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Key Contacts....


D Quentin Bellamy
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There was nothing on telly tonight, in spite of there being about 100 channels of drivel on Sky, so I decided to make a dvd night of it. Half way through the evening the new dvd vcr died a death so I had to sort that out and revert to the former dvd player ... but enough of that...

 

The dvd I was watching was one of Phil Kelsall at the Wurlitzer of the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. Not my favourite player or organ, but couldn't resist the temptation of adding to the dvd library of organ stuff. Half way through the recording the Wurlitzer console is shown in a state of advance undress, sans keyboards, and the organ builder, talking to the good Mr Kelsall, happened to comment that the key contacts were being replaced. He mentioned that the last time they were replaced was "three years ago" and that they are completely worn out!!

 

Now I know that organ gets plenty of use - more than most cathedral organs, (in fact I think it gets quite a hammering for a 70 year old organ); but three years of key contact life???? (remembering that the Ballroom is closed during the off season months). Three years could then perhaps be more accurately 20 months or so....

 

Could this be a world record???? :rolleyes:

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The Tower ballroom is not completely closed during the winter months. It is open on Sat, Sun and Wednesdays. So the Wurlitzer does take a bit of a hammering all the year round. One sadness is that the organ's grand piano which used to be on stage is no longer fully functional and a Yahama expander is used instead.

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The Tower ballroom is not completely closed during the winter months. It is open on Sat, Sun and Wednesdays. So the Wurlitzer does take a bit of a hammering all the year round. One sadness is that the organ's grand piano which used to be on stage is no longer fully functional and a Yahama expander is used instead.

 

The said grand piano (mothballed) makes an appearance in the same dvd whilst just above it on a shelf on the wall is a black box of about the same size as a dvd player which is the "new" piano. Can't help wondering why it was necessary to dispense with the original grand piano.... it always looked so impressive on the stage and gave the punters something else to look at!

:rolleyes:

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There was nothing on telly tonight, in spite of there being about 100 channels of drivel on Sky, so I decided to make a dvd night of it. Half way through the evening the new dvd vcr died a death so I had to sort that out and revert to the former dvd player ... but enough of that...

 

The dvd I was watching was one of Phil Kelsall at the Wurlitzer of the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. Not my favourite player or organ, but couldn't resist the temptation of adding to the dvd library of organ stuff. Half way through the recording the Wurlitzer console is shown in a state of advance undress, sans keyboards, and the organ builder, talking to the good Mr Kelsall, happened to comment that the key contacts were being replaced. He mentioned that the last time they were replaced was "three years ago" and that they are completely worn out!!

 

Now I know that organ gets plenty of use - more than most cathedral organs, (in fact I think it gets quite a hammering for a 70 year old organ); but three years of key contact life???? (remembering that the Ballroom is closed during the off season months). Three years could then perhaps be more accurately 20 months or so....

 

Could this be a world record???? :unsure:

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I was so amazed at only three years use I pressed the wrong button! Something funny here somewhere. Idle thoughts are that the original contact block positions have been moved and there is too much movement on them. I cannot remember contacts in my whole life ever being a disaster other than serious damp or incensce troubles .

 

FF

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Do you know if they are 'wiper switches'?

 

Don't know the answer to that one, but did note that Maestro Kelsall had complained to the tuner/technician that the depth of touch was insufficient. The tuner commented that the depth of touch before the note sounds should be about the same as the thickness of a key ivory.

 

Of course with my glorious Wyvern and its plastic keys, I am none the wiser...

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Don't know the answer to that one, but did note that Maestro Kelsall had complained to the tuner/technician that the depth of touch was insufficient. The tuner commented that the depth of touch before the note sounds should be about the same as the thickness of a key ivory.

 

Of course with my glorious Wyvern and its plastic keys, I am none the wiser...

 

The thickness of the ivory was the accepted depth of movement before the contact `made'. I remember that Peter Hurford and Francis Jackson had totally different ideas of where the contact point was to suit them which could mean quite a lot of work resetting things to accommodate them - and as was pointed out, with mechanical action you simply accepted what was there and got on with it, as indeed do most professional pianists.

 

FF

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  • 2 weeks later...
The thickness of the ivory was the accepted depth of movement before the contact `made'. I remember that Peter Hurford and Francis Jackson had totally different ideas of where the contact point was to suit them which could mean quite a lot of work resetting things to accommodate them - and as was pointed out, with mechanical action you simply accepted what was there and got on with it, as indeed do most professional pianists.

 

FF

 

I too was told to set contact "make" at the depth of the ivory - not very scientific when ivory thickness can vary from organ to organ.

 

At All Saints, Leamington, Peter Hurford thought the contacts "made" too soon.

He preferred the make point to be lower so that you didn't have to lift the fingers so high in trills, etc.

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