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Hammond Reverb Units for M-3 and S-6

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  • #16
    I can't swear to it, but I get the impression that the circuit board was made at least in part with Japanese components. The end terminals on the black electrolytic caps are odd-looking. And, of course, the Suzuki-branded capacitor is a clue. The issue is that Japanese parts from this era were not that great.

    The dark orange capacitors you see are not the "red caps" as seen on Hammond tone generators. They are some brand of Mylar film capacitor, also seen in some Fender amps in the late 60s.

    And I don't know what those two gold/sparkly looking components are on the board. I have seen some varistors from that era that looked similar used in Wurlitzer EP amps.

    Thinking overall, I have to confess that I'm puzzled by how you seem to proceed in your quest for the rig you want. As I understand it, you had a Hammond A-102, but got rid of it because you didn't like the French provincial styling. That's fair enough, but it was a console organ with a reverb system in it that we all understand. Now you've acquired this oddball reverb unit that appears to be completely undocumented. I even checked a special database of rare schematics to which I have access, and I found nothing. I also found your posts on Audiokarma, asking the same questions.

    Bottom line is that if you want to understand how this circuit works, you're probably going to have to draw it out yourself. I've had to do that in the past with undocumented gear.
    I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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    • Sweet Pete
      Sweet Pete commented
      Editing a comment
      'Saw' an A102, minus the legs? The front rail is falling off it.
      I don't mind the style, now that it's home. 400CA well spent. And a foam free '62! One of the 1/4"" outs off the preamp feeds a reverb and Leslie FX!
      Space expander,Reverb Mate etc. A/B'd with modern gear? Forget that old garbage,cheaper to just get a stompbox or two.
      Selling an A102 because it's not as cool looking as an M3? Mah.....

  • #17
    I think we all know that Gibbs Special Products Corp. was a division of the Hammond Organ Co. prior to Accutronics , as Hammond was the inventor of spring reverb. You can see the Hammond symbol on the face of the unit. Maybe in the Hammond archives there is more info, possibly schematics. Seems like if it works no need to fix it or take it apart.

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    • #18
      Originally posted by kzinkmusic View Post
      Maybe in the Hammond archives there is more info, possibly schematics.
      I nominate kzinkmusic as the person to find the documentation on this unit. All in favor, say aye!

      The odd part is that this reverb unit also appeared as an identical Lafayette unit, and Lafayette was just a brand that had products made for them by other companies. For example, I have a Lafayette FM tube tuner that was made in Japan by Trio, which eventually became Kenwood. There were also transistor organs made in Japan sold both under the Ace Tone and Hammond names that were pretty much identical except for the name badges. With some of these Japanese units, schematics sometimes didn't make it to the U.S., and Ace Tone is one of those brands that are sometimes missing schematics. The Ace Tone Bass 6 amp is an example. No known schematic.

      It took me over 10 years to find a schematic for my Vox Continental V-301H. It's now all over the web, but it was missing for a long time.

      Edit: It's also the case that spring reverb tanks are a 60 year old technology. There are plenty of known, published reverb circuits available. You could build one. I've done it. When I built my replica Farfisa F/AR, I couldn't find the specs on a phase-splitting transformer used in the drive circuit, so I used a modern single-chip amp instead. And I copied the original F/AR recovery circuit. Works just fine.
      Last edited by David Anderson; 11-25-2021, 09:43 AM.
      I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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    • #19
      I would not be surprised in the least if the PCB or at least many components were made in Japan. At first I thought the gold parts mounted off the board were some kind of coil, but then I was not sure. The seem to consist of a thin wire wrapped around a solid core that is tan in color. Not sure if I've seen that before.

      I think this is just an interesting oddity that is a Hammond product, which few, if any seem to know about. My goal is not to tear down the circuit, I was just wondering if there is a way to minimize the hum. Was not looking for this specifically, but find it interesting. No need to pursue this any further, just thought others might be interested in a Hammond product. I've been pretty active on AK, and It's always good to pick people's brains over there.

