A Rare Breed Indeed: The Gibson G101

A Rare Breed Indeed: The Gibson G101
May 28, 2012 Max Brink
In Combo Organs

A Rare Breed Indeed: The Gibson G101 Combo Organ

What a groovy combo organ! The Gibson G101 is similar to Farfisa Organs from the late 60’s and was used by Ray Manzarak after he grew tired of dealing with issues on his Vox Continental.

Compared to the Farfisas that we have opened up in the past working on the divider boards was a breeze! All of the components were conveniently mounted onto hinged platforms that allowed most components to be accessed with ease.

(I just couldn’t resist posting the picture of Jim’s mid-set ‘nap’)

I have heard that the reason for the switch from the Vox Continental was because they switched production form wood keys (see photo below) to plastic keys but that isn’t consistent with the fact that the Gibson G101 also has sawtooth style plastic keys–perhaps someone else will share the reason in the comments below.

Here is a picture of the Vox Continental that we serviced with wooden keys. We prefer them over the latter plastic keys models.

This was our first G101 serviced by the shop as we slowly get our feet wet servicing vintage combo organs. And boy did it come with a laundry list of issues for us to resolve! (As well as a custom modification for bipassing the foot pedal). For the most part, the issues were very analogous to the experience that we have servicing Farfisa and Vox combo organs but all of them have their own unique personalities and circuit designs.

Udpated December 2012:

…At the moment The Chicago Electric Piano Company only works on combo organs and other keyboards by word of mouth. The keyboards that we have serviced include the Gibson G101, Farfisa Compact, Farfisa Compact Mini, and Vox Continental and Jaguar. If you have a Farfisa or Vox organ that needs work we have experience servicing most aspects of these keyboards so ‘speak easy’and we will gladly give you an estimate of services. Since our expertise is still growing in relation to our electric piano expertise we will gladly perform the services at a discounted rate. One day if there is enough demand for us to launch it as a full time service we look forward to getting our hands dirty with more groovy vintage keys!

Comments (6)

  1. John 9 years ago

    Hi, I have a British Vox Continental that is in need of servicing and I wanted to see if you had any interest. Right now the tone bars don’t seem to be working properly, and only the flats/sharps are producing the correct tone. Some of the black keys work but many sound weak or otherwise distorted. If you are willing to take a look can you provide a ballpark for what it would cost to get it back to playable condition? Thanks!

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      John, We would be happy to give it a look over for you. Give me, Max, a call at (312)476-9528. Thanks!

  2. Brad Wolf 9 years ago

    I have recently bought myself a Gibson G-101 organ as I am a huge fan of The Doors. When I bought the organ, the previous owner gave me a nonworking, identical organ for parts and repair. There are a few problems on the working organ as to be expected. Every C note on the keyboard does not make a sound. I am wondering if you have a guess on what the problem may be, and if it is easy to fix. There is a company around here in Cleveland that said they would take a look at it for me, but they specialize in church and hammond organs, which makes me cautious. I am just looking for someone who knows what they are doing. I also could ship them to you if you think you could help me. I would love to get some help! Thanks

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      Give us a call and we would be glad to discuss what options we may have. We may even be in Ohio in the next couple months if there is no rush.

  3. Timothy J.Sobina 9 years ago

    Hello,
    I very recently acquired a Gibson G-101 and it does make sound, just all the wrong sounds. I did some DeOx spray on some areas of interest but to no avail. It is truly in very nice condition considering its age, and seemingly very worthy of repair.
    I also have a Vox Super Continental in very nice condition with a few small issues. The keys sound like an old typewriter and I know there are little rubber silencer things that are probably rotted, and, the bass needs some looking into as well. It does play, but needs a going over. Anyway, I was wondering if you are interested in discussing what it/these may need with me.
    Thank you, Tim

  4. Leslie Bell 3 months ago

    I’m going to guess that Ray wanted an organ capable of getting the keyboard sounds being used on the records, live. The Gibson is very good at getting harpischord, piano, and even honky tonk piano-ish sounds that no Vox came close until the Continental Baroque. And of course with the sustain features and the extra sounds THOSE ended up on the records and can’t be achieved with any other combo from the time. Not until the Yamaha combos in the 70’s and the Farfisa Pro Duo and Pro Piano and RMI Rock-si-chord and Electronic Pianos was any other “portable” organ capable of the range the Gibson has.

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