The JEI J68 and J69 organs
Two and three manual, mid 1969 to early 1970
Detail from the "Jennings News" brochure printed to accompany the company's display at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair, late August 1969.
The Jennings J68 double manual and J69 three manual organs were made for only a matter of months - summer 1969 to early 1970. Both were displayed in public for the first time at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair of late August 1969. That some announcement had been made at the Frankfurt Fair earlier in the year is possible, but has yet to be verified. Tom often played his cards close to his chest.
Russell Hotel Trade Fair, late August 1969, a rare glimpse of a J68 two manual in the foreground.
Tom at the Trade Fair with the new J69. Note the white "Attack Percussion" add-on box under the keyboard at left.
In early 1970, the J68 and J69 became the J70 and J71 when "walking bass" was added to the lower manual. The "J" prefix it should be said goes right back to the early days of the "Jennings Organ Company". Tom's first organs, 1953-1955, were the J48-J52. For an overview of the early organs, see these pages on the Vox AC30 website.
The extent to which the J68 and J69 borrowed from the Vox Continental was evidently large.
It is evident from the image below that the drawbars of the J68 are of the type that Tom successfully moved to protect in law, via the old Patent Office, in April 1971. Quite why he waited so long is not clear - production the J68 and J69 had begun in mid 1969, his application received at the Office on 1st April '71. Perhaps he had spotted that a competitor was up to no good.
Detail from Tom's photo submission, April 1971.
Drawbars and tabs on the right side of the fascia:
Keyboard: 49 keys, 4 octaves.
Footings: 16', 8', 5 1/3', 4', 2 2/3', 2', 1 3/5', 1'. Two tone drawbars at right.
Voicings (from left to right): Mellow, Perc[ussion] 8', Perc 4', Perc 2 2/3', Perc 1'.
To the left of the upper manual: Pedal Sustain (on/off and rotary knob for intensity); Vibrato and Tremolo (on/off and rotary knob for speed).
Drawbars and tabs on the left side of the fascia:
Keyboard: 49 keys, 4 octaves. The colours of the keys in the first octave are reversed (as in the Vox Continental).
Footings: 16', 8', 4' and Mixture IV. Two pedal tone drawbars to the left of the set, two general tone bars to the right.
Voicings (from left to right): Mellow, Pulse On, Slow Pulse Fast, Tone I, Tone II, Tone III.
At present two J68s are known to exist in the UK (old pictures of one below). A gorgeous example currently in Germany is pictured here - some great shots of the circuits. The European market was in many ways keener on Tom's ranges than the British. The best examples of JEI amplifiers, organs, and speaker cabinets are often to be found in Holland and Germany.
A detail of the tone generators in a J68 - picture from this page.
Jennings J68 double manual organ.