DIYAPASON-L Digest #887 - Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Re: DIYAPASON-L Digest #886 - 09/23/03
  by <>
RE: [Residence Organs]  Introduction -- taking the plunge!
  by "Gregory Rister" <>
Re: Taking the Plunge
  by "Robert P. Bass" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Introduction -- taking the plunge!
  by "Tony Newnham" <>
Re: taking the plunge
  by "Dave Milton" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re: Taking the Plunge
  by "jch" <>
RE: [Residence Organs]  Re: Style D parts
  by "Fredrick Brabson \(home\)" <>
Re: DIYAPASON-L Digest #886 - 09/23/03
  by "Loren Weaver" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Taking the Plunge
  by "Ed Steltzer" <>
Relay System
  by <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Relay System
  by "John Haskey" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Relay System
  by <>
RE: [Residence Organs]  Introduction -- taking the plunge!
  by "Frank Vanaman" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Relay System
  by "firman1" <>

(back) Subject: Re: DIYAPASON-L Digest #886 - 09/23/03 From: <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 00:48:52 EDT   In a message dated 9/24/03 12:31:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time, KZimmer = writes:   > . I've been on and > off this list for a few years, and I can't remember any flaming going = on. > Hi Freddie, Welcome to this list! I have a very different idea in mind for my organ, more of a classical Bach type deal, as much as is possible with the = typical "free or nearly free" pipes available. There will be a lot of rescaling = and lip lowering and such for my design, but right now I'm [still!] building a =   workshop to get the whole mess out of my living room and various storage = venues! The workshop is going slower than planned due to family and work = commitments that came up this year. I think it's true that it's the chase rather than = the finish itself that excites most of us. I have to second what Keith said. I've been on various craft lists = and this is the most flame free group I've been associated with and I thank = you all for that and fervently hope that we can keep it that way. Lastly, Freddie, though we're from different ends of the organ = spectrum, I'd like to get together and talk, and I, too, am in Knoxville, the crossroads of the world and the real birthplace of Country Music, no = matter what Nashville and Bristol say! This is also the last place that Rachmaninoff = played, and we now have an eight foot statue of the man to prove it! Our Mighty Wurlitzer [which I really like, too] is silent right now as the theater = it's in is being renovated as a performing arts center . . . but I guess it's time = for me to shut up and sit down . . . .   Roy Kersey (865) 687-8990 (days)    
(back) Subject: RE: [Residence Organs] Introduction -- taking the plunge! From: "Gregory Rister" <> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 22:45:48 -0700   Could not copy the message to the digest, there was no plain text part
(back) Subject: Re: Taking the Plunge From: "Robert P. Bass" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 00:28:30 -0800   Howdy Freddie,   Welcome to the list. There are a number of excellent residential = Theatre Organ installation examples where little or no revoicing was needed. = The key seems to be in the chamber(s) design. Using tone chutes or mixing chamber(s) has proven to be most successful. Avoid using a simple = partition with swell shades, unless you really like that "in your face" sound <g>.   Best of luck with your studio organ.   Bob Bass Corona, CA    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Introduction -- taking the plunge! From: "Tony Newnham" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 08:50:22 +0100   Hi   The HNB organ in the Dome ay Brighton is rather larger than the average = house organ - some 200 or so stop keys - recently had the "fun" of = updating the record on the National Pipe Organ Register = (   HNB also built Christie theatre organs, and the Dome is effectively a = moderately sized classical organ and a large TO in the same 4 chambers, = and played from the same horse-shoe stop-key console (unlike at least = one Compton that has separate consoles.)   The stops are laid out in TO fashion - but the stop keys for classical = ranks are a different colour. I remember hearing it played by the = legendary Douglas Reeve when I was a youngster.   It's a fascinating organ. There's also a web-site detailing the current = rebuild by David Wells (there's a link on the NPOR record page) - I = can't remember the URL right now.   My own (very small) house organ project is (still) at the building frame = stage - and likely to be somewhat further delayed as we had a break in = to the garage last weekend, and most of my woodworking power tolls have = gone AWOL. (:-()   Good luck - and keep us posted!   Every Blessing   Tony ----- Original Message -----=20 From: Gregory Rister=20 To: Diyapason List ; Fredrick Brabson (home)=20 Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 6:45 AM Subject: RE: [Residence Organs] Introduction -- taking the plunge!     Hi Freddie, and welcome to the list!   