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M3 question?

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  • M3 question?

    Hi i'm new here. A Hammond M3 just fell into my lap. It was in an old house and probably hasn't been played in 25 years. I think it could be made to work again. When you press the start button you can here the tone wheel "wind up" but as soon as you flip over to "run" it stops. I don't play organ & I don't think anybody around here is looking for a M3. Is this organ worth fixing?

  • #2
    Hi, Joe - When starting these old Hammonds, there's a brief time that BOTH switches are activated. You should hear the sound decrease as it synchonizes, actually with the 60 cycle line current in your house. Then release the start switch. Are you doing that?

    An M3 was my first organ, and I still have it and play it. I had been ill, and my sister thought I was depressed, so she found this organ (in an old house) and decided I needed it. I had a year of piano lessons way back when but hadn't touched a piano much in 30 years or more. DO NOT give an ORGAN to a DEPRESSED person. :)

    Get it running and you can find somebody that wants it (for $100 or so). It was the home/beginner version of the B3 jazz/rock organ (Greg Allman played one) and the C3 church organ. They are pretty easy to play and can sound pretty cool. Hammond conservatively rated the tubes and mine has a bunch of the original 1959 tubes in it.

    You'll need to find some Hammond Oil for it. If you're lucky, a tube of may be somewhere in the organ. If not, Tonewheel General can provide it very reasonably.

    Lubing the tone generator should be a first order of business. Please find the service manual here:

    Let us know what you find out. This forum is filled with guys who can get TECHNICAL about Hammonds. :)
    -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus


    • #3
      Hi Joe and welcome to the Hammond mob.

      Good advice given from an M3 owner. After sitting still for 25 years a whole lot could have happened inside the belly of that old Hammond. Oiling the TWG is the first - but powering up something out of a 25-year hibernation is risky - rodents could have done their pesky thing inside, nibbling away some wire covering exposing the wire increasing risk of an electrical short, tubes may be corroded or tarnished on their pins, other connections could be poor etc, etc, Best to check the obvious insides thoroughly - starting with the power cord. Let the oil soak for a week or more and try turning the TWG by hand to see if it is free (Make sure the power cord is unplugged first!!) These are the things I would do to a Hammond that had been sitting for so long......

      There are other, much more experienced and knowledgeable people on this Forum that will come in here so my suggestion is to get the oil and the manual. Oil first and study the manual while waiting for the oil to oil... and some expert advice that is sure to come right here.

      Good luck and please keep us updated about your progress.

      "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)


      • #4
        Thank you guys very much for the info. Actually I am an electronic tech and i'm blown away by this 60-plus year old technology. Who could know how much it would cost to build/produce these organs today?? So I think i'll clean this M3 up and oil it and then let it sit till I can check some voltages. THX again, joe


        • #5
          Originally posted by Backwoods Joe View Post
          I don't think anybody around here is looking for a M3. Is this organ worth fixing?
          Hi Joe... welcome.
          I just couldn't resist throwing in my 2¢ worth about your final question. Answer: Absolutely ! If it's low mileage it may be a treasure.
          While M-3s are often available for free up to $300 or so, they're called baby B-3's and can blow you away played through a Leslie.
          One thing no one mentioned... the power supply capacitors (3 in the can) are likely dried out, shorted and can blow the power transformer,
          releasing the magic smoke. :(
          If you have a Variac, you can often renew/restore these by bring up the voltage slowly over some time (Google "reform electrolytic capacitors").
          Anyway, congrats on your good fortune. Consider adding which "backwoods" to your profile.
          Good Luck !
          Roger Memphis
          C-3 with O-M, 145, 122RV, 2 PR-40's, PSR-36
          CV with HR-40, 2 B-40's