View Full Version : Re: Unit organs
08-29-2005, 02:48 PM
here is the dispostion of the 5 Ranks of Pipes unified to 32 stops over 2 manuals and pedal on my unit organ:
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Lieblich Gedeckt 16' (works via a Lieblich Gedeckt mechanism which lowers the wind pressure to just the bottom octave of pedal notes, i.e. the Bourdon 16' extention of the Gedeckt rank).
3. Diapason 8'
4. Bass Flute 8'
5. Cello 8'
6. Dolce 8'
7. Octave 4'
8. Oboe 8'
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Contra Viole 16'
3. Diapason 8'
4. Gedeckt 8'
5. Salicional 8'
6. Dulciana 8'
7. Flute D'Amour 4'
8. Violina 4'
9. Nazard 2 2/3'
10. Flautino 2'
11. Orchest'l Horn Syn. 8' (Syn. is for Synthetic stop)
12. Oboe 8'
1. Diapason 16'
2. Open Diapason 8'
3. Gedeckt 8'
4. Salicional 8'
5. Dulciana 8'
6. Octave 4'
7. Flute 4'
8. Violina 4'
9. Dulcet 4'
10. Contra Oboe 16'
11. Oboe 8'
12. Clarion 4'
Oboe (73 pipes)
unified pipe rank for the Contra Oboe 16', Oboe 8' & Clarion 4' on the Great, Oboe 8' on the Swell, and Oboe 8' on the Pedals
Gedeckt/Bourdon (85 pipes)
unified pipe rank for the Bourdon 16, Lieblich Gedeckt 16', & Bass Flute 8' on the Pedals, Bourdon 16', Gedeckt 8', Flute 4', and Flautino 2' on the Swell, Gedeckt 8' and Flute 4' on the Great.
Dulciana (73 pipes)
unified pipe rank for the Dolce 8' on the Pedals, Dulciana 8' on the Swell, Dulciana 8' and Dulcet 4' on the Great.
Salicional (73 pipes)
unified pipe rank for the Cello 8' on the Pedals, Contra Viole 16', Salicional 8' and Violina 4' on the Swell, Salicional 8' and Violina 4' on the Great.
Diapason (73 pipes)
unified pipe rank for the Diapason 8' on the Pedals, Diapason 8' on the Swell, Diapason 16', Diapason 8' and Octave 4' on the Great.
There is one synthetic stop: Orchest'l Horn Syn. 8' which just combines the Nazard 2 2/3' which works off the Gedeckt, and the Salcional rank...i.e.. throwing that tab is the same as throwing the Nazard 2 2/3' and Salicional 8' in combination.
The bottom octave on all 16' stops on the manuals does not play, including the Bourdon 16' even though there are pipes for that. I've noted that is the same on some non-unit organs I have played in NYC on the manuals, where the bottom 16' octave does not play and was told it was to prevent the sound from being muddy and to keep the pedals distinct?
There are no pistons, just a swell (not used) and a crescendo pedal which is wired up in a way that allows the stops to be engaged in a hard wired order. Interestingly the swell pedal operated the swell shutters in a similar fashion as the crescendo pedal, so in theory I could have the swell pedal wired up to be a 2nd cresendo pedal wired to a different order if desired?
I remember getting this organ over a year ago and not knowing a thing about how it operated. I was so puzzled about all the stop tabs and only the 5 ranks of pipes, thanks to people here on this forum I figured it out. I've learned so much.... I laugh at myself now for when I went to the church to play the organ there for the last time, I didn't even know to open up the swell shades! I'm not totally sure they even opened though as the organist never played the organ very powerfully. It was only when the swell shades were open that you could see the diapason rank behind them from the pews, and I recall seeing those only a few times when I was a kid.
There are two instances of stop names being different on each manual even though they are exactly the same stop: The Flute 4' is called the Flute D'Amour 4' on the swell, and the Diapason 8' is called the Open Diapason 8' on the Great even though when the organ was in the church it was all in the swell box, but I guess as you can register those stops differently on each manual and I guess that justified the name change. (laughing).
