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How many of you have gigged with Hammond chops?


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How many of you have gigged with Hammond chops? What was it like? Who did the modifications? Just curious to see your experiences were or are like.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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My first Hammond was a chopped CV that came from a local radio station. At the time (circa '69 - '71), we lugged around a stand that consisted of two iron pipes and a base for the expression pedal. Talk about a clunker. I wonder to this day if it would have been just as easy for all intents & purposes, to have left it pristine.

 

The organ had electrical issues due to poorly done choppage, and storage where mice got in, stripped many wires bare. The result was frequent malfunctions and downright danger.

 

My later gig organ was a Hammond M3 which was lighter, original case, and actually a preferred sound for the rock we were playing at the time.

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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I gigged for a couple of years in the late 1970s-early 1980's with a chopped BV and a modified 122. A former Hammond technician did the chop and added percussion to the organ. His basement looked like a mad scientist's laboratory....Hammond parts everywhere. Actually, he did a very nice, sleek chop job. But then the Korg CX-3 was released, and that sent the ole BV out to pasture. I think I ended up donating it to a church.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Gigged with a split A100 my father split, was excellent, but I swapped it for a minty C3 and 122. Still a two man lift of the top section, didnt really do anything to ease the loading. Climbing stairs with the top section put a serious strain on everything bodily wise. Where as if the bottoms still attatched you can stop for a breather!
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I had an M3 in high school, plugged into a Phase 100 (its how Tony Banks did it! I thought that was THE way!). Had it for a few years and sold it in 81. Bought a cut down C3 in 90 with a 910 leslie. The butcher who chopped this didnt deal with the expression circuit correctly and gave me a DeArmond volume pedal; unfortunately that rig had more buzz than a beehive. And its chop consisted of cutting of the side panels/legs. It was a monstrosity, which I sold after 2 years of trying to get this ass to finish the job. In 98, I bought a chop from Numerous Complaints in Atlanta: it allegedly was a 63 B3 with a Trek II preamp installed, and later I had a cycle regulator installed to keep it in tune after having a festival generator transpose it down a half step. It sat on a double braced X stand (dont hate me Moe, it was the only thing strong enough!), but I draped red velvet fabric around it so no one could see the ironing board. I ran that into my Bulldog custom 122 leslie eventually with a Speakeasy Vintage preamp with a Howler and Barker circuit, which greatly improved on tone of the Trek. In 2001, I bought another chop from Hammondstore.com in PA, a 64 A100 put into one of their chassis, lock stock and barrel. I had a cycle regulator installed on it as well. Other than that, it was bone stock, sounded gorgeous, retained the shape, had an attractive stand it attached to, and my tech loved it as it was very easy to work on, with a lot of room inside (unlike my Numerous Complaints chop, which was crammed into a box that was too small to work on; I periodically had to go in and resolder some drawbar wires that would come undone.I got pretty good at it, and carried a solder gun to all gigs). Eventually the hassles of constantly moving those organs got the better of me, and I sold them after my rental business dried up 4 years ago (during the front end of the recession). Loved the sound, hated the work. Found clones with a leslie were just as satisfying 92% of the time. Now, I dont even own a leslie anymore, sold my last one earlier this year. Im getting older/lazier/more realistic. Plus B4 and the Electro 3 really do sound great and pretty much negate the idiot soundguy factor that always put my Hammonds at risk in the mix.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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(apologies for the images to follow, you have all seen them too many times already)

 

I chopped my first B-2, which was a rickety road warrior, then completely rebuilt it custom. I carried that organ on the road for about 8 years.

 

It was a testbed for my chopping ideas, and for my first steps to learning electronics. Originally it was the "preamp in a box" style. Later when I built the custom case I put the preamp and tone generator in a box on the floor, and had a pianet built into the top. I had custom wiring harnesses going thru military multipin connectors.

 

The longer wiring harnesses added a little extra crosstalk and hash to the sound, but that was rock and roll, baby! I did not have any hum problems unless a ground wire broke loose somewhere.

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/gallery/ribbon2.jpg

 

Later I chopped off the pianet manual and put the generator back into the main cab, leaving the preamp on the floor. At one point I also had a cast off chorus generator in there.

 

The general experience ranged from fantastic (roadies did all the work!) to ouch (in the post-roadie era, once had to carry it up a 2 story external metal fire escape).

 

The organ itself was never attached to legs, and was transported on its back on a purpose built dolly which had super stout casters. 2 guys could lift it onto the stand. I would estimate the weight of that piece at about 200 lbs.

