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Thread: Hammond H100--Sounds

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo cbradshaw's Avatar
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    Apr 2010

    Hammond H100--Sounds

    I'm a piano tuner who has an organ-playing son. We're looking at making an offer on a Hammond H100 that hasn't been played for 10 years. It has a squeal when it is turned on (needs oil?) and the vibrato stops, when activated, seem really extreme. Does the vibrato on an H100 really oscillate? I'm used to a mellow vibrato on a guitar amp or on our church organ, but this sounds almost like a tacky oriental song from a B movie about Chinatown. Is that just one of the features of the organ? Everything else seems to be in great working order, and it looks very clean. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    p Piano rockstardave's Avatar
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    Nov 2009

    Re: Hammond H100--Sounds

    You might be hearing the internal Leslie, which tends to be more extreme than guitar modulation effects. Also, the vibrato width might be adjustable on the H100, not sure.</p>

    As far as value, it's priceless Unfotunately, not a sought after model, and difficult to give away for free. Extremely heavy, very complicated, not as reliable as other tonewheel consoles. Not a lot of organists left these days, but literally millions of organs still out there. I can't suggest a price--it's a buyer's market, and I doubt the seller will find too many more prospective buyers, if any. Personally, if a mint H was offered to me for free, I'd have to think long and hard about taking on a 450lbs organ that is difficult to repair, despite the fact that it is a great sounding instrument.</p>
    Tonewheels, frequency modulation, analog and digital circuits, tubes, strings, reeds, and tines. Too many keyboards.

  3. #3
    f Forte handyczech's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Princeton, IL birthplace of Virgil Fox

    Re: Hammond H100--Sounds

    There was never an internal leslie in the "H" series. The vibrato system in this model is extremely complex and has several control tabs. There were also two different methods to produce the vibrato over the life of the production. The older ones could be over-oiled as all traditional Hammonds, causing what is widely called "motorboating". Newer units were more reliable, tended to be noisy,and were prone to snapping the drive belts. There were also kits to convert the old to the new. Give us the serial number to better identify the problem.
    Larry K
    Princeton, IL

    Hammond BV+DR-20, Mathushek Square piano from 1934
    Retired: Hammond L-102, M-3, S-6, H-112, B-2+21H+PR-40, B-3+21H, Hammond Aurora Custom, Colonnade.

  4. #4
    fff Fortississimo indianajo's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Jeffersonville, Indiana

    Re: Hammond H100--Sounds

    Yeah, the vibrato has four levels, 1-left tab down, 2- right tab down 3 both tabs down 4 both tabs up and dusl vibrato tab down. Normal vibrato is 300 cpm. Level 4 is really extreme, about as tacky as they got. If no vib tabs are down, but you push down vib upper or vib lower, it defaults to dual vibrato. There is also a celeste vibrato, which is about 3/4 hz and I find simulates a pipe organ in a stone building. It is made to replace a Leslie by splitting and phase shifting the vibrato, then beating them against each other in the left and right speakers. I have a low serial number model with the original square scanners, and I find celeste very pleasant on Bach. I also love the spring reverb on Bach. I have replaced all my electrolytic capcitors and this makes the unit really loud, even without a Leslie. The bass is especially deep, being real instead of divided down, and the level can be set with a pot, as can the percussion level. The percussion and all those sounds on the left only work on upper manual B key, and only started working on mine after I had replaced a lot of capacitors. I have not had any worn out tube problem, but the extreme volume after rejuvination knocks tubes out of the socket causing lower volume and scratchyness, and knocks trimpots on the transistor boards loose, causing silence. The trimpots are $.75 or can be replaced by resistors. The tube amp is really ittermittant on my organ on the reverb, which I really like to use, and I am thinking about buying a $150 transistor 3 channel PA amp, and a $80 PA mono mixer, and replacing the whole lower right chassis and some of the preamp at waist level. It would have been cheaper than replacing the B+ can capcitors if I started out that way. If you don't mind walking around and resetting the tubes occasionally when you get loud, the reliability is not a hideous problem, but if you called the store tech every time it happened it would be really expensive. Leaving the back off for quick adjustments can cause the untrained to pull tubes, touch the metal pins, and kill themselves. </p>

    The celeste scanner belt is only a problem if it is very aged or the scanner is corroded. My H spent its life in sunny LA, so I haven't had to clean out the scanner, but it might happen someday. If a scanner belt breaks, it is a $4 a bag of 100 o-ring from the industrial supply house, so don't hyperventilate over that. The belt driven scanner offers an upgrade opportunity. Driving the belt driven scanner with another synchronous motor, and controlling that motor with a $166 variable ramping speed motor drive allows one to achieve the variiable speed vibrato generated by the Leslie, without another 2x3x4' box in your living room. The 99.99% of Hammond owners posting here love their leslie's, however, and they are so much fun 4/5 of the "Hammond" forum is devoted to fixing Leslie problems. I'd hate to discourage you from buying such a traditional monstrosity. </p>

