Farfisa: FAST

Introduced at NAMM in 1968, the FAST series of organs seems to have been an attempt to upgrade the stodgy old Compact line.  As appearance goes, they were certainly successful - these are some sharp looking little beasties.  But the sound, at least according to some who are acquainted with both, was somewhat lacking.

FAST stands for "Farfisa All Silicon Transistorized".  The FAST organs were sold side-by-side with the Compact line for a couple of years.  An August, 1968 price list included the entire FAST line (except for the 2/C), the entire Compact line, and the Professional.  In that list, the Fast models were designated "FAST n Compact" (with n being 2, 3, 4 or 5), and the model names on the organ ID plates also bear the word "Compact".  I guess they were trying to keep some  ties to the well-established Compact line, or else imply that these, too, were also "Farfisa Compact" organs.

Quote from Barry Carson regarding the sound of the FAST and Professional series: "... I think the entire Farfisa Fast line (maybe especially the Professional) was going after (and maybe upping the ante on) the Vox look (reverse colored keys; graceful chrome stand; slim, eye catching bodies) and the Hammond sound (lots of flute footages, percussion, and I think the Professional vibrato, as it is, might have been an attempt to create something like the Hammond chorus vibrato that sounds great through a Leslie.  And, small amounts of the Professional vibrato do sound nice through a slow Leslie).  Remember that at the time the Fast line came out, the Compact series and its sound were seen as kind of 'old fashioned' while the Hammond sound was new and cool (check out the infamous Farfisa 'Soul' ad for an example of what I mean.)  I remember in the very late '60s, having a bright red Farfisa or any kind of Vox organ on stage was an embarrassment to most bands.  That's why those organs could be had for less than a good meal at a restaurant by the early '70s.  Of course, by the mid to late '70s the new wave bands had rediscovered them and their value slowly began to rise."

Another quote from Barry on the sound: "I had a Fast 4 for a few months in high school. I liked the percussion (orange tabs on the Fast 4 and 5). Nothing like Hammond percussion (or anything else that I can think of), but I had fun with it. I wasn't wild about the straight organ sound although the flutes were nice - that's the Sly at Woodstock sound. I traded it in for a Wurlitzer Combo Organ pretty soon."

Model Names/Numbers: The model names of all members of the FAST are of the form "Compact FAST n", where 'n' would be, well, you get the idea.  Model numbers, as well as color variations, are described in each section.

  Volume Pedal Bass Pedals    


Model Name/Number:   C2/143=Compact FAST 2

Rather anemic, feature-wise, the FAST 2 is nonetheless a pretty cool looking little fellow, all orange and dark blue-grey body, with orange ball feet.  It sports a  4-octave keyboard, with 3 octaves dedicated to treble voices and a 1-octave fixed bass section.  There are only four treble voices, all 8'. The single-voice bass octave is always-on, controlled only by the bass volume control.  The bass notes feed into the same voice filter as the Flute tab (but are not switched on/off by that tab), and so have the same sound.  Thus, with only the Flute tab on, you get four full octaves of Flutes.  The Bass keys, however, are monophonic, with low-note priority.  It also has a built-in 10-watt amp with two 6x9 speakers  - an unusual feature for one of the earlier Farfisas (some of the later VIPs and Matadors had amps/speakers built-in).

The sound of the FAST 2 isn't as anemic as you'd expect.  It actually sounds pretty good, for being single-footage voices.  The four voices are noticeably different from one another, and mix together well.   One rather odd "feature" is that the lowest 5 notes in the Treble section are monophonic.  For some odd reason, They decided to save a buck (or two) by skimping on the lowest four dividers.

Note about the pictures below.  These are some really good pictures, which is why I chose them, but I don't believe the two orange-topped knobs are original.  The original knobs are grey with a brass-color top.

Fast 2 20c.jpg (38924 bytes)Fast 2 20h.jpg (41264 bytes)Fast 2 20e.jpg (45493 bytes)

Fast 2 20f.jpg (61207 bytes)Fast 2 20g.jpg (52389 bytes)

Fast 2 20j.jpg (99501 bytes)Fast 2 20k.jpg (56898 bytes)Fast 2 20l.jpg (33173 bytes)



  • Voice Tabs: Flute, Clarinet, Reed, Strings

  • Vibrato Tabs: Slow/Fast, Off/On

  • Knobs: Volume, Manual Bass Volume 


FAST 2/C (or FAST 2/E?)

Model Name/Number: Compact FAST 2/C (or 2/E) Model C2-E/144 

A rather odd beast, what with its largely wood grain appearance, and *almost* normal colored keys (White naturals, Grey sharps/flats), it just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the line, cosmetically.  Still, the ID plate proudly proclaims it as a member of the FAST line - so be it.

