Fender Contempo Organ
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2008)|
In the early to mid-1960s, there was an influx of inexpensive portable combo organs aimed at teen keyboardists inproduced by Vox, Gibson, Farfisa, Ace Tone, and many others, Fender Musical Instruments chose to take a shot at the combo organ market late into the game. The manufacturing dates are unknown, but the Contempo's were manufactured at least as early as 1967 and sold as late as 1971.
The Fender Contempo was one of the sturdier combo organs of the 1960s, with its heavy wooden, tolex-covered road case and ABS top, quite similar to that of the Fender Rhodes in production at that time. Pratt Reed manufactured many of the components for both the Contempo and the Rhodes pianos at the time. It was also a visually striking organ with its bright red top, adorned with the chrome Fender script logo, reverse-coloured bass octave keys, black and white stop tabs and a chrome stand and pedal.
Sonically speaking, the instrument lay somewhere between the thick weedy "buzz" of a Farfisa Combo Compact, and the breathy, piercing flutey tones of the Vox Continental. The Contempo set itself apart with the inclusion of the 5-1\3' stop tab (often not included on combo organs, though an essential footage of jazz organ), the rarely seen tremolo effect and the unique triple axis volume pedal, which controlled both volume on the up and down motion, and tone on the left to right motion. This pedal was actually adapted from the triple axis tone\volume pedals sold with Fender Pedal Steel guitars at the time.
Unfortunately due to the relative unsuccess of the Contempo, it is difficult to provide many examples of the Contempo's usage. One of the most famous users is actually Keith Jarrett when he played in Miles Davis group. *Keith Jarrett w. Miles Davis The organ can be heard played together with Rhodes piano on the Miles Davis record Live-Evil and by itself on some live recordings with the Miles Davis group, when Chick Corea took over the Rhodes and Jarrett only played the Contempo. Another recording is Ruta and Daitya with Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette. In rock music, Toronto indie pop bands Beth in Battle Mode and The Gardens Faithful made extensive use of the Contempo.
- Bass Voices: Diaphone 16', Boost 16' f/ff/fff, String Bass 8', Boost 8' f/ff/fff, Horn 4', Boost 4' f/ff/fff
- Normal/Solo Switch: Switches the bass section between Bass and Solo voices
- Treble Voices: Cello 16, Diaphone 16, Boost 16 f/ff/fff, Diaphone 8, String 8, Clarinet 8', Boost 8' f/ff/fff, Quint 5-1/3', Boost 5-1/3' f/ff/fff, String 4', Principal 4', Boost 4' f/ff/fff,
- Effects: Solo Timbre, Vibrato Slow/Fast, Vibrato On, Solo Tremolo