08-29-2005, 10:13 PM
Were the NYC organs that you played without a bottom octave for the Manual 16's tracker organs? A lot of 19th Century trackers I have played have a split Swell Bourdon rank with a knob for the bottom octave and the rest on the another knob (They did this with 8' reeds too). It comes in handy because you can draw the Swell Bourdon to borrow to the Pedal while drawing something completely different to play on the manuals. Sort of a one-octave Pedal borrow I guess!
If they weren't trackers, were you thinking of the sub couplers not playing in the bottom octave? I haven't experienced a straight E-P organ in which the manual 16's do not carry through the bottom octave; one would hope that they would be appropriately scaled as to not be too muddy.
Maybe the 8' rank plays at 16' pitch?
08-30-2005, 12:49 AM
Hi Nathan, yes, one was a old 19th century tracker, it was a marvelous Odell. The organ was playable but alot of it was not functioning, so what you say on the split Bourdon rank probably explains it! Fantastic accoustic so it still sounded wonderful despite being probably only 60% playable with alot of missing pedal notes. A little movie of me playing it this summer: http://www.reuter822.com/odell.html There is a stop list on it from that page.
I myself like 16' stops on the manuals so when I add the 2nd console to my unit organ maybe I'll see about having that bourdon 16' play on all octaves, perhaps wiring the bottom octave to actually play the lieblich gedeckt 16's as that would make the octave agreeable with the remainder of the gedeckt rank it is unitized from.
There is one work of music I think would sound nice on my unit organ that I do need the bottom octave for, that is the Jig Fugue (G Major Bach)... , I register it with only the Diapason 16' on the Great, and when I hit the notes that go down to the bottom octave I play them on the Lieblich Gedeckt 16' on the pedals.....believe it or not it actually sounds pretty good that way! So there are some workarounds..., I could probably add the lieblich gedeckt 16' bottom octave hard wired to the diapason 16' to complete it on the great manual as well as I really love the diapason 16' on this organ.
Hopefully adding MIDI will allow me to put the piece together in a easier fashion for playback when I record that someday.
08-30-2005, 01:26 AM
I don't mind unit organs in general.
But I want at least a Great and a Swell.
Two separate divisions, two separate sets of pipes.
Preferably Swell enclosed and Great open.
Moller and Wicks both made little organs that way.
6 ranks isn't quite enough, but 8 works pretty well.
I remember a small Zimmer in a fairly large church.
3 unit ranks on the Great plus a real 3 rank mixture.
4 ranks in the Swell, a unit flute plus 8 foot
String, Celeste, and a big Trompette.
10 ranks altogether and a huge sound.
08-30-2005, 10:15 AM
Although not unit organs in any sense of the word, the German mid-19th century organ-builders were using extensions on the pedal organs, and even duplicating stops on other manuals by doubling up actions etc.
Robert Hope-Jones showed that telephone-exchange technology could be used as a a "logic circuit" for the organ, and thus was born the "unit orchestra" which eventually became the splendid Wurlitzer (and other) theatre organs in the first half of the 20th century.
I personally adore theatre-organs, but if we look at them as "classical" instruments, they are woefully inadequate for the purpose.....which is not a criticism. They are essentially an early attempt at musical orchestral-synthesis and not, in way, designed as classical instruments.
The theatre-organ is really a collection of individually colourful voices; some of which blend well, and others which don't. Herein lies the danger for anyone who would build a classical-style unit organ, because it requires a very sophisticated "ear" to generate the "illusion" of a bigger instrument.
Whatever the magnificent qualities of Wurlitzer and American unit-organs generally, IMHO, only a very few organ-builders have ever succeeded in the task of creating thoroughly musical instruments which operate as unit-instruments, and without doubt, we were extremely fortunate in the UK to have John Compton; the true master of the "smoke and mirrors" approach to organ-building.
I could not possibly begin to describe John Compton's tonal techniques, and certainly not within the scope of a posting to "Organ Forum". However, what can be stated, is that John Compton spent many, many years investigating tonal-synthesis, and the ways in which he could tease Mixtures from String units and Tierce voices from undulant Celestes so that the tuning is more or less correct.
For anyone who wishes to become a successful builder of unit-organs, I would suggest that a careful study of John Compton and the organs he built (many of which remain in fine condition) is essential reading/listening.
To play a 140-stop Compton organ, with perhaps 20 ranks, is an extraordinary experience, because it is quite difficult to know that the instrument is perhaps a fifth the size of an instrument with a similar number of stops, and THAT is the indication of the man's genius.
