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Thomas 145R

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    Thomas 145R

    Just picked up a Thomas 145R transistor organ. Beautiful, though the percussion is strange. Any info on this unit?

    #2
    Known as the SIerra DeLuxe, and dates from 1970. Fairly low level model in the range.

    Percussion? Are you talking about the rhythm section. It should have Band Box and/or Playmate. Bandbox lets you key rhythm sounds from the lower manual and pedals. If you have the Playmate unit as well, it can also use the Bandbox sounds. It's rather primitive though, with the chosen sounds being on one beat or another. Not easy to get a realistic rhythm pattern!
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

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      #3
      Thanks for the info! Found a manual to order online. Just getting into organs. Decent working starter project.

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        #4
        The percussion is likely the decay effect available on the upper manual's flute or complex (strings and brass) voices. I think it was either a medium or short length decay along with a variable reiteration. It's only been about 50 years since I sold these so my memory might be a tad fuzzy. But, for the times (late 60's/early 70's), it wasn't a bad little organ for the price; I think they sold for around $895 or so. Thomas a had few nice innovations, even in their spinets, like a very stable, transistorized, 12-note tone generator, the Color Glo feature, and pedals long enough to be played heel and toe. On the down side, any Thomas organ from that era had a particular brand of non-polarized capacitors (identified by their black body and red ends) that turned brittle and usually opened up after about 10 years. It's best to replace any of these with a similar NP cap or even a polarized cap making sure the positive end ties to the voltage side of the circuit. Granted, the Bandbox and Playmate seem archaic by today's standards, but at the time they seemed quite innovative and were a lot of fun to work with, especially considering that at the time, you could spend around $10,000 for a couple different 'Pro' models (company to remain nameless) that didn't offer any kind of automated rhythm. Any-hoo, with a service manual and a can of contact cleaner, you should be able to make some noise with it and have some fun.
        Last edited by bnelson218; 12-12-2019, 01:43 PM.
        Over the years: Hammond M3, BC, M102, B3, four X77s and three PR-40s, a Thomas Electra and a Celebrity, three Fender Rhodes, Roland HS-10, HP-2000, HP-600, RD-600, JV-880, a thing made by Korg (?), two Leslie 910s, 122, 257, 258, 247, two 142s, and three custom-built Leslies. Wow, way too much money spent!

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          #5
          Originally posted by bnelson218 View Post
          ....a $10,000 Hammond (such as the X66 or X77) didn't offer any kind of automated rhythm--something I never quite understood.
          Hammond UK offered the Rhythm II as a factory-fitted add-on to the X-77, in a slide-out drawer on the right hand side. A friend of mine had one of the first examples over here. And Hammond did have plans to fit the X-66 with the Rhythm II unit, but it never came to pass. There were plenty of Ace Tone units out there that you could simply put on top, and then along came the AV64, of course. There's a mock-up photo of the 'X-66R' (I think, but I'll check) out there somewhere, I'll post it if I can find it.

          My point about the BB and Playmate was that I found them a bit primitive even by the standards of the day. Other makers had drum units featuring patterns that had a variety of percussion sounds on or off the beat, rather than the BB/Playmate's either or option for all sounds. It didn't take Thomas long to come up with a better Playmate, IIRC.

          I have a wry smile on my face when you mention the stable tone generator. Thomas UK's concert artist was Harold Smart and he told me about when he took a Thomas to the BBC for a recording session instead of his Hammond. They ended up drilling 12 holes in the top, with rods connected to the tuning coils, so he could tune it on the fly!

          And don't get me started about those darned radiating spinet pedals......
          It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

          New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

          Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
          Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
          Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

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