Saturday, March 22, 2014

Farfisa MATADOR master tune repair

While on tour in Europe in 2012 the organ we rented turned out to be a lemon. It was a Fancy Farfisa once played by J. White or something and I was supposed to be thrilled, but all the Cs played Fs and the output cut out frequently. As it was rented and we were in France I couldn't do anything about it. We looked on craigslist and found a small Farfisa combo organ for sale at a flea market for 30 euros. A 40 minute detour took us there and we grabbed it, it seemed like a dream come true! 

Only when we set up for the first gig and did a soundcheck did we realize that the whole thing was shifted up 2 1/2 steps!

The Matador has a "slalom" feature that is a master pitch bend controlled by a foot pedal. I knew that therefore there weren't 12 separate oscillators individually tuned, but a different arrangement allowing for the easy bending of the whole keyboard.

Thankfully the tour manager and driver had a well stocked tool kit and we opened it up in the hostel and I was able (without schematics or DMM) to locate what was most likely the master tuning trim pot. 5 minutes later we had a fully tuned Farfisa ready to go.

Unfortunately at the next gig it wouldn't power up! I opened it on stage and found the main AC lead had fallen out of the on/off switch socket. Tape was the only option, but it lasted the rest of the tour!

That's what you get for 30 Euros! I had to leave it behind in Europe when we came home, but bought a similar Farf (with fewer features) here in Canada for $350 not long after.