08-30-2005, 11:31 AM
The new J.W. Walker studio organ at Hope College in Michigan is an example of thoughtful (and highly successful) borrowing:
Open Diapason 8' 61 pipes
Gamba 8' 61 pipes
Stopped Flute 8' 61 pipes
Principal 4' 61 pipes
Harmonic Flute 4' 61 pipes
Twelfth 2 2/3' 61 pipes
Fifteenth 2' 61 pipes
Furniture IV 1 1/3' 244 pipes
Trumpet 8' 61 pipes
Chimney Flute 8' 61 pipes
Salicional 8' 61 pipes
Voix CÚleste (from F) 8' 56 pipes
Geigen Principal 4' 61 pipes
Open Flute 4' 61 pipes
Nazard 2 2/3' 61 pipes
Flageolet 2' 61 pipes
Tierce 1 3/5' 61 pipes
Mixture III 1' 183 pipes
Bassoon 16' 61 pipes
Hautboy 8' 61 pipes
Tremulant (affecting Swell and Choir)
Stopped Diapason* 8' 37 pipes
Gemshorn** 4' 37 pipes
Spire Flute*** 4' 37 pipes
Fifteenth 2' 61 pipes
Larigot 1 1/3' 61 pipes
Piccolo 1' 61 pipes
Cremona 8' 61 pipes
* Pipes 1-24 borrowed from the Swell Chimney Flute
** Pipes 1-24 borrowed from the Swell Geigen Principal
*** Pipes 1-24 borrowed from the Swell Open Flute
Subbass 16' 32 pipes
Principal (from Great) 8'
Violoncello (from Great) 8'
Bass Flute (from Great) 8'
Fifteenth 4' 32 pipes
Fagotto 16' 32 pipes
Trumpet (from Great) 8'
Tremulant (affecting Pedal and Great)
This organ is absolutely amazing, and if one were to record it and maybe put the reverb up a hair, one would be hard-pressed to tell this organ apart from a large Church instrument.
The Choir and Swell are in the same box, and the Choir and Pedal borrows are accomplished with Walker's nifty double-pallets.
I can't say enough about this one!
08-30-2005, 11:44 AM
Speaking of units....
I had posted about a synthetic Quintadena on another list. This stop appears on a Harry Hall organ here in CT, and makes use of a string and flute (I need to find out the exact composition), but it really is highly effective and suggestive of the tone of a Quintadena.
What is the synthetic stop like on your Reuter?
Also, there is a once-beautiful 1920's Moller in CT that was hacked to pieces by Moller itself in the 60's, in which they added a 32' Pedal "Grand Cornet V" resultant to it. It operates solely from the pedal Bourdon (as Moller removed all traces of any 16' Diapason from the organ), and among the mutations, gives the sound of having a (albeit out of tune because it is from the unison rank) Septieme. Nevertheless, the sort of "Count Basie chord" that results creates an extremely effective thumping 32' tone, although the rest of the organ is now so gutless, that the Grand Cornet absolutely drowns it out. The higher you go, the more it sounds like a fog horn... A curiosity.
08-30-2005, 12:38 PM
Moller and Wicks both made little organs that way.
Actually the Wicks organ that I'm referring to (I have no idea what "model" it is) has everything enclosed, except for the lowest notes of the 16' stop and the lowest octave of the 8' principal rank (it wasn't stopped or anything).
I actually want to do the same thing, and then also branch off from that a little. Make a nice case with swell shades in front. Put the 16' stop on the sides, and some nice stopped metal pipes in front of the swell shades just to make it look nice (well keep them playable). Then they don't look too bad because it takes most of the focus off the swell shades behind the facade pipes.
I also want to make some organs that have an unenclosed GR but an enclosed SW.
I really like the design above, but if you could have a detached console, move the SW and GR down just a tad so it's a little bit shorter, and scale the entire instrument down a smidge - I think it would be a nice looking instrument. It's pleasing to look at, plus, you'd get an unenclosed Gr over the swell box. It's not just like a plain box with shutters on it. Something like that...
Or, do everything unenclosed with maybe 3 ranks just for homes and SMALL chapels.
