Where are all the organs?

knockeduptele

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This L102 lives in my Lounge

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Telekarster

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There was a time when they were sort of a fad, or a "thing", and to have one in your home was kind of a status symbol of sorts. They were certainly not cheap things! I knew a lot of families that had em, back in the day, but I don't recall anyone really playing them. Mostly people just sort of goofed off on em, making wacky music with all the marimba/cha cha/blabla buttons... for about 15 minutes, then people would get bored with em and turn em off i.e. something to do at a drunken party. They mostly sat around and collected dust and piled on top of with various knickknacks, kinda like what usually happens to those treadmills that people purchase LOL!! :)

As to whatever happened to all of em? Good question. Believe it or not but a lot of em probably did end up in a landfill, eventually. Some were likely parted out for their electronics and such, cabinets remade into TV stands etc., or burned up as firewood if I had to guess. I had an opportunity about 10 years ago to take away a near mint condition 1960's Kimball, for free, out of a church that was going to get a keyboard instead e.g. space saving. I turned it down. I do wish I had taken the amp out of it though! LOL!!! ;) They would give it to a charity shop and from there.... who knows. Landfill?
 

bottlenecker

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Awhile back I came across an old organ in a charity shop....one of the ones from the 60s/70s with lots of buttons. Different voice options including piccolo, violin, guitar, clarinette, and built-in percussion with choices such as bossa-nova, tango, salsa, march, etc. I'll insert a photo below so you can zoom in and explore the marvels.

It got me remembering when I was a kid and there would be stores with dozens of these things.
Did people really have these in their living rooms and spend evenings playing polkas and sambas? Did they play along to Lawrence Welk? View attachment 968962
And the big question......where are they all now? It's not like you could put them out on the curb for the garbage man to take away when you no longer wanted it. Is there an enormous organ landfill site somewhere?

They've been free on craigslist for years. A few of the people who played them are still in this world, but probably not much longer. There are still people alive who were born when social music playing was more common than records. They were common in parlors, living rooms, and in small country churches that couldn't afford a big pipe organ, or even a tonewheel hammond.

I bought a transistor hammond cadette in the 90s for $30 at a goodwill and used it for fun and occasional recordings for years. It just fit in the trunk of my olds 88 at the time.

A friend played the smaller starter organs because they could be carried to clubs easily, and got a great cheesey lo fi sound for garagey rock and roll.

I have never known a time in my adult life when there were not free or nearly free electronic organs available all the time. There are also still a lot of tube organs being given away, and harvested for their tubes, transformers, and speakers.

Some day les pauls and marshalls will be like this. Given away on craigslist, sitting in every nursing home and thrift store, occasionally getting geriatric versions of led zeppelin songs played on them, while young people can't believe anyone ever lugged those heavy things around just to go weerw weerw weedeley weedely.
 

tap4154

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Several years ago I had a Wurlitzer Centurion that my parents purchased in the 70s for over $3,000. Over the years it had been used by my mom and my sister, but I never really took up keyboards. I needed to move it on, and I found out that you really have to give these things away. I asked around the neighborhood if anyone wanted it, and my next door neighbor said that his daughters would like to play keyboards, so we went ahead and moved it over to his garage.

About four months later, he said they just weren't interested in playing, and I felt like I'd stuck him with a white elephant, so I put an ad for it on OfferUp. No bites, but then I found a video of a really talented girl playing the very same organ, showing what it can do, and I put that video on the ad. About a week later a young musician from Los Angeles called me up, and said he wanted it for sure. He was building a new studio and could use it there. He came down with a a buddy in a little pickup, we loaded it up, and he took it away. A year later he messaged me to thank me again and said he's really enjoying it. I was SO glad it went to someone that could use it, and not to the dump.
 

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lammie200

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We had pianos and a farfisa-type combo organ while I was growing up. I later bought a Fender Rhodes which I sold many years ago. I just got one of these. It is a Korg EK-50 Limitless. I am liking it a lot. Nice key action and very intuitive interface with a lot of useful features. Also light enough to put in a gig bag and lean against the corner of my desk to get out of the way when I am not using it.

aaeea546-2b74-4208-a825-a5f2101bd21b.4e71fc6c929824a99823e35fb7c21146.jpeg
 

Telekarster

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I had a Wurlitzer Centurion that my parents purchased in the 70s for over $3,000.

All day long, man! Some of those things were literally the price of a new luxury car! I remember seeing prices up to 7-10K and maybe even more. They were certainly a major, major purchase item. I've wondered how many years some people paid on em, especially if they had to use those massive interest rate "purchase plans" that were pedaled by the shops back then :eek:

Enterprising rodents had stolen communion wafers and stashed them in the box!

