Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Hammond, Rhodes, Moog reissues


konaboy

Recommended Posts

Ok, I know we've discussed this before, but I don't believe I've ever read a satisfactory explanation.

 

Take Hammond as an example. They spend (presumably) millions developing a digital simulation of the 1960's Hammond B3. I think it's fair to say it sounds nearly as good as the original 40 year old article, in fact all the various emulations are pretty close these days, but they all seem to lack in certain areas.

 

So instead of developing a completely new digital version of a classic instrument that falls short in certain areas (name one good Rhodes clone) why not just pull out the original plans & designs, dust off the tools and reissue some real mechanical instruments? Ok, I'm trivialising the process, but if it were possible to build and sell mechanical instruments 30-40 years ago then I see no reason why it wouldn't work today. Fender are thinking along the right lines with their classic amp re-issues and this I believe has been successful. No frills, just as close to the original components as they can get. No extra digital goodies that might not stand the test of time. I wish the new minimoog was as faithful to the original.

 

I've heard various people say that the manufacturing cost would be prohibitively expensive. THis I don't understand. Today we have CNC machines that can turn out hundreds of identical machined parts every hour and highly automated production lines. Labour costs may be more expensive but there are plenty of Eastern European and Asian countries that provide cheaper labour and good quality. Once again, if it were feasible 30 odd years ago then why not now?

 

I'd prefer to buy brand a brand new tonewheel organ to a brand new digital simulation. Same applies to a Rhodes or Minimoog. I also know that if looked after these mechanical classics are going to last at least another 40 years. You know, I doubt the same applies for a digital instrument. Just look at the Nord Electro track record of dead keys and broken motherboards. When Clavia aren't around any more it's just good for the dustbin.

 

I've got a feeling that in 2040 you won't see anybody playing an Electro or a 2004 digital B3. But I expect there will still be a demand for the mechanical beasts from the 70's.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 47
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Originally posted by konaboy:

Ok, I know we've discussed this before, but I don't believe I've ever read a satisfactory explanation.

 

Take Hammond as an example. They spend (presumably) millions developing a digital simulation of the 1960's Hammond B3. I think it's fair to say it sounds nearly as good as the original 40 year old article, in fact all the various emulations are pretty close these days, but they all seem to lack in certain areas.

 

So instead of developing a completely new digital version of a classic instrument that falls short in certain areas (name one good Rhodes clone) why not just pull out the original plans & designs, dust off the tools and reissue some real mechanical instruments? Ok, I'm trivialising the process, but if it were possible to build and sell mechanical instruments 30-40 years ago then I see no reason why it wouldn't work today. Fender are thinking along the right lines with their classic amp re-issues and this I believe has been successful. No frills, just as close to the original components as they can get. No extra digital goodies that might not stand the test of time. I wish the new minimoog was as faithful to the original.

 

I've heard various people say that the manufacturing cost would be prohibitively expensive. THis I don't understand. Today we have CNC machines that can turn out hundreds of identical machined parts every hour and highly automated production lines. Labour costs may be more expensive but there are plenty of Eastern European and Asian countries that provide cheaper labour and good quality. Once again, if it were feasible 30 odd years ago then why not now?

 

I'd prefer to buy brand a brand new tonewheel organ to a brand new digital simulation. Same applies to a Rhodes or Minimoog. I also know that if looked after these mechanical classics are going to last at least another 40 years. You know, I doubt the same applies for a digital instrument. Just look at the Nord Electro track record of dead keys and broken motherboards. When Clavia aren't around any more it's just good for the dustbin.

 

I've got a feeling that in 2040 you won't see anybody playing an Electro or a 2004 digital B3. But I expect there will still be a demand for the mechanical beasts from the 70's.

Yeah, I'm playing one that is five years older than me. It was built in 1950.
No signature required.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by konaboy:

So instead of developing a completely new digital version of a classic instrument that falls short in certain areas (name one good Rhodes clone) why not just pull out the original plans & designs, dust off the tools and reissue some real mechanical instruments?

Well, I believe the main issues are weight, portability, and maintenance.

I own a Mark1 73 Rhodes, but forget it about carrying it to gigs.

If I did big time gigs with roadies and techs, things would change, but for now

I'm using a Roland V-Combo which gives me a playable replication of rhodes and hammond sounds without the hassle.

