How it all started for me!

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How it all started for me!

Postby highlandelectrone » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:32 pm

Following on from Alex's post in "New Member Introductions" and Lucien's subsequent Replies, I feel it might be of some interest how I got involved in Compton Electrones.

When I started school back in 1969, at George Heriots School in Edinburgh, I was only 5 years old but I knew what an organ sounded like. I was aware that there was an organ in the school's assembly hall but that was it! As the years progressed, I began piano lessons at the age of 7 and then organ lessons at the age of 12.
I had my first lesson on the organ in the hall and over the next few years, practised regularly on it. It was of course a Compton 347, and I now know that it was a fairly late model.
When I was in 4th year, my teacher left and I took over organist duties for the school. The organ was giving trouble by now and the company who looked after it pronounced it to be "beyond repair". My main hobby happened to be electronics, so a bit of adjustment and a set of new output valves later, the organ was playing really well again.
When I left school in 1982, I lost touch but subsequently heard that the organ had been scrapped in favour of an Allen.

As the years went by, I often looked out for Compton Electrones but didnt come across any.

However, in the early 2000's , I made contact with an old friend who happened to have a 357 going spare. I bought it and put it into my garage until I had a space for it. In the meantime, I came across a 363 for sale in a Manchester church,which I bought and also put into the garage!
Around the same time, I heard about three 347's needing rescued from Scarborough!
So, I ended up with 5 Electrones in varying states of repair.
Once I finished building my house, I moved the 363 in, repaired it and got it playing rather nicely. I then moved one of the 347's in and did the same with it, although my intention is to carry out a full restoration in the fullness of time. Around the same time, I heard that the generators from the Free Trade Hall Special Electrone were up for grabs, so I acquired them also. By this time space was getting tight, so the 363 was put out on loan to a friend as a practice instrument. The 347 generators were put back into storage and the console was temporarily wired to the Free Trade Hall generators.
A rare Palladium model was also acquired but I have since swapped it with Lucien for a CH2.

Due to a change of circumstances, the whole lot is in storage at the moment, apart from the Free Trade Hall instrument, which I am in the process of building a midi control system for, to make it a bit neater for a domestic environment. This conversion will be external and not involve modifying any part of the instrument.

I have since added a complete generator rack from an electrostatic Makin organ, and a couple of modern analogue instruments purely for parts for my Hauptwerk project which is running alongside the other projects.

That sums it all up to date - I hope the story is of interest to some and not too boring.

Festive regards to you all

Richard
highlandelectrone
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:36 am

Re: How it all started for me!

Postby Lucien Nunes » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:23 pm

I didn't know you'd taken your first lesson on a 347, not surprised that you ended up having to maintain it though, too far north for Fred to come. I wonder what its number was, do you have any recordings or pics of it in situ? 347s seem to have been quite popular in school halls, one of ours (347/156) came from Trinity School in Croydon, which is also listed in the brochure.

My re-discovery of the Electrone was a near carbon-copy of Richard's. He seems to have started innocently enough with a 357, perhaps believing as I did that no further developments would occur. Then when a 363 arrived in the same place the two instruments exceeded critical mass and caused an explosive chain reaction. Maybe we should put a warning about this on the new Electrone site pages!

Lucien
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am

Re: How it all started for me!

Postby highlandelectrone » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:42 pm

Sadly, I have no recordings of the organ at all - there may be a photocopied picture of me at the console somwhere but thats all. I am not sure of the age of the organ at all.
Comparing it with the instruments I have, I am pretty sure that it is a late model. It has the later style pre-amp, both amps had balancing controls on all four pairs of KT66's and all the chassis were grey/blue rather than the earlier cream colour.
The console had the usual "mysterious" toggle switch at the left - I have never played one that it actually did anything - maybe someone will know what it should do. The main power switch was a lovely clunky rotary affair with a very strong spring. It was mounted on a nice Compton engraved brass plate, with a green indicator lamp.
I suspect that it was a genuine Compton installation. very neat and with a junction box on the wall, with a label stating "John Compton Organ Company, Sound Circuit Only".
It was maintained by a gentleman called (Bernard ?) Phelps, from Strathclyde Organ Services, who is or was fairly well known around the Scottish repair scene. He had obviously had enough by the time he declared it beyond repair.
This has just reminded me of another 347 I played in an Edinburgh church (North Merchiston) - it was similar to the school instrument apart from the power switch which was more "plasticky". Mr Phelps also condemned this one for a similar reason. Sadly the church clossed and was demolished, and I never knew what the fate of the organ was.

Richard
highlandelectrone
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:36 am

Re: How it all started for me!

Postby Lucien Nunes » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:21 pm

The switch...IIRC 347/108 doesn't have one. 347/188 has one that might be wired to disable the second-touch cancelling. However as it isn't labelled, while the switch above it for 'Pedal Unenclosed' is, it looks like a retrospective hookup. The switch on 347/49 controls the Rotofon motor via a relay in the cabinet, it is suitably labelled and is presumably Fred's work as he probably supplied the Roto. I believe he did the same on 347/89. My hunch is that 'second-touch cancellers off' would have been the most likely intended application as that appears on many Compton consoles of the period, although maybe it was only connected up if requested?

Lucien

E2A pic of 347/188
Attachments
347 switch.jpg
Unlabelled switch to left of manuals on model 347
347 switch.jpg (51.9 KiB) Viewed 39165 times
Black was always meant to be a phase. The neutral phase.
Lucien Nunes
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:26 am


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