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To Trek or Not to Trek a Hammond?

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  • To Trek or Not to Trek a Hammond?

    I've been interested for some time in getting a nice, full-sized Hammond to add to my organ collection. However, many of the Hammonds I find near me have had a Trek II unit added. I immediately pass on them because if I'm paying that much money, I want to be sure the organ is ORIGINAL! I have no interest in losing a 1-1/3' drawbar for the purpose of adding reverb or anything else that's not original. Preserve the original functionality–yes, add functionality–no.

    Other modifications I've heard of, but don't support are those who "chop" a Hammond. I understand it's more lightweight for gigging purposes, but I still wouldn't do it.

    What do you all chose, and why did/do you make your choice(s)?

    Customize Your Hammond?
    Hammond is Original Only?
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

  • #2
    Why don’t you buy it with the Trek unit added and reverse the modification? Then you might be able to sell the Trek unit for a tidy sum! Personally, I like the percussion, but if a nice Hammond came along without it, I’m not sure I would add it either. I wouldn’t pass up a good organ just because it had percussion added though! If I bought one that did have a Trek unit already added, I would probably just keep it. It depends how it sounds though.


    • Larason2
      Larason2 commented
      Editing a comment
      I think it’s the nature of Hammonds that they need to have components replaced over time. So it’s pretty tough to have one that is 100% original. I wouldn’t ever chop one, but I may consider other mods depending on what kind of sound I’m going for.

  • #3
    I have bought several C2's and B2's with smooth drawbars. Add the Trek percussion and you got a great organ with the percussion voice, very C3 or B3 like. It also depends on your playing style, some people need that percussion voice others , its not so necessary.k


    • #4
      Although I'd never chop an organ, enhancing functionality through modifications is certainly acceptable to me. Of course, what's acceptable depends upon the requirements for the intended purpose. Certainly, if your goal is to have museum piece collector's item, then any enhancement would be out of the question.

      If you want Hammond percussion, you either need to get a -3 or later, model, or a retrofit unit such as the Trek.

      Allen 965
      Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
      Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
      Hauptwerk 4.2


      • #5
        If the Trek add-ons are simply percussion and/or reverb, these are minimally invasive mods and easily reversed. A Trek SSP preamp might be a bigger issue because the original Hammond amp would be missing. But, one could sell the SSP and buy an original amp to replace it 8)
        Tom in Tulsa

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


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Don't they require cutting away some of the wood of the console?


      • #6
        Not completely sure, but I think the Trek control just replaces a cheek block. You would need to find, or make one from a piece of wood.
        Tom in Tulsa

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


        • #7
          I don't know if I'd be that fussy or picky, to be honest.
          Trek mods are generally easily reversible.
          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.

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


          • #8
            Had a restored BV with trek II percussion added to left cheek block. The organ was the nicest I'd ever owned and played great. Still kicking myself for selling it !


            • #9
              "Trek" conversions aren't all the same thing. Trek makes a variety of units that can be added to a tone-wheel organ for various purposes and reasons. Some are wonderful, a god-send for an old Hammond that otherwise is in danger of dying. But others may not be so wonderful.

              I'm mostly familiar with the solid state pre-amp unit. We see organs quite frequently with this unit. It simply replaces the old tube-type pre-amp with a compatible solid state device. There is absolutely no external indication that this unit is inside the console. All the drawbars are still fully functional, and the sound is unchanged. If the installer chose to add the reverb control, there will be a reverb knob mounted somewhere within the player's reach, but that is the only thing about the organ that won't be "original" in function and appearance.

              And honestly, I have never once had a Hammond player tell me that it didn't sound the same, or that he/she wanted to go back to the old tube-type innards. The old electronics in some of these organs may be 70 years old, if not 80, and they are noisy, hummy, prone to failure at the worst times. Simply removing outdated electronics and replacing with a modern device that perfectly performs exactly the same function -- which is to interface with the drawbars, the percussion tabs, the vibrato scanner, etc. -- is absolutely a good thing, IMHO.

              OTOH, other trek add-ons, such as the mod that takes one of the drawbars and changes its function, could be a problem. I'd guess that most players would NOT want to have to re-learn how to register those drawbars in order to avoid using the one that is now doing something else. I'd either avoid buying one with that type of mod, or else I'd want to remove it.

              Anyway, just be aware of what particular Trek mod has been done before you buy. Try the organ out and make sure that it still functions as it should in every respect, and that it still sounds like an authentic Hammond. If in doubt, take a devoted Hammond player along to try it out. If he/she loves it, go for it!
              *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!



              • #10
                Originally posted by tpappano View Post
                Not completely sure, but I think the Trek control just replaces a cheek block. You would need to find, or make one from a piece of wood.
                If you're talking about the TREK TP-2B percussion unit, no. You remove the cheek block, connect to a power source, and tap off of a drawbar. You can pick the drawbar you want to use, it's completely reversible, and you'll only have that missing drawbar on ONE of the two upper drawbar sets.

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                They are wonderful units, and I'd really miss it on my C2 if I removed it.


                • #11
                  I've been wanting to add some type of reverb or effects loop connections to my RT-3 but would do so in a way that the organ could be put back to look (exterior) and function as original if needed. For example if controls were to be mounted in one of the wooden cheek blocks, I would remove and put the original one away for safe keeping, then make a new cheek block cut and drilled however it needs to be and stain that to match the finish of the organ best I could.

                  Regarding a chop, the RT-3 never leaves my house and even if I started gigging again and refused to do so without a real Hammond, I would leave it intact. Would consider buying a Hammond where the console was beat up beyond restoration, especially if it were some model that would need modifications such as percussion added. Then I would build a Beer chop replica, at least in the look.
                  Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Boston studio upright piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano. The power on switch is here, you put the music up there, and you play. How tough could that be?


                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Originally posted by ChristopherDB113
                    ...if I started gigging again and refused to do so without a real Hammond, I would leave it intact.

                    Exactly my feelings. In my case, I'd put it on a rolling platform and use chocks or wood blocks to raise the bench to fit the console. I could be wrong, but it seems to me most people don't use the pedals when gigging, so that leaves more options open.


                  • ChristopherDB113
                    ChristopherDB113 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    myorgan, if I were using a Hammond for gigs, I'd be playing rock or country, where the pedals would not be used. Makes the chop somewhat easier but would still need the expression pedal.