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After having extensively modified my Rodgers 340, I used the MIDI out capability to “play around” with the concept of a virtual theater pipe organ or VTPO as it is called in the hobby.
Starting out with a fine program called Miditzer and the progressing to GigaStudio 3 and samples provided by Joe Hardy it became apparent that this technology could be as expensive or inexpensive as one wanted. Soon after I purchased Hauptwerk as the digital sound engine and several “organs” or actually sets of samples that have been assembled into a group to be used as an organ. The current one that I am using is the Paramount 3 manual 32 rank or 3/32. The problem was that to set up the VTPO required re-programming the system and connecting the amps to the computer, setting the levels and positioning the speakers them, to play the Rodgers as an analog organ all that had to be undone and set back up. Total time was about an hour or more.
I began thinking about either gutting the 340 and making the conversion total, complete and un-reversible or another console. Since the resident (in the shop) Robert Morton 3 manual console was/is bound for another project, that was out. Besides my bride said it was ugly………
In September of 2012 I purchased a Rodgers 321 off of eBay. It had led a rough life but was complete with both speaker cabinets, price was right and it was only about 250 miles away. That was an easy trip to pick it up. We did manage to pick a day that allowed for major rain from the time it was picked up until we arrived back in Meridian, MS. We did take tarps and wrapped up all and had no problems.
Pictures 01 through 06 show the gutted console and the first steps. I recut the swell shoe opening wider on both sides to accommodate an additional swell shoe. That would be Main and Swell. I felt that a crescendo pedal was not necessary for this project. Replaced the molding around the cutout and that finished up the swell shoe opening. While it was on it’s back I added the 9 toe pistons. These were left over from another junked organ console. They took cleaning and polishing but they turned out pretty well. One challenge was a complete new frame on the inside of the console to mount the swell shoes as seen in picture 06.