That is funny!!! Cracked me up, man!!! Industrious little buggers aren't they?!? :lol::cool:
 

That Cal Webway

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In hs my dad got me an old pump organ at an auction.
Learned to play inna-gadda-da-vida, 96 tears, let it be, good vibrations and so much on that.

Someone needs to get an old Lowry organ like the one Townsend used on the Teenage Wasteland song intro.

Or a huge Baldwin like Brian Wilson used a lot in the late sixties early seventies.

.
 
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String Tree

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Awhile back I came across an old organ in a charity shop....one of the ones from the 60s/70s with lots of buttons. Different voice options including piccolo, violin, guitar, clarinette, and built-in percussion with choices such as bossa-nova, tango, salsa, march, etc. I'll insert a photo below so you can zoom in and explore the marvels.

It got me remembering when I was a kid and there would be stores with dozens of these things.
Did people really have these in their living rooms and spend evenings playing polkas and sambas? Did they play along to Lawrence Welk? View attachment 968962
And the big question......where are they all now? It's not like you could put them out on the curb for the garbage man to take away when you no longer wanted it. Is there an enormous organ landfill site somewhere?
I think all of those Organs have been Transplanted.
They simply don't fit in with today's modern decor.
I haven't seen a single home improvement show make one part of upgrade.
NOPE!!!
 

bottlenecker

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There's a Hammond A100 (like a B3/C3, but internal speaker) in the family that I'm not sure what to do with. I don't really play, but dig that touch-sensitive, percussive, tone wheel sound. I'd love to have it for learning just enough to record backing tracks, but... it's a monster of an object to put in a house where we're trying to minimize possessions. I'll probably organize donating it to a small church that can't afford one. I've tested it and it works 100%.

I know hammond players who gig A-100s. They are desirable. If you don't want it, figure out who the hammond guys are in your area and tell them what you have. They may want it, or know who does. The hammond guys I know are great musicians and the first people I'd trust to find the best and most deserving home for it.
Any A/B/C hammond through an old leslie is a magic sound to get to hear in person and be near. Saving these is important because they won't be made again.
 

Greggorios

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Several comments have been made about the size of these, and the space in a home required to own one, but my first piano teacher, the late Q'Zella Jeffus, actually had a pipe organ installed in her home. The entire home was devoted to keyboards and teaching them.....three or four grand pianos, and a few uprights......plus all of her students' recitals were held in her house. One of the first "open concept" homes I ever saw. Walls had been removed to incorporate the living room, dining room, and a former bedroom, to accommodate everything. In a bathroom, there was what appeared to be a large wall-mounted cabinet, which actually gave access to the organ pipes for servicing. Mrs Jeffus taught a number of world-class pianists over the years, and I think my mom envisioned me as being one of them. (obviously not) Most home pianos are tuned and adjusted once or twice a year.....Mrs Jeffus' were tuned once a month. She died thirty or forty years ago.....and I wonder whatever happened to all her instruments.....especially the pipe organ.
This is such a great story. I would have loved to have seen a picture of what it all looked like back in it's day. How fortunate you were to have had a mother who encouraged music in this way and who found a unique teacher like Mrs. Jeffus.:)
 

nojazzhere

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This is such a great story. I would have loved to have seen a picture of what it all looked like back in it's day. How fortunate you were to have had a mother who encouraged music in this way and who found a unique teacher like Mrs. Jeffus.:)
She knew of Mrs Jeffus because of reputation, and the only reason she accepted me as a student (she was in much demand) was because she taught my uncle (my mom's baby brother) who went on to be an internationally acclaimed concert pianist.
I've written several times here before that I owe an "unpayable" debt to my parents for their support and encouragement in our musical achievements. Lessons, instruments, taking us to concerts, etc. My mom, especially, probably got tired of driving me around to music stores and pawnshops, looking at guitars. We were at Leonard's Department store once, and of course I had to check out the music dept. They'd just taken in an Alamo Capri amp in trade, and wanted $30 for it. I didn't have $30, but I had a paper route, and $30 is what I would earn in three months. My mom advanced the money, (even though she secretly hated me being lured away from classical music by Rock & Roll) and that's how I got my very first amp. Several years later, I think my folks were proud when my band headlined the Ft Worth Symphony League's annual Oktoberfest. That was a big deal in Ft Worth at the time.....and we really (bragging) "wowed" them. ;)
 




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