Support HammondWiki. Donate!

Dan Dillon is a 53 year old music geek of sorts. His fist Hammond purchase was in 1976 - an old model BV with Hammond tone cabinet (with oil filled reverb) and Maas-Rowe Carillon unit for $800. He immediately (and foolishly) dumped the old tone cabinet and found an old used Leslie (not sure which model) and took the rig on the road in a rock & roll band. That organ was very heavy, but with 4 strong (young) backs it wasn't a problem to move.

By the early '80's he had a "real B-3" and an "M-3" with a Leslie model 122. He opted to carry the B-3 around on gigs, leaving the M-3 at home. Being unable to be heard on stage over the guitar players, he modified his B3 after reading a "Contemporary Keyboard" magazine article which gave details about how Keith Emerson had modified his C-3 preamp for more drive and modified percussion circuit.

He also built a new Leslie. It was based on the 122 design except that he sized and ported the woofer compartment to accommodate the Theile-Small parameters of an Electro Voice EVM15L speaker, and replaced the stock Jensen horn driver with a honking big ole JBL driver and a hand built crossover with hand wound coils. He built the lower rotor out of cardboard and painted it with several coats of fiberglass resin. The result was a very stiff but low mass construct which accelerated a lot faster than the original plywood unit. The amp was a Crown DC 300A. He built a simple "differential input/single ended output" op-amp interface and plugged it into the Crown. The rig had a lot of "drive" and was a kick ass stage setup. It sounded clean when necessary, but could tear one's hair out by the roots when ridden hard. It was a fairly noisy outfit, but the "noise floor" was far far below the normal stage volume so it didn't matter that much.

Alas, in 1985 Dan grew up, got a job, sold all his gear, and gave up on the rock & roll scene and forgot about playing for the next 23 years. Then at a birthday party for the wife of an old band member, the "bug" bit him right square in the arse. He was immediately hooked and wanted to start playing out again.

He built his current keyboard rig around 3 MIDI keyboard controllers, a very very fast PC with lot's of RAM and solid state hard drives, a top of the line sound card, and lots and lots of VSTi software including Native Instruments B4 II (eeeew). It sounds amazingly like a Hammond when played "dry", but the Leslie simulation leaves a lot to be desired.

A real B-3 & Leslie would be cool to have but impossible for the old fart buy let alone to carry around to weekend jobs. Some of the new Hammond single manual units are also attractive but Dan isn't made out of money so he's been eyeing up the new Leslie model 3300 instead. His Native Instruments B4 II software would sound really good running through that new Leslie 3300 he surmises.

He could (and would) simply build another Leslie from scratch if he could find all of the rotor parts for a reasonable price. The new units have servo motors and controllers for the rotor motors which is an elegant solution to the old problems associated with the dual motor and switching relay setup from "ye olden times". None of that incessant popping when switching speeds, no burnt out switch or relay contacts, no rubber drive wheel wear.

The content of this page is Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002 Geoffrey T. Dairiki and the other authors of the content, whoever they may be.
This is free information and you are welcome redistribute it under certain conditions; see for details.
Absolutely no warrantee is made as to the correctness of the information on this page.