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The Hammond Organ

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by metron, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Bought a nice Hammond A143 organ yesterday which is basically a B3 with a built in amp, speakers, and reverb. Its in great shape cosmetically. Even without a Leslie it sounds fantastic.

    It does have issues but at the price I got it for it is still worth it. Initially the reverb was not working. A quick check in the back revealed a tube loose in the reverb amp. I was pleased to see that it is near pristine clean inside the upper half. Also, it has all original Hammond labeled tubes. A few drawbars were not working but the wire at the end just needs soldering back on.

    All the tones sound rich to my ear so I dont think it need a cap job on the generator yet. Some older organs can sound dull and thats the likely culprit. Some day I will do that.

    The major issue with it is the key contacts. The upper half of the upper manual has sticky keys. They go down and only come halfway back. Its not working itself out by playing so its probably not just dirty. I have no idea what the problem is until I can get the manual assembly out of the organ. That requires unsoldering roughly 100 wires so this is going to take a while. :help: Perhaps by the time I get it straightened out I will have a proper Leslie. :D
  2. [intensely jealous]
  3. The guy I've been with for the past 8 years or so picked up a late 40s C-3 for chump change. It came with a 70s Leslie.


    Simply Awesome.
  4. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Thanks!! Im excited about it...

    This completes my collection of electromechanical keyboards. A few acquisitions from the last year...

    A Wurlitzer electric piano or two

    Clavinet Duo

    Rhodes electric piano

    The Wurlitzers needed no work which made me happy. I thought I was going to have to learn how to regulate action. I completely redid the Clavinet last summer which was pretty easy. Only the Rhodes needs a little TLC but its very usable as it is now.
  5. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    When I was in college the first time (around 1997), my buddy bought one from Goodwill. It had the Leslie effect rotating speaker, and was completely badass.

    He paid $300.
  6. We had a keyboard player who got one of theose Hammonds that split in two - they called it portable. Ha! It took 4 of us to carry the upper part and 2 the lower.

    We used to play a large circuit of Working Men's Clubs in the West of Scotland, particularly Ayrshire.

    Usually when we arrived, there were always a few local worthies who would help you carry the gear into the hall.

    The only ever 'helped' with the Hammond once!!! After that we were on our own.
  7. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    I think everyone who has gigged with a Hammond player has a story about the weight and probably some disdain for the instrument as well! :p I understand that. Yeah its heavy but its also not going anywhere, it will just be part of my home studio setup. When I get a home to put a studio in...
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Very nice, I've got an M-111 that I love. COULD probably use a cap job though.

    You've got a much nicer instrument.
  9. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Thanks man! I like the spinets and have used the M and L series. They have the tone especially when animated through a Leslie, just not as many features and the B, C, RT, and A100 models. Good deals are still available on the larger console organs if you want one, you just have to look around for them and be patient. I got this one for $600 from a retail piano store. It was the owners and he just wanted to get rid of it to make space.
  10. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    About ten years ago I could have had a C3 basically for the taking if i'd had a place to put it in. A friend was getting divorced and had nowhere to put it and didn't want to leave it with her vindictive ex and his chainsaw.

    Her new housemate guy (I assumed he was the replacement boyfirend until I found out he was gay.) and I loaded the Hammond into his truck BY OURSELVES, took it to his place and set it in the shed. That's not the preferred environment for an organ like that. This one WAS really nice. It had belonged to a church for around twenty to twenty five years before she got it.
  11. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Noone should have to lift one of these with only one other person helping! The are like "holy crap I am going to die" heavy!!!

    Well I just learned something about myy organ and its not good. Anyone looking for an old Hammond - learn about the manual dust cover foam first and avoid it.

    As it turns out, Hammond used to cover the key contact resistance wires with felt strips to keep dust out. In the mid 60s they changed that to a foam like substance as a cost cutting measure. This was a bad idea... the foam disintegrates with time and if it touches the resistance wires they corrode and break. Fixing this is a nightmare because its in a tight space within the depths of the manual assembly, basically in the heart of the organ. There are over a thousand of these wires. Once you are in there, one wrong move can quickly make a bad problem worse.

    My organ has the foam and its disintegrating. I found a few little pieces of it when I took the back off. Good news is that there are no dead keys (yet) and the foam pieces I found are dry. I guess it can turn gooey and be nearly impossible to remove since the 1000+ resistance wires are like hairs. In a case like that the manuals are basically shot and cant reasonably be fixed. Wish me luck people...
  12. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    I have a 1958 M3. I'm selling it to a friend for 100 bucks. It just needs way too much work. I replaced a lot of the caps and rebuilt the scanner, but a lot of the switches don't work and there's no way I'm going to take the whole thing apart to get to those.

    My greatest find to date is my '74 Rhodes Suitcase 88 that I found for $200.

    I LOVE listening to a Hammond, but I can't play it at all. I can play lots of stuff on my Rhodes, though. It just feels sooooo good!
  13. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    I hear ya bbybld these are a p.i.t.a. to work on. Was rebuilding the scanner a difficult job? I think that once I get the organ apart I am going to redo everything I can. This is going to take a loooong time.

    The organ is so fun to play. I spent hours with just drawbars yesterday and am starting to get the hang of the technique organ players use. No sustain so you have to hold long chords or jab at it for a staccato attack. C3 or V3 sound awesome with long 7th chords as well as soloing with 3rd harmonic. It is such a classic sound.
  14. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    Whatever you do, don't over oil. I think that's what I did. The metal inside the scanner grows crystal "hairs" and if you over oil the problem gets worse.

    It wasn't too bad rebuilding it, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. I was able to find a guide online somewhere...maybe from captain foldback.
  15. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Thanks for the tip! So overoiling is how those "hairs" get in there? I have seen them referred to as hammond hairs. I noticed there are some on a few metal parts inside the cabinet. They are sticky and apparently conductive?

    I might just end up trying to do a rebuild of the entire thing plus a chop if I take it all apart. If it works out sweet but if not oh well, Ill at least try. These are fine instruments and need to be rescued if possible but many of them are dying. Its a popular misconception that these are indestructible instruments that are bult like tanks. They are in some respects but in other ways ther are fragile. All I can say is hopefully the foam is not eating away at the resistor wire looms in the manuals.
  16. I just picked up a Hammond Phoenix on Freecycle. I used to have an M3 I acquired by trading an EJ200, but sold it when I thought I was moving to TN.

    It's not close to the classic Hammond, in fact the layout is more like a Fun Machine or something, but it is kinda funky--almost analog synthy.

    One thing I've been thinking lately: would it be possible to extract the bass pedals and bass electronics to make a Taurus-esque pedalboard?

    Thanks in Advance,

  17. A drummer I know has one he found in the basement of house he was moving into and the landlord said he could keep it. There was also a leslie cab there too. The same guy also got his kit for free from a friend who was cleaning out the garage in his new place and found a Pearl Export kit with stands and a high hat but no symbols but still free? Stuff like that never happens to me. Hammonds are fun. Nice score.
  18. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I found this old Fender Rhodes silver top at a yard sale last year, ($20) I just got it back into playable shape this week. Its perched on my trusty (58) C3.

  19. Someday, anderbass. Someday.

    I'd add a minimoog (although my fantasy is to have one one of those old patchbay Moogs...)



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