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Vintage Stuff and Odd things

Vintage Guitar: GuitOrgan

When I took this in for repair a few years back there was little to no info on it, and I had to just figure it out. In my usual style I give a picture essay as I dissect it showing the more interesting parts of this guitar.

First off the traditional guitar part is there and functions as expected. 2 Humbuckers, 3 way switch, separate Vol and Tone for each pickup.




These are the Orgam controls

  On off switch Guitar and Organ jacks

  Organ effect flip switches

Okay lets crack open this thing.

 Wow look at that back panel!

 Check out all the wires and boards

These next 4 pictures show how the organ "Keys" work.

  In short, each fret is segmented in to 6 separate isolated frets, so when you fret a string it shorts a single string at a single fret segment. This String/Fret combination is what simulates the organ keys. You play the organ simply by fretting notes and chords, no strumming required. It all seems obvious now, but when I first opened this up it was not. The way I figured this out was trial and error. To begin with I was pretty cautious with this guitar because it had a power cord that plugged into the wall, and there was a good size power transformer in there. The first test was to plug in and be ready to unplug if sparks or smoke start to fly, that test passed. Next I tested to make sure there was no live current running through the strings, that too passed. I forget now what it was I actually fixed to get it working. A big part of this confusion is because I did quite a number of things in there, and nothing seemed to make the organ play. Finally figuring it out was pretty comical. I had it laying face down on my bench cautiously troubleshooting the circuits, nothing I tried was working so I had the volume up pretty loud on my amp to be sure to hear if it was a faint tone. Well, anyway, at one point I leaned in to get a closer look and leaned a bit on the guitar causing the strings to fret. Holy smokes! a thunderous BOOM organ tone came out! Like when the big mother ship, in the movie Close Encounters, finally responded. It was much the same sound in your hear in your head when you get a good electrical shock. It took a bit for my heart rate to come back to normal but I then finally figured out that the fret segments simulating the organ keys, and that is what ALL those copper strands were for.

 If you look close at the frets you will notice that each fret is broken up into 6 segments.

 Notice the bunch of copper wire strands tied together coming form where the neck mounts

 As it turns out those copper wire strands are going to that circuit board.

 Notice here the strands are split into 6 bunches, then those bunches are split and soldered to the board like a large 2 dim array.


  These next 4 pictures show the stacks of different key boards for the organ. Note they are attached to the back panel of the guitar.


 Notice this is the boards for the Key of C and B


C# and G


In conclusion this was so much fun to dig through, but also WAY fun to play. The organ tone form this was VERY realistic, it sure helped that I was playing it through my Leslie 147 Cabinet. I am just amazed at the complexity of the construction of this I can fathom what a fret job would cost!

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