The Electric Organ Has Been Replaced By Arranger Keyboards

Published: 27th May 2007
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In recent years, electric organ sales have taken a battering at the hand of the mighty arranger keyboard such as the Yamaha Tyros. It's a shame because the electric organ can do everything a keyboard can do and more. In my opinion, the organ is also more playable as a live instrument. Because of the bass pedals, you can play the organ without any auto chord or drum machine and get a very respectable sound.

The keyboard on the other hand would sound thin, definitely lacking without auto chord/bass. Of course, arranger keyboards are considerably cheaper than new organs and take up less room. This has created a new generation of keyboard players, some of which could never afford the hefty cost of an organ.

So is this the end for the electric organ. So how do organ manufacturers address this problem? Well they were and still are designed to be a piece of furniture. Great big lumps of wood, which appeal to the older generation, which is why they have the reputation of being an older person's musical instrument. This need to be changed so they appeal to all generations. The next major change has to be the hefty cost. A top of the range electric arranger keyboard such as the Roland G70 would cost between two to three thousands pounds. The top of the range Roland Atelier organ will cost you in the region of twenty thousand pounds new.

This change may have already started with new models from Yamaha with the Yamaha D-Deck organ and the top of the range Yamaha Electone Stagea. Both are portable and very modern looking. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on these models unless you read Japanese. Yamaha have decided there is no organ market in the UK, Europe or the USA. So if you want one of these models you will have to import it yourself.

At the time of writing this, even these new modern looking organs are now out of date. As far as I am aware the Yamaha Stagea electone organ and Yamaha D-Deck organ do not have the "Super Articulation" that is available on the Yamaha Tyros 2 arranger keyboard. There are also a lot of brand new features on the latest crop of arranger keyboards, which include Roland G70, Korg PA 800 and the Ketron Audya, the latter, still a prototype.

So if you really want an organ set up. You might be better of buying two arranger keyboards and a MIDI pedal board. It would be considerably cheaper than importing the Yamaha Stagea and you would be assured of the latest sounds and technological advancements.


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Mike Shaw is an organist and keyboard player and owns music websites http://www.mikesmusicroom.co.uk and http://www.keyboardsheetmusic.co.uk


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