You know, you might want to look at the spec of the Hill, Norman and = Beard instrument in the Brighton Dome (Brighton, England). It is a = rather interesting blend of theatre and classical stops by a builder who = did both well. And bear in mind that high pressures are not the key to = theatre organ tone. Many original residential theatre organs were = voiced on rather moderate pressures, and I know of at least one Stopped = Diapason on about 6" that became an excellent Tibia. Smaller spaces = call for smaller scales, lower pressures; but a String is still a = String, a Trumpet is a Trumpet, and a Vox is still a Vox. It is quite = possible to create a fine theatre instrument running on five or six = inches of wind, and not necessarily by using Wurlitzer, Robert Morton or = Barton stops. =20   There is an Estey organ locally here that our company rebuilt that has = a quite lovely Flute D'Amour in the Choir (and some yummy strings). One = day, during the final stages of the rebuild, I increased the speed and = depth of the Choir trem (a beater trem, no less!). The FDA produced as = lovely a "Tibia" sound as you could want. In fact, if my fingers were = stickier and my ethics weaker, there could've been an empty rackboard in = the Choir. . .   You'll find a lot of supportive people here, and we ALL bring a lot of = information to this list. I constantly scan the posts for new ideas and = information, and I frequently print things out for later reference. = Each project seems to offer a new insight, and that perspective is = valuable to all of us. Good luck with yours!   Greg Rister Pipe Organ Craftsmen Pomona, California ----- Original Message -----=20 From: Fredrick Brabson \(home\)=20 To: Diyapason List Sent: 09/23/2003 6:46:08 PM=20 Subject: [Residence Organs] Introduction -- taking the plunge!     Hello List:   I'm a newcomer and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.   I'm Freddie Brabson, and I reside in Knoxville, Tennessee. I'm a = musician all the way back, with lots of different influences. Regarding = organs, I have a deep appreciation (nay, passion---yea, even obsession!) = for both classical and theatre organ, and have experience playing = professionally in both these areas of the organ field. I have = discovered in the last several years that I also have an engineering = bent, and so have arrived at this possibility of acquiring/building a = pipe organ for my residence.   My intent is to take this project VERY slowly. I'm envisioning what = I would call a "studio" organ, somewhat in the theatre organ sense of = the word. Certainly, theatre organ design is the biggest influence in = this project, but I also want to incorporate tonal resources that will = round out the more traditional side of the instrument so that reasonable = practice/performance of some basic classical organ literature would be = possible as well. I would expect that the final instrument would be = basically a theatre organ of approximately ten judiciously chosen ranks, = with a few additional ranks to round out a principal chorus. I'm very = interested in some of the work done by English organ builder John = Compton utiliaing unit design for organs of "classical" specification, = and would like to incorporate some of these ideas in my own instrument.   Having said all this, I realize that theatre instruments can be = really tricky, especially with regard to space and winding requirements, = and I realize that this could be an enormous undertaking. I also know = that an instrument built to fill a two thouseand seat theatre is not = going to sound right in my house, so I really am thinking in terms of = residence/studio. But I want something theatrical, for sure.   I have also stopped avoiding that nagging sense that I'm most = enjoying myself when I'm crawling around in an organ chamber, figuring = out "how this guy did it," and just getting a sense of how it all works. = I've a lot to learn in that regard, and look forward to lots of good = input from the list.   Thanks for reading!   Freddie Brabson     --- Gregory Rister --- --- EarthLink: The #1 provider of the Real Internet.   DIYAPASON-L: a Discussion list for owners and builders of their own = Residence Pipe Organs. HOMEPAGE : = List: Administration: =    
(back) Subject: Re: taking the plunge From: "Dave Milton" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 07:52:40 -0400   Welcome to the list.   'Our' project so far consists of 6 ranks of pipes in a house + another 2 = pipe organs in storage. We started with a 'theater' base { Tibia, Vox, = String & Bourdon }. Soon to be playing will be a Morton Clarinet and a = Moller Melodia. Currently rank augmentation is done with an Ahlborn 201 = but am doing work on addional soundfont extensions that will eventually = replace that. We also have a Clainova, PSR280 and Roland RD-700 for = various other effects.   The console is still a 'work in progress'. Usually have a couple of = manuals + a pedalboard set up with 'temporary' stop rail of 32 SAMs + 40 = pistons & other controls. Plan to do something a bit more permanent but = that will come later. The whole system is playable from keyboards or from = MIDI sources { Midi keyboards , midi sequencer / PC sequencer }.   Our instrument web page: =   The control / relay system for this is a system that we design and = manufacture - known as Opus-Two. It fully integrates the pipes, console, = MIDI and PC. Details on this system are located here:   I'd be glad to try to answer any questions you might have.   Regards, Dave Milton Kanata, ON, Canada        
