Organ giant Baldwin sold two combo organs, one under the Baldwin name and one under the Howard name. The Baldwin Combo was made by Baldwin in Fayetteville, AR, but the Howard was made in Italy (by GEM
Here a couple of pictures of the two together, along with a Baldwin amp. Believe it or not, these are NOT the same collections, and they're owned by two different people.
Baldwin Combo (BC-1)
|Baldwin's "made in the USA" answer to the growing combo organ movement. According to some "old Baldwin guys", there were probably only 100 or so of these made. They're very well built, but quite heavy. The BC-1 has been described as having "a very clean, clear, well defined sound" - not at all raspy like the Howard, and with much better Flute sounds|
There's a good write-up on the BC-1 by Barry Carson in Mark
Vail's "Vintage Synthesizers".
Bass: Bass Volume, Bass Extension (extends treble keyboard to all 61 keys)
Volume, On/Off Knob
Vibrato: On/Off, Light/Full, Slow/Fast
Flute Tabs: 16', 8', 4', 2-2/3', Off/On
Solo Tabs: Flute 16', Flute 8', Flute 4', Flute 2-2/3', String 16', String 8', String 4', Bass Sax 16', Clarinet 8'
The Flute tabs and the Solo tabs are mutually exclusive, controlled by the Off/On tab next to the Flute tabs. When on, only the Flute tabs sound, and when Off, only the Solo tabs sound. I guess that's what the catalog means by "presets" - you can switch between two preset selections of voices.
The catalog lists a Post Horn 8' tab in place of the Bass Sax 16', but all three BC-1's I've seen or heard about have the Bass Sax 16' tab. Barry Carson noted that the labels under the controls are metal stick-on labels. I don't know if this was normal or some sort of early production run.
1967 List Price: $860
|Once described as the "57 DeSoto of the Combo Organ world", the name alone is worth it (think of Howard Sprague on "Andy Griffith" and you'll see what I mean). According to information on the voxshowroom web site, the Vox Jaguar was a re-make of a Howard organ made by JEN. While I've never seen the "four-tab" Howard referred to there, I can say confidently that the Howard and the Jaguar were made in Italy by GEM(Generale Elettro Musica, originally Galanti Egidio Music). The generator boards are nearly identical and interchangeable between the two, and the keyboards are also nearly identical. The Jaguar differs in that it has the pre-mixed footages and "bass chords" feature not found on the other Howard, which has instead the Coupler to accomplish adding footages.|
The "Howard" name comes from the founder of the company, D. H. Baldwin (his middle name was Howard). According to the "old Baldwin guys", approximately 500 Howards were imported from Italy. Baldwin also sold some 'budget' home organs under the Howard name, which were also Italian, but they had nothing like a combo organ sound. They used the name on some lower price pianos, too. (thanks to Guitarampsky for this info)
The sound of the Howard is typically described as harsh, raunchy, raspy, fuzzy, nasty, gritty - all the great Combo Organ terms of endearment.
Tabs: Vibrato: Full/Light, Fast/Slow, Flutes Mellow, Flutes Bright, Strings Muted, Strings Bright, Reeds, Horns Mellow, Horns Bright, Brass Muted, Brass Bright.
Knobs: Bass volume, Treble volume, Push/Pull Coupler, On/Off.
(Pictures courtesy of Chuck Collins)
The Howard is the only combo organ I know of that had optional leg extensions, which would raise it up about 5". This would have been a real advantage to organists who played standing up (as most did way back when), especially the taller of us (I'm 6'3", and I used to put my Farfisa on the mixing board case, raising it about 8" - I simply could not play it otherwise)
1967 List Price: $595 (Cover: $13.50, 5" Leg Extensions: $10)
Here's a two-sided Howard sales flyer, kindly provided to me by Larry, who got these along with his Howard Combo back in 1967. Thanks, Larry: