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#2260574 - 04/12/14 05:53 AM free organs (and pianos)
gsmonks Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 639
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
If you look in your local paper, and in places like Kijiji, you'll find free organs and pianos.

No one wants those old, heavy beasts any more.

If you want a really good organ, rescue an old falling-apart (electronically) church-type organ, gut it, replace the innards with an Artisan midi kit, load it up with Hauptwerk software, and you're good to go.

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#2269354 - 04/30/14 10:55 PM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
Sabellius Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/13
Posts: 8
If you want a really good organ, rescue an old falling-apart Hammond. Take it home and plug it in and play it!
Dave.
_________________________
piano: Ronisch 115, a couple digitals
organs: Hammond A100, Northern Hammond CV, with Leslies
accordion: Hohner Concerto III T
guitars, basses, a banjo, and a mandolin somewhere

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#2272243 - 05/07/14 07:39 AM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: Sabellius]
gsmonks Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 639
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Gutting it is a better bet. The old Hammonds are electronic dinosaurs in a digital age. They tend to sound worse and worse and they get further and further past their expiry date, eventually reaching the point of no return.

For around $1200 you can turn an old Hammond into anything you want, from a B-3 to a Lowery to any of the biggest and best church organs in the world.

Plus by gutting them you reduce their weight considerably. Which is a major bonus if you actually want to perform with them.

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#2285182 - 06/03/14 01:06 PM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: gsmonks


For around $1200 you can turn an old Hammond into anything you want, from a B-3 to a Lowery to any of the biggest and best church organs in the world.



Who would handle that kind of conversion? I'm thinking this might be a good interim solution for when we eventually do the needed repairs on the church pipe organ. But I would want it done by a good techician who can provide service, rather than one of the congregation DIYers.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2285224 - 06/03/14 02:50 PM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: TimR]
Vectistim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 317
Loc: Reading, UK
I suggest you chug over to the Hauptwerk website, IIRC in their forum you should find some vendors who'll do professional conversions. (They might have rentable machines if you just want an interest solution - I know there's a company over here doing something like that)

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#2286780 - 06/06/14 10:47 PM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
MacGuy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/24/14
Posts: 3
Loc: CANADA
So which electronic organs and/or pianos are worth the $$$ to restore ?

I live in Canada are those types of services readily available in Canada ?

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#2287630 - 06/09/14 08:54 AM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
Vectistim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 317
Loc: Reading, UK
For conversion to digital you really want at least two full (61key, at a push 56) manuals and a proper (30+)pedal board. Then it's 'just' a matter of adding magnetic contacts to everything to generate your MIDI signals.

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#2288383 - 06/11/14 07:07 AM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2278
Loc: Pennsylvania
I would consider something like an old Hammond Concorde. They are worthless and the switch contacts are easily accessed. The older tonewheel ones, (B, C, A, RT, etc.) are still popular, easily serviced, and would cost more because of popularity. The Concordes and many organs of that vintage are maintenance nightmares so you would not be destroying an organ that is looked upon as having any value.
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
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http://www.mitatechs.org
http://www.facebook.com/MITATechs

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#2298759 - 07/04/14 10:50 PM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: TimR]
gsmonks Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 639
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: gsmonks


For around $1200 you can turn an old Hammond into anything you want, from a B-3 to a Lowery to any of the biggest and best church organs in the world.



Who would handle that kind of conversion? I'm thinking this might be a good interim solution for when we eventually do the needed repairs on the church pipe organ. But I would want it done by a good techician who can provide service, rather than one of the congregation DIYers.


YOU would handle this kind of conversion. It's a no-brainer, unless you're one of those people lacking opposable thumbs and a brain-stem.

First off, you're removing anything not needed, which is everything but the keys and their individual wires, pedals and contacts. The rest is simply a matter of following very simple directions, such as "strip wire end, place exposed end in hole, release catch to hold wire in place, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat ad nauseam."

The Hauptwerk/Artisan videos are simple, step-by-step, easy to understand.

If you're converting a big old electronic church organ, as I'm doing right now (my 2nd), don't let the fact that it cost $12,800 in 1974 get to you (as the last organ did). In today's market these organs are absolutely worthless. It's not so much a conversion as it is a salvage operation, conserving a very heavy, most often very pretty piece of vintage furniture.

A few months ago a music store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, went out of business. I rescued as many organs as I could, but the rest (7 or 8 or them) ended up in the land-fill.

The old organs today are suffering the same fate as accordions back in the 70's:

Guy drives all the way to New York City with his priceless vintage Hoffsteader Whackdiddle accordion sitting on the passenger seat. Not used to the big city, he has a hard time finding the address where the 2014 Accordion Festival Headquarters office resides. Frustrated, in the right area but not being able to find the numbers, he parks his car, gets out, and goes walking, in search of the address. Half an hour later, he finds the address on the 2nd floor of a nearby building. At the same moment, he realises that he has left his car unlocked, with his priceless vintage Hoffsteader Whackdiddle accordion sitting on the passenger seat. In a panic, he runs all the way back to his car, but it's too late. His car is already full of old accordions.

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#2301048 - 07/11/14 10:19 AM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: Vectistim]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Vectistim
For conversion to digital you really want at least two full (61key, at a push 56) manuals and a proper (30+)pedal board. Then it's 'just' a matter of adding magnetic contacts to everything to generate your MIDI signals.


That seems the hard way to get to MIDI. 61 key MIDI keyboards are available at every yard sale for $10 or so, or buy them new for $50 at the big box stores. A pedal board will definitely cost you, $3500 new, so maybe you need to find an organ for that. Except I rarely see an available organ with close to an AGO pedalboard.

But if I have to wire magnetic contacts from every key and pedal (and stop control) then I need to find a MIDI module and trouble shoot that.

I'll have to look through those videos more.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2304245 - 07/20/14 12:31 AM Re: free organs (and pianos) [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 639
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
When converting my old beast of a Hammond, I discovered that it was possible to add an octave at either end of the keyboard. I don't know if it was intentional, but the fit was perfect. So I now have two 7-octave keyboards, and am looking at maybe squeezing in a third.

You probably won't want to try this at home because it's requiring a lots of fitting and fiddling, building parts, all that kind of fun stuff.

It would sure be nice to add touch/pressure sensitivity . . .

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