70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

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70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Mon May 28, 2012 10:36 am

I've gotten into conversations about these old spinet home organs, have they got a good voice for blues?
Can they compare to the Hammond B3?
Thanks.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby jeffl » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:26 pm

I've seen plenty of guys using Lowry spinets for blues. IMO it depends on what kind of blues playin'. The biggest thing about the Hammond B2s and 3s is their percussive attacks (key clicks, etc.) , when you want 'em. The B2 probably has the best percussion of any of those, but you can transfer it into a B3 if you're inclined.
The other thing is that some spinets don't have drawbars. Drawbars are a big plus for gettin' nuances on blues keyboard chords.. even rock boards.
I jus' think that the day of the big console organs, even spinets, is over unless you want one for a "house" organ. The digital boards today, and the rack units, are just so lightweight and versatile.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:10 pm

Hey thanks!
Mostly or totally I just want a cheap new instrument for home.
I need to get some insights about nuances, like you've given me.
Are the other old name brands like Baldwin, Conn, Lowery and Wurlitzer, sound worthy for Blues?
Let me know please.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby jeffl » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:27 pm

I think the names you mentioned are all quality builders. If I was picking a console organ for the home, I'd look for one with the most tabs for different voices, and drawbars if I could find 'em. You'll find sounds you can use if you have enough options. You'll tailor your playing to what the instrument can do.
I'm curious though... Are you thinking of a console because you want a nice piece of furniture for the living room, or is it your perception that they sound better than small digital boards...?
By the way.. if you can, find an organ with at least a pair of 6 X 9" ellyptical onboard speakers, and onboard tremolo if you can't afford a Leslie speaker system (rotary horns). The 6 X 9s produce a distinctive sound, desirable for blues.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:54 pm

Thanks Jeff,
I'm thinking that these old home organs will sound and feel better for the price than a digital board.
They originally sold for quite a bit of change $$$.
I'm only hunting for the classic organ sound, and have no interest in modern tech sounds.
Prices for these in good shape is below $200, some below $100.
I see quality digital board prices begin at $500.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby jeffl » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:00 pm

Yup. And, you did get more resonance outa those big pieces of furniture, with all that heavy wood vibratin'. I've got a digital yammy grand clavinova and it sounds better on its own than it does when I run a line out into my keyboard amp.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:39 am

Well, I got a decent Hammond for just $75.
Solid state, with transistors and microchips. Built in rotating baffle over a speaker for acoustic tremolo, plus a Leslie output jack in back.

Mostly I went for the VERY low price, and nearby location, because yes I understand that having a number of drawbars is much better.
However, the better organs were farther away and more costly.

An actual B3 would be up around $4000.

Just to compare cost for cost, this is a WAY better instrument than any Harmony or Teisco guitar with matching amp.

Time to buy a good Blues for Keyboard instruction book!
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby jeffl » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:43 pm

Very cool, Buffalo Bill! I hope it works great for you!
BTW, when I've googled "used Hammond Organs for sale", I've come up with a "superstore" somewhere down south U.S., I think Oklahoma City or sumpin'. I get a stiffie checkin' out their inventory. With Leslies, their stuff can run $10K- $12K at last check. I gotta believe the weak economy & newer technology has slowed their sales.
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:35 pm

Havin' a lotta fun for just $75!
It's my Hammond organ, remember these?
I got da Blues scale marked on dat keyboard map, and I'm training my hands and feet to play together.
With my knowledge of music theory, I can make up easy melodies, and jam with the built in rhythm machine, it also has an autochord function that lets me cheat on the left hand!
Beautiful sounds!
It reeks of incense, I'm sure it came from a church.
The church lady organist left all her lesson books, and music in the bench.

Image
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Re: 70s vintage spinet organs, OK for blues?

Postby jeffl » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:21 pm

Gre-a-a-a-t piece of furniture, AND you can play blues on it...? Ain't life great! It's a beauty.
I started out as a rock piano guy in the mid-sixties, and it's been very hard for me to incorporate blues chops on the organ: the growls & percussive chops, etc. I'm still in awe of the real blues organ guys, 'cuz I feel like a hacker. I learned to quit thinking like a piano player when I'm doin' it though.. play partial chords & accent notes insteada muddyin' everything up, and be willing to not even use your left hand at times.
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