Brand New Digital Organs, Rebuilds & Hybrids

Simply the best, there are no better digital church organs than those produced by Copeman Hart, Johannus, Makin and Rodgers with a wide range of instruments in many styles available for home or church use.

In the UK, ChurchOrganWorld sell Copeman Hart and Makin instruments which are market leaders with the true English Organ sound. Johannus provide us with a wide range of available models for the important French, German and Dutch organ schools with some models having a significant American slant to them.

In addition to new instruments, please read on for information about organ rebuild options and for hybrid instruments.

Copeman Hart

Copeman Hart, established in 1960, enjoys an international reputation for its custom-built church organs with a typical English sound and appearance. In 2011 the company was sold to the Global Organ Group. Founder Ernest Hart (1934 – 2022) intended to retire in the early years of the 21st century, but before then put enormous effort into finding a suitable successor for the company into which he had invested a lifetime of heart and soul. He found that successor in the Global Organ Group and in Dr Keith Harrington, who was then managing director of Makin Organs. Both parties were entrusted with the task of building constructively upon Ernest Hart’s legacy.
 
Keith Harrington commented “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Ernest whilst he remained with the company for the first year following the acquisition. He was most generous with his time which we spent together and with other staff and customers”. Keith added “It was soon evident that Copeman Hart would be a superb addition to our company, and this together with the subsequent acquisition of Rodgers Instruments led to massive development of the Global Organ Group.”
 
The two main paths of focus were the development of New Copeman Hart instruments, but also, very importantly the development of a route to support customers who had already invested in the Copeman Hart brand by providing them with a path forward for their instruments into the next generation.

Johannus

Johannus is one of the greatest designers and builders of digital home and church organs in the world. The company was established by Hans Versteegt in 1968. His mission was to make church organs affordable and accessible for a broad public. Up until today, his mission has been the starting point of all organs designed and built by Johannus.
 
In addition, the company locates itself within the centuries old European church organ tradition, which facilitates a good understanding of the unparalleled dynamics of the pipe organ. Nowhere else than in Europe is it so easy to walk into a church and be overwhelmed by the sounds of the authentic pipe organ. This is how it has been for centuries.
 
In 1987, Gert van de Weerd took over the company which he then sold to his sons Marco and René van de Weerd after a period of growth. They have led Johannus since 2009. In recent years, the organ company has acquired a more international character, exporting its organs now to over 100 countries. 
 
They have a wide range of instruments for both home and church use inclusing Studio, Opus, LiVE and Ecclesia instruments.

Makin

The genealogy of Makin organs can be traced back to the first experiments of synthetic organ tone made by Compton Organs Ltd, the famous pipe and electronic organ builder, whose farsighted founder, John Compton experimented with synthetic generation of organ tone back in the 1920’s. Makin itself was founded in 1970 by John Robert Makin Pilling (1915 – 1996) when he acquired part of Compton Organs Ltd and continued with the innovation started half a century earlier.
 
Since then Makin has built and maintained an excellent reputation for supplying organs of the highest quality and providing a caring relationship with customers once the organ has been built and installed. Indeed the majority of new installations are as a result of recommendations from satisfied customers. Makin continues to offer a complete service to its customers employing enough staff to cover the whole country with no use of third-party engineers. From the initial digital sampling of organ pipes to the final installation and ongoing after sales service work, Makin experts are on hand to ensure that the organ is installed, voiced and cared for thereafter in an efficient and professional manner.
 
A significant update of their models was made in 2023 with the introduction of the four-manual Derwent (4-68) organ which uses our latest DSCore streaming technology taking our celebrated live sampling to the next level. It joins much upgraded Rydal (2-25), Thirlmere (2-36) and Windermere (3-53) models.

Rodgers

Since 1958, Rodgers has been committed to heightening the spiritual experience of audiences with the transformational power of music. Rodgers organs not only capture the essence of American pipe organ sound, they have led the way in making organs more accessible to places of worship, universities, music schools and enthusiasts around the world.
 
Two visionary engineers and organ enthusiasts, Rodgers Jenkins and Fred Tinker, originally founded Rodgers Church Organs in 1958. The company’s focus was on helping make the transformational power of the American organ more accessible to churches, colleges, performance centers and players by embracing advancements in technology. From this dedication to serve and a passion for elevating the human spirit through music, Rodgers was born.
 
