PipeChat Digest #3021 - Wednesday, August 7, 2002
 
Re: the pricing of pipe organs
  by "Panning" <jpanning@cal-net.net>
AH-ha
  by "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org>
Re: qualifying buyers AND sellers
  by "Richard Schneider" <arpschneider@starband.net>
Re: the pricing of pipe organs
  by <RonSeverin@aol.com>
Re: We need a new topic: How about Drawknob layout??? (X-Posted)
  by <Cremona502@cs.com>
Re: Gravissima
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
RE: Gravissima
  by "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org>
Re: Shot" speakers
  by "Dennis Goward" <dlgoward@qwest.net>
Re: the pricing of pipe organs
  by "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca>
Re: AH-ha
  by "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca>
RE: AH-ha
  by "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org>
Re: What is average cost per rk average organ?
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
Re: What is average cost per rk average organ?
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
replacing speakers.
  by "jon bertschinger" <jonberts@magiccablepc.com>
Re: Robert Noehren
  by <TubaMagna@aol.com>
Re: spacing of keys on a manual, more information, more questions
  by <wchapmn@attglobal.net>
 

(back) Subject: Re: the pricing of pipe organs From: "Panning" <jpanning@cal-net.net> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:54:09 -0500   >I cannot speak for the other builders you contacted but in fairness: one >needs to realize that in order to accurately and intelligently PRICE an >organ project, one has to virtually DESIGN the entire project, >top-to-bottom before doing the take-offs for pricing.   I won't reiterate Richard Schneider's other excellent points, but I will add a few additional thoughts.   Would these same business people that sit on organ committees think it reasonable to ask an architect to completely design their new house before selecting him/her as their architect? And furthermore, to guarantee its cost?   To get around this hurdle, especially with organs that are part of building projects, we frequently work with a "design retainer", which contracts our services to design the organ, work with the architect and other design professionals, and prepare presentation drawings that can be used to sell the project to the congregation. If the project doesn't go ahead, we have been compensated for our efforts and the institution has received valuable advice regarding the preparation of the building for the installation of the organ. If the project does go ahead, the retainer fee is deducted from the organ's down payment.   Performance bonds are another thing. Many reputable but smaller builders cannot obtain them, and it's not because they are poor organ builders or rotten businessmen. It's because, incomparison with other more "normal" businesses, the value of the projects undertaken are generally so high relative to the net worth of the business. This is not unique to organ building: many fine smaller contractors are in the same boat. They may build a small factory or church for $1,000,000, but what contractor has $1M in the bank to self-bond or $1M in tools and equipment? The majority of the building's cost is in the labor required to build it, and unlike assets such as machinery or real estate, labor does nothing to improve a business's balance sheet other than (hopefully) to add some cash through the profit accrued on each hour worked.   We are discovering new wrinkles in obtaining performance bonds. Insurers have become hesitant to write performance bonds for objects with an artistic element: who's to say when an art object is done? And with something like an organ, what builder of any reputation has so free a schedule that they can step in to complete a project on the original schedule if the original company fails? We also had a bonding company that refused to write a bond for an installation in New York City post 9/11.   We have completed two projects left unfinished by the financial collapse of the original builders (Phelps and Schudi), and one can't blame those churches for exercising due diligence. On the other hand, I have no doubt that the *unreasonable* demands of pointy-headed business types that take up space on some organ committees is contributing to the decline of the pipe organ, both in numbers and in quality, that we all publicly lament here.   John A. Panning Lake City, Iowa  
(back) Subject: AH-ha From: "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 14:56:43 -0400   I came up with yet another question. When a specification lists a foot reading for a "mixture" stop, e.g., 2 2/3' Grand Fourniture II-IV, I = assume the 2 2/3' refers to the lowest pitch. Am I correct in that assumption? = Bear with me folks, it takes me a while. Thank you, Robert Bernardino Colasacco    
