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New MIDI controller made from salvaged pre-1955 Hammonds


Dnsmo

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Though not as impressive as the dual-manual controller from the mind and workshop of Moe (mate_stubb), props to Analog Outfitters of Champaign, IL for creating a new line of MIDI controllers fashioned from old consoles, which are upgraded with smooth drawbars.

 

The company says that the instruments are "...lighter and smaller than even the sleekest B3 chop." Jettisoning the tone generator and pre-amp certainly saves weight, but the manuals are still pretty hefty.

 

Dennis
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Interesting. Do you know how many contacts per key are used? I'm thinking only one, since they are going out to MIDI?

 

What they heck to they mean by "the drawbars have been modified to be smooth"? I can't think of any way to do this without replacing the drawbar busbars (and maybe more) with parts from a donor organ.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Interesting. Do you know how many contacts per key are used? I'm thinking only one, since they are going out to MIDI?

 

What they heck to they mean by "the drawbars have been modified to be smooth"? I can't think of any way to do this without replacing the drawbar busbars (and maybe more) with parts from a donor organ.

I would agree with that guess. OTOH, I don't know enough about how the original key contacts work, would it be easier to just leave them in and connect to just one?

 

Is it possible to just smooth out the drawbars with a file or polishing them? I don't know what made the early ones "ratchet."

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I think generally a smooth drawbar conversion entails just swapping out the whole drawbar assembly from a donor organ. Both the shape of the bus bars and the contacts at the end of the drawbar are different.

 

It's been many years since I saw rachet drawbars, but I think they have 1 contact per drawbar, while smooth drawbars have 2 contacts connected by a resistance wire. The 2 contacts eliminate the dead spots between click stops that you can get with rachet drawbars.

 

It's a bit disingenuous to claim "no B-3s were harmed..." as those parts had to come from somewhere. But at this point there are probably many A-100 manuals destroyed by foam which could donate their drawbar sets.

 

You would never go to the work of pulling out the key contacts you don't use. One could choose to wire just 1, or maybe wire multiple ones together for redundancy.

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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From personal examination - the early drawbar contacts were small enough that contact was lost with one buss before the next bus was contacted. Later drawbars (change was in 1954) have dual contacts with resistance wire between that partially short between busses while in intermediate positions. The housing and busses are also somewhat different.

The early designers did not expect organists to move the drawbars while that set was sounding (just like many other of the "imperfections" have become a part of the "Hammond" sound).

 

One way that the modification can be done is to replace the entire drawbar assemblies (drawbars, busses, and housing) with ones from a later model console that is a junker. A lot of the non-tonewheel consoles still had drawbars in addition to lots of tabs - although I don't know personally if they are exactly the same dimensions, it is probable because of the cost of designing different ones.

 

Since Analog Outfitters is producing these, they likely are just replacing the drawbar assemblies with whole assemblies from donor spinets or non-tonewheel instruments such as Concorde which can be bought used cheaply, especially non-working instruments.

They might also simply source them from smoothdrawbars.com who sell drawbar conversions. Drawbar Conversion Kit

 

This would not work well for production in large quantities, but their product is quite likely to be a boutique item made in small (but expensive) quantities. The product does seem worthwhile for an organist who is making enough $$, doing a lot of touring, and desiring the total "feel" of a real console.

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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They're calling it a MIDI controller, but it has XLR and 1/4" TRS outputs as well as Leslie connector...so am I to assume it also has an organ engine built in as well?

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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