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Help with my Bill Beer

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  • Help with my Bill Beer

    Hello!

    I recently bought a B3 that was chopped by Bill Beer at Keyboard Products. The owner knew next to nothing about this organ, except that it was built by Bill Beer.

    According to their website, Keyboard Projects says they may be able to service Bill Beer organs, but the last update seems to have been from in 2016 and they aren’t responding to the contact form.

    I read some older posts on this forum from users who were in touch with keyboard projects, I also saw that someone from keyboard projects was posting here, but their account hasn’t been active since 2016.

    I am hoping that they are still around, and active. I’m also hoping any other Bill Beer owners here can point me in their direction or in the direction of someone who may be able to tell me what’s going on with this organ? I’m in Los Angeles.

    The organ is in great condition cosmetically, and it sounds good. There’s a couple issues though, the amp is old and makes a humming sound. I might put the trek ii amp into it, but I’d like to keep it as close to the original chop as possible if there is anybody around that can work on it.

  • #2
    Try Ken Rich Sound Services. He’s done Beer amps.
    Last edited by Drawbar Dave; 04-04-2021, 11:34 AM.
    drawbardave.co.uk

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    • #3
      I would also recommend Ken Rich Sound Services.

      As you're probably aware, Bill Beer was hyper-paranoid about people stealing his designs, so he took steps to disguise the values of the parts he used, even removing part numbers from transistors and ICs, so even if you have documentation, I'd imagine it would be a PITA to work on because you can't identify parts visually. Beer required any repairs on his electronics to be done by him.
      I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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      • #4
        David I have one on reverb I am selling for a friends father that I am interested in having someone look at .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by NittyRanks View Post
          David I have one on reverb I am selling for a friends father that I am interested in having someone look at .
          Did you sell the organ? I noticed it is not on reverb any more.

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          • #6
            Thank you to everyoNe who responded. It’s too bad that Keyboard Projects isn’t active anymore. Forum member Jamers302 was associated with them, but he hasn’t not been active since 2017. I wonder what happened to them?

            I will try Ken Rich at Sound Services. I also read that Bill Axeman can work on these organs, but I have no way to get ahold of him.

            It’s really too bad more of the other bill beer owners did not chime in here, there seems to have been a fair amount of us BB owners on here at one time.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MoogMan View Post
              It’s really too bad more of the other bill beer owners did not chime in here, there seems to have been a fair amount of us BB owners on here at one time.
              The problem with online forums is that while some people stay on them, others come on, stay for a while, and then leave. Organs have been a niche market for a long time, and Bill Beer products have been a small niche within that niche. I don't know who last had his documentation, but if that's gotten lost, as things do, that presents a major problem. Personally, I wouldn't really want a Bill Beer Hammond for this reason. There are other cases of people with important documents passing away, and attempts to recover those documents have been unsuccessful because their heirs don't understand our concerns or don't want to cooperate. That said, I hope you are successful in getting assistance. A hum may simply mean that old electrolytic capacitors need to be replaced, and a good tech could make a good guess at what the values should be.
              I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  I see a capacitor there, but what are all those things that look like plug-in modules? Did Beer actually pot circuits in epoxy?
                  I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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                  • #10
                    Has anyone who owns or has access to a Bill Beer (Keyboard Products) organ measured the tonewheel generator (TG) output levels?

                    Bill Beer used to recalibrate the TG's to his own custom output curves in order to produce what he described s a "hot bitchin' fat and balsy" sound.
                    Bill Beer also recalibrated the TG's in order to complement the tonality of his custom solid state preamplifiers and his high power bi-amped solid state Leslie amplifiers which used a JBL E140 bass speaker and a JBL 2482 treble horn driver.

                    I am very interested to see any measured Bill Beer TG output curves.

                    All the best.
                    Kon.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
                      I see a capacitor there, but what are all those things that look like plug-in modules? Did Beer actually pot circuits in epoxy?
                      Hi David.
                      The earlier era Bill Beer solid state preamp plug in modules were mounted inside electrolytic capacitor cases and I believe that they were sealed in epoxy or some other glue in order to hide the designs.

                      The later era Bill Beer preamps were mounted in more conventional looking modules but the component values were sanded off and some parts might possibly have been sealed in epoxy in order to hide the design..

                      The final Bill Beer solid state preamp design was designed together with Al Goff (Goff Professional) and the chassis resembled an AO28 preamp but without valves.

                      Bill Beer also sanded off the transistor component values in the solid state high power biamped Leslie amplifiers.

                      Sadly all of this ridiculously paranoid secrecy has made it very difficult to service the Bill Beer organs and Leslies.

                      All the best.
                      Kon.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, Kon.

                        I've often wondered -- did anyone really want to copy Beer's circuits that badly? Then again, I met him twice when I lived in Los Angeles. He was definitely a bit odd/eccentric.
                        I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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                        • #13
                          Hello,

                          I saw very similar plug-in modules in an Altec 1592B preamp (http://www.sotxampco.com/Schematics/Altec/1592B-2.pdf).
                          The Mike plug-in modules contained this:
                          Click image for larger version  Name:	altec-1588b-microphone-transformer-schematic-modification.png Views:	0 Size:	117.3 KB ID:	765499
                          And the problem was precisely that the chemical capacitors were defective.

                          JP

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                          • #14
                            With the Altec modules, at least there is an existing schematic that could be copied if you wanted to.

                            Someone once gave me an ARP 2700 Soloist synth in terrible condition. I could barely get any sound out of it, and it looked like it had been dragged down a road behind a car. It was also built with epoxy-potted modules -- for temperature stability. You can get aftermarket replacements at ~$300 per module, but the damage was so bad, I didn't feel like risking sinking any money into it, so I gave it to the guy who builds the aftermarket modules as a parts donor.
                            I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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