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Thread: Vintage Conn Organ 1957...- Ebay SPINET, TUBE, unsure of model poss. 500 series.

  1. #1
    Senior Member paulj0557's Avatar
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    Vintage Conn Organ 1957...- Ebay SPINET, TUBE, unsure of model poss. 500 series.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Conn...item23141e29aa

    Here is a pretty little Conn currently being auctioned on Ebay and not far from me as a matter of fact. It wouldn't hurt me if all spinets had this appearance. It's very unassuming look that was adopted by Hammond and Wurlitzer as well clear through the 50's. In our current disposable society this organ stands a much better chance at survival having this classic antique look anyway.

    So how do these early Conn spinets sound? According to the 86' blue book it lists the 57' Conn Minuet models without images, but says the 500,510,and 530 models had optional attack percussion , repeat percussion and Vibrato was standard. One really good smooth tone is better than a bunch of bad ones.

    Conn 1957 spinet 7.JPGConn 1957 spinet 1.JPGConn 1957 spinet 2.JPGConn 1957 spinet 3.JPG
    Attached Images Attached Images
    BIG SCORE 5/9/14! FOUND $80 WURLITZER BRASS HORN IN CASE WITH STAND,LONG & SHORT BELL
    Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
    Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, Altec A-7(SOLD but missed). '6?-7?' X66 & 12-77 tone cabinet & L112 spinet [latest addition to my collection]...my RT2,Elegante,Leslie 31H sold
    Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
    Conn'68' 543 Minuet '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)

  2. #2
    Senior Member james's Avatar
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    These organs had Tremelo. This one pictured was the first Conn Organ I ever played. I was most fascianted in the early 60's by the sound of this organ compared to the Hammond I was so accustom to as well as the Baldwin's I played on at the local dealers. The stops were all pitched at 8' with couplers from 16' to 1 3/5' to bring out the upper and lower pitches. It had inter and intra manual couplers. It is a nice all tube organ if it works properly and has the individual oscillatiors so often mentioned about the Conn and a few other brands of organs.

    The long narrow stop tabs were so unqiue, and the sound was awesome and smooth compared to the percussive Hammond and buzzy sounding Baldwins. Below the stop tabs there were cards that were placed over and around the stops to aid in choices of registration. Since this was located in a church the cards used for church playing were blue. Other colors were for other types of music. I was invitied to play this organ at a gospel singing when they sang a few hymns with the other gospel speicals and songs. I also would go early each month when this church sponored the gospel singing and would play for nearly an hour before the people began to gather.

    As I reflect back on those days a Conn like this might have been a very good choice for me. They had great brochures and literature regarding the features of these organs. I did play on a few others of this series with the percussion stops located on the lower right of the bottom manual. They played from the lower manual only which was unique since percussion on other models and brands played from the upper manual.

    Not too long back I was trying to find out if one of these models not all that far from me was in working condition to play. However the guy didn't get back to me, and apparently it wasn't or he let it go for the tube and amp. He said it was worth more to sell the tube and amp to the guitar fans.

    Yes this organ is from the days when organs were built well and they did their best to have great sounding stops in lieu of all the bells and whistles, auto rhythm machines, and fancy fingers, etc. They are the perfect analog organs that so many of us older ones grew to enjoy and favor so much.

  3. #3
    Senior Member james's Avatar
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    The early Spinet Conn Organs, the 500 Series, were called Minuet.

    Baldwin Spinet models were called Orgasonic.

    Wurlitzer Spinets were called Spinette.

    Hammond had the monopoly on the term Spinet.

  4. #4
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Not sure about these early models, but on later instruments, what Conn termed 'tremolo' or 'general tremolo' was in fact good old fashioned vibrato.

    Not sure if Hammond registered 'spinet' as a trademark, as everyone seemed to call their organs spinets in some way or other. I'm sure Hammond would have had something to say about that.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member james's Avatar
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    It is a type of vibrato effect if not outright vibrato. Their brochures would mention how their organs had the stops and couplers such as a pipe organ. Apparently the term came from pipe organ terminology. I do know I enjoyed playing on the various organs of this type. They have a smooth touch, and the tones were clear as well as it was easy to use the cards for the registrations. I am aware that organs from this era would most likely need to be rebuilt totally inside to play well.

    If memory serves me correct I do recall reading where Hammond had the name "spinet" and for a number of years no other brand could use it maybe due to their patents. Anyhow it does seem that everyone began saying spinet or console.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jan Girardot's Avatar
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    "Spinet" was not a word that could be trademarked! It was in use LONG before the Hammond M came along in 1948.

    That is a very early Minuet; if I could see a clearer view of the expression pedal "doghouse" it could be determined whether or not it had Acoustic Tremolo ("giggle") speakers in it. From the very beginning, Conns (or Connsonatas/Connsonettes) had "tremolo" which was accomplished by shifting the frequency of the oscillators: sure sounds like vibrato to me. These individual oscillator organs had a decent ensemble sound, due to the slight imperfection of tuning stability. Further, each tone generator had two output waveforms, sine wave Flute and harmonically-rich "strings/reeds/diapasons".

