CRB Elettronica

I don't know much about the CRB brand, (other than what's show here), but I do have this interesting tidbit :  All of the schematics for the Cordovox CDX line of "white elephant" organs (with the notable exception of the CDX-O652 "Moog" model) have the "CRB-in-a-circle" logo (seen on many of the pictures here) along with the word "Ancona", which I believe is the name of the city in Italy where they were located.  

Diamond 600/Tanzanite Diamond 700 Diamond 701a Diamond 702
Diamond 730 Diamond 750 Diamond 800 Wards/Scandali

Diamond 600/Tanzanite

These two look like twins, except for the nameplate.  

Regarding the Diamond 600, here's what owner, Kirk S, has to say about it:  "This one follows the basic cheapie format with only one footage and 4 voices. The circuit boards use ICs with trimmer pots for tuning. The oscillators and dividers are split up into 3 circuit boards. It does not resemble any other organ I have seen the insides of. "

CRB Diamond 600 b

CRB Tanzanite

Diamond 600 Tanzanite

Kirk describes the tolex on the Diamond 600 as a "greenish dark beige", but that it looks more tan in the pictures.  The color in the picture of the Tanzanite is probably more accurate.

Here are some more of the Diamond 600:
CRB Diamond 600 CRB Diamond 600


Diamond 700

All I know about this one is what you see in the picture (it's full-size already)

CRB Diamond 700

Diamond 701a

CRB Diamond 701A Could we call this one a "Black Elephant"?  It sure looks a lot like it's white CDX brethren, doesn't it?  Nice collection of features:  4 ranks, including two ranks/two voices on the lower manual, Percussion in 3 ranks, Sustain and Reverb.  Marred only by the presence of a Rhythm/Accompaniment unit.  Well, it was the 70's, wasn't it?



Here's a pasted-together assemblage of the top row:


And the dreaded "rhythm section" (lower-right):

Dreaded rhythm section

Diamond 702
No information on this one, but a picture, from the "Vintage Synthesizers Made in Italy" web site:
CRB Diamond 702

Diamond 730 and 750
No information on these either, other than that the Synthmuseum references the 750, and Synrise lists them, apparently as part of a sound module or something

Diamond 800

CRB Diamond 800
Boy, what a load of colors!  White, Blue, Orange, Yellow and Maroon tabs, and those terrific grey/white keys, a la "Farfisa Professional" - two whole keyboards of them!.  A veritable chromatic feast for the eyes!

The 800 appears to be the top-of -the-line model, or nearly so, at least.  Featuring several different Organ and Percussion voices in 6 diffferent footages, with percussion repeat and legato percussion, it also sports four Sustain voices, with short or long sustain.  Even the lower keyboard has it's own complement of four flute footages plus a separate "Bass" voice.  It also features an Arpeggio/Glissando strip under the lower manual - very much like that found on the Cordovox CDX-0642.

Many thanks to K. Diesel of Hot Rod Moses for these pictures.

There's a different version of the 800 that has normal colored keys.


Montgomery Wards Organ (GWW8919)/Scandali
Wards2e.jpg Appearing in Montgomery Wards 1970-1971 catalogs, this one was my last remaining "unknown" organ - until recently.  I (and others) suspected it to be a CRB organ, then positive proof was supplied, in the form of a photo of the innards, showing components clearly marked with the "CRB-in-a-circle" logo.  I just wish it had a decent model name, rather than "GWW8919".

Supposedly, the middle letter in the model number of most Wards products indicates the company that manufactured them.  In this case, I thought perhaps the "W" meant Whitehall (which made the other two organs that Wards sold).  Maybe, maybe not.  I suppose it's possible that Whitehall and CRB share a common parentage.  Like so much other combo organ history, we may never know the full story.

Not a dizzying array of features, to say the least, but at least it has three selectable footages, in at least 2 different voices.  I hope to have a "user review" very soon.  For now, I'll assume that the "Bass" tab switches the grey section to a bass voice, and the "Tone Brilliance" knob is simply a tone or treble control.


Wards CRB Wards CRB Wards CRB Label
Another specimen (no music rack on this one) Control Panel ID label
Side view Rear view The Evidence!
Side view
Rear view, showing speakers
The Evidence!

Wards organ #2

Here's another from Wards in brown.  I had previously considered this to be a different model, but I think it's probably the same organ in a different color.  This pic is from a 1971 or 1972 catalog, I think.

This organ also appeared under the Scandali name, with a different coat of paint:
(Many thanks to Carlos Molina for these pictures)


Here's what fellow combonaut, Micke L, had to say about the Scandali name:

"As far as I know (Fratelli) "Scandalli" (spelled with two L's) were one of the major Italian accordion manufacturers that were to merge with Settimio Soprani to become Farfisa. So if "Scandali" were the same as "Scandalli", then I actually believe these organs were made by Farfisa or some company in close relation to them. I'm pretty sure they are the same because I read somewhere that Fratelli Scandalli's real surname was Scandali (with one L)."

Here's a selection of Wards catalog pages featuring this puppy.  Check out the psychedelic "light organs" on some of those speaker cabinets

Wards organ ad Wards organ ad Wards organ ad
1970 Spring and Summer 1970 Fall and Winter 1971 Spring and Summer

Many thanks to Ray Graffia (the guy holding the mic) of the New Colony Six for the 1st photo (and thanks to William E. for scanning it).  Check out the band at their new web site:  Ray related this amusing story about the taking of that photo, the use of the Wards equipment, and the "bass player's" technique:

"...bassist, Ronnie, was rhythm guitar and some keyboards - our bass player missed the "shoot" so he stood in, also note that Pat, who is at the keys probably was "hunt & peck" at best but obviously faked it better than Ronnie; re use of gear - we never used a single item, management put us into the opportunity but without discussion with the boys in the band so there was more than a bit of sarcasm bandied about during the session - I wouldn't be surprised if the chording is Ronnie's effort to show our lack of appreciation for the situation. Groovy beads I'm wearing, eh, dude?"

Regarding the bass player missing the photo shoot,  note that the "New Colony Six" appears to have only five members.