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Thread: The Wurlitzer 4480: history.. information.. anything?

  1. #1

    The Wurlitzer 4480: history.. information.. anything?

    I recently acquired (for free) a Wurlitzer 4480 from craigslist in Las Vegas. It is in amazing condition and I was shocked to find someone just giving it away. However, I can't seem to find any information about it on the internet. Not very many search results come up for the 4480. I read somewhere that it was a spinoff of the 4140?

    I'm really just trying to find out a bit more about this particular organ, when it was made, what's unique about it, etc.

    I'm also looking to find a bench that matches it. Does anyone have any recommendations for where to start that search?

    I hear Morelock's is the place to get in touch with for schematics and such. The first F# on the lower set of keys is not functioning and the speakers seem to have some basket lead related distortion on lower notes, so I'd like to fix the few problems it has.

    Other than that, it's all in tune and sounds awesome!


  2. #2
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, snicker.

    If it's all basically working fine, you may well have nabbed yourself a good'un. The 4480 dates from 1967 and, looking at the details in Blue Book, it does look more or less like a full console version of the 4140 spinet (1965). Nothing really special about it, a pretty standard console organ of the era. Theatre voiced, but with a straight console. Horseshoe consoles cost extra! Free is normal these days, there's just so little demand for old organs that many are given away. Consoles can hold a bit of value, expecially for those wishing to gut them and use them as driver consoles for virtual organs. But, having said that, their size puts some potential buyers off.

    That lone faulty F# sounds like it could be just a key contact. Other things to check out are power supply capacitors, which really should be changed if they haven't been already. In fact, go over the whole power supply and associated wiring. If the AC cord is old or brittle, change it. All this is for safety, of course. The Spectratone belt can stretch and start slipping, so that may also need replacing. As well as Morelock's, there's also Organ Service Corporation and W D Greenhill for spares, manuals etc.

    Andy
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  3. #3

    Thanks for the information Andy! I'm not looking to sell it anyways, so the demand issue is sorta null for me. That does make me sad that people are no longer interested in these. I'll have to open it up and check out all the things you've mentioned.

  4. #4
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    I wasn't suggesting that you were looking to sell it. on the contrary I'm delighted that you've 'rescued' an oldie to give it a new lease of life. There aren't a lot of good ones this old out there, many are well past their sell by date, and not worth repairing, but those that are OK should be played!
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

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    Member Snowbandit's Avatar
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    I'm confused about something here. The book I have indicates the 4480 had only 13 petals and this one clearly has 25. Was it modified or is my book incorrect? Nice looking organ anyway and the price certainly was right.

  6. #6
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Your book is incorrect. Definitely 25 notes from birth!
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  7. #7
    Member Snowbandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    Your book is incorrect. Definitely 25 notes from birth!
    I was beginning to suspect as much. I was looking at the thread about the differences between the 4602 and 4800 and found an error there (in my reference material) also. Guess I'll scrap the worthless thing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member paulj0557's Avatar
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    Andy is just a little bit of a stick in the mud 'nothing special'? Shame on you.

    WATCH THE VIDEO 'Mr. Fantastic and the Wonderful World of Wurlitzer' on youtube BELOW ONCE A DAY FOR 5 DAYS BEFORE YOU EVEN CONSIDER SCRAPPING THAT MIRACULOUS PIECE OF ENGINEERING!

    Of course this organ is special. In fact almost every major brand organ of that era is special because those little bitty transistors can say plenty if treated right! I now will guide you to a record on youtube where a fellow is making beautiful music with his Wurlitzer 4500. Your organ is essentially the same beast. ( 'nothing special'...ooh that just burns me up...)
    I have several organs now and I can count on one hand how many videos I can find on them, but they do exist. Hearing someone else play your particular model is a great inspiration. I have a Wurlitzer 4500 exactly like the one on the cover of the record in the youtube video. It was a coincidence that about a week after I stumbled onto this Mr. Fantastic and the Wonderful World of Wurlitzer video, that an a local craigslist ad read ' Wurlitzer organ free'. I was astounded that when I got to the empty condo where the organ sat, that it was a full console 25 pedal organ. The woman described it as a spinet on the phone.
    I believe yours might be the same as the 4500, but without presets. The spinet version of the 4500 has identical controls as it's bigger brother.
    If you look at the Organ List online you can see the breakdown of just about every organ- that is, it will say the amount of pedals ( very often wrong on the pedal count, but most other stuff is accurate). When it comes to electronic organs the tone generators are the most important factor in differentiating an organs sound. Transistors are by far the most expressive of all designs, although tubes are a close second. The LSI ( large scale integrated circuits) organs can actually sound quite good, warm even, if they have enough filtering on the voice stages of the organ. For instance, my Wurlitzer 625t has hundreds of transistors following the LSI circuitry. This is why it sounds so good. Actually, the tibia's are what sound great! The rest of it is average. A good tibia/flute is half the battle in qualifying a good electronic organ. Wurlitzer were masters.



    So hold onto your hat and cut and paste this into your youtube search bar:

    Mr. Fantastic and the Wonderful World of Wurlitzer

  9. #9
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    I stick by my comment, Paul! I know there are plenty of fans of older Wurli's out there, some going back as far as the electrostatics. I respect their views, of course, but I personally prefer the slightly later models, with things like multiple tremulants etc.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  10. #10

    Hello,
    I know someone who wants to give their Wurlitzer Model 4480 to me, and I went to play it. For the most part it is in great shape, but at times some of the stops on the upper keyboard that phased in and out (from a volume standpoint). The problem was intermittent, but I'm hesitant to take the organ (I already have a Baldwin model similar that I also acquired for free) if there is a major problem with it. Is this an easy fix or is it more complex?

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