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/gallery/pile_of_keys.jpg

 

Later on, I did a radical rebuild of an already chopped B-3. This was my so called "modular organ" which broke down into top manual/preamp, lower manual, generator, and legs. Everything was built on aluminum subframes for an attempt at maximum weight reduction. I snugged the generator back up under the manuals this time in an attempt to minimize added crosstalk. All connections between sections are made with big 100 pin ELCO connectors.

 

This organ fit into the back of a Honda station wagon along with my regular keyboard rig (but no leslie). It was only gigged once or twice, and currently resides in a recording studio. I regard it as a failure in terms of a single person being able to move a Hammond anywhere (including stairs) because you still had a lot of heavy pieces, although the organ itself works fine.

 

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/gallery/hammond1.jpg

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/gallery/hammond2.jpg

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/gallery/hammond3.jpg

 

I regard Bob Schleicher's Oakland Chop to be the Cadillac of all the commercial chops that I have ever seen. Its slimline design is very elegant looking compared to the lumpy profiles of most other chops.

 

http://www.tonewheel.com/Graphics/Chops/d_simpson.jpg

 

http://www.tonewheel.com/Graphics/Chops/detail_internal.jpg

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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When I started gigging, 'portable' organs were available. That didn't stop me from wanting a B3, full or chopped but I got over it.

 

When I see Moe's old rig and read about folks wanting a 14 oz KB encompassing the whole deal, DX7s and X-stands, I understand why he wants it to stop. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Yes, back in the early 70s I had a BV for awhile that had been chopped, and percussion added, by Ed Harrington here in Chicago. Ed was selling them to rockers all over the Midwest. It never gave me a minute's trouble even though it was going in and out of a truck on an almost-nightly basis.

 

I subsequently got out of rock n roll and sold it to a keyboard player who took it to Los Angeles, where Bill Beers at Keyboard Products did a "re-chop." My guy subsequently then toured with it for a number of years before eventually selling it to a gospel-playing church organist in LA, who I am told is still using it to this day.

 

Some machines refuse to die, even with over 50 years of pro use, if well cared for by technicians who know what they're doing.

 

Larry.

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Interesting. I was just about to mention Keyboard Products chop shop. There were a bunch of them (chopped B's)around LA in the late 70s early 80s. My chief objection to them was that they replaced the tube amplifier with a solid state POS and they just sounded awful. I could never understand the point of chopping a perfectly good B3 if you didn't intend to retain the sound.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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I used to play a chopped C3 in a friend's recording studio back in the 80's; never toured or gigged with it, so never was able to experience that particular challenge/pleasure. ;)

 

In the 90's, I toured with a real B3 and Leslie 145 for a short period; the rest of the time it was (dear God forgive me) a Roland/Rhodes VK1000, and no Leslie. :evil: That entire time was spent with roadies taking care of the gear, so again, no personal load-in/tear-down experiences to share.

 

Most recently I did a fly-in gig in Florida (attended by our own Mr. Nightime :thu:) on a chopped B2 from ASR Backline. Showed up, it was on stage; played it, it sounded pretty good from where I was sitting, and I walked away at the end of the gig.

 

Have I mentioned I really miss those days? ;)

 

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http://www.tonewheel.com/Graphics/Chops/d_simpson.jpg

 

This is gorgeous!!

 

That's why a doctored up version of this pic is the basis for what I expect my organ controller project to end up looking like.

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/hammond/moe_organ.jpg

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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I replaced my original Korg BX-3 (from 1984) with an A100 "Stealth" chop and a Leslie 122RV from Keyboard Specialties. I lived in a townhouse at the time, and I couldn't get a stock tomewheel up the stairs and through the door. I have to say it was built like a tank. Stock tube preamp with new caps. Sweet sounding organ, although not much lighter than a stock organ, just less bulky. When I moved, I replaced it with the stock A105 I have, but I kept the Leslie. For playing out, I use the XK-3C on top, and a NE3 as my lower manual.
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I chopped a 1962 RT3 that I rescued from a trip to the dump, paired with a Leslie 46W, also rescued from a trip to the dump. I chose to use a clutch cable for a physical linkage between the stock preamp and the expression pedal. Although I've been using a Z-stand, I'm considering welding a 4-legged pipe version when I get the time (to give it more of a B look). I gotta tell you, I learned more about what makes a Hammond tick doing this chop project than I did playing them for 30+ years.

