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Scam? Lowrey organs...

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i'm not a fan of making threads to smear a company, but i think this is a bit nuts. here's the story...

 

my grandmother has been playing keyboards for maybe 15-20 years now, starting out with an old Yamaha PSR. since then she's upgraded several times and now rocks a Yamaha Tyros. a few years back she got roped into this cult headed by the people at 'the Keyboard & Organ Center'. they have these fancy getaways at a 1000-Islands resort where they're pitched on these outrageously priced keyboards/organs, and probably run around in tin hats drinking funny Flavor-Aid out of little cups. in 2004 they somehow ended up with a brand new Lowrey "Premier" double-manual organ which, come to find out, cost just $28,000. :eek: :eek: wtf? how is this possible? i've seen/heard/played this thing and it seems like something straight out of 1987. i think this thing is a complete joke, even before figuring in the price, but am i missing something? how can they charge this price? the sound generation is also a complete mystery, not a thing mentioned in the manual - not even a spec list! what's really creepy is their website, it's like it's for a retirement package and (of course) there's no prices mentioned anywhere.

 

http://www.lowrey.com/

 

now that they realize they've got no use for it, they're looking to sell. i wasn't surprised to find that their 'friends' that sold it to them have been side-stepping the fact that the resale on it is probably worse than a 2004 Daewoo Leganza.

 

should i not think all this is a bit screwy? anyone need an organ? :D

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Funny, I just found out that my grandmother (still at maximum power 86 years in, 50 of which were spent as a church organist) was dissapointed that the lady who was going to give me an M3 backed out. So now she's found a friend who bought a Lowrey last year, decided she doesn't want it and I'm picking it up this week for nothing. Will it be cool? Maybe... hope it comes with the kool-aid.

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There is some information on the SDIY list about what organs have harvestable parts, if that's what this thread is about.

 

The organ market gets away with insane prices. I asked someone knowledgeable about this once.

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Slightly different topic, but this really reminds me of the "University Sales" that many piano dealers hold. It sounds like this fantasy organ island is the same schtick aimed at a different demographic.

 

In my opinion, these are a little bit sketchy - my mom actually lost some money one time at local university sale. Due to some heavy-duty work on my part, I was able to get most of it back for her from the dealer. The way I read it, "university sales" happen all the time and it is a front for a local dealer to move some of their inventory, cloaked in the heritage name and deep pockets of the university community. They advertise sales, but in reality, many of the pianos are sold at MSRP or just below. With a little research, a savvy customer could make out much better by knowing the pricing and negotiating directly with the dealer, outside of the guise of the university sale. My mom has a couple of masters degrees from this particular school, so she felt a sense of loyalty to go and buy a piano there at one of the sales (this was about 7-8 years ago). She did not consult me ahead of time and apparently it was incredibly high pressure (e.g. "this deal is only available today and 3 other customers have already said they are coming back later today to buy this piano"). Once I found out what she had paid for the piano, I determined that she had overpaid by at least $1k and probably a lot more. We put a ton of pressure on the dealer and it took them several months to finally come up with a response that it was a "mistake" and we got about $800 back from them.

 

Customers with allegiance to the university typically have money and assume they are getting a killer deal. Oftentimes this is not the case and apparently it is a very common practice in the piano business. For example, I went to a dealer awhile back and they had a TON of pianos in there. I went back a week later and it was practically empty. They said they had taken the pianos up to Peabody Conservatory for a sale and that most of them should be back the following week. I have not actually attended one of these sales, but have enough info from my mom's experience that I would steer clear of them.

 

I cannot believe the $28k Lowrey!!! I just remembered when I was younger my friend's rich grandparents bought this fancy organ that probably cost a similar amount. When they passed away and needed to get rid of the organ, I think it was given to charity. Completely worthless.

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in 2004 they somehow ended up with a brand new Lowrey "Premier" double-manual organ which, come to find out, cost just $28,000.
:eek:
:eek: wtf? how is this possible? i've seen/heard/played this thing and it seems like something straight out of 1987. i think this thing is a complete joke, even before figuring in the price, but am i missing something? how can they charge this price? the sound generation is also a complete

 

Organs can be expensive (some of that wood cabinetry looks nice) and I assume they just don't make too many of them. In many ways you can compare these home organs to acoustic pianos -- once people buy them they might keep them 10+ years.

 

My mother was an Organist and she bought an electric organ and kept it for 30 years.

 

I looked at the Lowrey website and their marketing IS really just for Seniors. I wouldn't call it a scam but they are definitely trying to sell a "lifestyle" instead of a product.

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There is some information on the SDIY list about what organs have harvestable parts, if that's what this thread is about.

 

?? is it that hard to follow, dude? :D harvestable parts? no, i'm talking about something that makes the Oasys debate look meaningless. this is a bit more than that, and especially odd in the way they go about it.

 

i don't think the 'sales vacation' has much to do with the price, it's just a way of overwhelming them with product demonstrations, etc. i think the actual list price on that thing is literally over $30k. the guy suggested they start out asking $14k and "back down from there". lofl! i can't honestly see how anyone would pay near $3k for the thing, if that. is this an organ in the sense of a Hammond or Wurlitzer, or not even?

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yes that is a mighty expensive piece of furniture.

 

these people probably aren't really expecting to encounter any musicians other than retirees, and i'm sure they do fine with their sales.

 

sad :(

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Hey don't go trimming my post, I acknowledged there's something shady going on, and if you happen to come across one before you use it for firewood harvest it. :D

 

I've been working on a take home midterm DURING spring break so I'm a little cooked. I estimate 10 more hours, I've put in 9.

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lofl. :D oh, believe me, she does some 'rocking' covers already. she's a bit of a rockstar amongst her friends, it's nutty. she's already hounding me to do up her 4th release. she records direct to CD and passes the master copy along to me for 'manufacturing'. :) it's pathetic, but she enjoys it quite a bit.

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She could do some rocking Henry Cow or Soft Machine covers now...

 

It's great to see people on here into the Canterbury Scene as well:thu: ! That's how I got into keyboards actually. I've seen Pighood comment on a couple SM YT vids. When I think of Lowrey organs, I think Mike Ratledge; he played a Lowrey Holiday Deluxe.

 

All the Best!

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Didn't Garth Hudson play a Lowrey?

 

He played in The Band if i recall right(?). I don't know what he played. Ratledge is the only Lowrey organist I really can say I know of; in fact that's how I even found out about Lowrey brand of organs (haha)!

 

Dave Stewart of Hatfield and the North and National Health used a Hammond organ, although I'm not sure what series.

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Okay, just checked Wiki and: "A master of the Lowrey organ, Hudson's orchestral tone sense and style anticipated many of the sonic advances of the polyphonic synthesizer. :blah: "

 

But what model? What would it cost? I mean, I live in the thousand islands area. Maybe I should bike over to one of these sessions, pick up a sugar mama (would have to check with wife on this) and get me a Lowrey lifestyle. :idea:

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Back in 1972 my mom bought the bottom of the line Lowrey and it was over $1000. A top of the line Lowrey back then would have been $5000++ I think. Figuring inflation, we get into the $20K range pretty easily.

 

I had the back off the Lowrey a few times to do some hot-rodding and it was a maze of wires and discrete transistors. Organs are truly polyphonic...With two 61-key manuals and two octaves of pedals you need 147 notes to sound at once.

 

While synth technology has certainly made it into organs, the cabinets (plus amplifier, speakers) still cost serious dough...a full blown multiple manual organ with pedalboard is a pretty complex piece of equipment compared to a digital synthesizer.

 

I'm sure there's a fair markup but they still are not cheap to manufacture.

 

BTW, home organs were sold largely the same way 35 years ago when my mom bought hers.