      As far as my organ search, selling the A-102 may or may not have been a mistake on my part. Since selling that I picked up this free and in excellent cosmetic condition M3. I've gotten lots of great help here in solving the tone problems with that one, and all is working great now. For me learning about things is half the fun of using them. Looking through Hammond literature, I saw that Hammond did sell an "ad-on" reverb system for the M3, so thought I'd research that. The reason I wanted to add reverb to the M3 is to see if I could get the effect I wanted with the M3. At this point I can say this unit does give reverb with the M3. I think the amplifier in this unit is pretty weak, which makes me conclude this unit may not have been intended for use with organs, even though it's a Gibbs/Hammond product. The volume needs to be set to max to hear enough of the reverb signal to be useful. It cost me $25, so not much investment for something to play around with.

      This is all a part of my decision process on what next organ to get or pursue. I'm very close to concluding on a B3 with a PR tone cabinet. There is one for sale locally, but not advertised yet, so I have some time to decide. That's kind of been my "back up" option if other good options don't appear or work out. I've posted about that one in the How Much is it Worth section.

      Thanks again for everyone's help and insights. I really enjoy learning about these great instruments!
      1959 Hammond M3, Roland D-50

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      • #20
        Thank you for your confidence in me David ! I found some schematics for the Lafayette version of this unit but ; nothing for the Gibbs branded one. I think these were for adding reverb to your home stereo thru a dedicated speaker, i.e. crank up the led zeppelin. I still think your best option is an effects loop for signal processing. You can add a Neo Vent or other effects beside reverb.

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        • David Anderson
          David Anderson commented
          Editing a comment
          Could you post this schematic? Where did you find it?

      • #21
        Originally posted by kzinkmusic View Post
        Thank you for your confidence in me David ! I found some schematics for the Lafayette version of this unit but ; nothing for the Gibbs branded one. I think these were for adding reverb to your home stereo thru a dedicated speaker, i.e. crank up the led zeppelin. I still think your best option is an effects loop for signal processing. You can add a Neo Vent or other effects beside reverb.
        The Lafayette R777 and this Gibbs unit are identical. Both made by Gibbs. If you look at the one listed for sale on e-bay and compare to the pictures I've posted, the only difference is the name on the front. So, the schematic will be the same.

        Agree putting in a line out gives much more versatility, but I don't have those parts on hand, and I have not decided I'm keeping the M3 long term. I was looking for the easiest, least expensive way to add reverb to see what it sounds like with the M3. Adding a line out would give me all kinds of options if I were going to keep the M3 as my only organ. Certainly makes economic sense. On the other hand, I like the whole experience, sound, technical aspects and aesthetics. Just can't beat the looks of a B in my book.

        So, my options are this free M3 that's now fully working + line out + whatever I want to add to it to make it sound what I want to hear. Long term the M3 will need restoration work to keep it going. I can do that, but am mindful of the realistic value of an M3 even with a restored amp/preamp. OR, spend $$ to get a B3 that needs cosmetic help, but is fully working and has a PR-40. Of course, the B3/PR-40 will also need restoration work. I'm somewhat up against a deadline. The B3/PR-40 that's for sale will be listed online probably in the next month, so I feel I should decide soon.
        1959 Hammond M3, Roland D-50

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        • #22
          I hear you and have gone similar situations myself. Most serious Hammond players eventually want a full console organ especially if you play pedals. If you gotta have that B-style cab, the best value is a B-2 some have smooth sliders and percussion can be added. Be patient, don't worry bout letting one go . There are many fish in the sea.

