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Thoughts On Keyboards Please!


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As a new member, may I say how interesting I have found the various discussions on this forum, and could I ask for observations regarding keyboards please?

 

My wife, (the organist in the family), has a two manual practise organ about twenty years old. It's a fine piece of furniture, well made with oak bench and consul, drawstops etc. and, for its time, a reasonable sound. The main shortcoming, my wife has always said, is the unrealistic feel of the keys.

 

Now the contacts on the keys are beginning to fail. I am well able to clean and adjust the contacts, but with the silver coating worn away, the repairs are only temporary, and I am thinking this may be a good time to replace the keyboards. Research so far suggests perhaps Kimber Allen or UHT, (at a price), but it's a big step to buy without playing on them.

 

I am told, by she who knows, that for practise, the sound is bearable; it's the touch that's the first priority. Church organs played on regularly are two trackers, one of which is a HEAVY three manual, and one much more sophisticated, (pneumatic?)

 

What keyboards do church organ builders use now? Do they buy in, or make their own? Any observations or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

 

You could try the following:

 

http://www.pandsco.com/KEYBOARDS.htm

 

http://www.kimberallen.8m.net/photo2.html

 

Herrburger Brooks went into receivership in 1998.

 

There are a few other places. Your best option may be to contact the manufacturers of your existing organ (if they are still in business) and request replacement claviers. It is less likely that another firm would be willing to supply new claviers only, although it may be worth enquiring.

 

You could also try http://www.renatus.co.uk/ since they also provide complete consoles - they must obtain their claviers from somewhere.

 

If you are unsuccessful with any of the above (or any others supplied by fellow-contributors) I am able to supply contact details for one or two firms in North America.

 

It occurs to me that you could also try virtually any smaller firm of organ builders in the U.K. Most will have a wide selection of organ parts and you may find one or two who are willing to sell you some second-hand claviers already fitted with contacts. Again, I am happy to supply links (or addresses) if you wish.

 

Good hunting.

 

 

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I'm sure pcnd has given a lot of thought to his reply, but I may have an easier solution if I can trace my steps from about 5 years ago!

 

Not a zillion miles away from me, is a chap who restores electronic organs (someone has to do, I suppose!)

 

If I can find the links and the name/address of the company, I will pass it on.

 

Don't hold your breath though, it may take a little while.

 

MM

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I'm sure pcnd has given a lot of thought to his reply, but I may have an easier solution if I can trace my steps from about 5 years ago!

 

Not a zillion miles away from me, is a chap who restores electronic organs (someone has to do, I suppose!)

 

If I can find the links and the name/address of the company, I will pass it on.

 

Don't hold your breath though, it may take a little while.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

You could try Ron Coates (Boxhill, Surrey) - 01737 844420 or www.clicorgans.co.uk I did have the contact details of a repair man in the Yorkshire area (may be the same person as Musing Muso is thinking of) but that info went AWOL when my computer threw a wobbly a couple of months ago - I could probably find out if its any help.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Many thanks for your replys. I have contacted KimberAllen, UHT, Renatus and P&S. For interest, the results were as follows.

 

A keyboard from KimberAllen, if I remember correctly, was around £550, without electrical contacts. UHT keyboards come in at around £1400 complete except for end cheeks, and cost varies slightly depending on the type of contacts fitted. Renatus say they use UHT in many of their projects. As yet I have had no reply from P&S.

 

On (electronic) paper, at least, UHT appear to be technically advanced, using contactless switches, magnets to simulate pressure points etc., and virtually everything adjustable, but of course that doesn't say what they actually feel like to play on.

 

Is there someone out there who has experience of playing on a KA or UHT keyboard?

 

Thanks again.

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Guest Barry Williams

A satifactory solution to the keyboard problem is to obtain second-hand keyboards from a pipe organ or an early Compton electronic organ. (The electronic consoles were made in the same workshop as the pipe consoles.) These keyboards are ivory and can be re-sprung and fitted with new contacts at much less cost than new keyboards.

 

Barry Williams

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Thank you for the last two replies. I shall obviously have to give the whole thing some serious thought, but at least I have several suggestions to consider. It's also good to know that, if I do decide to buy new keyboards, then UHT sound like a good option.

 

Thanks again to all who replied.

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