My good friend Bert found a cool old Wurlitzer “Funmaker Custom” organ at a Goodwill a while back, and I had him pick it up for me ($50!!) I’ve used it on several of my videosongs and really enjoy playing it. The one problem I’d found with it, was that although it had 2 15″ speakers built in, that I could mic, it had no line out to run through effects, or direct to my recording setup. So, I thought I’d add one.
At first, I opened up the organ and tried tracing the audio line to the preamp, so I could get the signal to split off to an un-amplified line, but as you can see, there’s A LOT going on in there.
Finally, after several hours of wire tracing with my Dad (and Googling), I decided to just slice into the wires running to the speakers, and add a volume control. It wasn’t truly a line out, but actually ended up being more versatile in the long run. I also found that the top and bottom “keyboards” were completely separate synth modules, and powered separately. I ended up having separate volume control over each one. The wiring is super simple, no real modification to the signal, except through potentiometers.
I also put in switches, for each keyboard so that I could toggle between speaker or “line” out.
Now I needed a place to put these controls, and luckily, these old organs often had a built-in cassette player. Seriously. It was an off the shelf Bell & Howell cassette player held in place by a metal bracket, then covered to look like it was actually a part of the organ. Sadly, I don’t think I took a picture of it while it was still in place. Regardless, removing the player made a perfect spot for adding these controls.
I drilled some holes underneath the panel, and mounted 1/4″ audio jacks facing the floor. Having them accessible is really handy as well, rather than having to reach around to the back of the organ.
Some 1/4″ MDF made a perfect panel to set the controls on, and some high gloss black spray paint made it almost look like it was meant to be there. (I ended up kind of scuffing it with guitar picks.. it just looked too new)
I made sure to get some overly big and 70’s-ish switches and knobs too 🙂
Here it is, all finished..
As a bonus, here are some videos from my music channel where I play this organ!