(back) Subject: Re: qualifying buyers AND sellers From: "Richard Schneider" <arpschneider@starband.net> Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 14:22:34 -0500     quilisma@socal.rr.com wrote: =20 > Arp, I hear what you're saying, of course ... and we've had this > conversation before (grin).   Yup! =20 > But That's The Way Things Are. And perhaps that IS a "Catch-22" > situation for small shops who can't AFFORD to make detailed proposals > for every church who rings you up with an initial inquiry.   Usually, the only thing one can really do in most circumstances is to go with one's "gut" feeling about a prospective project. But I've found some people can "walk the walk and talk the talk" pretty convincingly.=20 As a case in point: I had a situation a few years ago where we had received a "Letter of Intent" from a church in Mississippi to purchase a M=F6ller organ for the express purpose of re-building and remodeling it for their church. Well, when push came to shove, we had no more finished removing the organ from the church and warehoused it when we received another letter from the same church "rescinding" their Letter of Intent and telling us, in so many words, to get lost. Mind you: we had borrowed money against the anticipated project in order to do that.=20 I'm STILL paying that off!   I'm sure that litigation would be possible, but it rarely happens that anyone wins that goes up against a church. In the general public's mind: churches can do no wrong!   So, perhaps due to this experience, I'm a bit more jaded and pessimistic than others who have not been where I've been.   Peter Storandt EMAILED me privately and suggested that it would make sense for everyone to agree to charge a "Design Fee" that the church would pay all three of the prospective builders to at least help cover some of their expenses. He indicated that at his university of employment's law school, they charge a "seat Fee" that is nonrefundable in the event that the applicant decides to go elsewhere. Otherwise, the fee is applicable to that semester's tuition fees.   In the same way, "earnest Money" is usually deposited when real estate transactions are being contemplated. No one laughs at that. It helps separate the garbage from the flowers by forcing people to think twice before wasting other people's time; particularly if there's now something valuable (money!) to lose if they do so. =20 > If ANYBODY has any concrete suggestions as to HOW one would move an > organ committee and an organ-builder around this seeming impasse, I'd b= e > happy to hear them, even though my own project HAS moved beyond it. It > seems to me it's a SIGNIFICANT problem in the whole process.   In a way, you've done that, in that you've hired Holtkamp to do design work. I may mis-understand the situation, but if he's hired to do "design work", then he's not been required to do it in advance of receiving a contract for free with a 1/3 chance of losing all of his time. =20   Interestingly enough: I know of two "twin sister" Holtkamp organs; one in Union Theological Seminary in NY, and the other in Rammelkamp Chapel at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. I'm sure that if one or the other wanted detailed designs, provided that its twin was built first (I don't know what the "pecking order" was on those two instruments, although I do believe they were both built in 1979-80), it would be very little work to provide details and detailed costs. =20 > I do have to say that we DID get three detailed, concrete bids from the > three builders we selected in the last round. Two of them were from > large enough shops that it probably WASN'T a great outlay of time, as > standard templates and scales could probably be used, for the most part= ; > I imagine that the third one DID require a significant amount of time, > as I don't think he had access to computer-driven design equipment.   And I'll bet he's prolly sorry to have spent the time since I'm betting he wasn't the one that got the job. =20   The one thing about time: once it's gone, it's gone forever. It's a real paradox in that it's the small shops that can least afford that type of time outlay and have the least impressive "credentials" (both in terms of job portfolio, bonding and D & B ratings) and don't help any of those things improve by chasing the wind. Yet, if they don't, then there's no work and they go out of business. =20 > I don't expect the builder to hold the price TO THE PENNY, and neither > does my committee, if an act of God intervenes, or civil war in Peru > sends the price of tin through the roof, or a major supplier of compute= r > chips goes bankrupt, etc. ... I think a certain margin is built into th= e > contract for that, as it was for the construction of the church > building.   No, not in this day and age of economic/world uncertainty. Most INTELLIGENT contracts have escalation/re-negotiation clauses built into them. It was that exact same thing that got AEolian-Skinner into trouble 60 years ago when a period of inflation hit them right after WW II and they were 3-4 years out on contracts. Prices nearly doubled and in the case of the Salt Lake City Mormon Tabernacle project, if the Mormon authorities hadn't intervened and coughed up more dough; a LOT more dough, they would have gone under right then and there.   