    . . . Jan
    the OrganGrinder

  7. #7
    Senior Member paulj0557's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    Not sure about these early models, but on later instruments, what Conn termed 'tremolo' or 'general tremolo' was in fact good old fashioned vibrato.

    Not sure if Hammond registered 'spinet' as a trademark, as everyone seemed to call their organs spinets in some way or other. I'm sure Hammond would have had something to say about that.
    I always thought Gulbransen had a spinet piano very early on.
    BIG SCORE 5/9/14! FOUND $80 WURLITZER BRASS HORN IN CASE WITH STAND,LONG & SHORT BELL
    Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
    Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, Altec A-7(SOLD but missed). '6?-7?' X66 & 12-77 tone cabinet & L112 spinet [latest addition to my collection]...my RT2,Elegante,Leslie 31H sold
    Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
    Conn'68' 543 Minuet '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)

  8. #8
    Senior Member james's Avatar
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    I wish I could purchase this Conn Minuet, but the distance is something else.

    As Jan mentioned they did have a great ensemble sound which was smooth. All the tones from the four families of tone were represented quite well for an organ of this era. Other than the Wurlitzer ES organ that I am very fond of I think a Conn from this era would have been ideal for the church music I played at home and at the church. Conn had a saying, "there is a noticeable difference in a Conn Organ." There sure was indeed since I realize when I first played on this kind of Minuet which looked exactly like the one in the pics that it was a far better organ than Hammond, and the buzzy kazoo like Baldwin Orgasonics.

    I was one of many who was "fooled" into believing that so many different sounds could be made with the Hammond drawbars. Well, yes, a whole lot of sounds which IMHO were worthless warbles, squeals, grunts, etc. complete with that nervous twitter of the mechanical vibrato. I have heard some church Hammonds that sounded worse than awful and horrible in the days when I was young.

  9. #9
    Senior Member paulj0557's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Girardot View Post
    "Spinet" was not a word that could be trademarked! It was in use LONG before the Hammond M came along in 1948.

    That is a very early Minuet; if I could see a clearer view of the expression pedal "doghouse" it could be determined whether or not it had Acoustic Tremolo ("giggle") speakers in it. From the very beginning, Conns (or Connsonatas/Connsonettes) had "tremolo" which was accomplished by shifting the frequency of the oscillators: sure sounds like vibrato to me. These individual oscillator organs had a decent ensemble sound, due to the slight imperfection of tuning stability. Further, each tone generator had two output waveforms, sine wave Flute and harmonically-rich "strings/reeds/diapasons".

    . . . Jan
    the OrganGrinder
    Jan, I saw recently where you mentioned the 'giggle' tremolo ( which I'm assuming Conn likened the term to 'tremulent') using field coil speakers. The post was titled, " Conn organ, parts worth saving?
    Here the image of the 531 from that thread,using this set-up.

    Conn 531.jpg
    here is a closer image of the Minuet's swell pedal.

    Conn 1957 spinet 5.JPG
    BIG SCORE 5/9/14! FOUND $80 WURLITZER BRASS HORN IN CASE WITH STAND,LONG & SHORT BELL
    Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
    Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, Altec A-7(SOLD but missed). '6?-7?' X66 & 12-77 tone cabinet & L112 spinet [latest addition to my collection]...my RT2,Elegante,Leslie 31H sold
    Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
    Conn'68' 543 Minuet '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)

  10. #10
    Senior Member paulj0557's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldwin II View Post
    I wish I could purchase this Conn Minuet, but the distance is something else.

    As Jan mentioned they did have a great ensemble sound which was smooth. All the tones from the four families of tone were represented quite well for an organ of this era. Other than the Wurlitzer ES organ that I am very fond of I think a Conn from this era would have been ideal for the church music I played at home and at the church. Conn had a saying, "there is a noticeable difference in a Conn Organ." There sure was indeed since I realize when I first played on this kind of Minuet which looked exactly like the one in the pics that it was a far better organ than Hammond, and the buzzy kazoo like Baldwin Orgasonics.

    I was one of many who was "fooled" into believing that so many different sounds could be made with the Hammond drawbars. Well, yes, a whole lot of sounds which IMHO were worthless warbles, squeals, grunts, etc. complete with that nervous twitter of the mechanical vibrato. I have heard some church Hammonds that sounded worse than awful and horrible in the days when I was young.
    Here is my Youtube video upload page- there are two more videos of Jesse Crawford at the Hammond. These were recorded when you were young and Jesse made the Hammond sound far from worse than awful. He demonstrated what the Hammond was capable of in terms of nice organ tone that you could play dynamically. http://www.youtube.com/user/paulj0557/videos?view=0
    BIG SCORE 5/9/14! FOUND $80 WURLITZER BRASS HORN IN CASE WITH STAND,LONG & SHORT BELL
    Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
    Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, Altec A-7(SOLD but missed). '6?-7?' X66 & 12-77 tone cabinet & L112 spinet [latest addition to my collection]...my RT2,Elegante,Leslie 31H sold
    Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
    Conn'68' 543 Minuet '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)

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