Schober Organ Notes No. 84

Disclaimer: We accept no responsibility for any unfavorable consequences resulting from following our advice


In the last issue I reported the sad news about Laura Ramsey. Jamie MacKenzie, her friend and executor, was kind enough to send me her obituary which I am printing in this issue. Mr. MacKenzie is busy right now, but he said that he will send me some material on James Ramsey. I have been putting off printing a story about him for some time because I was waiting for more information about him, and will again put off this story for a future edition of our newsletter.


Florence "Laura" (Jacobus) Ramsey, 74, of Lakeville, CT and formerly of Hillsdale, NJ. Laura crossed peacefully in her sleep on December 20, 2003. She was the beloved widow of James D. Ramsey. Laura was born May 10, 1929 in Jersey City, New Jersey. After graduating, Laura enjoyed a wide variety of jobs - from hatcheck girl in a Manhattan nightclub, to souvenir seller in the Empire State Building and many others that well prepared her for her job of 20+ years as assistant to Captain Kangaroo at CBS in NY. Returning to the Northwest Corner 3 years ago Laura not only completed a circle begun 50 years ago with her acting and singing in summer stock with the Litchfield Players, Laura more importantly touched many new lives here. Laura loved nature and her friends and saw no difference between the two.

Laura's biting wit, singing and laughter will be missed. Donations in her memory may be sent in her name to any animal assistance organization.


Our new member Tom Lavin sent the following email to me (refer to attached diagram #1 page 4):


I am a retired Aerospace EE who built a Recital for my church in the late 60s, and I guess I became nostalgic in my old age thinking about that organ. I saw one on the Orphans' Page so I brought it home last year to fool with the circuitry. I can't play a lick but I like the sounds it makes and wanted to keep my brain working and yes, relive that same sense of accomplishment when the Church had its organ. My wife plays the piano a bit so I keep trying to get her interested in it.

The Recital I have now was built in the early 70s by a gentleman named Ashby Lee Coffindaffer of Lost Creek, West Virginia. He was a well organized and careful builder and left copious notes on his progress and problems which he resolved to his satisfaction, all except one that is, the percussion group. My experience with the church organ helped so I now have the entire organ, Reverbatape and speakers back in operation at my home in Wilmington, NC and all is satisfactory except for the percussion section. It seems the gentleman died before he found out what was wrong.

His diagnostic difficulty was caused by the fact that it was not totally dead, you could hear faint sounds like pianos and bells and others things but not very well. After poking around with my oscilloscope I discovered the problem. I couldn't believe what I was seeing on the scope so I checked the copper side of the 11237 board and that confirmed it. Poor Ashby, without realizing it, had fallen victim to a common error which by simple symmetry is a natural mistake to make with a flat sided TO-92 plastic transistor in a flat sided socket. It fooled me for a while.

The diagram shows the correct orientation of a TO39 and a TO-92 in a flat sided socket. Ashby had mounted all the TO-92 transistors with the round side coinciding with the round side of the socket. Poor guy, he never realized he was operating the transistors in the inverted configuration, having inadvertently swapped the emitter with the collector on all of them.

He didn't make this mistake on the tone generator transistors because these little buggers were totally round, there being no flat side on the transistor to tempt him into a lead orientation mistake so they gave him no difficulty. I have just ordered new silicon npn TO-92 transistors to replace all of Ashby's . I'll let you know how things work out if you're interested.

I hope this will be of some help to others out there struggling to get percussion sounds from a PRCN-4 kit."

[In another e-mail Tom added: "One half hour ago I ran across a surprise, another plastic transistor configuration. It is a PNP with the designation 9451 just above ND108. Even though the leads are 'in line' behind the straight edge they follow the TO-92 convention, which is not usual. The supplier at least had the decency to mark the leads: E,B,C, beneath the identification since they were bucking standards. If there are any standards, I'm beginning to doubt it."]


Our new member Tom Lavin is sharing his contact cleaning method with us. He writes: "I know Schober owners have difficulties with their keyboard contacts. I used a rather novel method on my Recital after I brought it home last year. It probably had not been played for 10 years and many notes were dead. My technique cleared up the keyboard difficulties to my satisfaction, and because it is not played too often, I resort to it occasionally. It might be considered bizarre by some but as a retired aerospace engineer, it is based on some of my experience with induced vibration. Mind you, I take no responsibility for any adverse consequence as a result of using my method. I can only say that it is simple, fast and worked for me but others may use it at their own risk.

