No more low-end electronic organ giveaways, please
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Occasionally people apply to join this Forum, wanting to give away an old electronic organ they have at home: a Hammond or a Baldwin or the like. I've started turning down these users.

    For people in that situation, here's why:

    If a church wants to use an electronic organ, they need one that sounds like a pipe organ and can be serviced by the manufacturer. Those two requirements rule out all these 30-year-old instruments that people are offering.

    Moreover, shipping a unit like that outside the local area of the giver would probably cost more than the value of the instrument. So anyone with an old home electronic organ to dispose of should seek to give it away locally, perhaps by posting a notice in their local Craigslist site.

    For information on repairing older home organs, have a look at the site , where they have discussion categories on electronic organ repair, and specifically about home organs.

    Best wishes!

    Thanked by 2MBW Jes
  • Just a thought: I wonder whether some of the people who are (probably in good faith) giving away these organs think of them as low-end? I'm a pianist (of sorts) and I've often been told of a 'wonderful' piano that needs a home, sometimes described in glowing terms. I probably don't need to describe the true nature of these instruments for you.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Well, if it's in your house, it's probably low end :)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Well, if it's in your house, it's probably low end :)

    Not necessarily.

    [Well, he only said "probably".--admin]
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    I want a Hammond with a Leslie for the local sixties rock band
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    Not necessarily.

    How about, "if it's in your house and you're not already part of this forum or another better place to advertise to give it away, like your local AGO Chapter newsletter, it's probably low end"
    Thanked by 1RMSawicki
  • jczarn
    Posts: 65
    Just a thought - sometimes these old electronic organs are valuable for retrofitting with MIDI controllers and consequently used in a Hauptwerk or GrandOrgue setup.

    Speaking for myself, I scored a free early 1970's electric organ (Lowrey GAK25H-1) from a local protestant church that was throwing it out. While the analog synth (plus Leslie!) would be horrid for liturgical use, it has two 61-key manuals and an actual wooden 25-note pedalboard.

    As usual, the project is taking far longer that expected, but I have made good progress in "MIDI-fying" the old organ. I started with an off-the-shelf DIY product designed for this purpose ( ), but quickly realized I needed more flexibility for my particular case, and designed my own FPGA-based MIDI controller with key switch inputs from scratch using some dirt-cheap Chinese FPGA development boards (like this ).

    The end goal is that this will be used in our basement chapel, which until recently used an ever lower-end "spinet" electric organ from the 60s/70s until it's untimely (or perhaps timely) demise. I actually have GrandOrgue (free alternative to Hauptwerk) running with a decent set of speakers and subwoofer set up, using a plain old Yamaha digital piano as the keyboard. Despite the lack of a second manual and pedal board at the moment, it has done a great job for us over the past few months and sounds quite impressive given the relatively small amount of money I put in out of my own pocket (mostly consisting of stuff I already had, or got cheap at thrift stores and restored). When I finish retrofitting the Lowery organ, it will be a plug-n-play swap in place of the Yamaha keyboard, with the added benefit of the extra manual, pedalboard and a swell pedal.

    If anyone is interested, I can start a thread with more details, but at least wanted to point out that this old junk can actually serve a useful purpose.

  • Well, if it's in your house, it's probably low end :)

    My grandmother had a very nice, albeit small, pipe organ in her house. It now sits in a small side chapel in a cathedral in Florida, where it does excellent service.

    But my real point was that the people with whom chonak is having to deal probably have no idea that what they have is essentially worthless (unless one is prepared to put a lot of work into them, as was mentioned with modifying for Hauptwerk, etc.).
    Thanked by 2irishtenor Ben Yanke
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Fair points, all!
  • JesJes
    Posts: 568
    For Australian users the best place to advertise this type of thing is with the Society of Organists for your state. This might be of interest to those international because Australians are often happy to import an instrument as the choice around here isn't very extensive (except for those rampant paddle pop stick pedal board ones).

