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MMD > Archives > May 2009 > 2009.05.10 > 05Prev  Next

Building a Home Grown Busker Organ
By Julie Porter

Having completed my part of an installation of a 15-rank Wurlitzer
theatre organ, I decided to see if I can make a simple busker organ
in a week's time frame.  This was prompted by a friend machining for
me a John Smith 20-note tracker bar out of solid aluminum.  Details
of this project are being posted to the blog at my web site 

When this organ is completed it will be literally "home grown".  The
pipes on the front of the organ will be made of pine and pear wood from
the garden.  The pear tree was a wild tree that grew up from seed, and
which produced tough and not too tasty fruit.  The pine wood is from
a Monterrey pine which regularly needs to be topped to keep the views
clear.  The rest of the organ is made from the scraps leftover from the
Caliola project.  The sides are milled from some blocks given to me by
the late Marc Elbasani.

The goal is to have this busker organ playing for "Music in the Park"
on the 16th of May, 2009, at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, Calif.
This event is being hosted by the Golden Gate Chapter of the Musical
Box Society and should feature some of the West Coast band organs.

I am fairly confident I will have the organ done in a week; the
question will be if I can quickly locate some 20-note J. Smith scale
music.  I was able to download some MIDI music files and the Midiboek
program by Piet Paardekam.  It looks simple enough to cut the sheets
with a razor blade.  Of course it would be better if I could quickly
acquire or borrow some rolls and spools for the events this weekend.

I should also note that I have made some changes to the my web site,
to add in a section for my band organ projects as well as some other
interest relating to the clockwork Jaquet-Droz doll that plays a small
pipe organ -- which is, in effect, an early mechanical computer.

Julie Porter 

(Message sent Sun 10 May 2009, 05:35:37 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Building, Busker, Grown, Home, Organ

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