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Thread: Guitorgan, Organ Guitar combo from the '70's - Pic's Fixed

  1. #1
    Neophyte Flyer91's Avatar
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    Guitorgan, Organ Guitar combo from the '70's - Pic's Fixed

    Some of you might remember these.
    They were built by a company in Waco Tx, by adding the guts from an electric organ to a Ibanez ES-335, to make a guitar and organ combo.

    Here's a YouTube of one ....
    I'm not sure why his makes that squeal, mine is silent until I fret it up and it plays the note/chord I'm playing. (???)




    And another of Teisco Del Ray playing his earlier version of one ...



    The actual 1972 Ibanez ES-335 itself is a bit of a collector's item, and there were only about 3000 Guitorgans ever built, which includes the custom builds that people had incorporated into their own 335/355 type hollow body guitars.

    Here are some shots of my circa '72 version.
    It is fully functional, and a blast to play, especially House of the Rising Sun and other Animals/60's tunes.
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    This is how the frets are segmented for the different organ notes to be able to play.
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    Last edited by Flyer91; 09-19-2015 at 02:48 AM. Reason: Fix pictures

  2. #2
    Neophyte Flyer91's Avatar
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    A few more pictures ...

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    Last edited by Flyer91; 09-19-2015 at 01:14 AM. Reason: Fix pictures

  3. #3
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Hi, and welcome to the forum. The Guitorgan's a pretty neat idea. While I've never had a chance to hear the B9 pedal that 's getting a lot of attention right now, I get the impression that there's some similarity in them. It sure would be a useful tool, gigging in a three-piece band and sounding like four guys.....and, I bet it would be fun just to have one to noodle with.....


    By the way, I'm not seeing the pictures, but that might just be me, since I've had some computer fubars lately.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  4. #4
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Hi Flyer (pun intended)!
    Welcome to Axetalk!

    I love guit-organs. Never played one like yours, but would love to someday.
    I have played guitar synths over the years and I have a B9.


    Spell, whenever someone's pictures are not showing up, I click on "Reply With Quote". The links to the pictures show up, but we have to cut and paste them to a new tab to see them.

    Flyer's links here are links to squier-talk and we can't see them without singing in.
    Flyer, would you mind re-posting them? Either using the Axetalk features, or with links to photo-bucket or somewhere else (not squier-talk) that you might want to load them up to.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  5. #5
    Neophyte Flyer91's Avatar
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    Oops, sorry about the pictures guys.
    I fixed them, and they should now work like thumbnails.

    The one showing the segmented frets (which I hope I'll never have to replace!!) provides some hint as to how it actually works.
    There are wires that go from each of these segments to huge milti-level TTL logic boards, located behind the large square back panel.

    Fortunately I found a set of manuals and schematics for it form an online shop (musicparts.com) that sells them for these instruments.
    Although not too complicated, but certainly tedious to work on.
    As you can see ..... lots of wire and electrolytics.






    My particular version of the Guitorgan (a B-300 F.S.G.) uses a single oscillator for the organ side of the guitar's frequency synthesizer.
    Previous versions used 12 oscillators to produce a full octave.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    very cool guitar- and welcome aboard!

    dB

  7. #7
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Thanks for fixing the pictures, Flyer. That is one amazing Guitorgan you have!

    The segmented frets - The guy in the video mentioned nylon spacers.
    How is it for doing bends and vibrato? Can you feel the segments?
    I am assuming that even if they are smooth, you won't be bending to the next string's space while in organ mode.

    And how about the weight? My Epiphone Dot weighs a ton. I am assuming your Guitorgan weighs two tons.


    Also - the guy in the video said that they are made by MCI. If I remember correctly, MCI was making some kind of guitar synth in the 80s as well.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  8. #8
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Cool stuff--I've always thought it was a cool idea--even if the execution wasn't always up to par.

    I've seen some in person--and they seemed awkward in a way due to the guts changing the perception of weight & balance--but I'm sure you'd get used to it.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  9. #9
    Neophyte Flyer91's Avatar
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    Thanks for he kind words and welcome!

    Yeah, it's actually very smooth and I can't tell the frets are segmented at all when playing it, so bends are normal.
    The filled gaps are also very narrow and cut at angles, so that helps too
    I'm not sure if the spacers are nylon or just actually some podding material, but I suspect it's probably just regular podding material that is packed in between the segments after they are secured in the board slots, and then buffed down to the frets once it sets ..... but that's just a WAG on my part.

    If you bend in the organ mode you do get some weird results, but the pickguard has a set of mom switches that are easy to hit to take out the organ during bends, and of course the player can use the pedal to do the same thing.

    I haven't weighed it, but read it's supposed to be around 10 lbs.
    It certainly feels more that that!

    As I understand it .... Bob Murrell of MCI did build some stuff into the 80's, with some of that being the customizing of owner's guitars to house the Guitorgan electronics.

    Here is a link to some in depth Wiki info on them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitorgan

    These do show up on Reverb and eBay every so often, in the $1500 to $4k area depending on model and condition.
    As indicated, they are not all that technologically difficult, just somewhat tedious to work on.

  10. #10
    Neophyte Flyer91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zontar View Post
    Cool stuff--I've always thought it was a cool idea--even if the execution wasn't always up to par.

    I've seen some in person--and they seemed awkward in a way due to the guts changing the perception of weight & balance--but I'm sure you'd get used to it.
    Yes it's balance is more like a big solid body compared to a regular hollow body, but the thing that takes the getting used to (for me) is the weight.

    The early ones (with a bunch of toggle switches and 12 oscillators) were very problematic, but the later ones with frequency synthesis are still going strong after 40 some odd years ..... assuming the electrolytic caps are still good or have been replaced.

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