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The Bone Doctor's Mighty Conn 650
Analogue Electronic Theatre Organ

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the playing table of the Mighty Conn 650 Theatre Organ.
The playing table of the Mighty Conn 650.



Of all the instruments built during the great home organ boom of the late twentieth century, none stands out like the Mighty Conn 650 Analogue Electronic Theatre Organ built by C. G. Conn of Elkhardt, Indiana. In 1967, this was the flagship of the Conn Theatre Organ line, with three manuals, 32 pedals, split expression and combination action.

What follows is the story of the Mighty Conn 650 that was adopted by the Bone Doctor to be placed in his girlfriend's home in Ridgecrest, California. It is a tale of heartfealt generosity that knows no bounderies and the determination of a gifted organ techincian to get the classy machine going again.



A Bit Of History...


The Adoption

On July 19th, Cyrus Roton and the Bone Doctor went to San Bernardino to see fellow Walnut Hill Wall Of Fame member and great friend Paul Kealy to deliver a Hammond Concorde with a Leslie 725 speaker cabinet to his church, this great instrument being an unsolicited gift from Cyrus.

Click here to download a 2048 x 1536 JPG image showing the Bone Doctor at the console of the Hammond Concorde electronic organ.
The Bone Doctor at the console
of the Hammond Concorde electronic organ.

The Hammond Concorde has the prerequisite drawbars plus it is endowed with several theatre organ stops. Paul was thrilled that the Hammond Company had made such an instrument and he was not expecting to have one in his church. The gift was a major surprise for Paul, one he was very pleased with.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the Bone Doctor at the console of Paul Kealy's Baldwin Classical Organ.
The Bone Doctor at the console of Paul Kealy's Baldwin Classical Organ

As a token of his appreciation and gratitude for the work done by the Walnut Hill Productions team to preserve and promote the King of Instruments, Paul gave Doc a vintage Conn 650 analogue theatre organ. The donation of this vintage machine was something Paul had been planning since Doc left Florida in 2006.

The instrument was in nearly mint shape except for some minor dulling of the walnut finish on the horseshoe lid due to sunlight shining on it through a window in the home of the previous owner well before Paul aquired it.

This magnificent organ has three 61-note manuals and a 32-note pedalboard. The stops are arranged in true WurliTzer fashion, and there is a combination action with six pistons per manual for the Accompaniment and the Great. There are a number of other pistons for more functions and the expression is split between two swell shoes.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Cyrus Roton and the Bone Doctor jamming at Paul Kealy's church.
Cyrus Roton and the Bone Doctor jamming at Paul Kealy's church.

While at the church, there was a short jam session with Cyrus at the Baldwin and Doc on the piano. The acoustics of the sanctuary were nothing short of stunning as the sound of the organ and piano rang out to the strains of Back to Sorento. What a wonderful place! After the jam, the men set about loading the Mighty Conn 650 on the trailer for the trip back to Ridgecrest.

Upon inspection before loading, it was learned that the console speakers would need reconnecting because the wires had been routed to external speakers by cutting them to splice on a long cable for the remote cabinets. We also discovered worn pedal felts that would need replacing. According to Paul, everything on the organ works. There was even an owner's manaul containing detailed operation along with complete stop lists and registrations for the various pistons. Also, a spare power amplifer was included.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Cyrus Roton and the Bone Doctor loading up the Conn 650 Theatre Organ.
Cyrus Roton and the Bone Doctor load up the Conn 650.

The organ was loaded and the three gentlemen went to lunch at a fine mexican eatery near the church. On the way out of town, the right rear tire on Cyrus' van developed a bad valve stem and blew out, leaving the vehicle stopped in the middle of the freeway. The CHP stopped and helped us change the blown tire so we could continue on home to Ridgecrest with this beautiful gift. A few miles up the road, we found a tire store and replaced the blown tire, returning the spare to its berth below the rear deck.

The instrument was installed in the home of the Bone Doctor's girlfriend, Suzanne Donnally. This apartment has a large enough living room to accomodate the stately beast. The acoustics are perfect for recording and listening to the golden voice of this vintage instrument.


The Restoration

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Cyrus Roton working on the Conn 650 Theatre Organ.
Cyrus Roton working on the Conn 650.

On July 21st, we went over to Miss Donnally's house to work on the Mighty Conn 650 Theatre Organ, lovingly named Gertrude. Cyrus quickly repaired the speaker wires and we discovered what to do to the pedals to take out the clacking racket. Also, he discovered four bad switching transistors in the buss bar circuitry and he now has replacements on order, along with some new felts for the pedals.

