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First time poster needing all help/info regarding Hammond Commodore organ

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  • First time poster needing all help/info regarding Hammond Commodore organ

    Three months ago I purchased a 1-owner Hammond Commodore organ from the estate of a doctor in Alabama and had the organ professionally moved to my home in middle Tennessee. The organ was obviously taken care of extremely well. It has no blemishes, scratches, etc. that are so common in organs of that age. I was immediately impressed with the rich, full, warm sound of the pedal bass. By far, they sounded far better than any Hammond organ I have ever seen or played. I was enjoying this practice organ until last week when suddenly the pedals stopped working. My first reaction was to turn the power button off. After leaving it off for several seconds, I turned it back on and the pedals began playing again. Obviously this was only a stop-gap measure because they continued to go off intermittently, but each time they came back on when I turned the switch off/on again. Then last Friday, the keyboards both stopped working, mid-hymn. Again, they came back on with the off/on switch routine. But last Saturday the organ refused to turn on, make any noise, etc. I have tried turning it on several times since, but nothing happens.

    Let me preface this posts by saying I know absolutely NOTHING whatsoever about how any organ works, or how to do even the most simple repair, so please try to explain any issues as if you were giving instructions to a six-year old! I have done some reading about the Commodore and what I have learned doesn't seem to be good news. I gather this organ (1989?) was the first organ Hammond introduced that did not have the tone wheels, and that it is a solid-state organ. Sad to say, most of the things I read about this organ seemed to be rather negative.

    I will deeply appreciate any and all constructive ideas, thoughts, and information the members of this forum can provide. Thank you for taking the time to read such a lengthy post.

  • #2
    I would start by checking fuses if any are present. I am not at all familiar with that model, but I have electronics experience. It is usually easier to fix something that is completely dead than various idiosyncrasies.

    Hope this helps.
    1974 C3 with foam removed
    22H with two speed conversion
    PR40

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    • #3
      It's an LSI Hammond, and yes, you will get some negative comments. But the LSI organs had their own distinctive sound and while it's not the gritty, biting sound that the jazz and rock players want, it was what the market wanted Hammond to produce, so they did!

      There are dozens and dozens of threads about LSI Hammonds and their usual problems on the forum. The most common issue is that of internal connector cables oxidising or coming loose. So the solution is to open up the organ and to unplug, clean and reseat every internal plug and socket. You can use a pencil eraser for edge connectors and Caig De-Oxit for plugs and sockets. Regard this as routine maintenance, the problem is so common it has a name - "LSI Disease". Yours is a second generation LSI organ so isn't quite as affected as the early ones, but it's nearly 40 years old, so expect issues.

      Check the fuses and if one has blown, replace it with an exact equivalent, the value of the fuse is usually marked on it but ask us if you're unsure. Make sure all connections from the organ's power supply are secure. Do be very careful here as the power supply carries lethal voltages, even when switched off. But be aware that fuses usually blow for a reason, and may be a sign of a problem elsewhere.

      To correct any misinformation you have read so far. The Commodore dates from 1979, rather than 1989, and was not the first Hammond without tonewheels, you have to go back to the 1960s for that. But the LSI organs were the first drawbar organs from Hammond that didn't have tonewheels (apart from the X-66, which had just 12 wheels and only just counts as a tonewheel organ) and these started with the 2107 Concorde in 1973/4.

      When working well, the Commodore can sound very good. When not working well, it can be a pain in the butt. Only you can decide how much time, effort and money to invest in an organ that basically has a very low market value, even when working 100%.
      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

      New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

      Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
      Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
      Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
      Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=MBDiagMan;472859]I would start by checking fuses if any are present. I am not at all familiar with that model, but I have electronics experience. It is usually easier to fix something that is completely dead than various idiosyncrasies.

        Hope this helps.[/QUOTE \

        Fuses? It has fuses?? Well, who knew? Not I, obviously. And where might I find them? If you are going to tell me I need to take the back off the organ in order to find them, pray tell me how I'm going to move this 400-pound King Kong-size organ? I am 76 and hardly have the strength to play the doggone thing, let alone move it two inches! I guess I should have anticipated this and had the movers leave it on a dolly, right? Fuses, huh? Where do I start? As I said, I am less than clueless....but I am more than ready to learn, and luck for me, it appears this forum is blessed to have many members who know these Hammond organs top to bottom, inside out.

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        • #5
          Thank you for your gracious and informative reply. Trust me, as a total novice and the newest member of this forum, I welcome all information, suggestions, and everything else when it comes to this organ. I need ALL the help I can possibly get. First of all, I think I need to look at some of this forum's previous postings just so I can learn what an LSI Hammond is. I have no idea whether mine is or isn't. I was randomly called Hammond organ repair shops in nearby Nashville, TN yesterday and one of the gentlemen told me the very same thing you told me about using a pencil eraser to clean the connector cables. He offered to do it for me for $200. If I thought for a minute I could do it myself, I'd certain give it a try. He made me no guarantees, however, that cleaning them would make the organ play again. One would think that Nashville, Tennessee---billed as 'Music City USA'---would be swarming with Hammond organ specialists however that does not seem to be the case, or at least when it comes to the Commodore. I spoke to five different companies and each told me they had no experience, training, or knowledge about the Commodore and said that they would not even make a service call to look at it simply because they would not be able to service it. Ironically, this is the third organ I have purchased in the last 16 years in this home. I seem to have an uncanny knack for picking out the biggest lemon ever made! I am afraid this Hammond has turned into little more than a very hard wooden door stop, probably never to play again.....just my luck!

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