I am fascinated by reed organs, how they work and how so many were once built in Canada. I have four.

I try not to buy more. I love the fact that they are completely mechanical and can be taken apart and put back together with only a screwdriver. And I am fond of their wheezy tone that can credibly play tunes from Palestrina to Procul Harum with Piaf in between.

Repairing various problems goes with the territory of owning such an instrument. But because no one makes them nowadays, information about how to do it is difficult to find. Some experts have made fabulous, helpful websites. My favorites are here and here because they have good pictures and explanation. However, beyond the basics common to all, each organ is somewhat different and the information cannot be directly applied from one to another. Opening an organ is an adventure in discovery.

On these pages, I hope to explain how I try to repair them with photos and descriptions of my problems, containing the kind of simple information that I am always grateful to find when I stumble upon it. I have no expertise or qualifications for the work.

Uxbridge reed organ repair, made in Uxbridge, Ontario, 1880s?

Portable Melodeon, made in Boston, circa 1860

Wm Bell, cottage organ, made in Guelph, Ontario, circa 1885

Sherlock Manning Organ, made in London, Ontario, 5 November 1907