From the church to the home to the stage with pop, rock and jazz bands, the electric organ is a remarkably versatile instrument. The styles and sounds of electric organs range from classic pipe organ emulation to the versatile, often distorted and borderline psychedelic tones of Hammond-style organs to the expansive palette of digital organs.
Since the electric organ is such a versatile instrument, it makes perfect sense that there are plenty of options to choose from on the market. With such a wide variety of electric organs, knowing the top brands is useful.
Of course, the brand is far from the most important aspect of an instrument, though it's still worth considering for general knowledge and judgment. In this article, I’ll share my take on the top electric organ brands.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Performance of the electric organs
- Longevity of the electric organs
- Variety of electric organs available
- Accessibility of the electric organs (how easy they are to find/buy)
- The company must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let's list out the brands.
The Top 11 Best Electric Organ Brands Are:
Let's get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best electric organ brands. I’ll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable organ, and a link to their official website.
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The Hammond organ is, arguably, the sound that shaped an era. Indeed, it is possible to hear the nuances and beautiful harmonics of the original B-3 tonewheel models in all kinds of recordings, from reggae to progressive rock.
Although vintage Hammond organs have a hefty price tag, the company, now owned by Suzuki Musical Instruments, creates authentic, modern, dependable, and affordable versions that can offer the quintessential Hammond sound to modern musicians on stage, in the studio, or at home.
Nothing sounds like a Hammond. Thus, you should try the real thing before buying anything else.
Notable electric/digital organ: Hammond SK-PRO
The SK-PRO by Hammond is not just another organ; it is a plethora of them inside one box. Furthermore, what sets this new Hammond model apart from the competition is the fact that it was completely designed utilizing the public's opinion, optimizing it for live performances.
Inside, you'll find four powerful engines capable of an uncanny level of realism and a user interface that is as intuitive and friendly as it gets. If you are a gigging musician searching for your new favourite do-it-all organ, check this model out. You can see it in action in this video.
Allen Organs is partially responsible for the popularity of pipeless organs growing non-stop in churches worldwide. Because of their devotion to restless innovation and the pursuit of excellence, many reluctant churches decided to bet on modern, lighter instruments.
Nowadays, seeing a pipe organ in a church is close to walking into a history museum to see an artifact made for a different era.
That same build quality and uncanny sound that convinced church members to make a bet on technology can be found in every instrument leaving the factory today.
Notable electric/digital organ: Allen Organs Historique IIIG
The perfect blend of timeless looks, solid construction, and cutting-edge technology makes this a one-of-a-kind instrument that is ready to take the world. To begin with, a blind test between one of these and a real pipe organ might be an impossible riddle to solve, even for seasoned players.
Also, the solid wood construction, satin finish, and timeless feel will make you feel at home from day one. Finally, the GeniSys technology (voices and display) makes this one of the most advanced organs in the world. If you are after excellence, you have to check this model out.
Rodgers is a brand that has been changing the world's musical landscape from behind the veil for decades without much-deserved recognition for it. For example, Rodgers is responsible for creating the first-ever all-transistor organ in 1962, the single-contact diode keying in 1961, and the first MIDI-supported church organ in 1986, among many other ground-breaking innovations.
Rodgers is synonymous with bold design, uncanny commitment to excellence, and quality craftsmanship. If that sounds like the kind of organ you would like to purchase, you have to give them a chance.
Notable electric/digital organ: Rodgers Infinity Series 484
If we were to use a single word to describe the Infinity series, it would be “versatility”. This is because this one-of-a-kind instrument is capable of utterly realistic sounds utilizing Rodger's Natural Pipe Realism technology along with 483 other sounds.
Moreover, it features Bluetooth technology for AirTurn hands-free page-turning operating it with your foot and viewing it on a mobile device or tablet. But that's not all because if you happen to have installed pipes, you can easily transform this musical wonder into a pipe organ, blending digital sounds with true pipe feeling.
Since the introduction of the Nord Lead in 1995, the synthesizer world has never been the same. Indeed, it was the first time that a portable instrument was capable of covering such a vast sonic ground with unrivalled realism and a super-intuitive, user-friendly interface.
Today, seeing a red-coloured Nord on any stage in the world brings to mind top-level performance, reliability, amazing sound, and the perfect blend of the digital, virtual, and analog worlds. Furthermore, Nord still makes them by hand in Sweden. If you want the best, you have to try Nord.
Notable electric/digital organ: Nord Stage 3
The new flagship keyboard by Nord is the fifth iteration of this timeless classic.
Moreover, it is the first to combine the latest award-winning technology with the lead engine of the famous Nord A1, the critically acclaimed Nord C2D organ, an enhanced piano section coming straight from the Nord Grand, and an extensive collection of effects.
No other keyboard in the market can offer you this much in a single instrument; it is the perfect choice for any musician playing in the most demanding scenarios.
Although not everybody knows it, Yamaha's empire was built by a piano maker. Indeed, if you take a closer look at Yamaha's logo, it is a trio of interlocking tuning forks. This is because Yamaha's tradition as a keyboard builder can be traced back to the 19th century.
It was that same passion for sound, craftsmanship, and innovation that took Yamaha's pianos to the most exclusive stages in the world.
Nowadays, Yamaha's organs are the natural heirs of that long heritage and represent the highest standards of Japanese commitment to excellence around the world.
Notable electric/digital organ: Yamaha YC61
The Yamaha YC line represents the best the company can deliver for an organ-focused keyboard player in a stage-ready package small enough for any space. That being said, don't let the size fool you; there is a lot more than meets the eye with this instrument.
The YC61 utilizes Yamaha's Virtual Circuitry Modeling, which means it can emulate any analog organ you can think of. You can also add instrument voices and professional-sounding effects using an intuitive, easy-to-use onboard series of controls designed to be used seamlessly in any live situation.