 

http://www.hotrodmotm.com/images/misc/GHolmes.jpg

 

As a side note, on the weekends I still play a stock 1957 C3 and Leslie 122 that I've had since I was 11...40+ years ago.

 

Greg

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Snake skin or tweed, anyone?

 

 

http://bborgan.com/images/northernchop/Snakeskin%204%20side.JPEG.jpg

 

http://bborgan.com/images/northernchop/Tweed%20Chop%20back%20corner.jpg

 

http://bborgan.com/images/rotarycabs/Tweed%20Leslie%202.jpg

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Wow, great stories.

 

I gigged for one year with a portabilized L-100; the body could be split from the base and pedals. It was covered with black paint; I bought it like that already.

'Portabilized' or not, even the individual sections weighted a lot!

 

Unfortunately, I didn't keep it.

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These really are some great stories and pics!

 

I used to want a chop, but we just endured the weight. We were younger then and... what's a few hundred pounds among friends? Thinking back, I am glad I never let anyone cut on my 71' B3, would seem like a sin now... I have a 251 leslie which is a miss-match for a B or C, but it worked fine.

 

I am still amazed at how well many Hammond organs have held up over the years - the tonewheel series were quality builds. I still play an older C3 at one of my church gigs, and it is holding up great.

"It is a danger to create something and risk rejection. It is a greater danger to create nothing and allow mediocrity to rule."

"You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at." W.H. Auden

 

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Yes, back in the early 70s I had a BV for awhile that had been chopped, and percussion added, by Ed Harrington here in Chicago. Ed was selling them to rockers all over the Midwest. It never gave me a minute's trouble even though it was going in and out of a truck on an almost-nightly basis.

 

I subsequently got out of rock n roll and sold it to a keyboard player who took it to Los Angeles, where Bill Beers at Keyboard Products did a "re-chop." My guy subsequently then toured with it for a number of years before eventually selling it to a gospel-playing church organist in LA, who I am told is still using it to this day.

 

Some machines refuse to die, even with over 50 years of pro use, if well cared for by technicians who know what they're doing.

 

Larry.

 

great stories. I had a BV as well in the early '70's in Chicago. I think this was thru Harrington, I added a small metal box that added percussion, some type of kit. It always had a slight ground hum.

 

My BV was altered where you could unscrew and pull out the legs, then 'roll up ' the

lower base and pedal . It didn't save weight but you could manage the carry a little easier. I also had a set of dollies attached to the sides, if I did not need to collapse

the lower base.

 

This gets fuzzy, but I had a 145 and had the BV configured to operate on chorale

slow instead of off ( which was standard on the BV)

 

Sort of a poor mans B3. And was I poor :D

 

I sold the BV and Leslie in 1976 and moved from Chicago to the SF Bay area

 

 

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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In the mid-70's I chopped an M-3 Hammond and installed it within and on top of a Model 600 Chamberlin Musicmaster-a large console. (I still have both.) Ran the Hammond into two Leslie 122's, retrofitted wit JBL 15" speakers and JBL 2482 120 watt drivers, powered by large amplifiers. Also had an overdrive system for distortion that worked pretty well. Those Leslies could rip your head off, and definitely keep up with any guitar player. I rolled it around on a permanently-mounted 4-wheel dolly. It was one heavy rig to move around. Sorry, I can't find pictures. It was a good sound. Lee Michaels heaven.

 

This was all before PAs, snakes, equalizers, mixing consoles that could actually do something.

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If I was to use a chop now, it'd have to be an A100, it's a life saver through most doors, now it's so much easier with the KeyB Duo in it's purpose built softcase with wheels. Had a chopped L100 when I first started gigging, through a 145 it chewed and spat and generally destroyed the distorted guitars of my fellow college students. Great fun!
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... My BV was altered where you could unscrew and pull out the legs, then 'roll up' the lower base and pedal ...

Yeah, that does sound like maybe it was one of Ed's chops from the early 70s. For legs he used four sections of aluminum pipe, about 4 inches in diameter, that you screwed into sockets mounted on the underside of the organ case.

 

Larry.

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Friends don't let friends chop their organs

 

Here's my philosophy:

 

0. There are 2 types of projects - "chops" and "portablizing"

 

1. If you destroy a B-3 or C-3 cabinet in good shape, you will burn in Hammond Hell. If you destroy an M-3 cabinet in good shape, you have earned a place in Hammond Purgatory.

 

2. If you don't have the skills to sucessfully complete a chop or portablizing project, see #1

 

3. Exception to #1 - if you destroy a French Provincial cabinet, ye shall be rewarded. :)

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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