Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - jwillans

Pages: [1]
FOR SALE and WANTED / Clavichord for sale
« on: September 02, 2017, 10:20:42 AM »
I appreciate this is border-line related to organs, but I know there are many baroque / renaissance music fans among our community so I thought I would offer here my beautifully made four and a half octave clavichord built by its previous owner in 1961 from a kit.  Currently this is tuned to A 415 (baroque pitch) but will easily tune to concert pitch and holds tuning for weeks at a stretch and plays wonderfully.  The clavichord comes with:

* solid wood stand in same finish as the main case
* tuning key
* box of spares and tools including felt and a block for setting up new strings
* box of spare strings of all relevant grades for re-stringing
* the original kit instruction book
* the original full-size plans

I am looking for a very reasonable 400 or near offer with collection near Sheffield, UK.

Electronic Organs / David Pinnegar - email
« on: March 05, 2017, 12:56:49 PM »

If you're reading this - I've sent you an email on your regular address which has bounced saying your inbox is full.  Do you have an alternative address I can contact you on?

Kind regards,


Your opinion speaks volumes about what the clergy thinks about pipe organs Tony,  i.e that they are a nuisance really and that their roles should be usurped as much as possible. This attitude will only ensure the slow death of the instrument. I cannot tell you how angry I feel at your comments. I feel I have completely wasted my time learning this bastard of an instrument. What WAS the bloody point? All those painful pedal exercises, all that effort directed at co-ordination. It was all a total WASTE of time. It wasn't appreciated. It never will be appreciated. And because of this, I am beginning to hate the instrument itself. I really should have learned three chords on a guitar and saved myself a lot of time money and effort.

The only points I saw in Tony's post were facts, and an opinion about organs being used in conjunction with other instruments (which I don't necessarily agree with).  Where was it implied or indicated that clergy think organs are nuisance?  This would certainly be the opposite of my experience  and many other's that I know.  Please spare us the 'wasted time' rhetoric, organists do not suffer for the benefit of the church, they have a marvellous time learning an enormously rewarding instrument with the icing on the cake being able to contribute to ministry through music. If your experience differs, then perhaps trainspotting beckons.

Kind regards,


Electronic Organs / Re: 1987 Wyvern Touring Organ - Four Manual Console.
« on: February 21, 2014, 08:42:39 PM »
Hi Mike - I too would suggest going the Hauptwerk root.  The conversion would not cost a lot if you were to do the labour yourself and it would make a great project.  The resulting organ would be significantly better than the Wyvern ever was - listen to some of HW instruments on

Kind regards,


EOCS - Electronic Organ Constructors Society / Re: Hauptwerk set up for sale
« on: September 19, 2012, 10:12:23 PM »
Seems a good deal for the asking price (the PC is no longer state of the art though and would need to be upgraded to be used with the latest HW sample sets).  My suggestion (beyond keeping it!) would be to place it for sale on the HW forum since that will get you the best prospects.  Note that there are some restrictions with transferring the software licences, so you may need to speak to Brett Milan about this.

Hope that helps,


FOR SALE and WANTED / Re: Some books left over
« on: May 01, 2012, 09:58:33 PM »
Hi Paul,

It was good to meet old, and make new friends over the past weekend, and an enjoyable time was had by all.  We still have a large amount of organ books, organ music, choral music and organ periodicals available.

Unfortunately I am someway North - would you be willing to send me a list of organ music?



FOR SALE and WANTED / Re: Sheet music
« on: February 02, 2012, 10:07:24 PM »
Hi Ruth,

Does this include classical organ music?  I would be looking for (almost) any decent addition Bach volumes - particularly a complete set.  Any post-war (again organ) music I'd be very interested in also.



Organs wanted / Re: Home organ wanted - advice please?
« on: October 31, 2011, 06:36:59 PM »
Hi Mike,

I am a little biased but unless you are talking about a significant size home instrument, I think you will struggle to find anything that comes close to Hauptwerk ( which is a digital organ - but on a different level to most options in this area.  Hauptwerk is software that runs on a PC and you will require a console.   Given that it sounds like you are wiling to explore DIY solutions, one option would be to aquire an old pipe organ console and convert this to a midi device for use with HW.  I agree about digital pianos, but organs lend themselves much more to simulation (no touch sensitivity - less complex overtones) and HW does an excellent job at this.

Hope that helps,


I'm a pianist who had organ lessons many years ago at school, which in the eyes of friends and family has been ample qualification for me to be asked to play at weddings and funerals over the years.  So my repertoire encompasses the Bach "Little" Eight and the Widor Toccata, and not much else.  But a recent wedding reminded me what fun it is playing the organ, and I started to wonder about expanding my repertoire, and buying a home organ.

My budget is about 10K, which points me firmly in the direction of what I have since discovered is known in these parts as a "toaster".  And that may yet prove to be economically and practically the best solution.

But after the initial exhilaration of pulling out all the stops and frightening the cats with the Widor, I wonder whether a digital organ might feel a bit artificial in a home environment, like playing an electronic gadget rather than a musical instrument.  I cannot abide digital pianos - to me, even the best modern ones  feel nothing like the real thing.

So I started exploring the possibility of acquiring a small pipe organ within my very limited budget, and so far the best (and almost only) option I've found is the delightfully-named "Flatpack" organ kit from Lammermuir (  If you buy both halves of this instrument you get 2 manuals plus pedals, and 3 stops between them.  And if you build it yourself (which they reckon amounts to around 530 hours work - a bit more than an IKEA wardrobe!), then the price is just about within my grasp.  I'm not too frightened of the DIY aspect and it would be a great way of learning about the insides of an organ.

The Lammermuir has a 4' flute on the upper manual, while the lower has an 8' rank, with a 2' brought into play by a lever.  The manuals can be shove-coupled.  The pedalboard is permanently coupled to the lower manual.  I've seen and played one of these instruments and was very impressed indeed.  It looks and sounds really beautiful, has a wonderful action, and is completely in scale for a domestic environment.

On the other hand ... just 3 stops? What to do when the music calls for changes of registration, or even just a crescendo?!  For the same money I can have a really nice toaster with 30-odd stops, switchable English or Continental voicing, a headphone socket, selectable temperament, and masses of programmable buttons and flashing lights, and maybe even proper drawstops!

Surely I must be mad even to consider the pipe organ?



Please sign the petition to help enable the Cavaille-Coll organ to move from the Parr Hall into St. Mary's Church Warrington which will offer a much improved venue and prospect for the instrument:


Hi Tony,

I wonder if illuminated stops al la Compton might be the easiest way of incorporating some sort of electronic display - although of course, you would have to be wary of ambient light.  I've had the "fun" of playing an organ with illuminated rockers with bright sunlight streaming through the window  - obliterating any hope of seeing which great & pedal stops were on!  Not good when there's a Dulciana (in the logical place for the stop) that can be swapped with a Tuba!

The "quick and dirty" solution that I've seen is one Colin Pykett uses - there used to be some pix on his web site - not sure if they're still there.  Basically (he was using plain rocker tabs) printed label sheets that hung from small hooks above the stops.  Load the new set of sounds, and while it's loading, swap the labels over.  Simple - and it works.

I don't mind illuminated stop tabs (in fact my organ will have illuminated stop tabs for the couplers) and I can imagine an LCD placed in the middle of each would work well. 

I am trying to think of an appropriate LCD panel which would be small enough to sit in a drawstop, but with text large and clear enough to be seen.  Something like the following but smaller:


Firstly I should have congratulated you earlier on your touch screen pics - looks brilliant . . . and I'm delighted that the speaker drivers I sent have produced a success: it's quite remarkable the change that can be achieved by simply knowing what drivers can sound real rather than synthesised. . . .

Thanks although that is not my console but that of another HW forum member.   Full thread can be found here:

Mine will be similiar in many respects and I expect work to begin in the next 6-8 weeks.  I'll keep you informed of progress.


The comment was not intended as a criticism of either David, TG or other digital organs - I apologise if this was the perception.  I've had very satisfying experiences playing other digital organs, and I am aware that no two instruments are the same, given the varied nature of buildings and installations, to generalise across brands.

I agree with David in that HW sounds very fine in stereo, a live-CD if you like of a particularly organ.   That is using wet-sampled, however using dry-samples in appropriate acoustics and with appropriate audio system can give the presence of a real pipe-organ.  I have successfully conducted experiments for the latter system type using the drivers that David very kindly (and resonably) supplied!  I hope that David considers trying this type of system out with his Makin.

As you can see from my previous comment, we are all in agreement about the superior nature of drawstops.  I think a system that might incorporate drawstops with the flexibility of different instruments, is one where drawstops can be configured to display different stop names.  A primitive implementation might be to mount a small LCD panel in each stop head, but I can imagine that this can be done more neatly so that the appearance is closer to that of a fixed stop head.

TG and David - We're going a little off-topic but all interesting stuff. 

My preference too is drawstops particularly since I prefer hand register over other aids such as thumb/foot pistons.  I like the tactile interaction as part of the organ playing experience.  The use of touch screens does not necessarily mean that the rest of the organ is any different to a "conventional" console.  See the following HW console:

and does (as indicated by the screenshot) give the flexibility for the console to be used for different instruments.  My console will be oak (solid in part) and built from recovered pipe organ components, with ivory keys over the 4 manuals.  To suggest that having a touch screen sets expectation of sound quality etc I think is a little harsh (and I suspect from what you say that you have not played a HW console).  Note also that there are touch screens and there are touch screens, modern IPS monitors with optical touch screens like I will be using, are very good even in bad light and have very reliable interaction.


Hi David,

I probably paid around 15 each for them with the stopheads - they are the type with exposed silver wires rather than reed switches but the few I've used are reliable and I have a set of spare silver wires.

Thanks for the offer but I'm going to pass on this occasion. I'm going down the path of having a couple of touch screens mounted in the drawstop jambs to allow for flexibility of switching HW organs.  I have tinkered with the idea of being able to slide in a couple of real drawstops in front of these for a single "favoured" organ, but this is very much a secondary background idea when I chanced upon a set of appropriate drawstops.


Hi Tony,

P.S. @jwillans - where are you (PM if you prefer) - I'm in Bradford - rather an organ wasteland, with a few notable exceptions.

I'm based in Sheffield, but travel regularly to Wakefield and less so York.


Hi David,

I agree - I see my use as a last resort prior to the instrument getting scrapped.  Ideally I would like to see it go to a school where it will encorage the next generation of organists.  Lancaster isn't that far from me and I may be able to help out with relocating the instrument if this was the intent.

With regard midifcation although designing and realising custom encodes/decodes isn't a particularly big job, I use since there are a few suppliers of the PCBs (and component kits) and it has proven a robust and scalable solution.  Many people have used midibox for organs and there are plenty of threads on the midibox forum.

Many thanks for the kind offer of the KA drawstops.  I would be very interest in these, do you have a figure in mind?


I suspect that because the console is part of a historic organ front, there is quite a lot of work to do to convert the manuals and stop jambs etc coming out of Lancaster into a new console and for home use you might do better to buy the midified keyboard stack and stop controls that member Eric Daleste on this forum sells - I think there are some on ebay.

I don't think that would be the case.  I have built midi-decoding hardware many times over and expect the Makin to be KA components or similiar (in any case - we are only talking switches).  I am currently in the process of building a 4 manual instrument around HW, it struck me that the Makin might be a quicker way to the same end.


Hi David,

I must admit I have been lurking for a while and have certainly enjoyed many of the threads.

To be frank my intention would have been to use the console components and the speakers as a basis for a Hauptwerk system.  I can't imagine that the Makin is very satisfactory to play and, although I appreciate your wish see it used wholesale, it could be used as a basis for a much better instrument. 


Hi David,

I'm interested (although my Wife may say differently) although it would need to be at low/no cost given my budget constraints.



Pages: [1]

Locations of visitors to this page

Organ Design

Latroba Holidays