The problem is that somehow I get tired of any digital instrument after a short time and i feel a need to change.

Of course that doesn't happen with the Mark1 which lives in the basement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what's wrong with the vintage instruments. There are tons (literally) of Hammonds out there and you can find some in beautiful shape. Do you think the cabinetry and wood in the New B3 can compare to a 1950s Hammond? Not a chance.

 

You think you'd pay, let's say, $50,000 for a new tonewheel/tube B3 with Leslie? Doubtful that they could ever be made that cheap. Still you could pick up a great vintage one for 10% - 15% of that price.

 

Plenty of Rhodes out there as well. Easy to fix and maintain. Clavs are easy to fix, though tougher to find.

 

I'm happy with the design decisions Bob made with the Voyager. MIDI, presets, separate LFO, sync, better pitch wheel, etc. etc. just make for a better, more functional instrument and all could be added without compromising sound. That makes total sense to me. If you're a purist, fine, get the Mini.

 

You know on the guitar side of the world they can create all the re-issues they want, but a beat to crap 1950s/60s Strat, L5 or Twin is still worth way more than the new copies.

 

I've got a 1957 C3 with 145, three Rhodes and a Clav D6. I love 'em all. These are real instruments that are a blast (and a challenge) to play. Search out the vintage instruments. Don't be afraid to pay a little extra for one that's in great shape. If you take care of them they'll last a lifetime and you'll keep them for ever. What are you going to replace them with? Some re-issue clone?

 

Busch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me add one more comment to the debate.

 

Consider the piano. This is a massive, mechanical instruments that are a nightmare to transport, difficult to maintain and require much craftmanship and effort to build. Hang on, Are these not the same excuses given for not producing real Rhodes or Hammonds? By this reasoning the piano should have been discontinued a decade ago :D Heck they don't even have midi or a volume control!! :D

 

Yet, real mechanical pianos are still being produced in their thousands today, despite the fact that there are hundreds of lightweight & cheap decent-sounding digital alternatives.

 

So if we can viably make pianos, why not Rhodes and Hammonds? In an ideal world I'd like to be able to choose between a real instrument or a digital compromise. I'd have on of each and leave the heavy one at home :D

 

Oh, just one other point, good vintage Hammonds are very scarce in Europe and extremely expensive!

hang out with me at woody piano shack
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by konaboy:

Let me add one more comment to the debate.

Consider the piano. This is a massive, mechanical instruments that are a nightmare to transport, difficult to maintain and require much craftmanship and effort to build.

...exactly the reson why electric pianos came into fashion! Even the Hammond wasn´t intended for touring and gigging ;)

 

Originally posted by konaboy:

Hang on, Are these not the same excuses given for not producing real Rhodes or Hammonds? By this reasoning the piano should have been discontinued a decade ago :D Heck they don't even have midi or a volume control!! :D

The same excuses, the same reasons, as valid now as then!

 

Originally posted by konaboy:

Yet, real mechanical pianos are still being produced in their thousands today, despite the fact that there are hundreds of lightweight & cheap decent-sounding digital alternatives.

Yeah, the piano has a special place in our culture. If people had to move their pianos once every now and then, I´m sure sales would be different!

 

Originally posted by konaboy:

So if we can viably make pianos, why not Rhodes and Hammonds? In an ideal world I'd like to be able to choose between a real instrument or a digital compromise. I'd have on of each and leave the heavy one at home :D

You can do exactly that nowadays; get a Rhodes but bring the Scarbee sample set or an Electro to the gig! The cost of producing new "vintage" keys would probably be very high; efforts have been made on the Rhodes side without success, and the new MiniMoog gives us a clue to the costs...

 

Originally posted by konaboy:

Oh, just one other point, good vintage Hammonds are very scarce in Europe and extremely expensive!

That´s true, but compared to the retail price of a new one, they´re still cheap! Just check out the new (digital) B3, it´s not exactly cheap... I´d love new instruments as much as the next guy or gal, but I don´t think it´s very likely to happen.

