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"Organ donors"... or: sources for tube project parts...

The "Vacuum Tube" group needs a first forum topic. Here it is... Sorry 'bout the pun... but I could have used Time to get Organized... Be thankful ;-)


Vacuum tubes and parts tend to be rather expensive these days. But there's a good source for parts, and it's often free: old tube organs.

I picked up a working 1960 Wurlitzer a couple days ago. It's got:

-- full complement of tubes (the mother lode!), including
9 (nine!) 12AX7 preamp tubes.
2 6L6-GC power tubes
1 5U4-GB rectifier

(there were other tubes: (28!) 12fq8's but they're not so useful for audio...)

-- Huge power transformer
-- Large (20-25 watt) output tranformer
-- two 16 ohm speakers
-- lots of carbon-comp resistors, sockets and other reusables.

Total cost--just gas, and a sore back.


Even the non-tube organs are a good source of speakers, reverb tanks, pedals, etc. The tank, bass pedals and the volume pedal were from a solid-state Conn organ left on the curb...

The bass pedals could be made into a MIDI project, and the volume pedal would be a nice start of a wah, or left as-is. Yeah, they are grungy, but that's easy to fix....

Rishnai8 years ago
I like your resourcefulness, but every time an old peice of electronics dies, I'm a little sad. If it wasn't recoverable, I like recycling parts rather than just tossing it, but if it was functional or near functional, not so much. Kinda seems like a waste. Of course, new tubes cost so much that I don't blame you, and it sounds like you've got a cool project in the works...
gmoon (author)  Rishnai8 years ago
I should have mentioned this had a single broken key on the upper deck. The "guts" are fully functional, but to an organist, that's a biggie. And any replacement parts for these old behemoths come from "recycled" tear-downs. Ideally, these old instruments would be still be wanted by organ enthusiasts. Sadly, they are not (with some exceptions, like the Hammond B3, etc.) They are too heavy, too limited, and most have never been serviced and need a replacement tube or two..... Today, our local Craigslist has 4 organs in the "free" section. Most will end up on the curb (where, as I said, I recovered that vol pedal, reverb tank, and bass pedals assem.) But yes, it is rather sad.
Rishnai gmoon8 years ago
Ah, yes, broken outer bits do lower value as a whole-unit quite a bit. Good to see everything useful go to use, not to the dump.
gmoon (author)  Rishnai8 years ago
Eh. Broken or not, they don't seem to have much value.

Maybe that will change, and like funky 60's MIJ guitars they will suddenly become vogue....

(Re: the recoved the vol pedal, reverb tank, and bass pedals assembly: that organ sat on the curb for 8 or 10 days--the trash pickup guys wouldn't take it. I didn't snag the parts until the owners demolished it into a foot-high stack of wood and tangled wires...)