The Hammond Corner

posted on #1
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Inspired by my latest Hammond-acquisition, a 1963 A-102 (this is a Hammond A-100 tonewheel organ in what was called a 'French-Provincial' cabinet, the one with the shapely legs), I've been trailing the web to find more information about it, and found a really cool video about the manufacturing process of the Hammond organs, probably from the 50-ies or so:

[youtube]6jKme27M6xU[/youtube]
Edited by jmrukkers on 29-11-2015 11:05
posted on #2
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Cool video
posted on #3
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I don't play keys but after seeing the video I want one :)

Do the rotating bits ever wear out?
posted on #4
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I've never heard of people wearing out the tonewheel generator, but I guess it is possible with very prolonged use. This thing in built like a tank, as long as you keep it oiled (Hammond oil only...) it should last a long time yet. What does happen on some of the older ones is that the capacitors drift in their capacity, changing the characteristics of the sound, making it much more 'muffled'.

Here's a nice video on the tonewheel generator.

[youtube]7Qqmr6IiFLE[/youtube]
Edited by jmrukkers on 29-11-2015 18:57
posted on #5
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I´m surely not a Key player, but it is very interesting . Thanks Joe, for sharing the videos.
Rockin´ in a free world !
posted on #6
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Hey Joe!.
I really enjoyed the insight into this amazing instrument (via YouTube). It's truly a wonder that somebody could ever think to create such a complex Instrumental machine:).....And Hats off to you m8tey 4 owning such a beautiful piece.;)
Thanks Joe!
posted on #7
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Really interesting video, Joe. I'm amazed Hammonds work as long as they do before wearing out. A unique and uncopyable sound to me. There's nothing more satisfying to my ears than a Hammond on full song with a spot of real Leslie and distortion. Aural heaven for me!

The keys player in my band has a full-on Leslie cabinet and a '60s Vox Continental II - an awesome combination! He also has a proper Hammond (portable one though but it has the stops on it). That lot combined means everyone wants to talk to him at gigs and not the rest of us!

I've nicknamed his Leslie cabinet 'The Zanussi' because it's about the size of a washing machine and wobbles ever-so-slightly when the RPM picks up! When he's not using his Leslie he amplifies his keys through a '60s Vox AC30 for the full vintage sound!
Edited by mpointon on 15-12-2015 23:55
posted on #8
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The old Hammond tonewheel organs were wonderfully over-engineered, which makes them last so long, and, unlike with some other organ manufacturers of the day, the used bakelite and not deteriorating plastics for some of the molded parts, which makes them last a long time.

Some of the electronics do age through, many of the capacitors used are now so far off their original spec that this may impact the tone of the instrument, making it a lot duller than they used to be. Happily mine does not seem to suffer from this problem; I just found out that there is actually a Hammond Service Bulletin out for my type of Hammond (from 1965) suggesting a way to add additional filtering to the mid-range of the organ, which is what was installed on newer (post-1964) organs to reduce cross-talk. I may take the soldering iron out over Christmas and give that a go, it only involves adding a simple RC network to the 12 notes or so that are most affected my this phenomenon, which is in a way also part of the character of the older Hammonds... perhaps I should just leave it alone.

The Vox Continental is also a cool organ, hard to find in decent condition, over here anyway; I sometimes use the emulation on my Nord that gets quite close for that Doors-type sound.

Good name pick for the Leslie ;) I'm on the lookout for a 251 (2-channel, rotary + reverb which can be fed from the A-102 amp), but Leslies are way overpriced here, it may be a while until I find a functioning one in my price range.

The guitar player in my band has a Vox AC30, maybe I should borrow it sometime for some experiments; I've use Marshall amps in the past, but nowadays usually go for amp modelling software on recordings. Live I'm sure the Vox would be awesome.
posted on #9
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His Leslie is brand-new but it cost him well over €3000. They are not cheap and they weigh an utter ton - I wouldn't want to drag one of those around a gig and I'm a drummer used to heavy and bulky cases! At least it's on wheels... But the sheer build quality and smoothness is phenomenal. And you cannot beat the real sound of an analogue Leslie!

I think the AC30 he has is from around 1963!
posted on #10
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Yes, the new ones are very pricey alright, and they don't always have that 'vibe' some of the old ones have, but on the up side, they will not need much maintenance nor repairs, which is a constant bother with the old ones.

For live use I'm happy with my Leslie clone, the 1975 Elkatone 610, top rotor sounds quite good on that, and I take out most of the bass anyway when playing with a bass player. It's around 30 kg and fits in the boot of my car, a lot easier to handle than the real thing.
posted on #11
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A very interesting topic, and we all know how much I love the sound of a Hammond !
posted on #12
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May the force be with you...
[youtube]abT8JlfWIag[/youtube]
posted on #13
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:D:D:D Is it You? :);) very cool that is!
Edited by adu on 30-12-2015 23:23
Rockin´ in a free world !
posted on #14
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Just a quick question: How does the Nord Organ compare to the originals?
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #15
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Hi Nilton, I've got a Nord C1 (2 manual clonewheel), and it sounds really good; it especially excels at the more overdriven kind of Hammond sounds (think Jon Lord). The clean Hammond sound is not bad, but not as rich as the real thing, which is to some extent an advantage if you want to record with it, or play live with a band - it seems to already be optimised to sit into the mix nicely, whereas with the real Hammonds you'll have more of a job to blend it it since it can be very powerful if not overpowering, I'm sometimes fighting with my A-102 to reign it in a bit. The downside of the Nord C1 is that you don't have real drawbars but push buttons, but you get used to that fairly quickly. Not as easy to shape in real time as the real thing though. The biggest advantage of the Nord is the weight, or lack thereof, it is much more portable than a Hammond Console.
posted on #16
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Haha Cool :)
posted on #17
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If you ever go about replacing the capacitors, read this first: http://www.bext.com/replace.htm
posted on #18
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Brilliant Hammond informercial from the ’60s. Explains how important it is to have a Hammond organ in your home and how easy it is to play one. Features a H-Series Hammond. ‘Everything the family needs’. If this one does not get you going I don't know what will :)

[youtube]GAM4twl8vrQ[/youtube]
Edited by jmrukkers on 24-12-2016 11:58
posted on #19
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lol, excellent video joe, thanks for sharing that :) not sure i really need a hammond now, but dudes haircut looks like something i might try one day :D
"Sorry - had to do it!" - Les Claypool

yes, you are looking at the administrators signature.
posted on #20
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well hey dick,,,you tried out most others!
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