 

:cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The comparison to acoustic pianos isn't really valid. The acoustic piano is still sold in large quantities into the home. A grand piano is considered a beautiful piece of furniture and is coveted, even by people who don't play. An organ, on the other hand, will sure to illicit the "there's no way in hell you're going to put that thing in my living room" response from your spouse. I worked at piano/organ store in the 1970s. We probably sold pianos and organs on a 1:1 ratio, 95% into the home. Now the home market for organs is nearly non-existant. The home organ has been replaced by the low-end Yamaha and Casio portable keyboards. As I understand it, in 1975 (I believe that was the last year of production) Hammond sold less 100 tonewheel organs. Think about it, 1975!! The Hammond was still very popular in rock. Live music was every where. Keyboard players were in every band and many of them carted around Hammonds and Leslies. This was a hot, pro market. Still Hammond could only sell 100 units worldwide. The electro-mechanical tonewheel was dead, replaced by the fully electronic variant. The marketplace today for Hammond organs is extremely niche. Hammond-Suzuki is relying heavily on the church market.

 

So my question to you is if the New B3 (electronic version now available) looked and played and sounded exactly like a vintage tonewheel, would you pay $25,000 for it? If not, why not?

 

Busch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An organ, on the other hand, will sure to illicit the "there's no way in hell you're going to put that thing in my living room" response from your spouse.
Not if you're married to the right woman. :love::love::love:

 

errr... honey?...about that second Leslie???? :D

 

So my question to you is if the New B3 (electronic version now available) looked and played and sounded exactly like a vintage tonewheel, would you pay $25,000 for it? If not, why not?

No - because for one thing you can probably get it for closer to $17,000.

 

So would I pay $17,000? No because to me it's not worth 2 - 3 times the price of a vintage B3 in good condition and will not hold it's value as well. The new one can be improved with new features, sounds etc and probably will over time. So now it beconmes disposable/replaceable like the rest of our toys. It's all a psychologivcal thing but when they add the set of "vintage" B3 sounds(ala B4) to the next version along with a larger foot pedal set and a multi selectable tube configuaration for the same price or less etc etc. how will you feel about your 17,000 organ then?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For Hammonds, Rhodes, and Moogs, the original instruments are (sometimes) available second hand. Failing that, the software emulations can come close to the sound.

 

As Markyboard so rightfully said, a hardware "reissue" will not only be expensive, but will likely become just as "disposable" as any other modern keyboard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Lord Jeebus ®:

As Markyboard so rightfully said, a hardware "reissue" will not only be expensive, but will likely become just as "disposable" as any other modern keyboard.

EXACTLY!!!!

Why value a vintage instrument more than a modern one? I'll tell you why - does anyone here kid themselves that a New B-3 will still be operating when almost 50 years old, like my 1957 B-3 does? Will I even be able to get parts for a New B-3 in 10 years?

 

You cannot pay people modern wages to hand make a Hammond in the old manner, and sell it for a profit. The market just isn't there anymore when people can buy disposable electronic keyboards with thousands of sounds that play themselves.

 

And make no mistake, THOSE people are the target audience, not a few hundreds (or thousands at most) of electromechanical instrument-obsessed musicians. :cry:

 

I count myself fortunate to have played professionally at a time when the only available keyboards were full fledged musical instruments (emphasis on musical). I just don't connect with my modern synth workstations the same way. There is an inevitable sense that there will be something later and greater and less expensive next year, while parts to fix mine will eventually disappear, and what's the point of spending years to get to know THIS instrument inside out then?

 

Disposable instruments, disposable music, disposable culture. OK, so now I sound like a bitter old coot. :mad:

 

It is sad, however, that as these fine old instruments gradually disappear into the hands of collectors, that whole generations of young musicians will grow up without developing a personal attachment to a fine instrument.

 

Whew! I feel better.

on>

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by burningbusch:

The comparison to acoustic pianos isn't really valid. The acoustic piano is still sold in large quantities into the home. A grand piano is considered a beautiful piece of furniture and is coveted, even by people who don't play. An organ, on the other hand, will sure to illicit the "there's no way in hell you're going to put that thing in my living room" response from your spouse.

Busch.

Well sad but true that many grands are sold as furniture. Not so sure about an upright though. I bet 9 out of 10 spouses would consider a B3 more beautiful than an upright piano!

