September 11, 2010

Beginnings of a pedalboard

Well, like those who came before me discovered (see my Delicious links), the trickiest part of getting together a Hauptwerk instrument is the pedalboard. Ready-made MIDI pedalboards (or non-MIDI for that matter) run into the thousands of dollars. The usual solution seems to be to find an old one someplace. After scouring eBay and craigslist, I finally posted on PIPORG-L - and was surprised at the remarkable number of responses I got!

One of them offered me my choice of two pedalboards - for free! I will let him remain nameless, in case he doesn't want the publicity. I drove the 100 miles to his home (with a family trip along the way for my obliging cohorts), and followed him down into his basement shop. Turns out that he seemed to be something of a builder himself; his main functioning practice instrument was apparently a Hammond in his living room, though he had at least one Hauptwerk project in the works. His shop was strewn with odds and ends of organ components: a couple old manual keyboards, some Rodgers combination piston rails - and two pedalboards, complete with contacts installed!

I wasn't sure how to evaluate their condition; both seemed to be in fine functional shape, so I made an arbitrary choice. He also threw in a bench for good measure! I was quietly ecstatic. At this point, I rediscovered how HEAVY pedalboards are. My goodness. But I suppose it makes sense: a solid-wood piece of engineering measuring some three feet by four feet, is going to be difficult to maneuver. My benefactor helped me hand-truck it up the hill in back of his house to our waiting minivan, and the rest was history.

Dash it all, the contact rail was only half-secured, and was knocked out of position in transit - but I suppose I would need to regulate it anyway.

Pictures and more moving stories to follow. Good night!

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