After the speaker wires were spliced and the horseshoe lid closed for the day, Cyrus took the bench to give the old gal a go. Doc took pictures the whole time. He got shots of Cyrus working on the console and more during his pleasure filled time on the bench. Cyrus was grinning from ear to ear like a young kid as the sound of the Mighty Conn rang out, filling the room with that glorious noise only a TPO can make.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Cyrus Roton at the console of the Conn 650 Theatre Organ.
Cyrus Roton at the console of the Conn 650.

After Cyrus played the huge beast, Doc took the bench and went down memory lane, remembering his prior experience with this model from the 70's. What grand tone! There are so many ranks to choose from, and all of them quite real. This machine is going to be a blast to play and record.

On July 30th, Cyrus and, Doc went over to perform the needed repairs to the Tibia buss bar circuits and install new up-down stops on the bass pedals. Now all that remains to be done is replace two buss bars in the pedals that control the Accompaniment to Pedal coupler, which is nonfunctional at the moment, but everything else works great.

Now that all the Tibias are playing and the pedals move quietly, the instrument has a tone that simply must be heard to be believed. The organ has unlimited bass. There are some sweet Tibias and the Vox Humana is to die for. Oh, and the English Post Horn will peel paint! There are four ranks of strings, one being a very lush VDO. There is also the famous Conn Min-O-Matic II Drum Machine attached and it works great, especially on the Latin rhythms.



A Closer Look At The Console


Click here to download a 1600 x 1104 JPG image showing the stop sweep of the Mighty Conn 650 analogue electronic theatre organ.
The stop sweep of the Mighty Conn 650 theatre organ.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the left bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 analogue electronic theatre organ.
The left bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 theatre organ.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the center bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 analogue electronic theatre organ.
The center bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 theatre organ.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the right bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 analogue electronic theatre organ.
The right bolster of the Mighty Conn 650 theatre organ.



Free Music Downloads


Free WMA Downloads from the Bone Doctor playing the 3/17 Mighty Conn 650 Analogue Electronic Theatre Organ!

The Early Recordings

On July 25th, Doc took the bench of his newly aquired Mighty Conn 650 analogue electronic theatre organ. He spent the entire day doing a recording session using his trusty Zoom H4 digital audio recorder and played eleven songs listed below for your enjoyment.

When these recordings were made live using our trusty Zoom H4 digital audio recorder, there remained some restoration work to do on this wonderful organ, including repadding the up and down stops on the pedalboard and replacing six switching transistors in the Tibia buss bar circuitry.

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the console of the Mighty Conn 650 Theatre Organ.
The console of the Mighty Conn 650.

You can hear the missing pads in the pedals on the recordings below, but even with some of the Tibias not working and the faulty pedal pads, the instrument still sounds with a golden voice on these tracks. Since doing this session, most of the repairs to this vintage machine have been successfully completed.

  1. I Couldn't Love You Any More
    Playing Time = 2:43, file size = 2.52MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  2. Hop Scotch
    Playing Time = 3:51, file size = 3.55MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  3. How Tasteless The Hours
    Playing Time = 2:05, file size = 1.95MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  4. Never Grow Old
    Playing Time = 3:15, file size = 3.01MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  5. Amazing Grace
    Playing Time = 3:45, file size = 3.47MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  6. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
    Playing Time = 3:41, file size = 3.41MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  7. Tennessee Waltz
    Playing Time = 4:56, file size = 4.57MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  8. My Walking Stick
    Playing Time = 4:26, file size = 4.11MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  9. San Antonio Rose
    Playing Time = 2:31, file size = 2.35MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  10. Skater's Waltz
    Playing Time = 3:16, file size = 3.04MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.
  11. Yellow Bird
    Playing Time = 2:40, file size = 2.48MB, bit rate = 136KB/sec.


New Session At Mister Todd's Place

On November 20th of 2007, the Bone Doctor took the bench of the Mighty Conn 650 Analogue Electronic Theatre Organ installed at Mister Todd's place in Ridgecrest for a few numbers he has been working on.

  1. The Hoop-A-Joop Song
    Playing time = 5:10, file size = 4.78MB, bitrate = 136KB/sec.
  2. Cool Water
    Playing time = 5:27, file size = 5.04MB, bitrate = 136KB/sec.

These recordings were made using our trusty Zoom H4 digital audio recorder. The files were opened in SoundForge 6 where noise was removed and levels were optimized, along with adding a touch of reverb with the Waves TrueVerb plugin set to Threatre mode.

Stay tuned as we add more stuff from this wonderful machine in the days ahead. Thanks go out to fellow Walnut Hill Wall of Fame member Paul Kealy who donated the organ to Walnut Hill.


Go back to The Walnut Hill Organ page. Go back to The Bone Doctor's Recording Sessions page. Go to the Walnut Hill Graphical Website Map Go forward to Bone Doctor at Dan Rowland's Mighty MidiTzer page. Go forward to Learn About The Walnut Hill Studio Page.

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