 

Very interesting to read about only 100 Hammonds sold in 1975. I wonder what they cost in today's money. I also wonder how many of digital B3s Hammond are shifting this year. About 100 would be my guess :)

 

Personally I can't justify $25000 on any musical instrument digital or otherwise, nor can I afford it. Mind you, I'd feel I was getting better value for money however if it had motors, gears and mechanical things instead of a couple of circuit boards :D

hang out with me at woody piano shack
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today, $25,000 would get you a Mid-level Grand piano. For $250 you can get a sample set to fool people into believing you are playing a Bosendorfer. Whatever that instument is used to emulate the Bosendorfer, will not be made ten years from now, and it won't be worth very muc at all.

The Hammond, the Rhodes, the Clavinet, were all made to emulate another instrument. None of them were very convincing, yet they've found their own niches, which have made them popular.

The Piano from day one was created as a work of art, as an instrument to compose art.

 

A digital B-3, like the Hammond Suzuki B-3, and B-3p, and the Diversi, are going to set you back $15,000. This is with relatively few moving parts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard various people say that the manufacturing cost would be prohibitively expensive. THis I don't understand. Today we have CNC machines that can turn out hundreds of identical machined parts every hour and highly automated production lines. Labour costs may be more expensive but there are plenty of Eastern European and Asian countries that provide cheaper labour and good quality. Once again, if it were feasible 30 odd years ago then why not now?
Marketing. Or more specifically, the size of the market. It's ONT cheap to build a small number of units using computer controlled tooling. That's only cheap if you build tens or hundreds of thousands. The market for keyboards isn't big enough -- especially for heavy, "single-sound" instruments. That's why they're no longer built in the first place!

 

I once read, back in the late 80's or early 90's, that the entire market for pro keyboard synthesizers, in terms of sales revenue, was less than that of a single branch of a single superstore. (And, as you might remember, those weren't quite the same as the superstores of today.)

 

Only a small fraction of that market is interested in vintage instruments. Heck, I'm a huge fan of Hammond organs, it's at least 50% of what I play live -- the others being mostly piano and Rhodes. But heck if I want to drag around a real one! I don't even haul my Rhodes around.

 

And of course, many the folks who really love the vintage instruments won't ever believe that the modern ones sound the same or as good -- whether it's true or not. And of course, there would be minor differences, just as there are minor differences throughout the manufacturing life of any such instrument.

 

Finally, the number of real vintage units in playable condition is big enough to satisfy the market, although that balance is changing. In 85-86, I put my Rhodes on consignment for $300 for 6 months (while I was out of the country, traveling). It was still there when I came back, and now I'm happy it was. Instruments like mine are now selling for about $600 on ebay (mine's not a collector's item because it has the cracked keys you see on some Rhodes.) Hammond B3's are going for a fairly pretty penny, but you can still find great deals on A100's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This entire subject matter leaves we curious. Is it primarily "younger" players that lust after the vintage boards, or are there still die hard "old folks" that are still hauling around a B3 and a Rhodes? I'm 57 and "did my time" hauling around a B3 and Leslies, a Rhodes, and then an Electric Grand, Rhodes, and CX-3. The reason those vintage instruments were REPLACED with more modern, lightweight instruments was because the old ones had flaws, extra weight, and reliability issues. Sure, a B3 with wooden Leslies can't be beat for sound, however, they required maintenance, OILING, cleaning, and guess what? They got beat to hell and ended up just about worthless.

 

I will never sell off whats left of my vintage keyboards for nostalgic reasons, however, when it comes to PLAYING, I'll take the new instruments anyday. I'm not as concerned with resale value as others, I tend to keep what I have anyway.

 

We've seen a mini moog reissue, and the price tag that goes with it. 2995.00 for a mono synth, right. I'll stick with my Ion, and when I get the urge, I can always turn on my Moog Source or/and Prophet 5. As soon as they start to drift, I go back to the ION and just play music.

 

Nostalgia and vintage instruments is interesting, but for PLAYING, I like a lot of the new gear.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by MikeT156:

This entire subject matter leaves we curious. Is it primarily "younger" players that lust after the vintage boards, or are there still die hard "old folks" that are still hauling around a B3 and a Rhodes? I'm 57 and "did my time" hauling around a B3 and Leslies, a Rhodes, and then an Electric Grand, Rhodes, and CX-3. The reason those vintage instruments were REPLACED with more modern, lightweight instruments was because the old ones had flaws, extra weight, and reliability issues. Sure, a B3 with wooden Leslies can't be beat for sound, however, they required maintenance, OILING, cleaning, and guess what? They got beat to hell and ended up just about worthless.

