May. 11, 2016

Step Up Instruments, Part I

When a spinet organ proves too small finally [See blog, The Spinet Organ], and the playing of the novice organist evolves from dabbling around to really working with it, and not having enough keys, pedals, and stops are holding back progress, it becomes necessary to think about a step up instrument for the home.
A small pipe organ would be the ideal practice instrument, but many families typically cannot supply the necessary funds or physical space to install this type of instrument in their residences.
It becomes then a search for the best electronic instrument that the available space and funds can accommodate.
Back in the 1960's, the Conn organ was leading the field in the low price range, for a well made, quality sounding, electronic organ for the home.
The Conn Rhapsody Model 626 (photo), for example, was equipped with two full size (61-note) manuals, 40 watts of power, a 25 note flat, radiating pedalboard, and self-contained loudspeakers.
This was an entirely vacuum tube oscillator organ, which gave it a full sound that was very solid.
Like all Conn organs, this instrument incorporated independent tone generation for each note and all 4 families of organ tone in its stop list ... diapasons, flutes, strings, and reeds.
This model also came with sub and super couplers on the Solo manual and a little broader range of voices with better tone quality than most spinet organs of the day, although it was, for all practical purposes, a Conn Minuet 460 (spinet) in terms of stops, only with the voices playable from a bigger cabinet ... 2 full size manuals and a larger 25 note pedalboard.
This Conn Rhapsody was the first step up instrument that one classically trained organist used to continue his journey in organ playing.
(con't in Part II)