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    looking for ideas or advice on BC console

    Hello, I have been reading this forum for several months but I am seeking advice so I registered and would like to quickly introduce myself and describe my situation in the hopes of getting some feedback from those with more knowledge and experience in these matters. First, I am not an organist nor even a musician. My son is the musician in the family and plays keys and many stringed instruments. I am an advanced tinkerer with a shop full of tools and a love of old mechanical devices. I've combined my tinkering with my son's musicianship and have been buying old instruments and rebuilding them for my son to play. Started with an upright grand piano built in late 1800's then moved on to a vintage Fender Rhodes electric piano. I've also worked on electric guitars and amplifiers but my electronic skills are rudimentary. I enjoy learning about how these instruments are built and how they function and it is good bonding time working with my son in the shop. That has led me to a recent purchase of a Hammond BC console organ (serial # 10574) from the 1940's I believe. The organ came with a Leslie 31A Tallboy (serial # 1688) and a Hammond power cabinet DX-20 (serial # 7367) with added spring reverb tank. All of this equipment was in working order but needed to be cleaned up and refurbished to some degree. I don't have room for a full organ console in my house so I intended to due a "chop" job and make the BC more portable. I called my local tech and was really surprised and disappointed when he advised me against putting any money or work into what he described to be "a really old instrument that would never be a B3 and not worth the effort". His suggestion was to plug it in and just have fun learning how to play organ with it then moving on to something newer if the interest in organ persisted. My son has decided that he has too much on his plate right now to take on learning the organ so I decided to dismantle and part out the organ. But herein lies my problem. I have (carefully) dismantled the organ and found that it is in really good condition. Some of the wiring needs to be replaced and some of the electronics (capacitors) I'm sure could use replacing but otherwise it is complete and in really good condition. I have also realized that this electromechanical wonder of creation is something I feel should NOT be parted out but rather deserves to be refurbished to it's original glory. I feel that this work is beyond my skill level to do properly. So I am stuck with a dismantled organ in the middle of my shop unsure of my next step! If any of you have any advice or interest in this organ please, please let me know. Thank you.
    P.S. I have lots of photos if needed!

    #2
    Omigosh, what you have are collectors items, *please* don't part them out. I just finished refurbishing a 1938 BC (I think yours is also 1938) and DX20, and it is an awesome instrument with a fantastic sound! I think from what I've read here, the Leslie is also *very* rare. A BC doesn't need to be a B3. If one wants the B3 percussion there are add-on gadgets for that. The B3 also has vibrato but the BC has the awesome 'chorus generator'. The vibrato was an engineered work-around to save the cost of the chorus generator.
    I don't have 'room' for mine either but I'm making room by getting rid of my dining room table 8)
    Tom in Tulsa

    Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720

    Comment


      #3
      If you have the skill to dismantle a Hammond, you also have the skill to reassemble it.
      Current organs: AV, BC, A-100
      Current Leslies: 22H, 142, 147, 760
      Organs in the past: L-100 (several), M-100 (x2), T-100, E-100, CV
      Other keyboards: Roland FP-4, Yamaha DX7, Yamaha TX81Z, Yamaha Motif ES Rack, Korg Krome, Novation Mininova

      Comment


        #4
        And if the generator is already out of the case, you can easily replace the capacitors on it for next to nothing, and it will sound brand new. Heck, I’ll give you the parts free If you want to do it 8)

        edit: Here is an example of how much fun you can have with a BC, Phenomenon Ethel Smith was an early adopter and started putting the Hammond in front of the public about 1941

        Last edited by tpappano; 10-21-2019, 04:57 PM.
        Tom in Tulsa

        Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720

        Comment


          #5
          OMG! The chorus generator is worth the price of admission alone! I added one to my former B-3 many years ago. It gives the organ this delightful airy sound. Please reassemble it. Really a super classic. You can do it, they are quite simple to work on. Everyone here will be more than willing to lend a hand!

          Comment


            #6
            Save that BC and Leslie!

            The time has come to stop trashing vintage Hammonds and Leslies...... they might still be found by the dozen on curbsides and in thrift stores, but every year the numbers diminish as they get parted out, or dumped into landfill, or cannibalized by unscrupulous hipster guitar amp and effects companies.......

            I really grinds my gears hearing about trashed Hammonds and Leslies in North America, while in the rest of the world worthless LSI's and humble tone-wheel spinets command prices in the thousands.... and forget about a real Leslie in the rest of the world, prices start around $2-3K.

            For god's sake STOP TRASHING THESE INSTRUMENTS
            Current:
            1971 T-202 with Carsten Meyer mods: Remove key click filters, single-trigger percussion, UM 16' drawbar volume correction. Lower Manual bass foldback.
            Korg CX3 (original 1980's analogue model).
            1967 Leslie 122 with custom inbuilt preamp on back panel for 1/4" line-level inputs, bass & treble controls. Horn diffusers intact.
            2009 Marshall 2061x HW Plexi head into Marshall 4x12 cabinet.

