Updated: Jun 25, 2022
When it comes time to move or relocate a home or church organ, who do you trust to move the organ safely and expertly? Just as with pianos, there are many various sizes of organs. Each size and type of instrument has unique requirements in order for it be safely moved.
The smallest organs are referred to as spinets. These are the easiest to move due to their smaller size. These instruments will have a total of 13 foot pedals. Remember, when counting the pedals, you must count not only the longer natural wood colored pedals, but also the shorter black pedals which are called the sharps.
Spinets can be comprised of anywhere from one manual (Keyboard) to three manuals. Despite their smaller physical size, these are still heavy yet delicate and require expertise when moving. Virtually every organ manufacturer in the 20th century built spinets. In the 1960's - 1980's many homes had a spinet organ for entertaining and making beautiful music.
Console Organs: Mid-Sized Organs
The next size classifications of instruments is the mid-sized console. These will have a total of 25 pedals. Remember, we are counting both the natural and sharp pedals of the instrument. Because of the size of the pedal board on the console, the pedal board must be removed or detached from the main instrument when it is moved. Read more below about how the pedals are attached in the following paragraphs concerning the larger church organs. Due to the fact that the pedals must be removed, it is crucial that only experienced piano and organ movers should attempt to move this size of home or church organ.
Again, virtually every electronic organ builder in the last century built various mid-sized church and home instruments. The famous Hammond B3 tone-wheel organ falls into this size classification of organs. See more below on special requirements for moving a tone-wheel type Hammond whether a spinet or console in size.
Console Organs: Large Size Instruments
The larger sized church and theater organs typically have 32 pedals. Most of these are what are referred to as A.G.O. Pedal-boards. This refers to a specific size and layout requirement for pedals formulated by the American Guild of Organists. Like their smaller cousins with 25 pedals, the 32 pedal instruments must also have their pedal-boards removed when moving.
The larger sized instruments are comprised of anywhere from 2 manuals (keyboards) to 3, 4, or even more keyboards. The more manuals on the organ, the larger the physical size and weight of the instrument. Moving large church or large theater organs is not a do-it-yourself job. These are very delicate yet extremely large and heavy instruments and must be moved by expert professional Dallas organ movers.
Organ Pedals Off
As mentioned earlier, when you move an instrument of the mid-size (25 pedal) or larger (32 pedal) size, the pedals must be removed. Pedals are normally physically attached to the organ via a mechanical locking system where gravity and the weight of the pedals keeps the pedals locked onto the console itself. In addition, there is in almost all cases some type of mechanical connection which allows the pedals themselves to activate the sounds of the instrument. These are called contacts.
The 3 most common pedal contacts are metal mechanical tabs, wiring harnesses, or magnetic contact systems. While the later uses magnets to make contact and requires no special procedure of removal to prevent damage, the 2 former types require caution when removing. Pedals with metal tabs require careful handling as bending of one or more of these tabs can damage the instrument and prevent it from functioning properly. Church organs with wiring harnesses connecting the pedals to the console also require special handling. The wiring harness must be carefully separated and detached for moving. These wires are often aged and brittle and require careful handling.
When it comes time to move a home or church instrument, it is essential that professional piano and organ movers be hired to prevent damage. Repairs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, so trust expert Dallas organ movers to move the instrument.
Hammond Organ Moving
When moving a spinet, or larger console Hammond, additional precautions must be taken if the instrument is a tone-wheel organ. The very earliest Hammonds used mechanical tone-wheel generators to produce the sound. This tradition of manufacturing was carried through the mid 1970's. The most famous and recognized tone-wheel organ is the Hammond B3 organ.
The tone-wheel generator is literally floating inside the console, attached by springs. If the organ is moved the generator will move around during transport and can break some of the hundreds of tiny fragile (and old - sometimes brittle) wires that are connected. These Hammonds were designed with a lock-down system to secure the generator of the Hammond while it is moved. Again, hiring anyone other than experienced professional organ movers, can result in very costly repairs.
Will It Fit?
Due to their large size, it is important to determine if the church organ will fit into the space you are moving it into. Many of these larger instruments are wider than a standard 36” doorway typically found on the front of homes. And even more are wider than smaller passage doors such as those going into bedrooms or dens of a home. Also note, that while a door may be 36” wide, the doorway itself is smaller due to trim pieces that the door rests against when closed. Take very careful and accurate measurements when contemplating moving a larger sized instrument into a new location. Remember that doors and hinges may need to be removed in order for it to fit.
There are times when there is just no way to move the instrument straight through a doorway. Depending on the size of the instrument to be moved, and the size of the doorway and surrounding area and proximity of the nearest walls, it may be possible to place it on its end to maneuver it through the opening.
When Experience Counts
We were recently hired to move a large 2 manual Rodgers organ from a mobile home in Dallas Texas, to a residence in Denton Texas. The instrument was over 35” in width and would not fit through the front door of the Dallas home without being placed on its end. This is a very special procedure and must be performed by experienced piano and organ movers. While there is always a risk that internal components could shift or be damaged, it is sometimes the only solution for moving the instrument.
When this instrument arrived at its new home in Denton, it again would not go through the front door in the traditional manner. Even placing the instrument on its end required removal of the front door. Again, it was carefully and expertly put on end and maneuvered through the doorway. The Denton organs new owner also wanted the instrument placed in a bedroom off of a narrow hallway. Unfortunately, the size of the bedroom doors and hallway would not allow this to happen. An alternate location in the living room had to become the instruments new home.
Pull Out All The Stops
Organs are large but extremely delicate instruments and must be moved by professional movers who are experts at not only moving pianos, but also moving large home or church organs. So, if you are considering moving an instrument into a new location, be sure to measure carefully and then contact the professional Dallas organ movers at PianoProsDFW.