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Anyone ever run their bass through a Leslie?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sleepy_monkey, May 1, 2009.

  1. I looked for another topic, but couldn't find one.

    I just got a Leslie cabinet (and organ), but I really would like to run my bass through the Leslie.

    I know I will need a conversion cable from 6 pin to 120V AC (I think) so that I can plug it into the wall instead of the organ....haven't been able to locate exactly what this is called. Wondering if any mods need to be done. The model is 51c.

    Anyone done this? How does it sound? It would be sitting next to my SVT810...yeah, I know....outrageous and dumb...but what the heck!
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I saw an organist use one. Big, heavy, and delicate - not meant for hauling around.
    It sounded neat in a small room.

    For Bass - It's not a lot of power. You'll need to mic it for serious gigs. Mic'ing it can be tricky. Botton horn has one out, the effect only works for mids, not lows - lows being omni. Bass definition mostly in the mids, so two mics 90 degrees apart may be best.

    Some upper horns have two openings, some one, but look like two for counter balancing. You can tell by just listening. If it has two openings then two mics 45 degrees apart may be best. On then two mics 90 degrees apart may work better.

    You'd may need stereo mains to keep the effect out front.
  3. This is mainly going to be for fooling around with at the house. I thought there would be a Leslie forum somewhere but can't find one.

    Now I just need to figure out how to wire it so I can plug it into a wall outlet.
  4. I've put my bass through a Leslie emulator, not a real one, so there could be (probably) some difference, but as noted above, the Leslie doesn't seem to affect the low frequencies and the overall effect was quite disappointing.
  5. Yeah, but once it is set up then I can run any 1/4" instrument into it. So let's forget about sound for now...if it sucks for bass then I will use it for my dog barking into a microphone or something.

    Has anyone successfully modded a Leslie to plug a standard instrument in?
  6. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  7. BassScum


    May 1, 2008
    So Cal
    If it's 120V that runs the leslie speaker motor then just cut the end of the existing cord go to a hardware store and buy a 120V plug and strip and wire it to the cord. Should just have a line and neutral wire and maybe a ground coming out of the leslie cord.
  8. Yeah, I wasn't sure if this would work or not. Plus, I am not sure that I have the actual cable that I need...might have to order one.
  9. I converted ours to 1/4". A few things to keep in mind:
    1. 120VAC will be the easiest mod.
    2. There is no preamp in a Leslie, that was in the organ.
    3. You need to decide if you want to convert/buy a preamp to run the Leslie amp, or ditch the Leslie amp and run from a external head.
    4. If you do the latter there will be the cable (9 pin, 11 pin, or whatever) to deal with. You will have to get the 1/4' inside the Leslie crossover.
    5. Mics, mics, and more mics if you ever want to use it live or to record with. The Leslie is a real lesson in mic placement.
    6. Once finished you will have a unique effect that is much, much different/better/substantial than any pedal you may have played through. In addition you can run vocals through it (that sounds amazing) or just about anything with a 1/4" connection. (Hello Mixer!!)
    Good Luck
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
  11. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  12. don't quote me. but i think some of the newer leslies had a rotating woofer (it was a 15 it think that faced down into a drum that had one opening and sun around) that would be a cool sound.
    back in the day my dad used one with his B3. to get the virato to stop he would stuff a bar glass into the horn cavity to jam up the horn. (deep purple sound)
  13. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Our IT guy at work does this when he gets stupid questions. I think it is awesome. Some people get mad. :smug:
  14. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    Yes. JP Jones did on Heartbreaker (LZ II). I believe he ran a Marshall 100W into the Leslie. Great grindy, warbly sound.
  15. woodsideh


    Feb 19, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I am also an old B-3 player. The auction number below is to an economical pre-amp someone has on line. You might want to consider something like this before you start doing surgery on the Leslie. You may also want to look around for someone that repairs/restores Hammonds and Leslies and tell them what you are thinking. Look up this item number on Ebay 190304211674
  16. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Anger-->engrams. :)
  17. gerryjazzman


    Dec 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    It's really the horn that really gives you the classic Leslie sound (FM/doppler effect). The bass rotor really only gives you a tremolo effect (AM). The horn I believe is crossed over around 800Hz so you'd really only get the full effect if you boosted your mids and highs (and/or some distortion, probably why it worked well for JPJ), otherwise it would sound pretty much just like a tremolo.

    Speaking of Zeppelin and Leslies, I think they used one on Robert Plant's vocals on "What Is and What Should Never Be". Sounded very cool there.
  18. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Beta Tester: Source Audio
  19. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I used one for years a 147 the tall wooden cab.
    Sounded amazing but I could make the 15 struggle sometimes. The cab was resonating too.
    Live onstage you can't hear them. 60 watt buttery sounding tube amp. There was a big pre pedal designed for people to plug in their Farfisa or Vox organs. The pedal had buttons to control the speeding up and down of the top horn and bottom woofer rotors.
    The bottom was a spinning scoop drum the woofer 15" was stationary. The top horns spun. The amazing sound was the transition between fast and slow when they would slow down.
    I used to use the 147 next to a square back SVT w/ Marshall Major Head and a V4B cab with a 2000s head on it. Oh Yeah!
    Anyway I thought I could improve the Leslie so Joppa Sound took out the amp put a Guass 300watt driver in place of the 15 and a 100 watt Altec driver for the upper horns. It was so loud it lost it's Leslie affect. It was just loud in every direction.
    If you are serious there are some simulators that are really good. There are also those cabs that are just the spinning top horn portion. You could use that with a regular bass cab. Too far away and the audience isn't going to get it. Up close though it's nirvana for you!
  20. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The Leslie 51C is a single speed tube based model.

    Here is some info on it.

    schematic: http://www.captain-foldback.com/Leslie_sub/Leslie_schematics/51_51C.GIF
    manual: http://www.captain-foldback.com/Leslie_sub/leslie_manuals.htm

    combo pre-amps: http://www.captain-foldback.com/Leslie_sub/combo_preamps.htm#download
    or http://www.trekii.com/UC1A.html

    As "hired hand" has already mentioned, you will need a preamp as the Leslie amp is made up of a phase inverter and power amp section. The pre-amp is in the organ. Some organs have a 1/4" input or can be easily modified to include one. In order to run an instrument through it, you have to have the organ powered up and plug into the pre-amp. If you're careful, you can bypass the Leslie amp, connect the speakers to an instrument amp and the connect 120VAC to the motor. At least that will let you hear how it sounds with your bass.

    The last link is to some Leslie transistor pre-amps. I don't believe that any are compatible with the 51C. It's more of an obscure model.

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