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Thread: Introduction and Advice on Purchasing a Reed Organ

  1. #11
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    That Hinners should have about 4 sets of reeds.
    Can endorse.
    Casey

  2. #12
    ppp Pianississmo ColoradoJoshua's Avatar
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    So today I did get to go take a look at it, but I haven't decided whether I want to buy it yet because it appears that it needs some more restoration than I originally bargained for. I'm supposed to give the owner my decision by Thursday. I wanted to hop back on the forum to ask what kind of work would be required to fix the problems I found so I could see if they would be reasonable for me to do with no previous experience and little budget.

    First, when I pump the organ, it takes a fair speed to actually get sound out of it. Not like really really fast or anything, but a pretty good pace. From what I've been able to gather, it's supposed to make sound pumping slowly and for a couple seconds after you stop pumping. This one fairly abruptly stops (but not instantly) after I stop pumping. This makes me think the bellows are weak / may have some kind of a leak. Is this assumption likely the case? And if so, what would I need to do to fix that problem?

    Secondly, the very top set of keys only play notes on certain stops and none of the stops play a sound on the top most F key. My first guess is that those reeds could be dirty and need cleaned, but could there be anything else wrong? All of the upper stops should play to the very top of the keyboard, correct? What all could be wrong and how could I fix that?

    Third, there's one stop cover missing, but that probably wouldn't be all that hard to find. I found an organ that looks exactly like it on the RSOC website so in theory I should be able to find the one stop that that one has that this one doesn't have marked to find out which stop it is.

    Fourth, the knee lever for the swell seems to be very tight to move and there is no spring action pulling it back into place at all. I can either move it over so it stays open, or move it back so it's closed. Is that hard to fix?

    Lastly, some of the fancy grate work in front of the felt is messed up, but it's not ultra serious and I don't really have the skills to make new parts. What I really care about is the organ just working and sounding how it's supposed to.

    Other than those issues, it appears to be in good shape. Just dusty. The felt over all the openings seems to be in great shape and not warn or even faded.

    A church doesn't actually have it; a guy has had it in his wood shop under a tarp for some 20 years. It's history prior to that is unknown. However, it does have a good many openings in the back definitely marking it as a chapel organ. When I was looking at it, there was no sign it had been electrified at all - no button to turn it on and no plug. Pretty sure it's in it's original state. Does the fact that it's a chapel organ make it less desirable as a home organ because of the grates in the back causing the sound not to come out the front as much, or is that something that doesn't really matter?

    Overall, it has the stops I really wanted: A 16' sub bass (and two other 16' stops), an octave coupler, vox humana (not something I was expressly looking for, but cool to have), and a very nice full deep tone. If the problems I listed above are fixable fairly easily, I think it's what I'm looking for... just wanted to get some input from people more knowledgeable than me.

    Thank you all in advance!

  3. #13
    pp Pianissimo Rodney's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of reed organs Joshua!

    The Hinners would be a better choice, but it sounds like it would need a full restoration. if you have a technical 'knack', it would not be overly difficult, but it would definitely gobble up time and a little bit of money. The way you described it sounds like the flap valves are dried out and the action would need a complete disassembly to clean it up. To replace the flap valves, a full bellows rebuild would be required.

    I often hear about good instruments in the Denver area (if that is not too far away), you may be able to find a good one in good working order over time...

    All the best,

    Rodney
    To play a reed organ or harmonium, it helps to disconnect your feet from your brain and connect them to your emotions.
    Most of all, be creative, make music and have fun...


    Website: http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

  4. #14
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Joshua, it may be hard to find an organ that doesn't need bellows repair, or won't after you've started playing it. Disappointing that this wasn't a working church organ, but there's no disadvantage to having a chapel model over a parlor model. I'd think the chapel model would be more likely to have additional stops. (I'd probably grab this organ if it were local to me, but then again, I'd diddle around with it for a year or two, too.)
    -- 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)
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  5. #15
    ppp Pianississmo ColoradoJoshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    The Hinners would be a better choice, but it sounds like it would need a full restoration. if you have a technical 'knack', it would not be overly difficult, but it would definitely gobble up time and a little bit of money. The way you described it sounds like the flap valves are dried out and the action would need a complete disassembly to clean it up. To replace the flap valves, a full bellows rebuild would be required.
    I have always been pretty mechanically minded, so it's likely I could figure it out if I had to. The main thing in question is exactly what goes into a bellows rebuild and if by action disassembly you mean taking literally the entire action for every key apart. I'm brand new to all of this, so please excuse all the questions, haha. Just trying to learn as much as I possibly can from those who have experience.