To those on the outside looking in, let's be perfectly frank about this: Organbuilding is a tough business with little profit margin. Even for the bigger, better-established shops. Much harder than the average person is able to comprehend, actually. In order to survive, we have to squeeze every last dollar until it SCREAMS for help! I live in a very small community where overhead is virtually nonexistent and often wonder how people like Sebastian or others in major metroplexes can really make it in these days of high overhead? I know of one builder whose property taxes for a year alone are $100,000.00! I can only shake my head and hope God prospers him enough so he can keep up!   We've often taken a look at the labor investment in our projects, and after deducting materials and overhead costs, the amount left over for labor divided by the hours worked usually results in fry cooks at McDonald's making more per hour than I do. And we have to know so much more in so many disciplines than even doctors and auto mechanics and other tradespeople who make comfortable livings ever THOUGHT of knowing!=20   We obviously love what we do, but with it already being as hard as it is with what little we make for the available time we have, it sometimes seems patently unreasonable to me for people who have no personal interest or stake in whether a builder lives or dies to ask them to spend inordinate amounts of time for a potential project at their own expense. If this happens too often, then that's why companies like Schlicker and others who have passed before us are no longer around.=20 The organ demand is actually still there, but the DEMANDS made upon us seem to increase while the actual spendable dollars we get, thanks to regulations, bureaucracy, insurance costs, etc., tend to skyrocket exponentially. =20 > But please let's DO pursue this discussion, as it DOES have SIGNIFICANT > impact on the sale of pipe organs.   I agree. I think a re-thinking on the part of churches and being willing to SHARE the financial burden if they demand minutely detailed Tenders would be a reasonable compromise. To expect minutiae from ANY builder and then send him/her away empty-handed after expending days, or even WEEKS of their time preparing same becomes even more immoral than riverboat gambling. =20   Quite frankly, it seems that Tendering on organbuilding projects has really become like shooting Craps to the 6th and 7th digits nowadays.   I'll get off my soapbox now. I've got work to do.   Faithfully,=20 --=20 Richard Schneider, PRES/CEO SCHNEIDER PIPE ORGANS, Inc. Pipe Organ Builders 41-43 Johnston St./P.O. Box 137 Kenney, IL 61749-0137 (217) 944-2454 VOX (217) 944-2527 FAX mailto:arp@schneiderpipeorgans.com SHOP EMAIL mailto:arp@starband.net SHOP SATELLITE EMAIL mailto:arpschneider@starband.net HOME OFFICE EMAIL http://www.schneiderpipeorgans.com WEB PAGE URL      
(back) Subject: Re: the pricing of pipe organs From: <RonSeverin@aol.com> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 15:45:11 EDT   Dear Papa and Bud:   Necessary organ repairs and rebuilds come under the same heading. I seems that some folks don't trust others and that is sad indeed. What can happen in a situation like this with all the so called careful and=20 studied posturing, is a bad job badly executed, because of the insistance of rock solid pricing. The self fulfilling prophesy comes into play. Anybody playing by the customers rules will find it impossible to succeed. In repair or rebuilds even after a careful inspection, one can't foresee all the=20 ramifications of the work. We only find that out as we go about it. These hidden problems will not be addressed because they are not in the contract. Nor should they. The customer can then come back and say, you did a lousy job. If the contract is written carefully enough, they won't be able to say that, as we addressed the problems previously agreed upon. This is the bugaboo of rock solid pricing. If there was more trust, all of the=20 problems then could be addressed as they are found and priced accordingly. Then the job could be judged fairly and completely.   Estimates: Are just that, estimates. I can tell you, if I'm estimating blind= , as in rock solid pricing, I'm sure going to build in some cushion, It's=20 complete business foolishness to neglect to do so. Those who have been so nice as to do the extras for free, soon are no longer in business. Nobody is out to gouge the customer, but we must also protect ourselves in order to stay solvent. =C6olian Skinner, E. M. Skinner, Moller, and a host of others no=20 longer in business, were good hearted, cutting profits to suit the customer, until they were under bidding on jobs. It put them out of business. You can't do=20 things like that for very long, before you must close your doors forever.   Ron Severin  