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          • #23
            Originally posted by kzinkmusic View Post
            I hear you and have gone similar situations myself. Most serious Hammond players eventually want a full console organ especially if you play pedals. If you gotta have that B-style cab, the best value is a B-2 some have smooth sliders and percussion can be added. Be patient, don't worry bout letting one go . There are many fish in the sea.
            Agree, a B2 would be the best value... if you can find one. I really have not seen a B-2 show up within a 3 hour driving radius. Makes sense, they were only made for 5 years compared to 20 years for the B3. I see BCs, BVs and CVs show up more than B2 or C2s. A BV showed up for free about an hour away, unknown working condition. But the real kicker was someone had painted the entire exterior of the organ brown including pedal boards and bench. The work to bring that finish back made it not worth pursuing to me. There's a CV available about 3 hours away for $250. No tone cabinet. Just not interested in the V series. Need selectable chorus.

            On another note, I connected a better speaker to the Gibbs Reverberator. I had been using a cheap LG 6Ω plastic speaker just to make sure the unit was not going to fry the speaker. Sounded ok, but not great. The better 8Ω two way speaker is sounding much better, and I can dial back the reverb to get a nice effect. Right now it's sounding comparable to the A102. Still need to play around with speaker placement in the room, but this might be a winning combination.
            1959 Hammond M3, Roland D-50

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            • #24
              Well.... there you go ,it's cool you got reverb for the M-3. It can be more like the M-100 with it's dedicated reverb system. Kinda stereo like. I look 500-600 miles so that larger markets are within reach. For me it's Denver ,Phoenix or Texas. Chicago's 400 miles away from you, as a former windy city guy, I know that this is where lot's o Hammonds live . I would diffidently check out that market .

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              • #25
                Originally posted by KeithB View Post
                The Lafayette R777 and this Gibbs unit are identical. Both made by Gibbs.
                I don't want to nit-pick this to death, but although the reverb tank itself was made by Gibbs, the unit may have been made elsewhere and badged for both Lafayette and Gibbs, especially since it does not appear to have been intended for the musical instrument market. I guess you have to take my word for it that it's VERY rare to find obviously Japanese circuit board components in anything American-made in the 1960s or early 70s. Those cone-shaped ends on the electrolytic capacitor leads are very distinctive.
                I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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                • #26
                  Originally posted by David Anderson View Post

                  I don't want to nit-pick this to death, but although the reverb tank itself was made by Gibbs, the unit may have been made elsewhere and badged for both Lafayette and Gibbs, especially since it does not appear to have been intended for the musical instrument market. I guess you have to take my word for it that it's VERY rare to find obviously Japanese circuit board components in anything American-made in the 1960s or early 70s. Those cone-shaped ends on the electrolytic capacitor leads are very distinctive.
                  You're right, I should not have said the unit was made by Gibbs. It's clear the reverb tank was, but yes, the rest may have been made by some other company and branded for Gibbs/Hammond and Lafayette. I don't doubt the PCB was made in Japan, and it would be reasonable to assume the whole unit was made there. The one component marked "W Germany" is odd since the rest may be Japanese. I have not poured over the unit at this point. Will post if I find more marks inside.
                  1959 Hammond M3, Roland D-50

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                  • #27
                    Originally posted by kzinkmusic View Post
                    Well.... there you go ,it's cool you got reverb for the M-3. It can be more like the M-100 with it's dedicated reverb system. Kinda stereo like. I look 500-600 miles so that larger markets are within reach. For me it's Denver ,Phoenix or Texas. Chicago's 400 miles away from you, as a former windy city guy, I know that this is where lot's o Hammonds live . I would diffidently check out that market .
                    Yes, Chicago is a big market, but also expensive. Asking prices I see on CL in Chicago are at least 2x higher than other cities in the upper midwest. I look in the areas from Minneapolis to Green Bay/Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee. With family and job considerations, I can't really go further than that. I'm not unhappy with the markets around here, Hammonds just aren't as plentiful as they once were.
                    Last edited by KeithB; 11-25-2021, 06:05 PM.
                    1959 Hammond M3, Roland D-50

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                    • #28
                      Understood, asking prices around here are ridiculous as well especially, for B-3's. I usually have to wait til the organ does not sell at asking price to get an offer in at a fair price. The best deals are organs with frozen tone-generators. The owners usually say the organ just won't run or start anymore and have long forgot about oiling.

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