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: Taking the Plunge From: "jch" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 08:08:52 -0500   I was saddened to see some has listed parts for sale from a style D he is breaking up. If anyone is looking for some Wurlitzer parts it is listed on =   the theatreorgans classified page.   jch    
(back) Subject: RE: [Residence Organs] Re: Style D parts From: "Fredrick Brabson \(home\)" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 09:59:36 -0400   The organ had been for sale as a complete instrument, but apparently there were no takers. It is exactly what I am looking for, but, alas, I haven't the funds right now to buy it.     Will wrote: >>I was saddened to see some has listed parts for sale from a style D he = is >>breaking up. If anyone is looking for some Wurlitzer parts it is listed = on >>the theatreorgans classified page.     DIYAPASON-L: a Discussion list for owners and builders of their own Residence Pipe Organs. HOMEPAGE : List: Administration:          
(back) Subject: Re: DIYAPASON-L Digest #886 - 09/23/03 From: "Loren Weaver" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 11:20:45 -0500   I'll follow the lead of severl people and introduce myself. My name is Loren Weaver and I'm a retired physics professor. We moved to Idaho to be =   near the grandchildren and I found myself, much to my surprise, teaching math (part-time) at Idaho State Univ. which is just a mile down the hill from us. Several years ago Larry Chace (another University of Illinois alum) suggested in an e-mail that I join this list and I've finally done = it.   I've wanted a pipe organ for years, and when we knew we were moving = started looking for one on the internet. It turned out that the only house on the =   market that was suitable for taking care of my elderly, severely ill = mother also had room for a pipe organ, so I bought one from the Rogers organ = dealer 50 miles north of us that he had taken out of an LDS church. He agreed to =   store it for me for a year until we moved , and then deliver it. When he did deliver it, it turned out that he was dumping some estra stuff on a "poor, unsuspecting" customer and included a 4 rank Reuter chest which we used.   The organ originally was a 5 rank Balcom and Vaughan, and another internet =   correspondent suggested that I hire Balcom and Vaughan to install it. I'm =   more interested iin playing on the keys than in the organ chamber, so I called out to Seattle, and John Moir, the current owner came out to look = it over. On the way to my house from the airport he asked "What do you = really want this organ to be?" which is the most expensive question I've ever = been asked. He came up with three alternative schema (and prices) and we = started working. I had been buying more ranks of pipes over the internet and was = up to 12. He suggested three more (a 4' Spillfl=F6te, a 2 2/3' and a 1 3/5') = and we did that.   It is now 15 ranks, enclosed in a pipe chamber that's almost big enough = for 14 ranks. The bottom octane of the Salicional is mounted on the ceiling, the 3 rank mixture is on a small chest crossways above the small pipes on the 4 rank chest, and the bottom Bourdon and Diapason pipes are = horizontally mounted on the back wall (we call the pipe chamber the "torpedo room").   We revoiced Bourdon rank, rescaled (by 6 pipes) the Dulciana, Salicional, and Celeste, and replaced the large scale Diapason with a small scale rank =   from a Hook and Hastings instrument. All the pipes were regulated so that =   the volume level is appropriate for the room.   Now, the real reason for this note, which I hoped might be generally interesting. After we got the organ to the point where it could be = played, I met the organ teacher at Utah State U., Dr. James Drake, and started studying with him. He frequently visits his father who lives a few blocks =   from us, so he came over to hear the organ and the story of my acquiring = it.   Part of the following is conjecture, and part hearsay, but the story, as I =   understand it is this:   The LDS church is VERY centralized, and they have a committee in Salt Lake =   that decides what instrument and what kind of instrument goes into each local church. They have an approximately 19 year rebuild or replacement cycle, and the committee decides. They've been pulling out pipe organs (this one was installed about 1953) and replacing them with Rogers instruments. After seeing and hearing my instrument, Dr. Drake (a devout Mormon and frequent recitalist at the Tabernacle in SLC) talked to the = organ staff at the Tabernacle and they talked to the committee which then = reversed its position. They are now trying to preserve the many pipe organs in the =   LDS churches.   