6 ranks isn't quite enough
Remember, we're not talking about a concert organ that you would play full recitals on... We're talking about a simple organ for a small church with no money and hardly any space, or for home practice with the same conditions. In my opinion, 6 ranks work just fine! The bigger the church, the more ranks you'll need to add, but for who I want to target, 6 ranks is perfect.
Hmmm... I'm interested in this Compton guy. I've heard of him but didn't really know anything about him. After doing some google searches, I've found that this is the type of thing I'm talking about. Not the theatre organs, but the same idea. He spread 5 ranks over 3 manuals, and if he can do it and it sounds good, like you say, I can do it!.
Where is the 140 stop Compton organ with only 20 ranks? I imagine he did something like what was mentioned earlier... never unifying at the octave on the same division. That seems like it would work really well if you had a bigger organ, but seems like it wouldn't work as well for a smaller organ (in terms of ranks)
The higher you go, the more it sounds like a fog horn...
Haha, not exactly what I want in [/i]my[/i] organs some day.
Sorry for the long post! I hadn't been able to reply in a while!
08-30-2005, 01:23 PM
In answer about the synthetic orchestral horn on my unit organ, I think it sounds like a nasal string, which it is..i.e. a combination of the nazard & salicional 8'. I made a recording of just that stop on the organ a few months previous to the organ being repaired, so it is actually working better now, but you can listen to that old recording at:
It actually sounds better now that the Nazard is working correctly (at that time there were several notes not playing correctly on the Nazard 2 2/3' which have since been fixed). I'll re-record all the stops once I figure out how to better capture the bass of the organ.. you can hear the other stops at: http://www.reuter822.com/stops.html
my thoughts on possible additions I would make to this organ when it is reinstalled in the church someday which is my goal:
1. An addition of a rank of exposed diapason pipes (unitized 16' 8' & 4", possibly 2') that the congregation could see... keeping one set in the swell box for use on the swell and having the Great diapason open as it should be. With how my church is layed out I will put the pipes in a nice display along the high back wall to give the organ more of a spatial sound to the church. I think it is important to have the exposed pipes to keep awareness to the congregation that it is a pipe organ. If everything is hidden behind a screen as my unit organ was, it makes it easy to forget... the individual pipes being seen by the people I think would be a good thing... to connect that it is a pipe organ and also for the sound to be more open and spatial.
2. An addition of a partial celeste rank to the strings...and possibly a gemshorn also exposed.
08-30-2005, 03:41 PM
I'm here to say that that stop, given the bugs at the time, as recorded sounds mighty fine to me. I'm sure that it sounds like $1,000,000 now. That would be very nice on a tremolo... It sounds like the Nazard is playing at 1 1/3 pitch, is that correct?
08-30-2005, 04:42 PM
Are there chimes as well? It sounded like it had chimes in the far distance with that horn...
I was actually surprised at how it sounded. I was expecting something much, well, "less"...
08-30-2005, 06:27 PM
nate & Sound: its sounding much better after we go the rank of pipes working for the Nazard... the Nazard 2 2/3' is unitized off the Gedeckt rank, specifically the "Flautino 2'"..
specfically the same note in the organ is sounded by depressing the middle F on the Nazard 2 2/3' as the middle C on the Flautino 2'.
As to chimes, there are Deagan chimes that came with the organ, you can hear those at: http://www.reuter822.com/dljoy.html. They are just in the beginning of that arrangement of Joy to the World played by David Lamb on the Reuter 822. Right now the chimes are downstairs so they are very "distant" in the recording, we are going to be moving the chimes closer to the organ so they record a bit better at some point, hopefully in time to do more Christmas music. :o)
08-30-2005, 10:49 PM
Heh, that's an idea. Buy a 6 rank model and we'll throw in the chimes for free
08-31-2005, 11:42 AM
There are any number of Compton instruments with a large number of stops and only a relatively few ranks. If you check out the organ of Wolverhampton Town Hall in the on-line archives of the NPOR (National pipe-organ register) here in the UK, it makes interesting reading.
I'm no expert, but what Compton did was so very clever; choosing registers which could blend at various pitches and tail off into high-pitched upperwork.
Of course, with a seperate Swell organ, some Compton organs are quite substantial, with extended ranks only found on Great, Choir/Positiv and Pedals. There is a fine 5-manual organ by Compton at Wakefield Cathedral in the UK which is typical of his work.