    This kind of organ really fits the bill for what I'm looking for, but I basically have my room in which to work... pretty small with little access to tools and no proper workshop in which to lay things out.

    As for Denver, that's not too far, it's just a matter of being able to get up there on little notice. I've been watching the craigslist listings for most of the Front Range and there actually was another organ in Denver I wanted to look at.. (in good shape with a ton of stops) but it was scooped up before I managed to get up there.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Silken Path View Post
    Joshua, it may be hard to find an organ that doesn't need bellows repair, or won't after you've started playing it. Disappointing that this wasn't a working church organ, but there's no disadvantage to having a chapel model over a parlor model. I'd think the chapel model would be more likely to have additional stops. (I'd probably grab this organ if it were local to me, but then again, I'd diddle around with it for a year or two, too.)
    Yeah, I've been finding that myself. All the organs I've tested out so far have had weak bellows. From what you're saying, it sounds like a chapel model would suite me well. I'm just trying to figure out if I'd be able to do the work needed and if it's worth all of that. I mean, it does play for the most part so in theory I could use it as is until I got the chance to do a rebuild of the important parts... but it's pretty difficult to play well, especially with the bellows problem.

  6. #16
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    Eventually you need to take apart unto the last screw and mouse turd, but to get the bellows out, a simple disassembly is all.The things come apart in layers, starting at the stopboard, the keyframe, then the upper action; at that point you flip it on its side and undo the treadle straps and then the bellows should yank right out after withdrawing the 4 (or a dozen) screws holding it to the case.

  7. #17
    ppp Pianississmo ColoradoJoshua's Avatar
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    Well friends, I am the proud owner of a chapel reed organ now. xD I decided to go for that Hinners model. It's gonna need a fair bit of restoring though.. I keep running into more and more little things that need fixing. In general, it's not in awful shape though and the sound is great! More pictures and lots of questions inbound!

    Here I am playing it just after we got it off the trailer while it was still outside for some general cleaning.
    IMG_2691.jpg

  8. #18
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Congrats. First things - do all the keys sound? If some don't and the keys DO come back up when you press them, it may be dusty reeds. My Kimball had VERY dusty reeds... Don't vacuum or use compressed air right around the reed beds. You can damage the reeds easily, and they are hard to find now. I pulled mine out an octave at a time and cleaned them with an ultrasonic cleaner and some magic watch cleaner solvent. A picture of the reeds before cleaning and the ultrasonic cleaner unit are in my famous Kimball thread linked below.

    Nice to see also that the organ fits you. No way I'd get my knees under mine. I have a similar stool. It split where the platform under the seat has the metal collar for the threaded component. Dumped me indecorously on my keyster. Now I use an old piano stool propped open one one side and sitting on planks.

    If you want, PM me with your email address and I'll send you a diagram with plans for a real reed organ bench. (It tilts toward the organ and puts you in the correct position to pump. That's what my piano bench is currently emulating.)

    By the way, you might want to raise that stool once you get the organ situated. You'll want to have your arms level with the keyboard from the elbows to the fingers. I'm beginning to play with my hands raised higher and with more of an arch in the fingers, which I never needed to on the piano. I'm a horrible organist as well as pianist, though. No kidding - I sent another forum member a recording of me playing the Rodgers, and he wrote back, "I didn't hear any wrong notes. Not bad, considering you have no discernible sense of rhythm or time."

    I do try to keep it at least joyful (as in noise).
    Last edited by Silken Path; 11-25-2017 at 07:03 AM.
    -- 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)
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  9. #19
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Hi Joshua and welcome to the mob of pumpers!

    Nice piece you got yourself there - I bet the neighbors had a good peek at you once they heard the sounds coming from that one right there on your driveway!

    If you are the kind that likes to do some labor of love - and you do sound like one - you are going to have a lot of fun and satisfaction at the end. Take things slow and ask questions - we all learn by the questions and answers we get on this forum. And a pretty pleasant and helpful bunch they are too!

    Enjoy - and do let us have some sound files when you are ready.

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

  10. #20
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Just curious, were all the stops pushed in when you first saw it? I've read that leaving the stops open lets air circulate and can lead to corrosion in the reeds and dried-out bellows over a long period of time.
    -- 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)
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

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