(back) Subject: Re: We need a new topic: How about Drawknob layout??? (X-Posted) From: <Cremona502@cs.com> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 15:55:22 EDT   In a message dated 8/7/02 12:17:35 PM Atlantic Daylight Time, arpschneider@starband.net writes:   << I'm familiar with two different "schools" of layout thought and wanted to receive some opinions as to what people consider to be "better". >>   Better is what we are used to!! ;-)   I have played only small instrument with terraced layouts so don't have significant experience with larger instruments. However, the new Fisk = going in at First Presbyterian - GainesvilleFL uses a very comfortable appearing =   layout.   The stops of the pedal are on the bottom terrace on both sides, one side having the principal chorus, the other side having the reeds and flutes.   The stops of the Great are on two terraces on the right side with the principal chorus on one level and the flutes and reeds on the other.   The stops of the Positiv are on two terraces on the let side with the principal chorus on one level and the flutes and reeds on the other.   The stops of the Swell are divided on the top terrace, flutes and strings = on one side and principals and reeds on the other.   The couples are on the terraces adjacent to the manuals they effect and = are printed in a different color.   This is from memory so it might not be completely accurate. But I recall =   the set-up being extrememly comfortable, although I didn't have a chance = to experience how it felt.   For me, the most important part of any stop layout is having the stops grouped in families. This compensates a great deal for any variances = from console to console.   Bruce in the Muttestery http://members.tripod.com/brucon502 http://visionsuccess.com/BC2053  
(back) Subject: Re: Gravissima From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 08:30:36 +1200   >Usually an acoustic stop derived from the 32'. They are rare. There are >maybe three organs in the world with the real thing as far as reeds = go(one >of them is Sydney Town Hall). I cannot think of a flue 64' offhand at = all, >although I did read about one   Sorry, you are wrong here. There are only two 64ft stops in the world, not three. One is the wooden Diaphone at Atlantic City. The other is the 1890s Hill wooden Trombone in Sydney Town Hall. There have been no others, and there never will be (I'm sure I'm right in predicting that). Anything else that claims to be a proper 64ft is lying. Voicers may correct me, but I'm certain it's impossible to voice a 64ft flue.   Ross    
(back) Subject: RE: Gravissima From: "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 16:09:54 -0400   I couldn't for the life of me imagine even hearing it to be able to tune it!! RBC   =3D=3D=3DVoicers may correct me, but I'm certain it's impossible to voice = a 64ft flue.   Ross    
(back) Subject: Re: Shot" speakers From: "Dennis Goward" <dlgoward@qwest.net> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:10:55 -0700   >>My Allen dealer does not insist on, but recommends Allen speakers every >>10-15 years.   >You mean REPLACE them? you've got to be kidding. What "wears" out?   Speakers are moving parts, vibrating anywhere from 32 to 32,000 hertz (I think those are the numbers). The cone, which is moved by the voice coil, is attached to the frame, which does not move, by a membrane of a flexible material -- I've seen foam rings, linen-like material, and composite or resin based stuff. This ring, called a surround, can deteriorate to the point where it fails, and then the speaker cone will vibrate wildly. If this condition is allowed to continue too long, you could blow the amplifiers.   Often in older electronic organs, this deterioration contributes to a = harsh, buzzy-sound.   Dennis    
(back) Subject: Re: the pricing of pipe organs From: "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca> Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 15:27:14 -0500   On 8/7/02 1:54 PM, Panning wrote:   > Would these same business people that sit on organ committees think > it reasonable to ask an architect to completely design their new > house before selecting him/her as their architect? And furthermore, > to guarantee its cost?   Architects' bids are often multi-stage.   A general look-see, pretty design sketch, very ball-park estimate and architect's resume for free.   A design study with a firmed-up design after close consultation with stakeholders, renderings or 3D walkthroughs designed to sell the project = to whoever needs to sign off on it, much closer cost estimate with contingencies built-in (and disclosed) for a fee. For example, we recently paid $25,000 for a design study for a 700-seat theatre which costed out at approximately $5 million.   After project acceptance, complete working drawings of the finalized = design submitted to contractors for firm cost quotations for an agreed upon fee. The customer can still cancel at this point if the contractors' bids are unacceptable but the architect has gotten his costs (and probably some profit) back at this point. The bulk of the architect's profit is realized only if the project goes to completion.   At least, that's the way it's supposed to work. No real reason why hard-headed business people should object if an organ builder insists on that way of doing business. Of course, it doesn't help if one or more of = the organ builders who are bidding are willing to do the whole bid process for free which I suspect is often the case.   Performance bonds should be obtainable if the right insurers are found. After all, movie producers routinely post performance/completion bonds = even with the artistic and somewhat flighty nature of that business (outside = the major big-bucks studios of course).   TTFN, Russ Greene    