John Compton was, so far as I aware, the originator of the 32ft Harmonics "Cornet," which sounds for all the world like a 32ft reed being added. He also devised the polyphone....a valved "box" which could produce real 32ft pitch. He was imitated to some extent by a number of US builders.
The trouble is, a proper study of Compton's tonal genius is not best served by an analysis of his derivations and stop-lists, which are probably similar to the work of many other builders; esepcially in the US. One needs to sit at a console and HEAR how the ranks are voiced and how they blend so superbly.
A fascinating man, who pushed the knowledge of organ-builders further than most , and was also a pioneer in electronics. The quality of the workmanship was to a very high standard indeed.
09-06-2005, 02:27 PM
made a recording of my attempt at a Resultant 32' using the Bourdon 16's:
starts out low C on the Bourdon 16', then G, then together for the Resultant note on low C. does that sound correct?
09-10-2005, 12:17 AM
just noticed this 5 rank unit 1968 Tellers organ VERY similar to my own Reuter 1948 5 rank unit pipe organ on ebay:
2k in Buffalo, New York
5 Rank / 2 Manuel and peddle unit Pipe Organ. 34 Stops, Tremulo Organ Under Expression
5 STAGE SWELL SHADE
Flute 97 pipes 16',8',4',2'
Diapason 73 pipes 8',4'
Salicional 73 pipes 8',4'
Dulciana 85 pipes 8',4',2'
Trumpet 73 pipes 8',4'
09-11-2005, 03:12 AM
Speaking of your Reuter, did you get the swell shutter front with the organ or did that stay behind?
I have a set of Reuter manuals from a unit organ, interestingly enough. These have pistons for a combination action, three locals each and three generals on the Great as well.
The contact system that our manuals (and your pedals) have are known as "touch boxes". The magnets that you see mounted to the side of the touch boxes are the stop actions. There is one of these for each stop on the organ. These magnets pull traces that bring the row of contacts for a given stop (sometimes called a "row of soldiers") into the swiping range of the feed bars, which are rotated when keys are pressed. If the stop is on, the feed bar will rotate over and touch the contact, and feed electricity through that contact, through the wiring to the appropriate magnet on the wind chest. One of the nifty things about the stop action magnets on our Reuter manuals is that they are adjustable - you see a dowel in each magnet with a felt bumper on the end, and it is threaded onto a screw at the other; this allows you to set the key depth of contact for a particular stop en masse by rotating the dowel one way or another to lengthen or limit the travel of the magnet and trace. Ideally, for an Electro-Pneumatic organ such as yours, the contact point wants to occur at roughly half-way down the full keystroke. If the contact point is too high, it might cipher. If the contact point is too low, the note might not sound at all unless you push down hard on the key. Either condition makes repetition much more difficult, and makes the action feel sluggish. Ironically, tracker organs pluck at the top of the keystroke, yet repetition is not an issue, but it is with E-P organs. The other function that the dowels serve is to allow you to have all of the stops contact at the same time. If you press the key very slowly, you might hear one rank first, then another, then another. Obviously these sorts of adjustments don't figure in renegade contacts that are way out of line.
The nice thing about this system is that it serves as the relay and the switching, so there is no need for any separate relay or switch stack to control the organ. Judging by the photos of the magnet bungs on the bottom of the wind chest, there is only one feed wire connected to each manet. The other wire leads to a return bus bar to complete the circuit. This makes perfect sense because the console cable would have to be as thick as a tree trunk if every note of every unit had to go from the console to the chamber. Therefore, the junctions pictured on your web site probably condense all of the notes coming from the touch box to common feeds which then run to the magnets.
What a super web site you have!
09-11-2005, 01:56 PM
wow Nate, thanks for explaining that to me. It makes total sense after reading it! As you can see on my photo page of the website I photographed most things inside the organ console that I had no clue what they did.
I'm endeavering to preserve the original console as built but the system of "soldiers" needs to be adjusted somewhat as on a few notes the keys don't fire the note evenly thru out the keyboard, no doubt due to those little trigger wires needing adjustment.
It was not really a issue for me as my playing is very basic at best, but for David Lamb who has been recording on the Reuter, he does express a wish that the a few of the notes needed to be adjusted to be played evenely, so that is something I will be having adjusted by the organ technician in the coming months.