 

I will never sell off whats left of my vintage keyboards for nostalgic reasons, however, when it comes to PLAYING, I'll take the new instruments anyday. I'm not as concerned with resale value as others, I tend to keep what I have anyway.

 

We've seen a mini moog reissue, and the price tag that goes with it. 2995.00 for a mono synth, right. I'll stick with my Ion, and when I get the urge, I can always turn on my Moog Source or/and Prophet 5. As soon as they start to drift, I go back to the ION and just play music.

 

Nostalgia and vintage instruments is interesting, but for PLAYING, I like a lot of the new gear.

 

Mike T.

I believe most of the people looking at vintage keyboards are the old players. I'm 50.

 

I disagree with regards to playing. I feel the playability of the vintage instruments is one of their biggest advantages. The B3 clones have been trying for years to capture all of the playability nuances that are natural within the real thing. But they still aren't there. A real rhodes has a large playable range and a warmth not found in any of the clones. They just respond more naturally. The vintage instruments just sound real, and alive.

 

I think keyboard players are giving up a lot relying soley on digital instruments. There is no real connection between the keyboard and the sound production. We aren't connected to our instruments in the way other musicians are to theirs.

 

Also, the vintage instruments required completely different playing styles. If you had a B3, Rhodes, Clav and Mini in your setup, you played each differently (unless you were s complete hack). Today a workstation provides thousands of sounds, but we play them the same. Sure you might play a different pattern on a clav patch vs. a B3 patch, but that's only because the different styles came about from the real things.

 

I'm not anti-digital by any means. I use them all the time. I think they are superior in some ways and inferior in others. I do think it's sad that new keyboard players are coming up and have never experienced learning how to play the vintage instruments.

 

Busch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Busch, I can agree with what you say to a certain extend. Frankly, I think we as players try to hard to duplicate a certain sound when playing something that is musical, with good technique and taste is every bit as important, if not more so. Some of the earlier digital instruments weren't very good, but the newer ones are a great improvement, and have features and benefits that we could only dream about in the old days.

 

There is a certain connection to the instrument I felt when playing an acoustic piano. Playing the keys to move the action and physical move hammers that strike strings, is playing an instrument. It's "mechanical", not electronic. To a certain extent, I felt that connection to my Rhodes suitcase piano too.

 

I connect with the sound of the sampled instruments provided I enjoy the action. The one thing I DON'T miss is out of tune pianos that no one could hear, or a Rhodes piano that got knocked around and wasn't completely in tune, or had tines that needed replaced, and so on. I really do enjoy the new instruments because they're always in tune, you press a button and play. No hassle factor.

 

One way or the other, we either get use to them, or we don't.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a great topic. I agree that the instrument market should support actual reissues, but what are you gonna do? The digital versions are affordable, and do a pretty convincing job to those who haven't lived with the real thing as Mike says above. And to most poor souls like me, the cost ends up being the bottom line. Plus, having midi is a requirement for many.

 

The good thing is that there are quality used instruments on the market. I suppose the thing to do is the grass roots approach. Tell the people you go to see in person or by email that you like the fact that they use the real deal, at least in the studio, or wish they would. Take musician friends to stores where you find a good Rhodes or Hammond, or a God blessed Minimoog and ask them to give it a whirl. "Reintroduce" them to the instruments they may have never played. Things like that.

 

In the meantime, I'm about to go spend some time with my Triton and the MOSS synth it calls home. It may not be a Minimoog or Arp 2600, but it's a lot of fun to explore what you have in the meantime and pretend. And... heck, it sounds darn good. ;)

This keyboard solo has obviously been tampered with!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno :confused:

 

I heard for years and years that there would be no more true analog synths...

 

Too expensive to manufacture nowadays, that was the most frequent argument I heard...

 

And I accepted that...

 

Then along came the Andromeda!! :eek: maybe it's just a solid state synth, but so was the P5 and anything else that used the Curtiss or SSM chips...

