to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

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PlainSongs
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to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by PlainSongs »

Hi folks,

Browsing a second-hand shop, I chanced upon a vintage electronic organ, made by Welson (Italy), type "Comet". It's only £20 and it's supposed to work fine (just a bit chipped at one end, but that's mere cosmetics). However it's a big heavy thing and with not much room I'm not sure it's worth spending any money on at all - perhaps buying a small portable keyboard and emulating stuff is wiser?

The most relevant info I could find about it on the web pertains to the Welson "Festival" - the Comet looks a lot like that, just with the levers and buttons to the left of the keys. Can't judge differences under the hood. From the description it doesn't seem to be the greatest thing:

http://www.cgs.synth.net/organ/welson.html

Still, I have no clue about keyboards... so any clueful thoughts appreciated - cheers.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by JonPorobil »

With a small portable keyboard, you'll never get the dynamics control that the right-foot organ pedal will give you. On the other hand, if you don't have the space, buying that organ may actually lower your quality of life. Cramped living spaces suck, and trying to finagle a recording of the organ may also be difficult.

Tough call.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by ken »

I always think it will be fun to have a ton of cheap sound making toys, but in reality I rarely use any of them as it takes too long to get them to sound good recorded. You are usually better off with a VSTi doing something similar. It doesn't take up any space and sounds just as good without the hassle.

I feel like I should give you a link to a free combo organ vsti, but I'm coming up with a blank. I know I've used a few in my time though.

Ken
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by Rabid Garfunkel »

Argument(s) for the organ:
1) Doesn't crash, lock up, freeze, corrupt files, or have driver issues.
2) Turn it on and Go Man Go, when you're fiddling with ideas. (Okay, if it's got tubes, you're waiting ±5 seconds before Go Man Go.)
3) Excellent extra raised flat surfaces so you don't have to pile shit on the floor.
3.5) Already have a keyboard? The top of the organ's a great place for it, giving the room a poor man's Rick Wakeman vibe.
4) Hearing "Holy shit, is that an organ?!?" from your visitors. Great straight line for bad innuendo-laden jokes.
5) How many friends have you helped move their ungainly, awkward, and just plain heavy crap from home to home? It's time to cash in before everyone gets settled for life and the wife/husband/life partner won't let them out for an afternoon to pay their karmic moving debts!
6) Volume! Bone-shaking volume. Neighbors never complain about organs. It's a mystery.
7) The most amazingly hinky drum machine & patterns ever heard. With accompaniment, even.

Tip on moving the organ:
Flatten a couple of cardboard boxes, put a box under each end, slide man, slide across the floor.

Argument(s) against the organ:
1) Partygoers playing "Inna Gadda Da Vida", incessantly.
2) Forgetting your stops' settings.
3) It's a fucking organ.
4) All the switches & sliders are backwards, damnit. Sliding the volume/reverb/any-damned-slider up should be more signal, not not less!
5) Face it, it was worthless when you bought it, and it'll be just as worthless when you try to get rid of it.

Advice from the questionably proud owner of a Hammond Piper Autochord.
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Not mine, but the exact same model as is sitting behind me in the "studio".
Not mine, but the exact same model as is sitting behind me in the "studio".
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by JonPorobil »

Rabid Garfunkel wrote: 6) Volume! Bone-shaking volume. Neighbors never complain about organs. It's a mystery.
That's true, for some reason. I haven't gotten complaints about my digital piano yet, either. And I play it at some weird hours.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by irwin »

+1 for the Wakeman vibe.

Besides, what's better than roses on your piano?



Tulips on your organ.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by Rabid Garfunkel »

That could only be followed by a rimshot.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by JonPorobil »

If you're very lucky.
"Warren Zevon would be proud." -Reve Mosquito

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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by PlainSongs »

Bought it! :D There were dead spiders inside, now it's working great save for two volume sliders that only lead to sound in a few positions, not over the whole range. (Any ideas to fix that? You're talking to an electronics novice.)

Feels pretty solid, sounds are very acceptable, the "Magic Band" accompaniment properly sits twixt magic and quackery, the pedals are cool (indeed esp the dynamics one). Many square miles of raised surface for glasses and junk.

I'll try recording later - maybe just a mic, maybe using the headphones (? -- signal only to one ear) jack or the external amp jack. Producing something worth recording on it will be a long-term project though, not by any fault of the Comet.

cosmically,

PS

P.S.: Ken, if you recall that vsti I'd still be interested, for on the road etc.
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Re: to buy or not to buy: 2nd hand Welson Comet electronic organ

Post by Rabid Garfunkel »

Start with canned air on the sliders, if you're inside the beast. IFF nogo, then some contact cleaner might help.

If that fails, the sliders pro'lly need to be replaced. Or mark the spot where they're hot and never adjust them again, heh. (The cheaper & easier option!)

The external amp jack (or is it a speaker jack? Slight difference between the two...) may need a slightly different 1/4 plug than you've got around the house. Consumer organs are kinda funny that way. If you've got a shite stereo speaker lying around/available, I'd suggest experimenting with plugging that into the external jack first before pumping Ohms of signal directly into your computer.

If it's an older beast, there may be a wiring diagram on the inside of the case. Then you'd just have to find someone who knew how to read it! :wink:
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