            Former:
            1964 C3
            196x M-102
            197x X5
            197x Leslie 825

            Comment


              #7
              Reminds me of the professional engine rebuilder who somehow convinced me to "recycle" the cracked engine block from my Jeep. I really knew better and shoulda stuck to my guns.

              Please rebuild this valuable instrument! And please don't chop a BC. Spinets are a dime a dozen.

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, a BC is a valuable instrument. Of course, it is desirable to add the features it lacks compared to a B-3, scanner reverb, and percussion, but those you can get from spinets or other less valuable instruments, I believe. Incidentally, I am very interested in finding out what the gear ratios are in the chorus tone generator (unlike the main generator, I haven't seen it documented anywhere), so if you can take any pictures I would appreciate it very much.

                Comment


                  #9
                  OK - I will be "the bad guy" here (in some ways, anyway.....)
                  Your tech is correct in a couple of things:
                  1) it will/can NEVER be a B3
                  2) you will NEVER get any money back that you put into it.
                  3) and (your tech didn't say it, but I will)....it's resale value is, for the most part, zero.

                  Now - getting all the bad news out of the way....we in this forum are Hammond and Leslie diehards. We find value in these instruments as collectors and historians just as much (and to some, more) than as musicians. So, to everyone here....a BC and a 31A is an absolutely GORGEOUS treasure that should be restored and revered for another 80 years. I feel that way myself. I have dumped thousands of $$ into Hammond and Leslie projects that I know I will never get back. It's what we refer to here as H.A.S. (Hammond Acquisition Syndrome)!

                  So - if you find this combo to be as fascinating as we all do...then go for it. Restore / refurbish / enjoy! As long as you know that the only reward you will receive will be that you got the job done! That is not a pessimistic outlook...it is a realistic one.

                  As for the assembly and disassembly and tips on how to do so....I would HIGHLY recommend this book. It was not meant for a BC....but there is enough in common between the B3 and the BC, that it should provide a wealth of detail on the inner workings and design of the vintage Hammond tonewheel organ. Good luck....keep us posted....provide pics....and ask questions. We were all in your position when we started

                  http://www.b3sforsale.com/The_manual.html
                  1st born: 1958 B3 & 1964 Leslie 122
                  Most Proud of: 1938 Concert Model E paired w/ 1948 Leslie 31A & Vibratone (Leslie) 30A (c.1942)
                  Daily Workhorse: 3 Manual Rodgers running Hauptwerk 4.2
                  New Kid on the Block: Hammond Novachord (year not determined yet)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Mine had two dead motors, $40 each for replacements and 're-capping' the tg was another $10 worth of parts. The result: priceless 8). Things I did that weren't necessary: new power switches ($30) and upgrading to "smooth" drawbars ($250). The rest was just time, which if I applied my usual rate to it, would be an amount no one would pay. The time I spend on these organs is just 'labor of love'. Actually though, I did make enough selling a rebuilt M3 to buy a Jeff Beck concert ticket 8)
                    Tom in Tulsa

                    Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Being another BC custodian I have to agree with all the comments above. I have one of the 300 or so that were exported to the UK and have also just finished the refurb. I have had the three series Hammond and got it out of my system. I love the differences present in the BC - even the tremulant. I added TrekII percussion and reverb to mine but don't miss the chorus vibrato too much. When I am playing Pink Floyd or Santana or Winwood on it, it's hard to believe it is 82 years old. If I start to miss the "B3" sound I will buy an A100.
                      Hammond BC (Factory 50 Hz) With TrekII Reverb, Perc and Preamp
                      Leslie 147
                      MK2 Farfisa Compact Duo/Binson Echorec 2 T7E
                      MK1 Korg CX3/Neo Ventilator
                      Yamaha KX88/Roland D550/Kurzweil K2000R/Korg M1R/Korg X3R

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I agree with all of the above.

                        First off, it is a fine looking instrument. That structure is iconic and beautiful. You sound like someone who, if he put his mind to it, relying on comrades in the forum, and perhaps downloading those instructions, will clearly succeed. You did mention "if anyone is interested in it," but not too many would be interested in bits and pieces. So, either way, putting it back together will be worth it, if only for the sheer satisfaction of having done it, and the admiration from many of us here who are "addicted' to the look, feel, sound and even smell of a hammond console.
                        1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

                        Comment


                        • Papus
                          Papus commented
                          Editing a comment
                          The first time I had non-musician friends visit my studio and I fired up the Hammond T202 and 122-V, their response was "I love it - it sounds and smells like a WWII machine"
                          My response to them: "It basically is a WWII-era machine"

                        • Tonewheel
                          Tonewheel commented
                          Editing a comment
                          One smell I do not like is if someone turns the B3 on and leaves it on all night. Then it is a "what the heck is getting damaged now?" type of smell.

                        • tpappano
                          tpappano commented
                          Editing a comment
                          When mine was built it would still be more than a year before the Germans would invade Poland!

