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Thread: Howard Wonder Seat--opinions?

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo curiousart's Avatar
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    Howard Wonder Seat--opinions?

    Hi-

    These things look intriguing, but the few things I can find written about them are pretty negative. Does anyone here have one and use it? Thanks!

    Art

  2. #2
    mf Mezzo-Forte Jay999's Avatar
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    A Howard Seat is great if you are performing in front of an audience and you need to turn around between musical numbers and talk with the audience.

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    ppp Pianississmo curiousart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay999 View Post
    A Howard Seat is great if you are performing in front of an audience and you need to turn around between musical numbers and talk with the audience.
    Hadn't thought of that! I was considering one for the fact that it's adjustable, has a back, looks comfy, and I like the gadget factor of the two thigh rests for lack of a better name, though I've seen them referred to as "nutcrackers" . That description seems a little far fetched, and wishful thinking on the part of the (ahem) average organist. I could see them perhaps being tippy. Would love to hear some first-hand accounts.

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    pp Pianissimo Darth-Car's Avatar
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    Surprised those in the know, or at least those asking the question have not posted pictures of said seat to enhance the opinion factor.
    Until The Next Dimension,
    Admiral Coluch.

  5. #5
    mf Mezzo-Forte Jay999's Avatar
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    Ha Ha! Yeah, it's often referred to as a "nutcracker". The seat portion is divided into two pads. The pads are lightly sprung, so they easily separate while you are sitting there, playing along on the pedals and working the expression pedals. I always managed to put a couple of screws in the bottom of the pads, and bend a heavy wire around the screws, to hold the two pads together.

    It is a comfortable seat, provided it's not reupholstered in some sort of vinyl material. The original was done in soft leather, and most reupholstered ones I have encountered, were reupholstered in canvas or velvet. The one I have here at home, I purchased cheaply, and it has been reupholstered in vinyl...really too warm on your backside after an hour's worth of practice.

    Value wise, most of them are highly priced. If one came out of a famous theatre, or some famous organist used it, I guess it's worth the price you have to pay to own one. Mine was not from any famous setting, and I paid $350 for it.

    It is not tippy...very solid seat. It has a huge iron plate for mounting it. The plate goes under the pedal board. You might have some issues with that under some pedal baords that have under key contact rails. I highly recommend the seat if you spend several hours practicing, and you find the hard bench top is uncomfortable for those long practice sessions.

  6. #6
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth-Car View Post
    Surprised those in the know, or at least those asking the question have not posted pictures of said seat to enhance the opinion factor.
    The Howard seat at Radio City Music Hall
    Ben_RCMH_Feb09-3.jpg

  7. #7
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Not tippy? Probably not meant to be tippy!

    Personally, I hate the things. I've come across them at a few cinemas/theatres where I've played and there's always been the option to use a standard bench. First experience was at the Gaumont State, Kilburn cinema with its lovely 4/14 Wurlitzer. The pillar of the seat stayed firm as Jay has implied above, but the seat itself rocked from side to side (never mind the issue with the padded parts and nutcrackers!) and of course it swivelled round as your feet and hands moved, so trying to play anything remotely fast made me almost seasick! Here's a photo of that very occasion, complete with the Howard seat.

    Not many electronic organs came with a Howard seat as standard, Thomas Electra being one, but I have come across a couple of others across the years on theatre style models. Perhaps custom made?

    So, sorry, it's a big thumbs down from me. For long periods of practice - padded benches are the best. Over here there was one lady who made a good living simply making and supplying padded cushions for console sized benches (you could easily buy padded spinet benches back then).
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    ppp Pianississmo curiousart's Avatar
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    One thumbs up, one thumbs down

    Thanks for the reviews, gentlemen. I wonder if the wear on the swivel bushing had anything to do with the rocking of the seat, Andyg? Sounds like it would've taken more than new bushings for your Howard experience to have been pleasant.

    And, thanks for the pic of the one at Radio City, mysterious Admin person! I live in NYC, maybe I have some way to get a look at that very seat that I haven't thought of yet.

    Arndt makes repros of them, but I have yet to hear back from them with a price. I'd imagine the shipping alone would be plenty. I saw one for sale online for $2500. Yikes.

    Art

  9. #9
    pp Pianissimo Darth-Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    Not tippy? Probably not meant to be tippy!

    Personally, I hate the things. I've come across them at a few cinemas/theatres where I've played and there's always been the option to use a standard bench. First experience was at the Gaumont State, Kilburn cinema with its lovely 4/14 Wurlitzer. The pillar of the seat stayed firm as Jay has implied above, but the seat itself rocked from side to side (never mind the issue with the padded parts and nutcrackers!) and of course it swivelled round as your feet and hands moved, so trying to play anything remotely fast made me almost seasick! Here's a photo of that very occasion, complete with the Howard seat.

    Not many electronic organs came with a Howard seat as standard, Thomas Electra being one, but I have come across a couple of others across the years on theatre style models. Perhaps custom made?

    So, sorry, it's a big thumbs down from me. For long periods of practice - padded benches are the best. Over here there was one lady who made a good living simply making and supplying padded cushions for console sized benches (you could easily buy padded spinet benches back then).
    Who is that dashing, young chap at that theater organ? You look great in the photo, and like you were really enjoying the moment.
    Until The Next Dimension,
    Admiral Coluch.

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