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Thread: Estey Organ Pittman problem

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo Allan Hadley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Estey Organ Pittman problem

    I have a 1880's Estey reed organ that has been in our family for over 70 years. I have disassembled it once, even replacing the bellows material.

    But recently one key stopped working, so I'm back into it again. The first thing I noticed after taking it apart was that two of the Pittmans seemed to drop down lower; they are not supported by the spring (?) underneath. You can see this in the first picture.

    So then I removed the pittmans and the guide strip (2nd picture) but I cannot figure out how to go any further. I think the Reed Chamber needs to be removed, but I can't figure out how to do that. Is it possible it is attached from underneath?

    I'd appreciate anyone's help. I realize that there are many varities of reed organs, but I'm hoping mine is common enough that someone else might have experienced this!IMG_3013.jpgIMG_3017.jpg

  2. #2
    ppp Pianississmo Nathan Rau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Norman, OK

    There are screws around the perimeter of the sounding board. Once those screws are out, the entire sounding board and upper action can be removed from the lower action. Then you can look under the sounding board to see the pallets and pallet springs. You will probably see either a broken spring or a pallet that over traveled and is stuck on its guide pin. In any case it should be clear what the problem is. While all this is apart it is a good time to replace the gasket between the upper and lower actions if it looks old and crumbly.


  3. #3
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Cape town South Africa

    1 members found this post helpful.
    You might find a lot of parts on the underside of the reedpan needing some work, for instance the pallet seals and pads. Springs do not break that easily, they are more prone to either slip off the pallet but in that case the particular note will sound all the time. You do not mention any symptoms like that but it seems clear that the wind chest will have to come off. Be careful to replace the pitmans in their original position when you are done, thereby saving some extra work in levelling the keys again. The wind chest comes off easily once you have found the screws - normally on top around the sides and back and four or five underneath in the front. You may also have to remove the links of the swell levers and associated parts on the front. When you are in there, check everything and replace if in doubt. Good luck!

    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

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