altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
[personal profile] altivo
Way too many things and stuff, actually. Both in terms of disruptive events and physical items to be sorted and, in at least some cases, eliminated. The house and garage are packed full, in part due to the passing of Gary's mom and sister-in-law at the end of last year. The calendar is full too, mostly with things I didn't choose to put there but alas, most of them require action on my part.

Last month we had a new roof put on the house, something that was overdue and way too costly. It had to be done, however. That meant stirring a lot of things out of their usual places, including all the pictures on the walls and the plates in their plate rails in order to avoid damage from the pounding and vibration. The job is done now, and satisfactory if not perfect, but dusting and getting all that stuff back into place is taking a while.

Then we learned that Gary's brother and nephew had sold their house and were moving. They asked if we could find homes for some bookshelves and other large items that they no longer needed. We ended up with six large matching bookcases that are now sitting in the garage until we can rearrange furniture to get them into the house somewhere. This also means I lose wall space presently occupied by artwork, paintings by my father and step-mother that I really prefer to keep visible. However, I'll work it out.

We also "adopted" a Wurlitzer 4500 theatre organ. It was sitting in Wayne's basement, and I suspect in part that was my fault. Nearly 15 years ago, Gary's brother Wayne and his family came to visit us, shortly after we had moved to the farm. Nephew David was fascinated with my Wurlitzer 950 (another large heavy electronic theatre organ console) and played with it for quite a while. He was about 15 years old at the time, I think. We would see them at holidays, but always at their mom's house in Chicago, so neither of us knew that David had managed to acquire an organ through a friend. As it turned out, he eventually decided to play electric guitar instead, and the organ sat untouched. Wayne asked if we knew anyone who would want it. (While these instruments have theoretical value, in practical terms they are like old pianos. Large, heavy, difficult to move and care for, and most people don't want to bother any more.) I agreed to at least look at it and make sure it was working. We went over two weeks ago, only having just learned that they were selling their house. Wayne told us the house was sold and he needed to have everything out in two weeks.

Wurlitzer 4500


The organ seemed to be fine. Everything working, and the only damage from sitting in the basement for a decade was some moisture damage to the veneer at the bottom on one side. Musically, I was not prepared to be so impressed. The 4500 was designed and marketed by Wurlitzer in the late 1960s. It was part of their first line of all-transistor instruments. I remember many of the other similar products of that era, by other makers including Thomas, Conn, Schober, Kimball, Gulbransen, and Baldwin. Most of them sounded awful and were not very pleasant to play. At that time, only Hammond interested me and both then and now, Hammond has remained well beyond my budget. Almost 20 years ago, I did acquire the used Wurlitzer 950 and a pair of Leslies, and found it adequate if not exactly ideal. It was at least playable and had a tolerable sound. In the end, though I protested that we had no room for another organ console, Gary talked me into taking it and we had it moved to our house along with the six bookshelves.

I had underestimated Wurlitzer, based on numerous bad spinet organs and the limitations of the 950 (late 1970s model.) The 4500 design was clearly influenced by some designers and probably performers who were familiar with the actual tonal acoustics and playing methods of real pipe organs. It is still a compromise, of course, in order to keep the cost within reason and the complexity within some limits. In spite of that, and using only analog synthesis, they came through with an instrument that has the feel and touch of a pipe organ console, and a sound that is quite credible given the size of a home living room. No, it's not an Allen or a Rodgers, but I can't afford those anyway and they need a lot more space than I have. I am, however, really enjoying the opportunity to reacquire my amateur but decent abilities at playing. The sound is, well, astonishingly good. I have to limit my time sitting at the keyboards in order to get other things done. (And to avoid developing back pains and a sore butt. Guess I really am getting old.)

We also planted a real, if small, garden this spring. For the first time in several years, I'm looking forward to homegrown tomatoes and green beans, as well as salad greens and a few other things. Experimental potato growing method Gary got from the internet is underway, and they are certainly producing big healthy foliage. We'll see if there are potatoes come September.

With the sheep gone, farm chores are a bit reduced. Horses still need daily care, though. Eggs have to be collected and the ducks fed. Dogs require their daily share of attention. Work is perhaps less satisfying than it used to be, but I still can't give it up for a few years, so that's a chunk of hours.

And that's where I've been. Still ticking, just way too busy.

Date: 2013-06-16 09:03 pm (UTC)
hrrunka: My small wire-strung harp (harp)
From: [personal profile] hrrunka
I guess instruments like that end up junked more often than not? Glad you rescued it, and that it has turned out to be beter than you expected.

Date: 2013-06-17 05:14 pm (UTC)
hrrunka: Attentive icon by Narumi (Default)
From: [personal profile] hrrunka
I've a friend who used, for a while, to play the organ atthe local church, and now has a fairly modern electronic instrument at home. It's not that much larger than a piano, and I guess it's using sampled sounds as it does a reasonable job of sounding like a traditional church pipe organ, which is more than can be said for some of the early electronic beasts that were put into some churches a few decades back...

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