About Us Instruments Services FAQ & Links Contact Us
Organ Historical Society
American Institute of Organbuilders
American Guild of Organists, San Francisco Chapter
The Osiris Archive of Organ Specifications
Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco
Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, Lafayette
- Multimedia page with video of the pipe organ
Eden United Church of Christ, Hayward

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you tune pianos?

We do not tune pianos. We work exclusively on pipe organs. However, we can direct you toward several piano tuners in the Bay Area.

Can you repair my Hammond/Conn/etc. organ?

We only perform work on winded pipe organs. We don't repair purely electronic organs. If you aren't sure and want to know which kind of organ you have, check the pipes. If air passes through the pipes (or should, at least) when the organ plays, we'll gladly repair it for you.

What if my console is electronic?

There are several pipe organ consoles in Northern California that have been built or rebuilt by Swain & Kates. We use state-of-the-art electronic switching equipment whenever possible, but never compromise the integrity of sound produced by real pipes. We are always current with new technologies, and will recommend the most appropriate devices for your new console or rebuild project.

I'm not in San Francisco. How far will you travel?

You can find a link to our maintenance service coverage map on the Services page. If you wish to purchase a new pipe organ or rebuild an existing instrument, please contact us with your inquiry regardless of location. We will promptly send you a response.

You're coming to tune tomorrow. When should I turn on the heat?

Depending on the size of the room and the placement of the pipes, it could be anywhere from three hours to the night before we're scheduled to arrive. If you want to know whether the room has been warm long enough, find a large metal object in the room. If the object feels slightly cool (but not cold) when touched with the back of your hand, the room is just right. DO NOT try this with an organ pipe, as they tend to tarnish after being touched.