 

So how hard would it be to build a real tonewheel organ?? Nobody is suggesting you would have to have an exact B3 duplicate... just, you know, spinning wheels in front of electromagnetic pickups... you could design new, cheaper motors and pickups, I would think...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah Mike, the amount of analog synths that are still available in one form or another is surprising. I think there has to be some interest in them yet, primarily for pro and semi pro players. The Andromeda might get the ax from the Alesis line sooner rather than later, all the people that designed and marketed that board are long gone from Alesis. However, there's the Moog Voyager, The MacBeth, and of course the DSI POLY, although some will argue that it doesn't fit into that picture.

 

The same could be said if a reissue B3 was built and it wasn't identical. What would be the point if its not "the same thing"? We have some of those now, and they're very expensive. It seems like no matter what manf. built, someone is still complaining it doesn't sound the same. :rolleyes:

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by MikeT156:

yeah Mike, the amount of analog synths that are still available in one form or another is surprising. I think there has to be some interest in them yet, primarily for pro and semi pro players. The Andromeda might get the ax from the Alesis line sooner rather than later, all the people that designed and marketed that board are long gone from Alesis. However, there's the Moog Voyager, The MacBeth, and of course the DSI POLY, although some will argue that it doesn't fit into that picture.

 

The same could be said if a reissue B3 was built and it wasn't identical. What would be the point if its not "the same thing"? We have some of those now, and they're very expensive. It seems like no matter what manf. built, someone is still complaining it doesn't sound the same. :rolleyes:

 

Mike T.

well, the difference would be actual spinning wheels in front of actual analog pickups, as opposed to digital recreations...

 

and my idea is that it would be okay if the circuitry were simpler and more easy to manufacture...

 

a tele is different from an SG... but they both involve metal strings vibrating in front of electromagnetic pickups

 

maye a digital "B3" would be a more faithful recreation...

 

but my organ would be a "real-deal-tonewheel" machine :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by TrancedelicBlues:

well, the difference would be actual spinning wheels in front of actual analog pickups, as opposed to digital recreations...

 

and my idea is that it would be okay if the circuitry were simpler and more easy to manufacture...

Here's an idea - forget about manufacturability. If you need a "portable B-3" that sounds like the real thing, content yourself with a one-off custom.

 

Here's what I'd do to strike the "best" balance between playing and sound authenticity and lowest weight:

 

1. Use the original tonewheel generator. You can't duplicate it and make it any lighter weight anyway.

 

2. Replace the original tube preamp with a modernized miniature version (still tube). This is what Bob Schliecher does in his Oakland chops. The preamp actually fits in one of the knee cavities.

 

3. Replace the manual / wiring harness assembly with a hybrid. Keep the Hammond keys and keychannels. Replace the buss bars/key contact stack/resistance wire loom/metal frame with lightweight pcbs. Fabricate a lightweight but rigid keyframe.

 

4. Replace the vibrato scanner with a lighter weight mechanism, still mechanical and driven from the generator shaft.

 

5. Replace the vibrato line box with modern miniature inductors and a pcb.

 

6. Replace the heavy metal drawbar base plate with lighter weight materials. Leave the original drawbar assembly - it's not that heavy.

 

7. Replace the bulky preset rack with something more compact and light.

 

8. Encase the whole thing in a carbon fiber case.

 

I'll bet you could get the weight down from around 200lbs for a 1 piece chop to somewhere between 100 to 120 lbs. This ignores pedals and bench. I just might attempt this project some day!

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Others have touched on most of the reasons.

 

For the B3 and the Rhodes, there are thousands of playable instruments sitting around unused, and thousands more in restorable condition. As the clones improve, there are fewer and fewer players who actually want a real B3, and the pool of used instruments is only shrinking very slowly. There are lots of B3 freaks who have ten of them in their garage, and still more used piano/organ dealers who have a bunch in the back room. You can get a fully restored, pristine B3 for around $10,000, and I doubt whether ones with all-new parts could be manufactured for that, let alone sold at a profit.

 

The pro audio market in general is very small. Musical instrument manufacturers have always depended on a "home" market, made up of people who are unlikely to ever get out of the garage. This has not changed. Go to any Guitar Center and see the teenage kids looking the part and playing three chords badly, and their parents. Go to any piano store and see two sales pitches: one for the parent whose child is starting piano lessons, and one for the introverted wannabe whose musical ego needs massaging.