Originally controlled by officers of Tektronix and the founding engineers, in September 1977, Rodgers became part of CBS Musical Instruments along with Steinway & Sons pianos, Fender guitars, Rhodes electric pianos and a number of other instrument brand names. In 1985 CBS divested itself of Rodgers, along with Steinway and Gemeinhardt, all of which were purchased by Steinway Musical Properties. From May 1, 1988, Roland Corporation was the parent company of Rodgers until January 4, 2016 when the Roland Corporation agreed to the Global Organ Group’s acquisition of the American company Rodgers Instruments, effective January 15, 2016.
 
The current Rodgers range includes the Infinity, Imagine and Inspire series of organs.

Organ Rebuilds

In the last few years, we have seen a significant growth in the desire to rebuild an analogue or early digital organ. This rebuild option makes best economic sense where the original organ was built in a drawstop console since upgrading such instruments tends to require only minor or cosmetic modification to the external wood of the console. Whilst a similar upgrade is possible for a tabstop console, the economics usually mean that a new console will be a more sensible option.
 
Whilst a totally new instrument may be attractive to some, simple economics may preclude this option, so consideration is then given to a rebuild especially since in the case of a church the VAT (currently 20%) can often be reclaimed. The principal benefits of upgrading an old instrument to the newest technology from ChurchOrganWorld are summarised as follows:
 
  • the finest-quality and most realistic organ digital organ sound available, sampled from world-renowned pipe organs in extraordinary resolution; you are listening to actual pipe organs rather than artificial computer-generated wave forms
  • a new high-quality speaker system with a matching amplification system for optimum sound reproduction and delivery
  • organs designed and voiced in conjunction with Professor Ian Tracey, organist at Liverpool Cathedral since 1980
  • assistance for the organist from state-of the art console features
  • no tuning costs, ever
  • the potential for connecting a recording unit (Sequencer) and other MIDI devices
  • first class after-sales support, usually with your own dedicated service engineer, from our own in-house team
  • peace-of mind of a new full ten-year Guarantee on both parts and labour
So, what happens in a rebuild? 
As well as new internal hardware, a console rebuild often necessitates the provision of new stop jambs, keyboards, and piston rails due to compatibility issues with the older technology. However, such considerations are decided on a case by case basis. The precise details of the elements to be upgraded would be agreed and costed following a comprehensive inspection by a ChurchOrganWorld engineer; but, based on a cursory consideration during a meeting, we would typically expect the list to include the following: 
 
  • total replacement of the computer and amplification systems
  • replacement of the keyboards and thumb piston rails (reuse is in some cases desirable and possible)
  • modification of the panel beneath the music desk
  • refurbishment of the existing pedalboard
  • replacement of stop jamb panels as required by the new specification
  • re-use of current stop solenoids where possible, or optional solenoid upgrades at additional cost
  • addition of new solenoids if extras stops and octave couplers are added
  • all stop heads are re-engraved
  • addition of new toe pistons as required
  • a completely new multi-channel speaker system installed within the existing enclosures
Any new woodwork required would, of course, be matched to that of the existing console. Barring the small changes required to the stop positions and new pistons, the overall appearance of the console after the rebuild would be virtually identical to that at present. We provide a loan organ at no cost for the duration of a rebuild.

Hybrid Instruments

We are increasingly hearing about ‘hybrid’ or ‘combination organs’ in the organ world. What exactly does that mean? A ‘combination organ’, is a midway between a digital and a pipe organ where some ranks are digital and others are pipe. This combination can offer your church many different advantages, the best of both worlds. For example, you can replace an old, often worn out, console with a less expensive, digital console. You also have the option of adding extra digital stops to your current pipe organ.
 
As a simple example, the church pipe organ may be too small to satisfactorily lead large services and would benefit tremendously with some additional pedal stops.
 
The Global Organ Group has led the development and building of Hybrid or ‘combination organs’ for the past 10 years. The advanced technology used for this purpose has proven to be both very reliable and very fast. We can offer incredible flexibility with hydrid solutions using Johannus, Makin or Rodgers technology.
 
Recently in the UK, ChurchOrganWorld has worked with two major pipe organ companies to produce unique Hybrid instruments
 
Typical cases where a Hybrid solutions can be developed include:-
 
  • We need a new console for our pipe organ
    • You have a good pipe organ, but the console now needs replacing, as the keyboards or stop controls no longer function properly.
  • We need extra stops for our pipe organ
    • You own a good pipe organ, but additional stops would be useful. However, either cost precludes this or your organ chamber does not have space for extra organ pipes.
There are, of course, several other possible situations and solutions. We can generally state that the best results are achieved in combination with electro-pneumatic organs.

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