I have a nearly identical console that we will be installing downstairs away from the organ:
1. because: I didn't install the pipes inside a swell chamber. (the swell shutters are still at the church, I guess I need to get them to keep them preserved for future use.. I'd never install them myself as I like how the organ sounds open, however it is my goal to get the pipe organ installed back in the church at somepoint which is why I just left the shutters installed there. (they have the speakers from the new toaster installed right behind the shutters presently in that swell chamber).
-- because I didn't install the shutters and put the pipes in a swell chamber, the organ is of course VERY loud, in particular the diapason and oboes. The Octave 4' is VERY unpleasent to play in fact...it is not a issue for recording purposes though as everything sounds fine when you record. Having the console downstairs will solve the loudness problem.
2. MIDI: I'm having the 2nd console gutted/"solid stated" to permit MIDI sequence operation of the pipes. I'm not adding digital voices, but installing MIDI so that I can operate the organ via computer. This will entail rewiring the pipes, but will allow the original console to be maintained as built for historical preservation purposes. The original wiring underneath the pipes is 60 years old now anyhow and so I don't mind replacing that but I very much want to maintain the original console "as built" as the system of operation is quite ingenious... and despite needing some regulation works pretty well.
The snap tracks pictured on the side of the pipe chest of all the wiring is just where the cable was cut when the organ was moved. Fortunately we had labeled each wire before cutting so it was just a simple but time consuming process of just rewiring as per the labels.
Who ever gets that unit organ in Buffalo should take note of the wiring VERY carefully. The wiring is very complicated. Even though we labled ours, we still had a few notes that played incorrectly, but we were able to get it all going finally.
I know of a guy in Iowa who purchased a unit organ that the cord had already been cut on... it is a very time consuming process of triggering each note via a doorbell ringer to find out what goes where.... it can be done but takes time. I was hesitant about rewiring to avoid this.
09-11-2005, 05:26 PM
It would be a good idea for you to have a spudger handy to adjust those contacts as needed. It isn't really any sort of rocket science.
As far as the methodology I would use to go about it, it would be something like this:
Get the console apart and have the touch box you are working on accessible from the keys - I assume that your stop board is hinged to tilt up?
Determine where your adjustment needs to be made:
If it is a whole stop, it will be out of adjustment through the entire compass on a particular stop.
To fix this, determine if the stop sounds early or late of (up or down from) the middle contact point.
If it is early, turn the dowel counter-clockwise to put more space in between the contacts and feed bars
If it is late, turn the dowl clockwise to lessen the distance between the contacts and feed bars.
If it is a single note over multiple stops, all of the stops on that note will be out of adjustment.
If this happens, there is something up with the feed bar - I highly doubt this will ever be a problem
However, if it does happen, you will probably have to bend the end of the feed bar that touches the key tail to advance or retreat the rotation of the bar
By the way, if you ever get a dead key that won't play any stops, check the braided feed wire at the back to see if it has come unsoldered.
If it is a single note of a single stop, a single contact will need to be adjusted:
To find it, wiggle the tab on and off for the problem stop and note which magnet/trace is moving - you might want to count the rows from the front or back.
Once you have found the trace, wiggle the key up and down to see which feed bar is rotating.
Your contact to be adjusted will be just to the right of the intersection between the stop trace and the feed bar.
Spudge the contact left to raise the touch, spudge it to the right to lower it. Voila.
Try not to bend them at a fixed point, rather guide the contact one way or the other while sliding the spudger up the contact - it won't take a lot to make a big difference.
Just don't touch any active feeds and returns at the same time and you'll be fine! (C:
I admire the fact that you are preserving the organ, that's a great thing!
When you do rewire the organ, I would suggest finding some good permanent union boards for the wind chest - you can mount these on a board to one of the legs or something like that. This way, to move the organ you need only disconnect the union board and you can wrap the cable up and keep it in the console. I would suggest opting for a really good set of union boards (like Skinner) because they have detachable register strips that hold the wires in order on both sides.
NOW, most importantly, whether you have good union boards or not (and this goes for anyone who is buying an organ), take the time to lace the wires coming out of the union board. Lacing material is like waxy twine, and it is used to loop the cable at regular intervals in between each wire that leaves the cable for the union board. This way, when you unsolder the cable, all of the wires stay in order and you can just slap it right back together.
