Hammond Organ And Leslie Speaker Repair
The Hammond organ and Leslie speaker, possibly one of the most distinctive and recognized sound combinations to grace the musical genres of Jazz, Blues, Rock and Roll, and pop ! The classic Hammond\Leslie sound emanates from the pairing of the Hammond B3 and the Leslie 122. Other variants of this classic sound can be found with Hammond C3’s, A100’s, RT3’s (and older consoles) along with Leslie 147’s, 145’s. 251’s (and other Leslies models). Both the Hammond organ and the Leslie speakers are electro-mechanical beauties whose longevity, quality, and robustness are a testament to a manufacturing ethic and pride not seen in many, many years. The ubiquitous B3 is a “Tone Wheel” based organ who along with its variants, last rolled off the Hammond assembly line in the mid 1970’s. That means that the “newest” B3’s are more than 30+ years old with the oldest of the bunch 50+ years old. Organs such as the A, BC, BV etc are even older than that !
Like anything else, the ravages of time and use take their toll on these organs and all though many of them continue to rise to the call of duty, many if not most need some level of maintenance to get them to sound and perform at their best. I have worked on my own Hammond organs for the last 30 years and serviced those of customers for the last 10 years. A list of typical services that I can provide (but am not limited to) include:
Preventive and periodic maintenance items for the Hammond console:
- Oiling (should be done yearly and only Hammond oil should be used)
- Buss bar shifting (to quiet down scratchy keys)
- Vacuum tube replacement (in the organ pre-amp and any other add-ons like reverb units)
- Replacement of electrolytic capacitors in the pre-amps
- Verification that all tones are being produced by the tone generator
- Inspection of all wiring. The insulation on the older rubber coated wiring will degrade and crack with age presenting a dangerous shock hazard to the user. This wire should be replaced.
- Key or pedal tension adjustment
More in-depth services on the Hammond console:
- Replacement of tone generator and vibrato line capacitors
- Complete pre-amp rebuild
- Vibrato scanner rebuild
- Replacement of AC line wiring
- Replacement of up\down stop keyboard felts
- Removal and cleaning or replacement of keyboard buss bars
- Replacement of keys or pedal spring leaf springs.
- Replacement or refinishing of woodwork
- Addition of Leslie connector kit to console to enable use of Leslie speaker.
- Cabinet conversion. Transfer compatible non-B console components into B style cabinets (e.g. A100 comnponents into a BV cabinet).
Leslie speaker regular\preventive maintenance items:
- Replacement of vacuum tubes (depending on model)
- Oiling and cleaning of motors and rotor bearings
- Replacement of rotor belts and adjustment of motors
- Replacement of electrolytic can capacitors in amplifier
- Cleaning of amplifier sockets
- Inspection and repair of organ to speaker cable(s). These can crack due to age and abuse and present a shock hazard.
More in-depth services on the Leslie speaker:
- Rebuild of amplifier
- Replacement of bearing and grommets
- Replacement of amplifier relays
- Replacement or re-coning of speaker or driver
- Replacement of cross over network
- Amplifier conversions (e.g. 147 to 122 or vice versa, 251 to 147 or 122 etc)
Modification or enhancement of Hammonds and Leslies using Trek components. Mike Smokowicz and the folks at Trek II have been manufacturing the best after-market replacement and enhancement electronics for the classic Hammond organs and Leslie speakers for 30+ years. Check out their website at www.trekii.com to see their product line. I am a Trek II dealer and can install their products and advise you as to which of these products would best suit your needs.