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Thread: Sub Bass vs Bass Forte

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo HiDesertHal's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Apple Valley, CA

    Sub Bass vs Bass Forte

    I've been looking on the ROS organ lists for Story & Clark reed organs with 11 stops, including Sub Bass for 16' tone.

    All of them have Bass Forte and Bass Couplers plus Treble Forte and Treble Couplers, but none have Sub Bass.

    So what's the difference between Bass Forte and Sub Bass? Is it a loudness designation instead of pitch?


  2. #2
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    Madison, Georgia

    Somebody correct me if my turnip-truck-ness is showing, but if the organ has the keyboard split into lower and upper parts with mirrored stops (by which I mean that stops that go together are "reflected" on each side - pull diapason, second from left, and it goes with melodia, second from right), then Bass Forte means louder bass. It probably has a Flute Forte or Treble Forte or similar reflected on the other side, and by pulling both, you get about the same loudness.

    Since on my organ, the forte knobs just open swell shutters, the forte stops have the same effect as pushing the swell lever.

    Sub Bass pulls in another, abbreviated, set of reeds to play on the lower keys. A Kimball I was looking at in the 1900 catalog had 73 keys and 2 1/2 octaves of sub bass. (That ain't mine.)

    Hal, I'm no old pro at this. I've had a reed organ since July.
    -- I'm Lamar - 1999 Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) -- Allen TC 4 Project (forum thread)
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  3. #3
    ppp Pianississmo hubboard's Avatar
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    Jul 2017

    'Tis true. The "Forte" stops tend to just open a swell, covering the reeds, and IS usually the same effect as if you opened the swell with the knee swell. The "Sub Bass" is a separate set of bass reeds (usually in a separate box with some kind of amplifying resonator/qualifying tube deal to increase its power) that is often only an octave, but sometimes more. It sometimes begins an octave above the bottom of the keyboard, but in other cases extends to the bottom.

  4. #4
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    New England


    What they said. I thought Casey (SubBase) had just answered this in another thread? I'll have to look for it to make sure.


    P.S. Yup, I was right. It was answered here:
    Last edited by myorgan; 08-31-2017 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Add link.
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  5. #5
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Cape town South Africa

    Hi Hal, I'm a little late in responding here but you may find this interesting.

    I have a Story & Clark with 13 stops but I cannot remember what bass stops there are. The organ is kind of "parked" behind some others so cannot get to it readily to check the stops.

    Here is a picture of the organ just after it was off-loaded from the truck. The music stand has been removed while in transit.


    Check out Registration #5869 on the ROS database for the information.


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

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