If you can get any sort of old Casavant unions, GET THEM! Casavant unions have been designed from day one to come apart with two dags and NO soldering.
Another idea, if you are going to move an organ a lot over its life, is to substitute union boards for simple pneumatic switches. That way you don't have to unwire anything, just take the switch off its mount and voila, two pieces.
The possibilities are endless. (C:
09-11-2005, 08:56 PM
thanks Nate! I've made notes of your posts, the ideas/suggestions are fantastic...thanks!
I'll be keeping all the gutted parts from the 2nd Reuter console to keep as a parts source for the original console..ie. the magnets/switches etc.
As to moving it around, we will be moving it twice... once someday when I rip out the carpet out from underneath it. (oy what a mistake that was). At that time I'll be replacing all the individual leather pouches...probably in 5-10 years.
And again when it goes back to the church, but that may be many years from now..who knows. But I will make notes to do this so that its plug & play upon dissembly.
It was actually pretty easy to just dissasemble the entire organ and reassemble it. The most difficult part was moving that console around. So for any of you interested in that unit organ in Buffalo, I HIGHLY recommend it. just have:
1. the space to put it in.
2. wood floors or concrete flooring (just not carpeting).
I'm not sure if the pipes on that were mitered or not, if they are it might very well fit in a normal room.
I don't know that I'd install it in a swell chamber, that depends on your space considerations. Because of the layout of my house, and limited space I really can't install the swell shades... glass shades/casing would work I guess, but I really like having it completely open as it is.
09-12-2005, 11:09 AM
I'm just curious... how are you going to go about converting your second console? If your manuals are like mine, the switching just unscrews from the back of the manuals so you could theoretically re-use them, except that you'd have to adapt a new set of contacts to them somehow. Or, if your new console has union boards in it like the 822 console, you could use one set of 61 contacts from the existing switching and just fix one of the magnet traces into position (so it wasn't on all of the time).
The only issue I have found with adapting a touch box to solid state is this: The current draw of the solid state is so minimal, that sometimes the contacts will wind up getting fouled up and dirty easily. I take care of a Heinz 57 organ with an old Austin ski-slope console and solid state, and it constantly has dead notes because of this. Someone provided me with an interesting idea though, to give all 61 keys a parallel resistor that dumps directly to the return, so that the amount of current draw simulates that of a magnet at the other end. The solid state still gets it's juice, but a controlled amount of current is wasted through the resistor to keep things happy. Just something to think about so you can avoid the torture I get put through yanking out the contact rollers on this Austin to clean them!
09-12-2005, 10:19 PM
So, I just got back from tuning an organ that has a unit flute on the Swell. This organ has a synthetic quintadena that is highly effective, and it is accomplished by playing the Salicional at 8' pitch, and the flute at 2 2/3' pitch.
Simple... but very effective!
09-14-2005, 02:25 AM
worlds largest unit organ photo (sorta):
HERE COMES AN AMERICAN-3 pages of words and music by Al Melgard, published in 1940. Cover has photograph of Al Melgard at the World's largest unit organ at Chicago Stadium
someone was selling bits of that console (stoptabs etc) on ebay a while back.
09-14-2005, 10:16 AM
Ah yes, the world's largest theatre organ console. I know that it had been nuked a while back, but I didn't know that included throwing out the tabs as well! Sad.
09-16-2005, 09:44 PM
Concerning the resultants, I found a website somewhat expalining it in detal.
Despite loosing notes, overall I think unifying is an ingenius idea, and if you have enough ranks, you can easily move ranks through divisions to fool people quite easily, and make rather convincing organs.
Whether or not they're a good idea or not, they work well where they have to. And some day, I'll finally start building my 2 rank organ that I've always dreamed about... Some day...
09-20-2005, 02:49 AM
update on that 5 rank unit organ in Buffalo, NY, it sold for $2,550.00
09-20-2005, 10:18 AM
Here's a unit organ for you...
Go to www.theatrepipeorgan.com and click on the link on the right that says:
"15 manual organ console" biggest in the UNIVERSE"
09-23-2005, 11:35 PM
NYC, I just realized that the Synthetic Quintadena that I had described earlier has the same composition as your Synthetic Horn. The one I heard was very much like a Quintadena in sound, perhaps because the Salicional was different. You have a very nice, keen Salicional, so maybe using a louder rank 2 2/3 pitch, or putting the 2 2/3 on with the Dulciana would make a different synthetic sound?