The FAST 2/C appeared in a flyer with a 1969 date code, so it may have been introduced somewhat later than the rest of the FAST series.

I'm sort of guessing at the first part of the model number (above).  The only good clear shot of an ID badge I have is shown below, and the first part is cut off, but if it follows with the others, it's likely a 'C'.  As you can see, one of these is a FAST 2/C, and the other a FAST 2/E, but they look identical. 

Fast 2-C.JPG (146562 bytes)Fast 2-C2.JPG (148455 bytes)

Micke Lindgren supplied the following additional information:  "I have an original German leaflet for this model (FARFISA G.V. 69482) and the organ pictured in there looks identical to the ones on your site with the exception that it's sitting on a speaker/amp wood grain cabinet, like a small spinet!  Now, from what I understand it actually came like this but if you wanted you could detach the organ part from the cabinet to use as a portable organ (I can imagine though that the ugly looking cabinets were discarded very quickly). The organ has inputs for a swell pedal, an external amp, and a head-phone connector."

Micke points out that the number, 69482, on the leaflet, may indicate it was released in 1969.  The Fast 2/C did appear in the May, 1970 price list, so that may well be the case.

He also was able to translate the description in the leaflet, and from that has surmised that the tabs work as follows:  The lighter grey voice tabs are for the treble section.  Only the dark grey tabs affect the bass section, which comprises the first 17 keys.   The 8'/16' selects either footage for the bass section, "p/f" is a soft.loud switch, and Manual Bass Off/On converts the bass section to extend the treble voices across the keyboard.  So that means with the bass section set for bass, you've only got 2-1/2 octaves in the treble section!


  • Upper row Tabs: 8'/16', p/f, Flute 8', Clarinet 8'

  • Lower row Tabs: Manual Bass Off/On, Bass 16', Bass Clarinet 16', Bassoon 16'

  • Knobs:  Volume, Vibrato Speed


Another good looker, this time with some significant improvements over the FAST 2.  7-voices in 3 footages, Bass section switchable to extend the treble section.  

Model Name/Number: I've seen four variations of the FAST 3.  Following are the model names/numbers as they appear on the ID plates:

  • Mod. C3/133=COMPACT F.A.S.T. 3:  White/Green with chrome legs (Note the periods in the FAST name)

  • Mod. C3/133=COMPACT F A S T 3:   White/Black with chrome legs, and "Fast 3" in script on the back panel (and no periods)

  • Mod. MM/133: White/Green with white legs

  • Mod. MM/132: White/Green with chrome legs  - I've only seen one of these.  The legs appear to be the only difference between it and the MM/133. (I don't have a decent picture of one of these)

Here's the model C3/133 in White/Green with chrome legs:

Fast 3 10a.jpg (34687 bytes)Fast 3 10b.jpg (30785 bytes)Fast 3 10d.jpg (24831 bytes)

Fast 3 10e.jpg (29074 bytes)Fast 3 10f.jpg (43594 bytes)

Fast 3 11b.jpg (59038 bytes)Fast 3 11d.jpg (33905 bytes)

Fast 3 11e.jpg (56381 bytes)Fast 3 11f.jpg (38050 bytes)

And here's pretty much the same model, C3/133, but in White/Black.  Note the script "Fast 3" on the back.

Fast 3 2a.jpg (63313 bytes)Fast 3 2b.jpg (54618 bytes)Fast 3 18f.jpg (157566 bytes)

And here's the MM/133, looking just like the White/Green C3/133, but with white legs instead of chrome.

Fast 3 25a.jpg (145206 bytes)Fast 3 25b.jpg (26372 bytes)Fast 3 25c.jpg (41271 bytes)

Fast 3 25d.jpg (52804 bytes)Fast 3 25e.jpg (13076 bytes)Fast 3 13a.jpg (107960 bytes)



  • Vibrato Tabs (blue): Slow/Fast, Off/On

  • Bass Tabs (black): Manual Bass Selector: Treble/Bass, p/f (Bass volume)

  • Voice Tabs: Bass 16', Clarinet 16', Flute 8', Oboe 8', Trumpet 8', Strings 8', Flute 4'

  • Knob: Overall volume

Fast3Brochureg.jpg (205164 bytes) And here's an odd picture, from a Fast-3 sales brochure.  Note the voice tabs - they're Orange!  Every other one I've seen has had purple tabs, like all those shown above  Two other pictures from the same brochure (both with the top removed) showed orange tabs, but other pictures in the same brochure (all with the top on) had the purple tabs.  Maybe when you remove the top, the tabs turn orange?