    Moving it is the biggst problem. With 11 rotors per note instead of 8, it is top heavy, and prone to roll. Make sure to take the top and back off before moving and hold the metal tone generator at all times moving to make sure it doesn't roll over, as mine did and destroyed the case. The works survived a 6' drop that destroyed a brick plant stand in motion. The metal pedal switch box will support the weight on top of a 4 wheel dolly- I wondered. You can't move it on its back front, or top. Putting it on one side would make it more prone to roll than moving it standing up.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

  5. #5
    ff Fortissimo Bobmann's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    NC, USA

    Re: Hammond H100--Sounds

    With all due respect, these organs are not that difficult to move.Without the pedals and bench, they are about 400 lbs, however. By removing the amp and preamp, one could reduce that to 350 lbs or so.
    Transporting them on their back is the preferred method of transport, as they are top heavy.(obviously after they are rolled out of the house) I have put one in and taken one out of my pickup truck many times with only the help of one other person. They can be stood on end, pushed over,and slid into the truck.There is really no need to dead-lift unless going up or down several stairs. I routinely move them around in my shop alone, by picking up one end at a time and putting it on a small furniture dolly.
    I don't understand the part about holding the TG,as it is bolted securely in place. Removing the top and back is really unnecessary.
    Also, the TG in the H has only has 5 more tonewheels (96 total) than the A, B, C, D,etc. series (91 total).</P>

    That being said, the H is a great sounding instrument; I really like is a great way to have a Hammond for very little $$.</P>

    If you want more opinions on moving these, let me know. Also the vibrato issue is, as suggested, easily repaired. Worst case, the scanners can be rebuilt or replaced. If it gets to that, let me know and I can help here as well, as I have several of both kind in the shop; I would be happy to swap them out, gratis.
    Be sure to research the archives before asking a lot of questions, as most (if not all) of your questions have been answered many times.

    These sound really great through a Leslie, if you ever get to that point, and don't mind that the speaker will cost many times more than the organ. There is a definate difference in the sound...while the vibrato on the H does sound very good, the ambiance of the sounds coming from the Leslie is not something that can be duplicated. Personally, I disconnected the scanners on my H (they were starting to make noise, anyway) as the tremolo from the Leslie sounds better to my ear.
    It's kind of like the difference between listening to a full orchestra thru a speaker of a good stereo, and listening in person. </P>

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
    In reality, there is.
    '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
    H-324/Series 10 TC
    '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
    Look at some of my rescues:

  6. #6
    fff Fortississimo indianajo's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Jeffersonville, Indiana

    Re: Hammond H100--Sounds

    I would think bad scanners would cause the H to either have no vibrato (stuck or broken belt), or the vibrato to hiccup due to a bad contact or two. Not having a vibrato 1 tab down with the upper or lower vib tab on, causes dual vibrato (level 4), which is normal, proper, and hideous to classically trained musicians. </p>

    Personally, I think pulling the power amp and power supply, which I did last time, makes it more top heavy and prone to roll off the dolly. I'm pulling the speakers next time I move one, saving 50 lb, but leaving the power amp and power supply in the bottom. I might have been big enough to pick up one end- 30 years ago. I moved upright pianos for a living during the recession of 1974, but now no-one can give them away. Now I use an angle iron to protect the veneer of the end, and a crowbar for a jack under the angle. I can't find anybody that wants to pick up the other end of a 380 lb beast. I can't even find anybody who thinks his pickup is strong enough to pull a U-haul trailer for $80 a day. The dept of defense story on BBCnews is correct- Americans have turned into pudgy wimps. </p>

    As I said, in my opinion mostly the H duplicates the stereo fast vibrato effect of the Leslie as is, as reflected through stereo records anyway. Not including the fast slow feature. I find the Leslie fans dominant on this forum, and pretty funny, actually. The echoes of stone cathedrals are much more fun. followed by long skinny plaster churches. Look at Colombia Record's Manhattan recording studio they used for jazz- an old church. The H makes an attempt at that sound with celeste vibrato &amp; reverb probably unique among Hammond Chicago tonewheel models. The only thing I know that makes an attempt at those kinds of room acoustics is digital effects. The H offers the opportunity, with a little rewiring of the power amp, to put a digital effect box in place of the spring reverb and simulate lots of different kinds of room acoustics. Digital reverb or any other single effect could be switched on and off from the reverb tab, without walking around to the back, and without a midi controller.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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