View Full Version : The Conn Artist or 716

Mar-17-2009, 04:35
I don't seem to find any mention of the above in the Forum, but if it already exists I'll be happy to delete this.

20+ years ago a student insisted on getting herself an electronic organ against my then-purist advice. I groaned when she told me what she got over the phone: a Conn Artist model. But was I amazed when I finally got to play it -- a beautiful classical instrument that could even handle my Jongen Toccata! (Lots of pipe organs can't strong pedal themes.)

I was wondering whether anybody else had enjoyed the wonders of the Artist model or series.... and what, if anything, they have to say about them as a "serious" practice organ for today. Too old, too risky? A good gamble, a known quantity?.....

The student in question is a wonderful lady with a ready sense of humor and comic irony, now aged 85. She maintained she didn't want a pipe organ because they "need so much maintenance".... but her Artist almost instantly needed $400 worth of work, no small change back then. We've had an agreement for some time -- I don't remind her what she had said about it, and she doesn't remind me that when she first answered my ad about lessons I gauchely told her "We'll see how it works out -- I've never taught somebody in your age bracket before.":rolleyes: Of course, she turned out to be one of my better success stories.

Mar-17-2009, 19:28
Hi ...

As a former electronic/digital organ technician, these organs were riddled with problems in later years. Some of the key contacts were gold and needed cleaning often. The symptom was "key popping" like an audible electronic "click" with each note played.

The electronic circuit boards were a nightmare to work on or remove. They were all hard wired in (soldered) and not easily removed ... many times I nicked and damaged another wire with a hot soldering iron when removing components or boards themselves.

As for the sound (in those days), it was all generated from a single source and then sent through different "filters" that altered wave patterns to make it sound like something else ... but basically, it was what we called, a "flute" organ. Some of us joked about the sales people being the real Con(n) Artists ... :lol:.

One can usually pick up any of these analog organs pretty cheap ... as for a practice organ, I can only convey what the late Virgil Fox once told me: "when practicing, it doesn't matter what the organ is or what it sounds or looks like ... it's the repetition of the notes for the hands and feet that really matters."

A "serious" practice organ? IMHO, I don't think so ... there are other makes that will be lots more reliable, but also costlier, too. One tends to get what one pays for ... but repairing those old "toasters" made me lots of money in the days of yore.