Mine could have stayed and would have been fine if they had releathered 3 = of the 11 pouches on the swell motor. I releathered all of them in a short =   afternoon, with no previous experience. The instrument plays wonderfully, =   although I need to improve temperature control in that part of the house.   Something to think about: I have a high frequency hearing loss, so tuning =   the high end of the organ was difficult to impossible. I bought a = Peterson strobe tuner last summer and spent a while going through the organ, tuning =   as precisely as I could. What a difference!   Sorry to be so long winded. Hopefully some of this was of interest to someone.   Loren Weaver   _________________________________________________________________ Instant message with integrated webcam using MSN Messenger 6.0. Try it now =   FREE!    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Taking the Plunge From: "Ed Steltzer" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 09:26:10 -0400   I hesitate not at all to suggest the Artisan relay system ( I am a "hobbyist" also, and the system is = very suitable for us tinkerers. Ed   ----- Original Message ----- From: <> To: <> Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 10:43 PM Subject: [Residence Organs] Taking the Plunge     >. I hauled about 10 ranks of pipes from Georgia to Illinois > for Richard Schneider to clean up and revoice. I'm presently agonizing over > which relay system to employ. > Sincerely, > Keith Zimmerman > Commerce, Georgia >    
(back) Subject: Relay System From: <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 16:30:37 EDT   Ed,   A while back, I spent numerous hours online researching pipe organ control =   systems. When I dismantled my organ to bring it home, I had anticipated rewiring the old electromechanical relay panels. This began to look like = it would be a lot of work.   I got some recommendations from a few professionals. One prof recommended =   Musicom. Peterson seems to be a favorite among many professionals. Both = of these are very expensive. For my organ of 12 ranks (5 of which are on a = pitman chest, therefore are straight), both of these systems were well over = $5000.   I do have several pages I copied from the Artisan website. I don't think = I ever asked them for a quote. I had a little difficulty understanding the components. I think, after studying all the Opus-Two information, I might = be better able to understand the Artisan site. Some of the solid state = relays - especially the computerized ones - consist of generic input cards to which = are attached any form of input, output cards to which are attached any form of = magnet, and a computer to map out all the connections and control them.   I was very interested in Devtronix. Its components were extremely = logical. There is a discreet way to connect the keyboards and pedalboards. There = are dedicated magnet drivers. There is no computer. Actually, it resembles a =   mechanical relay with gang switches except for no moving parts. For my = organ, the cost was under $2000, but that was in kit form and did not include combination action or MIDI capability.   Syndyne had been recommended. It, too, seemed quite logical in its = layout. It also has a downsized version (Model 5600) for 2 manual organs. I think = it came back at close to $3000 for my spec. I was leaning between it and Syndyne.   Classic Pipe Organ Control System looked interesting, but I think I was burning out on these and was, once again, seriously contemplating rewiring = my old relay panels.   I read about the Opus-Two system and studied it online. After several volleys back and forth with Dave, I came to better understand the system. = For the price, it appears to include a lot of features. I'm awaiting some more information from Dave before I make my final decision.   I was unable to really get consistent advice from anybody. So many = amateurs seem to be standing in the right place at the right time for some great = relay control system to simply fall into their lap for free. I'm never that = lucky. I'm looking into a used Peterson system now, but it won't have the MIDI features - which have suddenly become so desirable to me - nor will it = have the combination action.   I would really like to hear the details of peoples' relay systems, how = they obtained them, and - in a discreet way - what they paid for them. Maybe = that's like asking someone to share his salary or how much his house cost.   Sincerely, Keith    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Relay System From: "John Haskey" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 14:25:39 -0700 (PDT)       On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 wrote:   > I was unable to really get consistent advice from anybody. So many > amateurs seem to be standing in the right place at the right time for > some great relay control system to simply fall into their lap for free. > I'm never that lucky. I'm looking into a used Peterson system now, but > it won't have the MIDI features - which have suddenly become so > desirable to me - nor will it have the combination action.   I've mentioned in the past what I'm using at the chests, admittedly it is a home-brew system but my friend who developed it has had the prototype up and running for years. It is entirely MIDI based.   