If you download the attached two pictures, they will help explain much of how the procedure is accomplished. You need a strong muscle-type massager like my Pollenex MOD.WM-10 and a 32 oz. spritz bottle with a strong trigger and adjustable spray nozzle (ACE Hardware or equivalent) and a quart can of denatured alcohol to fill the spray bottle. Nothing else should be added to the alcohol. Be careful, though, because alcohol is flammable and burns almost invisibly, so keep any source of ignition away from your work.

I fold the top of my Recital all the way back, supporting it on top of a padded 42" vertical 2x4 positioned in front of the music stand so it won't slip. I then reach in to the top and spray alcohol directly on the bus-bar/spring interface. Don't poke the spray bottle into any thing delicate; you don't have to get that close. You could, if you wanted, remove the voicing cards to improve your view and aim but I don't find that necessary.

I turn on the organ and work one key at a time using different stops. I spray copious amounts of alcohol on the offending bus-bar/key-springs in question, then with my finger partially depressing the key, I listen to the note(s) I get. The vibrator is held against the middle segment of my middle finger, as shown in the picture,[see photo] and by using different vibrator pressure and amounts of key deflection, I can induce the desired vibrations to polish and work the various contact zones. My Pollenex has two settings. I use it on hi and depend on the soft pressure between it and my finger to achieve the vibration I want. You will quickly learn to feel the correct levels of motion induced. It doesn't seem to take long or many re-sprays to clear up a key so the tones return. When the key sounds normally, you can move on to the next key in order. Before you know it, you have a working keyboard.

I hope this helps those with contact resistance troubles, or resistance to contact troubles (pun intended) who are not inclined or thrilled about pulling a keyboard, all those wires, ugh."

***Subscribers to the E-mail version of Organ Notes can get copies of diagrams and photos by sending a SASE and an extra stamp to the editor. Alexander Kruedener (See address at the end of this E-mail)***



Jim Heller can make MP3 copies of tapes that James Ramsey made for him. He is willing to do so for our members. Contact Jim at: Email:, Telephone: 410-489-4663


Doug Steeves writes that he has many parts for a Recital and other parts that fit other Schober organs for sale, such as: Metal Key 'stick' channels for the keyboards, plastic key caps; natural and sharps, key-return springs, bellcrank caps. A complete stop rail including the 3 bus amplifier boars as well as two other Pedal Bus Amp. Boards, and one Swell and one Great Bus Amplifier boards. Contact: Doug Steeves, 11 Heather Dr., Monoton, N.B. E1E 1C6 CANADA, Telephone: 506-382-7463, Email:


A Recital Schober is available in Bradford, PA (about 75 miles due south of Buffalo on the PA/NY border) free to a good home. It has a combination action. Contact: Bonnie Hutton, Telephone: 850-897-7290, Email:


A Recital Schober is available. Andrew Dobos in Rockville, MD wrote that he has a Schober to give away as he is getting another organ. Telephone: 301-460-9642, Email:


Parts from a Theatre Schober are for sale. Contact: Jerome D. Jurecki in Joliet, IL., Telephone: 815-436-3368, Email:


A Schober Recital is available for free in Sydney, AUSTRALIA (and has to be picked up). It has a combination action and reverb. John Smart writes: "It was meticulously constructed and is as new, other than components that are likely to have deteriorated due to passage of time." (such as electrolytic capacitors). Contact: John in Brisbane, Telephone: 61 7 3871 3285, Email:, or his brother Robert, Telephone: 61 2 6295 7615 in Canberra.


A Recital Schober is available for free in Henniker, NH, 18 miles west of Concord. It is complete with combination action, speakers, Reverbatape, Dynabeat and percussion. Contact: Van Pattee, Email:


Editor/Publisher: Alexander Kruedener, 161 East 89 Street, Apt. 4E, New York, NY 10128, (212) 831-0662.
Kruedener@juno. com

Fred Henn Founder & Headmaster Emeritus
April 2004
EDITOR Alex Kruedener kruedener@juno. com
EMAIL Jack D. Gildar JDgildar@juno. com
Schober Organ Orphans' Web Page: http://www. users. cloud9. net/~pastark/schober.html