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Electro-Pneumatic Action


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I have recently played for a Remembrance Day service and several funerals at a church with a small but good 2 m + p  Hewins/Nicolson. The key action seems very light indeed and I have made more discordant sounds than usual by, for example, simply brushing a sharp or flat in a "white note" chord and causing it to sound. I would be the first to admit that my technique is at least partly to blame but wonder if anything can be done to slightly increase the weight of the action? The church is quite wealthy and no eyebrows were raised when I suggested that it would be nice to have some combination pistons added and a promise was made to ask Nicholsons to have a look when next the organ is tuned so I would expect that if some adjustment is possible there would be no objection to spending a bit more.  There is currently no appointed organist and in the absence of any other I am the default choice  for occasions when the organ is required. This does provide me with a bit of leverage! A band plays for the regular Sunday service but the church is keen to keep the organ fully maintained and is hoping to hold a small recital series during 2022.

I should appreciate any advice before I risk making myself look silly by taking it further. Thank you.

 

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I've been caught out in a similar way by modern suspended tracker action!  In fact, having not long since commissioned a rebuild, I was given a choice of key pressure on an electro-pneumatic action, so it's not a question of looking silly.  I regularly play 2 EP-actioned organs in the same city and the key pressures are very different.  I prefer the lighter one (which I chose) - but it is a personal preference.  Nicholsons are very good at this sort of thing and will be happy to provide good advice.

I am a little puzzled by the action - most of the originally Hewins organs that I have come across in the Warwickshire area tend to be TP or tracker - I don't think that I have come across an EP model - but there's no reason why it couldn't have been 'electrified' at some point!

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Thanks very much for this, Keitha.

I've known this organ on and off for over 40 years and took it, without really thinking about things, to be TP until September this year.  I was due to play for a wedding but had to pull out at relatively short notice. The DoM of a major church nearby kindly offered to play and asked if he could come to have a quick look and the organ so that he knew what was what. On our arrival, on Thursday afternoon for the wedding on Saturday, the blower started but there was no stop action. A transformer for the EP system had burned out. Nicholsons were absolutely brilliant, coming out the next morning to wire in a temporary unit and then a hard-wired replacement within a week or so. 

I took this to mean that both the stop and key actions had been electrified at some point - might it be that just the former saw attention?

If the key action is still TP, can the touch be adjusted? My knowledge of the innards of this organ is limited and the other 3 organs I play are single manual and pedal trackers.

 

 

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Your description fits Stratford-upon-Avon URC Church (NPOR D01532) except that you mention that you would like some thumb pistons, whereas this organ already has an “in key piston system”.  The photograph on NPOR shows something similar to the ‘sugar cube’ types, so maybe my detective work has resulted in a wrong identification!  

But if it is this one, according to NPOR the action is TP (although the stop actions must be electric).  Surely a telephone call to Nicholson’s or a PM to Andrew Caskie (with the correct location) should provide you with some reliable answers.  I’m sure they won’t make you feel in the least embarrassed or think that you are being ‘silly’. Gathering information wouldn’t be committing the church, and could well be assisting them as it’s extremely unlikely that anyone there will know any answers, or understand the technicalities!

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I had the same thoughts as Rowland - but I've never played the URC organ.  If you could identify the church (to put both Rowland and me out of our collective misery(!)) and PM me with the name of the person who last tuned the organ (I would bet that  know him quite well!) I can probably get all the answers you need pretty quickly.

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Thanks you both. It's not the URC organ although I do know that one (and they're my photos on the NPOR). The organ in question is St. Peter, Welford on Avon which is about 5 miles south-west of Stratford. As you'll see the NPOR gives it TP action but I don't think that has been updated since 1970 and it's possible that the action has been changed since then.. I added a photo and a few other details in 2010.

Rowland is right in the assumption about anyone at the church having technical knowledge of the organ although old paper archives of all church records are currently being digitised so may be unearthed soon.

Keitha - pm about to be sent.

 

 

 

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I'm currently playing the Grant, Deagans & Bradbeer organ in St Peter, Dunchurch once a month.  That has a very sensitive suspended action - last Sunday's opening hymn was a bit rough round the edges because of it, coupled with my "essential tremors".  It means you have to be very precise in playing - no bad thing.  Many Harmoniums are the same with no lost motion before the pallet begins to open.  Good luck with combination pistons - the GDB has no registration aids, so I'm getting back into hand registration - not difficult with just a handful of stops, but I've got too used to setting generals for hymns etc. on the digital at my normal church.

Every Blessing

Tony

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