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Doug - i wish you luck with your endevour. they hold it at the River's Edge, i'll try to dig up some dates and some more info for you. :D

 

any ideas as to where they might be able to market this thing? any guess as to what it might sell for?

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I worked for a music store that had several locations in malls around my state back about 10 or 12 year ago. I worked part time, nights, to spell the store manager and one other full time person they had working there. Anyway, I don't recall the exact numbers anymore, but they had several Lowery Genie organs that were constructed of particle board with a small amount of electronics and two keyboards. There was at least 300% profit in these, even after the "discount" price they had on them. Total piece of crap. I tried to steer people to the Yamaha digital pianos (Clavinovas) which was and still is a fine musical instrument and priced right for what you get.

 

I can't believe that Lowery still gets away with ripping off unsuspecting senior citizens after all these years of running the same scam.

 

Mike T.

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Doug - i wish you luck with your endevour. they hold it at the River's Edge, i'll try to dig up some dates and some more info for you.
:D

 

Right. I'll have to paddle to that--other side of the river. Into the buckskin jacket and off I go!

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I inherited a lowery TBO-1, which has two tiers, built in drum sounds, a leslie (sort of), and bass pedals.

 

it makes some pretty cool sounds (especially the bass and kick drum!) but has so far been a bit of a mystery to mic up. the entire organ seems to resonate and micing a speaker doesn't seem to, in any way, capture the overtones it produces. I can't see it being worth very much money: it's heavy as hell, seems to be composed of relatively inexpensive components, boasts a very noisy chorus and 'leslie' and besides, who plays analog organ these days? I mean, lawrence welk has left the building....

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Slightly different topic, but this really reminds me of the "University Sales" that many piano dealers hold. It sounds like this fantasy organ island is the same schtick aimed at a different demographic.


In my opinion, these are a little bit sketchy - my mom actually lost some money one time at local university sale. Due to some heavy-duty work on my part, I was able to get most of it back for her from the dealer. The way I read it, "university sales" happen all the time and it is a front for a local dealer to move some of their inventory, cloaked in the heritage name and deep pockets of the university community. They advertise sales, but in reality, many of the pianos are sold at MSRP or just below. With a little research, a savvy customer could make out much better by knowing the pricing and negotiating directly with the dealer, outside of the guise of the university sale. My mom has a couple of masters degrees from this particular school, so she felt a sense of loyalty to go and buy a piano there at one of the sales (this was about 7-8 years ago). She did not consult me ahead of time and apparently it was incredibly high pressure (e.g. "this deal is only available today and 3 other customers have already said they are coming back later today to buy this piano"). Once I found out what she had paid for the piano, I determined that she had overpaid by at least $1k and probably a lot more. We put a ton of pressure on the dealer and it took them several months to finally come up with a response that it was a "mistake" and we got about $800 back from them.


Customers with allegiance to the university typically have money and assume they are getting a killer deal. Oftentimes this is not the case and apparently it is a very common practice in the piano business. For example, I went to a dealer awhile back and they had a TON of pianos in there. I went back a week later and it was practically empty. They said they had taken the pianos up to Peabody Conservatory for a sale and that most of them should be back the following week. I have not actually attended one of these sales, but have enough info from my mom's experience that I would steer clear of them.


I cannot believe the $28k Lowrey!!! I just remembered when I was younger my friend's rich grandparents bought this fancy organ that probably cost a similar amount. When they passed away and needed to get rid of the organ, I think it was given to charity. Completely worthless.

 

 

I saw one of those piano sales once. A bunch of pianos I had never heard anything about, priced at a level where you could instead buy a fantastic Schimmel upright, or in some cases even a slightly aged but functioning 5 foot grand from a company like Baldwin or Steinway (from the right dealer).

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Garth Hudson played a Lowrey Festival organ, which has as much in common with the typical Lowrey home spinet as a Yamaha GX-1 has with a Korg Poly 800.

 

All tube electronics which could be tweaked into overdrive, separate outputs for each keyboard, driving its own Leslie. I still wouldn't pay $28K for one though!

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