If you're playing live, you have to check this Yamaha out.
To speak of Roland is to speak about one of the most influential electric musical instrument manufacturers in the history of the world. Indeed, with innovations such as the TR-808, the Juno-106, and the TB-303, the company helped shape the sounds of generations.
Moreover, we can still hear them (or virtual modeling emulating them) in most modern music productions.
Roland's relevance in the electronic musical instrument world means you can always expect them to release the next big innovation that will set the benchmark for the industry to be measured. If you're serious about your playing (and you haven't already), give Roland a chance before buying anything else.
Notable electric/digital organ: Roland V-Combo VR-730
If top-notch organ, electric and acoustic piano, and synth sounds in a travel-ready keyboard are what you need, then you have to check out this new 73-key waterfall keyboard model by Roland. The piano sounds come directly from Roland's critically acclaimed RD-2000.
Also, the impeccable control layout and intuitive interface make playing it a beautiful experience in every aspect, with a very flat learning curve.
Crumar was born on the verge of a decade that brought unprecedented, outrageous innovations for electronic instruments: the 1970s. During that time, and adopting the classic aesthetics of the decade, Crumar released several models that gained notoriety and became the competition to industry giants like Moog.
Such is the case that bands the size of Duran Duran favoured Crumar over all others in many of their recordings. Nowadays, the same bold, free spirit that added mojo to the crazy seventies lives inside each Crumar keyboard. If you're ready for a true time-travelling experience, you have to try a Crumar keyboard out.
Notable electric/digital organ: Crumar Mojo Classic
Crumar's Mojo Classic represents the quintessential electric organ ready to make every stage a more beautiful place. Indeed, the effort that the Italian brand applies to the housing of each of its instruments is unmatched.
That being said, the Mojo Classic is also a magnificent-sounding organ with a modern and powerful DSP platform inside that can virtually recreate any analog vintage sound you can think of with the twist of a wheel.
If you want the vintage looks and sounds with none of the hassles and all the modern flexibility, check out this model by Crumar; see it in action in this video along with the Crumar Seven.
The story behind Phoenix Organs is that of a need: to find an organ that could sound like it had pipes without them. In this quest, engineers Dave and Stephen (both organ players at their churches) decided to join forces, and thus, with a blank sheet of paper, high hopes, and a strong desire to help, they came up with the Phoenix system, which they still use today.
Unlike other brands in this list, Phoenix still keeps all production strictly handmade by talented craftsmen and women in the UK and Canada, where consoles are built. If you are ready for the next best thing to a real pipe organ, you have to check Phoenix out.
Notable electric/digital organ: Phoenix PD472
Phoenix's drawstop organs are all created to be unique. Indeed, although the company provides a basic layout of specifications and materials, each organ is built upon the specifications and tastes of the organ player/church. In this vein, they can be North American Style, English Style, or French terraced style.
Moreover, they are built entirely utilizing top-notch drawknob and tab components, comparable to those used by elite pipe organ manufacturers. Every Phoenix PD472 leaving the facilities is ready for decades of non-stop service; check one out before buying.
Some of the names that have played Eminent organs throughout their successful careers are The Carpenters, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and Herbie Hancock.
If that is not enough to speak of the quality craftsmanship, and impeccable sound this brand is capable of, adding that they are a brand new, fresh approach to sound creation, blending additive synthesis with real, analog sounds might complete the concept.
Eminent organs were good enough to push the career of these musical giants forward, which can also mean a great leap for you or your church's sound.
Notable electric/digital organ: Eminent DSC386
Big churches need big organs to make every meeting a one-of-a-kind, epic experience. With that in mind, Eminent created this massive instrument with 37 speaking stops, a 32-note AGO pedalboard, and a full departmental capture system.
Moreover, it is designed to work with big audio systems, delivering 32 individual audio channels to a mixer console. The double computing module inside this model is perfect for separating virtual organ divisions.
This is a must-check before buying if you are after a big instrument capable of delivering big, rich sounds.
Soon after being established as a manufacturer, Content Organs won the prestigious Diapason d'Or in 1987 due to the massive inclusion of additional features to the original concept of church organs. This steady innovational path opened the door for non-stop growth that elevated the brand's status to worldwide recognition.
Nowadays, and after more than three decades of success, Content Organs are synonymous with performance, quality craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technology.
Notable electric/digital organ: Content Organs Concerto Jubileo 40
No other organ in this list has any pipes except for this Art-Decó inspired work of art. Although it looks stunning, this 40th-anniversary model features the Kienle Pipe Resonator System, which works wonders in blending seamlessly state-of-the-art digital technology with the best resonator performance. As a result, you get four distinct colour palettes that can embellish any ceremony.
This is the biggest, most advanced model by one of the top manufacturers in the world.
This brand has a long musical-instrument-building tradition that started in the 19th century when Antonio Galanti established a small accordion shop that became a successful family business. That heritage and know-how about keyboard instruments cascaded from generation to generation, adding technology enhancements along the way.
As a result, Viscount Organs are the perfect blend of traditional Italian craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, and impeccable build quality with a tone that is ready to take any player's skills to the next level of his or her career.
Notable electric/digital organ: Viscount Regent 469 DS
A luxurious real wood cabinet finished with fine veneer houses an instrument that sounds nothing short of epic.
Indeed, featuring 69 illuminated draw stops and an impeccable-sounding, state-of-the-art, physical-modelling-based instrument, this model features an internal library that is powerful enough to allow the user to create four distinct individual tonal palettes.
As a result, complex, rich sonic landscapes can become a standard in every church service.
- Copeman Hart of England
- Johannus Monarke