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Translation of the original article published on AMMI Magazine on "Busker"construction by  Aldo Laus on John Smith design
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Solution adopted

It all started from a couple of pamphlets of german crank organs which I had kept jealously since a few years , when I attended with much surprise the demo during a Musik Messe exhibition in Frankfurt.

Eventually, after my retirement, I visited their web site and I realized that if I wanted to buy just their kit, I had no longer the possibility to change my wife's car.

Then, searching on Internet, I discovered the existence of kits and projects, which in Italy are difficult to find unless you know the english language and you are able to navigate on Internet (In fact, I wish to outline that another essential thing for this hobby, if you like me are keen to utilize Internet, is the knowledge of english language , otherwise it will be difficult to set up a dialogue with this world , whose inhabitants are happy to correspond with the newcomers. In any case you may seek help from some patient friend.

On Internet you may find everything,   you must know what you want and how to search it. 

Among a few proposals I found particularly attractive a project designed and proposed by Mr. John Smith, an english crank organ expert who, after having designed and built by his own a little crank organ, called "Busker", had the very good idea to write a manual with the description of the project and the constructional drawings and to sell them to the DIY lovers.

The Busker is a small very simple crank organ, whose design is really ingenious for the adopted solutions which aim to simplify to the maximum the machine architecture even offering a good final result in its performances. 

This organ has a range of 20 notes which are generated by an equivalent number of little pipes made of Balsa wood, which give a pleasant flute ensemble.

The purists that accept pear-tree wood pipes only , are however free to make their pipes in that way, further improving the acoustic result.

Judging from  the resonance found on the web on sites dealing on the subject, the success of the J.S. organ was great over the last few years, .We can say that the Busker represents today a standard in the crank organ community. 

After the first success, the author has then designed other more complex crank organs  which todays he offers in a 3 models range.

I was encouraged by this Busker popularity, thus I decided to get involved in the adventure and I bought the project.

After sending a bank remittance of 39 £ I received an envelope containing:

A manual with constructional drawing of the instrument, a VHS cassette showing video details of many phases of the construction, a sample of plastified fabric suggested for construction of the bellows( the one used in UK for curtains, commonly called blind), and a test pattern punched paper roll.

Then, after reading with avidity the thin manual, I started to plan the construction, with an important consideration: the drawing are not 100% exhaustive, but they represent a very good guideline to reach the final result with the help of the VHS cassette and a dose of personal creativity.

For example, there are no indications to build the external cabinet of the instrument, whose design is fully left to the builder.

Fortunately, as above mentioned, the J.S. Busker is supported by several enthusiastics that have built it before me and have decided to put available their experiences on Internet, therefore it is worth to pay a visit to their sites and take into account their suggestions.

In particular I recommend these people:

Pete Osborne, Ed Gaida, Gisli Olsen, Gordon Symonds(whose web sites can be easily found with a search engine) and Melvyn Wright

The latter is not a builder, but a professional arranger who offers music for several types of crank organs. In its very attractive site he has dedicated a broad and very interesting section to the J.S. Busker, subdivided in two parts: one contains the articles written by several builders adressing constructional tips and improvements, including articles of J.S. itself.The other one is a photo gallery dedicated to those having completed their busker projects. There are plenty of photos which represent a good inspiration for the creativity of the overall instrument. There you may find my own contribution which has been regularly published.

The Busker is the simplicity prototype, it is a little organ designed and to be built in an essential way, very cheaply because it utilizes common use materials that can be easily found anywhere , to offer a good satisfaction to the constructor.

Let's see its characteristics:

- 20 note poliphony( Raffin scale), one only pipe rank

- Balsa wood pipes

- Punched paper roll reading in a compression chamber, with direct pipe air feeding, without valves

- Pneumatic generation system consisting of 2 bellows working alternatively, feeding a stabilized reservoir

- Paper music roll of 14 cm width to be tracked and punched by the builder (From Melvin Wright a repertoire is available on paper rolls tracked but not punched)


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