    Generally we have churches giving organs away to homes because people generally seem to keep their Hammonds if they are home organs or go to Barry Morgan's shop because they know he'll sell them on.

    I'm looking at fixing my practice organ (Hammond E-311) at home in order to move it into the church whilst our organ is being refurbished. Question for jczarn is this able to be hooked up to Hauptwerk? I've hooked up magnets to Hauptwerk on a pipe organ before but generally I don't touch electronic organs so I don't know if the mechanism works the same way?
    Hope some of this info is helpful and I hope someone can help me here, thanks!
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,061
    I would have been right with you, chonak, until the debut of Hauptwerk. If I ever move into a different (or at least larger!) house, you better believe I'll be on the lookout for an old electronic organ console to get one of these up and running. It just makes too much sense for a professional organist, and brings the possibility of something really, really useful (a house organ) into a price range that's do-able for someone of modest means.
    Thanked by 2Jes kevinf
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    I've had another friend who took a similar organ and used midi boards and Hauptwerk to turn it into a nice practice organ.
    Thanked by 2Michael Mills Jes
  • This is a sage move. It is best that we not participate in the spread of simulacra of any description or quality. There are those who, unfortunately, find it needful to make use of these synthesisers. We do not condemn them (the people) and share their sorrow in having to make do with a substitute, but neither should we in any way legitimise them (the simulacra).
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    BruceL, fear not: the "Organ Forum" has a "marketplace" section, so the lack of home organ offers here won't have to impede anyone who hopes to become a member of Kraftwerk. (I have to admit, "Autobahn" was a cool record.)
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,668
    His Holiness, Pope Francis the Bishop of Rome, has written a letter to Cardinal Sarah of the CDWDS about the wording of this post. He requests that Cardinal Sarah work to create a new wording that will explain that "all posts on this message board must include a low-end electronic organ giveaway," and it mandates that the giving away of low-end electronic organs be a central focus for the CMAA. The clarification about this will be issued by Rome in 2018.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Beats getting a free kitten!
  • Antonio
    Posts: 43
    Hauptwerk plus some samplesets made my home Roland C380 sound like a low-end organ! So, what's the difference between this new console and an old one? Nothing beyond a good cleaning and MIDI adaptation.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,364
    How much should one expect to pay for an 1890s Hamilton pump organ that plays but needs restoration?
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • JesJes
    Posts: 568
    To the Hauptwerk obsessed... make sure the console has a USB port... Otherwise cheap keyboards are really a better way to go and then you can get a custom built straight pedal board. YUMMY!

    Depends on the bellows health a lot and also if it is a reed organ the condition of the reeds. Most of these are a nightmare to tune cos you have to take everything out to tune one note but they are a heck of a lot of fun.
  • BJJ1978
    Posts: 22
    In regards to Ben's statement, that "if it is in your house, it is probably low-end." I don't think that's fair to say, or even accurate in many cases. I realize the word "probably" is in there, and I get where you're coming from. Perhaps my situation doesn't relate to the topic at hand, but I want to mention that when I was still studying organ in college, I was most fortunate to happen upon a brand new 2 manual Ahlborn-Galanti organ. Based on what I had heard of this particular build, I wasn't expecting much when I played it in the showroom. In fact, I was told before buying it, "you'd be more satisfied with a vintage Rodgers." Not so. I loved the sound of the Ahlborn organ, it had a wonderful pipe-like sound and seemed very well built. I was delighted to obtain it for less than $7000.00 (new) and it served me exceptionally well, never had any issues from it. I would still own this instrument had I not reached a point in my adult life when money was an issue. To many, based on the make, my organ would likely have been deemed "low-end" but I didn't think of it like that. I bought it because I liked its sound and how I sounded on it. For a home organ, it was MORE than what I would hope for. Still to this day, other organists don't have much good to say about that particular make, but I wish I still had the organ. Fortunately, it was sold to a small Lutheran Church where it serves admirably well even now. Now that I am in the market, again, for a practice organ, I am certain I will NOT find an organ like what I had for the price I got it. That's for sure.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen