LOWREY HERITAGE DELUXE DSO-1 (All valve, circa 1965, USA)
This organ has some phenomenal sounds on it, especially the long sustained notes with attack on the start of the note. Some of its functions are similar in concept to the Hammond Novachord of the 1930s. There is something truly magical about having an instrument that is made up of over 40 valves glowing their little hearts out, feeling the warmth from the valve heaters (and that gorgeous old dusty smell!), and even more amazing are the neon bulbs which light up different parts of the internal circuitry as you play! See a video here. This type was famously used by Jazz players such as Alan Haven, and was also the organ used by The Beatles on Sgt Pepper, for the intro to 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', the whirly chromatic organ runs on 'Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite' and various other tracks on later albums such as 'Something' on Abbey Road. The Beatles later purchased a transistor model, the Lowrey Holiday TLO-R1 (one of which we also have) for their Apple Studios in around 1969. Most of the leslie'd vocal effects on their Magical Mystery Tour EP were achieved by running it through the internal leslie of a Lowrey DSO.
This particular example was purchased in 2015 and after being dusted and cleaned is 99% working! They are rare as hen's testicles! Sound clips of its various functions below.
LOWREY HOLIDAY TLO-R1 (circa 1969) TRANSISTOR VERSION OF THE DSO-1, WITH MANUALLY PLAYABLE DRUM SOUNDS, BUILT IN LESLIE AND WAH WAH PEDAL!
Philips Philicorda GM 751
Hammond C3 (1960s) with modified bass pedal output (organ to leslie output, bass pedals to PR40 output)
Hammond M102 (1967 model, allegedly once property of Apple Studio, Savile Row... sadly no conclusive proof it did, aside from one long brown hair, and one long black hair found wrapped around one of the pedals, which obviously came from the heads of John & Yoko!)
CLAVIOLINE CONCERT "C" Monophonic Valve Synth (Selmer, London, 1958)
JENNINGS UNIVOX J6 (Dartford, UK, 1954) Monophonic Valve Synth - The Univox Nameplate glows Radium green when it's switched on!
JENNINGS UNIVOX J6 (Dartford, UK, later model circa 1958 with in-house custom modifications to the tone tabs) Monophonic Valve Synth
BIRD ORGAN, MK II (1963, Sydney Bird and Co, UK - All valve with matching stool and Amp) this one originally used by Don Shinn on The Soul Agents' singles on Pye in 1964/5.
GEM JUMBO 61 (Italy, c.1970) - Broken speaker giving a marvellous 'Magic Roundabout' type sound, with stupendous bass sounds and scary fast to stupidly slow vibrato! This has got to have the loudest on-board solid state amp ever designed!
WELTMEISTER TO 200/5 ORGAN (Germany, 1970)
HOHNER Clavinet 'L' Model (circa 1968)
This is the very rare Model L made in 1968, and was used by Don Shinn on the Dada album (with Elkie Brooks) in 1970. It fell into severe disrepair over the years, and was almost forgotten about until we rediscovered it lurking at the back of a cupboard and sent it to Row Antiques for a full restoration! See this article on Row Antiques' website. Now fully working and ready for action!
Weltmeister Claviset 200 Electric Piano (circa 1965, Germany)
A fabulous German electric piano from the 1960s, (also sold in a slightly hyped up, sparkly state in the UK as a 'Pianotron'), powered by two 4.5v batteries. It has 'tines' like a Fender Rhodes, but these are plucked by small rubber plectra rather than struck. It has a variety of filters which gives a warm celeste style sound, or right through to the very extreme 'Music Box' tab which delivers a brash ice cream van sound! The funky music stand is a repro we made with some wire (see the Weltmeister TO 200/5 which has an original.) We also made a sustain pedal for this out of an old Yamaha digital piano pedal and a bicycle brake cable, but eventually found a beautiful set of original pedals (mechanical sustain and a volume control). Photo is here.
MIDI Controlled Pipe Organ (32 Victorian Church Organ Pipes in modern midi controlled blower box)
A modern midi controlled 32 note pipe organ utilizing recycled Victorian lead and tin organ pipes. Like any old pipe organ, the tuning goes a bit funny dependant on atmosphere and temperature. It can be easily tuned up to concert pitch (using outer sleeves on tops of pipes), or left how it is for a more quirky fairground type sound. As it is completely controlled by MIDI, it can either be played live from a midi keyboard, or you can send a midifile into it and record the results. Lowest note is middle C (C3) highest is G5
The sound clip is the organ 'au naturale' - blower noise is inherent in the recording to a certain extent, but is part of a proper small pipe organ's overall sound. Recorded here in mono with one vintage AKG D19b microphone. Flat EQ and no limiting/compression.
Steve is playing this piece, which he was commissioned to write many years ago for a short play entitled 'Dr Horror'!
JOHN REYNOLDS CATCH SINGLE MANUAL HARPSICHORD (1942) - 2 SETS OF STRINGS PER NOTE WITH PEDAL SELECTORS (Leather or Quill plectra with Lute stop)
A lovely single manual harpsichord built in 1942 by John Reynolds Catch. The recordings were done with a couple of nice Condenser mics fairly close to the strings. You can hear the natural resonance of the instrument. Steve is the player in this excerpt, and the first piece is a work in progress track from his 'Prufrock' project, and the second and third are more fiddly (and pretty difficult!) pieces by Scarlatti which attempt to show the different sounds the instrument can produce. We have also used this instrument as an echo chamber in the past as it's got a beautiful reverb sound - you can just about hear the natural reverb in the recording below.
GODWIN SC 749 STRING CONCERT (circa 1975)
The Godwin SC 749 (made by Sisme, Italy) is a really lovely, warm string synth capable of some Hammond Novachord type long attack/long sustain tones, as well as classic synth string quartet type sounds (think Solina String Ensemble style - Stevie Wonder - Village Ghetto Land)
YAMAHA ELECTONE C55-N (circa 1979)
This organ is basically The Specials and Jerry Dammers "organified" - It has all of the great sounds you can hear on their album 'More Specials' as well as the famous organ/synth clarinet sound they used on 'Ghost Town.' On the face of it, it's quite a cheesy instrument, but it's got some lovely warm string sounds, great organ percussive timbres and lovely late 70s/early 80s stabby sounds. Built-in leslie (with speed control!) and beat box with arpegiator which is actually quite interesting, depending on how you play it. It's also got some very CS80-esque timbres, especially the piano sound.
ROGERS UPRIGHT PIANO (c.1965) with Mandolin rail (tack piano sound), Mute rail and Paper effect rail.
OTHER INSTRUMENTS IN THE FORM OF VST INSTRUMENTS OR SOUND LIBRARIES AVAILABLE FOR USE IN BESPOKE RECORDINGS:
Baldwin Electric Harpsichord
Yamaha Upright Piano (2000s)
Fender Rhodes MK II
Mellotron and Chamberlin Libraries
Steinway B Grand Piano
Various other pianos, Harpsichords etc.
Various Orchestral Instruments
...and don't forget, any recording we do using MIDI controlled instruments will be sent along with the MIDIFILE we create (no extra charge), so you can change the sounds to your heart's content!