I have written a number of articles about the demise of the electronic organ. Having seen and played the latest crop of organs from Roland like the new Roland Atelier AT 900, AT 900 C and the AT 800 I think this could be the start of a comeback.
It's only the beginning
I have to say that this is only the beginning of a comeback, and in my opinion, there is still a lot that organ manufactures have to do, especially Roland. I believe that Yamaha are heading in the right direction with organs such as the Yamaha D Deck portable organ and even the Yamaha Stagea Electone organ which is a bulkier organ but still portable. Probably the best example of a portable organ has got to be the Nord C1 Combo organ, which can be best described as carrying a Hammond C3 organ under your arm, yes, it's that light.
What can Roland organs do to improve?
Well first of all, let me say I am a big fan of Roland organs. The sound and playability of these organs are both brilliant and easy, but they are far too big and heavy. The Roland AT 900 C organ is Roland's attempt to provide a portable organ for the travelling organist. What a joke. The organ weighs in at 224 lbs. Compare this to the Nord C1 Combo organ that weighs 33 lbs and the Yamaha D Deck that weighs in at 39 lbs, and you can see that the Roland AT 900 C is a very heavy portable organ. If Roland want to stay in this new emerging comeback they have to do something about the cost of there organs. The Roland AT900 C retails in the UK at £13000.00. Compare this to the Nord C1 organ, which cost £1500.00 and the Yamaha D Deck, while not actually available in the UK, can be imported for about £3500.00.
If you really want a Roland, buy second hand
Okay, you are not going to get the latest model second hand and if you do you will be very lucky, but the previous models can be bought for outstandingly cheap prices compared to the cost of buying new.
Roland are obviously aiming there organs at the older generation, who have got a bit of money set aside, and for many years this as been a good market for organ manufactures, but that market is dwindling, which is why Yamaha are not selling there organs in western markets. In my opinion Roland have a great opportunity to create a market for all ages and play a major part in helping the electronic organ comeback.