The FAST 4 takes the FAST 3's features, and adds a few voices (Piccolo 4', Mixture, Brilliant Mixture), Percussion (separately selectable for Bass, Treble and/or Mixture voices), and a "Light/Heavy" switch for the Vibrato.  

Model Name/Number:  Mod. C4/153=COMPACT FAST 4 - Some came with blue trim, and some with black.  Some have "Fast 4" in script on the back (and some don't).  From what I've seen, they all have the same model name/number.

This is the only decent picture of a blue-trimmed FAST-4 that I have:

Fast 4 4b.jpg (135423 bytes)

Here's an interesting effect.  Move your mouse over the picture below to remove the cover:


Here's a black-trimmed one showing the "Fast 4" lettering on the back:

Fast 4 7a.jpg (319427 bytes)

And some more pictures of the black-trimmed version (without the "Fast 4" on the back)

Fast 4 9a.jpg (57340 bytes)Fast 4 9d.jpg (44386 bytes)

Fast 4 9b.jpg (54638 bytes)Fast 4 9c.jpg (36824 bytes)

Fast 4 9e.jpg (19936 bytes)

Fast 4 10c.jpg (236923 bytes)Fast 4 10b.jpg (259404 bytes)Fast 4 10d.jpg (83034 bytes)

Fast 4 10e.jpg (57889 bytes)Fast 4 10g.jpg (98952 bytes)

Fast 4 21b.jpg (41673 bytes)Fast 4 21c.jpg (54359 bytes)Fast 4 21f.jpg (133265 bytes)


  • Bass Tabs (black): Pedal Bass Manual: Soft/Sharp, Manual Bass Selector: Treble/Bass

  • Vibrato Tabs (blue): Slow/Fast, Light/Heavy, Off/On

  • Treble Voice Tabs (purple): Bass 16', Bass Clarinet 16', Flute 8', Oboe 8', Trumpet 8', Strings 8', Flute 4', Piccolo 4', Mixture, Brilliant Mixture

  • Percussion Tabs (orange):  Manual Bass On/Off, Treble On/Off, Long/Short, Mixture On/Off, Mixture Soft/Sharp

  • Knob: Volume


Top-o-the-line, the FAST 5 improves on the FAST 4 with the addition of three 8' Sustain voices (Celesta, Clavichord, Kinura).  

Model Name/Number: Mod. C5/163=Compact FAST 5 - I've only seen them with black trim so far. Some have "Fast 5" in script on back, and some don't.  I also have seen one ID plate (shown below) with the model# C5/162 - no apparent differences.

Fast 5 21a.jpg (314008 bytes)Fast 5 21c.jpg (307545 bytes)

Fast 5 21b.jpg (248464 bytes)Fast 5 21d.jpg (242484 bytes)

Fast 5 20a.jpg (96696 bytes) Here's one with the "Fast 5" in script on the back. 


Controls:    Fast 5 21e.jpg (200562 bytes) (Click on the picture to enlarge)

  • Bass Tabs (black): Pedal Bass Manual: Soft/Sharp, Manual Bass Selector: Treble/Bass

  • Vibrato Tabs (blue): Slow/Fast, Light/Heavy, Off/On

  • Treble Voice Tabs (purple): Bass 16', Bass Clarinet 16', Flute 8', Oboe 8', Trumpet 8', Strings 8', Flute 4', Piccolo 4', Mixture, Brilliant Mixture

  • Percussion Tabs (orange):  Manual Bass On/Off, Treble On/Off, Long/Short, Mixture On/Off, Mixture Soft/Sharp

  • Sustain Voice Tabs (yellow): Celesta 8', Clavichord 8', Kinura 8'

  • Knob: Volume

Fast5Mod163plate.jpg (54031 bytes) Typical ID plate, showing the typical model # C5/163.  All but one I've seen was like this.

Fast5Mod162plate.jpg (97389 bytes) Unusual specimen - Model# is C5/162.  No apparent differences, though.  Weird.

Sound Samples!

Farfisa FAST 5 Demo - courtesy of elmacaco

Bass Pedals

FastBassPedals.jpg (18823 bytes) Looking virtually identical to the Compact bass pedals, these appear to differ only in the coloring. 

Volume Pedals


Fast3Pedal.jpg (111684 bytes) The Fast-3 volume pedal is electrically and mechanically identical to the one use for the Compact line, the only difference is that it lacks the "Z" bracket that secures it to the Compact stand (which wouldn't do you much good with a Fast-3 anyway).  And of course, it's a lovely grey color.  Click here for more information


FAST 2/4/5 (2/C?)

Fast2Pedal.jpg (125956 bytes) The other FAST organs all use a passive pedal with a 1/4" jack.  Simple, huh?  This pedal is also used for the Professional