 

The pro audio market has for many years mostly sold a fantasy. They've packaged and sold the idea of being a player. It's a tiny fraction of instruments that ever see a stage, and fewer still that see paying gigs on any kind of regular basis. People rarely spend $20,000 on an instrument to further that kind of fantasy. They no longer have to because a clonewheel is good enough for that.

 

Recall that the B3 itself only ever made a profit in the olden times because people bought it as a cheap alternative to the pipe organ. That market is still there but they want Rodgers digitals now, not B3s.

 

Finally, while it's neat to talk about and think about gigging with a sure 'nuff B3, very few people do. Now, as in the day, venues sometimes have them, studios sometimes have them, and the big name acts tour with them or rent them locally at each stop. Despite all the B3s owned by people here at the 'corner, I don't think anyone here gigs with them regularly. I've been a spectator at a few recent jazz concerts where the venue had a B3, and the instrument was all but unplayable one night due to some sort of electrical problem.

 

So, all the old reasons, plus some new ones. There are $10,000 pristine, used B3s out there with no end in sight, at least in the U.S. They go unsold, and a new B3 at twice the price would do the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent Reality Check Bart. Our forums have a number of "purists" that propagate that fantasy and the desire to have the vintage stuff in mint shape to play and gig with, but reality overcomes fantasy every time. I really loved my B3 and Leslie when I had it, but it wasn't "practical" nor did I have the room for it anymore when I moved out of the large house we had back in those days.

 

Sometimes I'm amazed at how many pro line options that are out there considering how small the market actually is for those instruments. I suppose the bedroom home studio players continue to buy up the pro line gear, as we did 30+ years ago when every garage band wannabe bought up equipment.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not long ago I sat in on keys for a local band I like; their keyboard player was out of town. He carts around a Rhodes, Hammond, Leslie, and accordion. They all were complaining about him, because of all the work they all do lugging that stuff around, not to mention the room it takes up on the small stages they often play. (They weren't complaining about his playing or sound!)

 

Well, they were really pleased to see the tiny footprint my rig takes up on stage, plus the fact that they didn't have to lift a finger -- one keyboard, a powered mixer, 12" floor monitors, and my laptop. And they really dug the sound of NIB4, although it certainly wasn't the same as a real Leslie bouncing off the walls.

 

The instrument they missed most was the accordion!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by bartolomeo:

Recall that the B3 itself only ever made a profit in the olden times because people bought it as a cheap alternative to the pipe organ. That market is still there but they want Rodgers digitals now, not B3s.

I was at a organ repair/rebuilding place the other day. They mainly deal in Hammonds but really do everything. The owner was saying that recently he's had several churches with 1970s-1980s era Rodgers in need of massive IC replacements. Rodgers came back with a $40,000 repair bill. Instead they dumped the Rodgers and went with 1950s-60s Hammonds w/Leslies. Tubes can be amazing. I believe all mine in the 1957 are original. They can last for decades, if not excessively overdriven. The Hammond organ is astonishingly durable.

 

Actually of all the vintage gear, I find the 1960s-70s synthesizers to be most problematic.

 

Busch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I want to share this experience i had not so long ago. I was carryin' around my Hammond L100P with the Leslie (plus another keyboard) to a live gig in a jazz club - 4 people, stairs down, get into the car, find somewhere to park my car near the club, stairs up, and vice versa... I was thinking that the club owner would give me kudos about the fact that I was about to put a little bit of keyboard history in his "hole"! Instead, the guy just told me: "Man, why are you carryin' those wooden coffins with you?". I was quite mad on him, but that maybe shows the percepion of gear other people (not us, musicians)have. And maybe gives a down to earth response to all us vintage freaks - it's a pitty younger guys (i'm 36) have not experienced playin' on those fabulus vintage gear, live. But, on the other hand, they never have to break their bones and back, and never have to take s**t from ignorant club owners and club goers ("So, what's THIS thing up there?")

Regards

Yannis

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yannis:

 

You'd think that at LEAST an owner of a bonifide jazz club would have a clue. I bet he doesn't promote jazz for the "music", just his bank account.

 

People really aren't concerned with the equipment. Most club owners want you take up as little space as possible, play as softly as possible, charge as little as possible or FREE (just for the love of music :) ) and make the registers ring as MUCH as possible. Now there's some VISION, huh?

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...