                        #13
                        Originally posted by JoeyB3 View Post
                        OK - I will be "the bad guy" here (in some ways, anyway.....)
                        Your tech is correct in a couple of things:
                        1) it will/can NEVER be a B3
                        2) you will NEVER get any money back that you put into it.
                        3) and (your tech didn't say it, but I will)....it's resale value is, for the most part, zero.
                        I am surprised to hear this. My understanding is that a BC is like a B or a B-2. It is missing some of the pieces that make a B-3 what it is: the scanner vibrato, and the percussion. But that's it, just some of the electronic components. These can be obtained - after all, people repairing B-3s can get replacement parts - and a BC can be adapted fairly easily to add them, because the B, B-2, and B-3 have the same case and general plan.
                        And I know people have even posted videos on YouTube about such conversions.
                        So if I'm wrong, and you're right, I'd like some explanation so I can understand why this is.

                        Comment


                        • David Anderson
                          David Anderson commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Joey is correct. There are a number of subtle differences, as tpappano notes below. For one, the shape of the bass tonewheels is different and will never sound exactly like the complex tonewheels introduced in the 1947 V models, no matter what you do. 1947 is when the tone generator becomes essentially (with some wiring and hardware changes) the generator that will last until 1975.

                          Many repair videos posted online contain various degrees of misinformation. Some I can't even bring myself to watch because the advice given is so bad.

                          If you have a 2-series organ, especially a later 2-series organ with smooth drawbars, you can get pretty seamless 3-series functionality, but Hammond made a lot of changes in the early years. The devil is in the details.

                          Years ago, I had a plan to put a 1949 generator into an A-100 case, thinking in the same mindset you mention. The parts are all interchangeable, right? Nope. When I tried to fit a 1949 wide-tray generator into an A-100 case, I discovered that it wouldn't fit.

                          These days, for most people living in the United States, if you want a 3-series organ, you should buy a 3-series organ. The situation can be different for people who live in parts of the world where organs are much harder to come by, but those conversions don't make a lot of sense here unless you have unlimited time on your hands.

                        • JoeyB3
                          JoeyB3 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Let me state for the record here that....to the untrained ear....a vintage Hammond is a vintage Hammond. They all have that "overall" Hammond sound. But the BC and the B3 are very different beyond what is considered a vintage Hammond tonewheel organ. As has been mentioned by others: different preamps, split matching transformers, scanner & vibrato, manual tapering, complex wheels, volume rheostat versus a swell capacitor, there are more I could list....but, while they are both Hammonds and sound as such, they also play and sound very different among themselves. Kinda like 2 sisters, where they are both good looking, but one is really gorgeous, LOL! All that being said - to invest the kind of $ and time necessary to change whatever you can to change, is simply not worth it. If you want to keep it, I would suggest you clean it up and tune it up as best you can for as little money as you would like to "lose." Then let it sing and enjoy your accomplishment. If you want Percussion, that is an aftermarket add on that can be installed easily enough, and you can always remove it and sell it separately down the road should you choose to recoup the investment if you sell the organ.

                        #14
                        As I understand it the BC has a differently configured tone generator in the low end, a different manual foldback scheme and untapered manuals. So pretty much everything is different, they all sound awesome of course, but they do sound different.
                        Tom in Tulsa

                        Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Originally posted by quadibloc View Post
                          I am surprised to hear this. My understanding is that a BC is like a B or a B-2. It is missing some of the pieces that make a B-3 what it is: the scanner vibrato, and the percussion. But that's it, just some of the electronic components. These can be obtained - after all, people repairing B-3s can get replacement parts - and a BC can be adapted fairly easily to add them, because the B, B-2, and B-3 have the same case and general plan.
                          And I know people have even posted videos on YouTube about such conversions.
                          So if I'm wrong, and you're right, I'd like some explanation so I can understand why this is.
                          I dispute the notion that a BC has zero resale value..... never underestimate those unscrupulous hipster vandals who feel no compunction whatsoever about destroying a rare, functional vintage instrument to get at the amps, speakers and other useful components to make overpriced, uber-trendy hipster guitar suitcase amps and impractical scanner vibrato effects.....
                          In case it's not obvious: I despise these cretins
                          Current:
                          1971 T-202 with Carsten Meyer mods: Remove key click filters, single-trigger percussion, UM 16' drawbar volume correction. Lower Manual bass foldback.
                          Korg CX3 (original 1980's analogue model).
                          1967 Leslie 122 with custom inbuilt preamp on back panel for 1/4" line-level inputs, bass & treble controls. Horn diffusers intact.
                          2009 Marshall 2061x HW Plexi head into Marshall 4x12 cabinet.

                          Former:
                          1964 C3
                          196x M-102
                          197x X5
                          197x Leslie 825

                          Comment


                          • JoeyB3
                            JoeyB3 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            When you put it that way....I agree. A BC is probably worth more dead than alive! Piece it out and you'll get a few bucks here and there. It's a sad state of affairs, but it's just the way it is. But, as someone who has done their fair share of Hammond restorations on instruments other than the "-3" series family, I can tell you that strictly from a monetary perspective...none are worth the price of a full blown treatment. It's nothing more than a moral victory....which I love the feeling of....but you need to know that going in.
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