeping us in the loop and for offering to post its restoration process here. I look forward to what you have to offer!

          Michael

      • #6
        Agree with Michael! Thanks for keeping us up to date.

        Photos would be nice ... just sayin'.

        Tom M.

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        • #7
          I’ll take plenty as I go then! There’s not much out there on these old Beatty’s, so hopefully someone else finds it useful

          Comment


          • #8
            Great! Here's the restoration photo set and video I made while "resurrecting" my 1874 George Woods:

            https://www.reedsoc.org/index.php/ro...organ?ID=12710

            Tom M.

            Comment


            • TPLeavitt
              TPLeavitt commented
              Editing a comment
              I’ll definitely check it out! Never know what might be helpful when tearing one of these down

          • #9
            So more updates on the organ now. The top end is mostly back together and I was able to test play it earlier. But first, what I did:
            Click image for larger version

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            All of the mutes were reinstalled after receiving new leather. Three of them needed a new hinge so the best replacement I could find was used as well as some new slotted screws. Ace Hardware is a good source for slotted screws even having the #12 dome heads for the windchest. The mutes also received new pull wires made from some 1/16in TIG welding rod, some need some more adjustment. The stop action is curious, some of them don’t rotate smoothly yet, I think they need more exercise. We’ll see as I dial everything in.
            Click image for larger version

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            With that, The keyframe was put back in as well as the upper pitman guide. This organ is interesting in that it needs to have the keyframe installed before the keys are installed, there are some screws under the keys that need to be attached to support the front end.

            Finally, how the instrument played. There are still some leaks in the windchest gasket to address, but it was still playable. The keys need leveling and the high C decided to start cyphering, but thatll be addressed tomorrow. Other big thing is it needs tuning, it’s definitely a little wonky in places. My first impressions in playing it though, the key action is a little shallow, but that could’ve just been how I was sitting. The other thing I noticed is the organ is quieted than I expected, but that could be the reeds need a voicing adjustment too. The adventure continues....
            Attached Files

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