I had planned to design and build my own MIDI console to drive it when I luckily came upon almost *exactly* what I wanted on eBay of all places! I am in the process of writing it up for my website but in short it is a three manual and pedal drawknob console with combination action. The console itself has small microcontrollers in it which handle various tasks. A computer is completely optional although I will use one for recording and playing back sequences. The gentleman that sold me the console designed and built it himself using 'professional' components, Peterson Manuals, OSI Pedalboard, Harris Drawknobs, etc. More info just as soon as I get some free time to update my website.   As time goes by I'll see how well all this works. So far so good.   I'm a software engineer so I realize this route may not be feasible for everybody but I'm happy to share what I know about this stuff. My friend is also interested in finding a few more test sites for his pipe driver boards before deciding whether to make them generally available.   I've mentioned this before but a photo of my new (eBay) console is at:   a description of the MIDI driver boards is at   (Note that the email address for Craig is no longer valid I believe)   Good luck in your quest!   ---john.    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Relay System From: <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 17:36:44 -0400   I too have priced some systems, though mainly Syndyne and Artisan. I last = priced the Artisan system about 5 years ago when looking to purchase a = lovely little 4-rank Robert Morton, and the projected cost came in at = around $4000. The price was high (to my view) because the organ had quite = a range of tuned percussions in addition to its 4 ranks---all of extended = compass. (It even included a piano -- add another 85 magnets!), and I was = specifying a pretty thorough console layout, thus requiring more pistons = and stop tabs (for the eventual addition of a couple more ranks).   Any way I looked at it, it was gonna cost a chunk o' change. I expect = I'll be bracing for these figures again soon enough....   BTW, I got a good deal on my car, but I sure don't make enough to support = this hobby! ;-)   Freddie   > > I would really like to hear the details of peoples' relay systems, how = they > obtained them, and - in a discreet way - what they paid for them. Maybe = that's > like asking someone to share his salary or how much his house cost. > > Sincerely, > Keith > >    
(back) Subject: RE: [Residence Organs] Introduction -- taking the plunge! From: "Frank Vanaman" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 20:15:29 -0400   Hello--   >I'm a newcomer and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. >I'm Freddie Brabson, and I reside in Knoxville, Tennessee. ...   --and welcome!   Interesting to hear that someone else wants to do a theatre-like organ for studio use. This is somewhat along the lines of what I hope to = accomplish. Not the bottling up of a full strength theatre organ, but instead the suggestion of a theatrical instrument based on more modest pressures and scales. I've acquired mostly Aeolian and Moller pipework, all of mild pressure and modest scale, and I plan to put all that on unit chest work, allowing theatre organ style unification. Hopefully I'll be able to trem = it well enough to suggest a theatre organ. The scheme I'm following at the moment involves the basic tone colors you'd probably expect, with some substitutions from a 'normal' scheme: chimney flute, viol, viol celeste, = vox humana, gemshorn, cornopean, clarinet, orchestral oboe.   I've also got a pile of other pipework which may, or may not end up in the scheme: a mild diapason (if the gemshorn isn't "diapason-y" enough), a = pair of very keen strings, a bigger tuba, a mild harmonic muted horn (looks = like a french horn, except the caps are soldered only around half their = diameters and the tuning slot goes up to the top of each resonator), and stopped and open flutes, in case I end up disliking the chimney flute; oh- and a = freebie three rank mixture that started out as a dulciana cornet (12-15-17) and ended up as a 15-19-22 by someone else's hand.   I think this'll be a decent idea for something that will be playing into a modest listening room. I've been doing work on the house in the most = recent years and the pipe organ project has suffered some substantial neglect. = I've put aside some time in the next few months to try to get the organ back on track. Hopefully this time I'll actually do that!   Frank Vanaman Baltimore      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Relay System From: "firman1" <> Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 20:04:33 -0500   Hi... I am currently working on the rebuild of a hybrid Aeolian Player / = Estey / Pilcher 25 plus rank organ . I will be using ALL Period - = meaning 1912-1930 electro-pnuematic relays . Yes , they are time = consuming and rather difficult to restore , but they perform the = function they were designed for . Once rebuilt and adjusted properly = ,they'll last another 80 or so years . I hope you decide to take the = time to re-work your existing relays. B.A.F.