(back) Subject: Re: AH-ha From: "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca> Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 15:31:04 -0500   On 8/7/02 1:56 PM, COLASACCO, ROBERT wrote:   > I assume > the 2 2/3' refers to the lowest pitch. Am I correct in that assumption?   Correct Robert. An open pipe of average scale and average winding will be more or less the stated length, in this case 2-2/3', at bottom C. Lots of factors combine to make the lengths only approximate.   TTFN, Russ    
(back) Subject: RE: AH-ha From: "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 16:36:22 -0400   Thank you. I am aware about the approximate lengths. I only asked because = I came to a self-realization and conversion, if you will, about this fact since all other stops list the "footage" at the stops lowest pitch. But I had always thought the mixtures were listed with the high pitch, in other words the opposite of all other stops. I only just finally asked myself = why would you think that, silly?! So I just wanted to confirm the epiphany I = had on mixture specs. Thanks again, RBC   -----Original Message----- From: Russ Greene [mailto:rggreene2@shaw.ca] Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 4:31 PM To: PIPECHAT-L Subject: Re: AH-ha     On 8/7/02 1:56 PM, COLASACCO, ROBERT wrote:   > I assume > the 2 2/3' refers to the lowest pitch. Am I correct in that assumption?   Correct Robert. An open pipe of average scale and average winding will be more or less the stated length, in this case 2-2/3', at bottom C. Lots of factors combine to make the lengths only approximate.   TTFN, Russ     "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org  
(back) Subject: Re: What is average cost per rk average organ? From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 09:02:03 +1200   Nope, not as a rule. Always. Only two 64ft stops have existed and neither = is a Gravissima. Ross As a rule, the 64' Gravissima is a resultant.   Bill    
(back) Subject: Re: What is average cost per rk average organ? From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 09:02:59 +1200   Never! No 64ft flues exist. Ross   But it's probably a Bourdon or Subbass, no?   Hi Gang.......   As a rule, the 64' Gravissima is a resultant.   Bill    
(back) Subject: replacing speakers. From: "jon bertschinger" <jonberts@magiccablepc.com> Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 17:28:27 -0500   It's a shame we don't have to do that with our pipes. Organbuilders could make a fortune replacing "worn out" pipes. I'm not that good at math (that's why I just do the voicing..and not the making<EG> of pipes), but maybe someone like Sebastian could figure out how much builders could make in say a.........15rk instrument.   Just another point about good quality PIPE organs.     jon bertshinger  
(back) Subject: Re: Robert Noehren From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 18:56:17 EDT   Ladies and Gentlemen:   I am hoping to publish some material on the life, work, and philosophy of Robert Noehren in the next issue of The Journal of American Organbuilding, =   the official publication of the American Institute of Organbuilders.   While Dr. Noehren was a prolific writer, and his theories and opinions = have been given due treatment in other periodicals, I am hopeful that some of = you, or people you know, may have studied with him, or even worked on an organbuilding project with him, and would be able to jot down some recollections for publication.   Any photographs of him or his work would also be appreciated; credit will = be given, and materials returned.   Sebastian M. Gluck Editor Journal of American Organbuilding 170 Park Row New York, New York 10038-1156 (212) 608-5651 office (917) 749-0827 cellular Email: TubaMagna@aol.com  
(back) Subject: Re: spacing of keys on a manual, more information, more questions From: <wchapmn@attglobal.net> Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 18:58:00 -0400     ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ray Kimber" <ray@kimber.com> To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 12:44 PM Subject: spacing of keys on a manual, more information, more questions     > I am still wondering if there is "standard" set of specs that define the > keyboard. > Last time this issue came up the "agreed to standard" everyone accepted = was based on Steinway Piano keyboards. Steinway seemingly was happy to help = out and, as I recall, provided a key to key spacing paper.   Wm. G. Chapman