09-24-2005, 12:27 AM
Hi Nathan.. you are right! upon reflection I believe that the Quintadena is the same as the O'Horn (Orchestral horn) on my Reuter.
In terms of making something work with the 2 2/3 pitch to produce another synthetic stop I'm probably limited to the salicional (already done for the Ohorn), gedeckt, and dulciana rank. My Dulciana's are so soft though i doubt they would work with that, but i'll give it a try when I return to Indiana next week. I've been in NYC the past two weeks so I've not been able to get to the Reuter...
I'm not real sure what a Quintadena sounds like (anyone have a sound file of one?)
I had a chance to play that magnificant Aeolian-Skinner at Smokey Mary's this week and didn't even think to try that stop out although it probably has one.... 91 ranks.... wowsa..versus my 5. loll lol lol
10-14-2005, 01:42 AM
Hey NYC, why not double the size of your Reuter with a twin? (C:
10-14-2005, 07:34 PM
My church has what you're calling a unit organ. It's in a single swell box (except the great 8' open diapason which is in an unenclosed position out front). I love it ... well, most of the time anyway. It's not as heavily unified as some of these other posts I've seen. 10 ranks I believe across 17 stops.
I have to say that I'm amazed that after two years of playing and fiddling I STILL find new sounds every couple of weeks that I can draw out of it (and thanks for the ideas on other posts here for the 32' resultant. I tried our bourdon and it works great!).
I was wondering too ... that if you wanted to say, have a 30 stop organ and built that console. You could do unification initially to cut your cost down. Then, as money/space permits, reduce the unification. I wouldn't think it would be difficult with solid state electronics. But then again ... I'm not an organ builder either so maybe I'm way off base. - Jim
10-15-2005, 12:17 AM
I saw that..it is indeed a near twin.
That one is opus #701..according to the seller on ebay.
1. I don't have room for it.
2. It is too far away.
3. One is enough. (laughing)
I will buy another Reuter 4 or 5 rank unit organ someday but not until the one I have now (opus #822) goes back to the church it was built for, and that may be 5 years from now or 30.
It does look nice though, the pipes look cleaner than mine were, however as I posted on another thread it has not been operational in 10 years which will mean it will possibly have alot of starting up issues that I never had to go thru... mine was basically dissasemble - move - reassemble, and then start up... other than about 60 ciphers which were quickly fixed it was actually surprisingly easy, just time consuming.
Jim... yes you could exactly do that. I have the Reuter 5 rank unit organ, very highly unified and I'm going to be unifying it even more..
I'm adding (thanks to suggestions here) a 32' Resultant to the pedals, and as well a 1 3/5' Tierce unified from the Gedeckt for the swell.
I'm also going to have the Flute 4' and Clarion (Oboe) 4' be playable on the pedals as well, at the suggestion of David Lamb who has done some recording on the Reuter 822.
I've only had the Reuter 822 for a year and a half now, and it has only been fully functional for a few months now so of course I'm still always finding new combinations of stops for different sounds.
11-30-2005, 01:23 AM
How about a Reuter Theatre Organ?
11-30-2005, 02:22 AM
that one has been listed before, they are pretty rare (Reuter Theater organs), but I know that the Reuter factory in Lawrence Kanas is presently restoring an original Reuter Theater organ in their erecting shop as a permenant display... it looks to be about the same size as this one.
Reuter I guess had a saleman in the Texas area that specialized in selling theater organs... but it was never a huge part of Reuter's business so they survived that markets collapse upon the arrival of 'talkies'.
11-30-2005, 02:33 PM
This is a response to a previous comment on here about 32' resultants being too weak for larger ensembles. I have used the bourdon and lieblich gedeckt together for a stronger resultant before and it seems to work well. Just a thought if you need a bigger one ... - Jim
12-01-2005, 12:35 PM
Or you could use the 16' Principal, especially a nice fat wood open.
12-01-2005, 12:49 PM
:) Assuming you have one! I've got a Bourdon and a Gedeck extended out of the swell for the Lieblich and a Bass Flute. Pretty anemic pedals ...
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