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Thread: Problem with Hammond M3

  1. #1

    Problem with Hammond M3

    I just received a FREE hammond M3 from some guy near Chicago. When I turned it on after getting it home, I found a problem with the percussion and the vibrato. When I turn on the vibrato at any setting, the volume drops and the organ gets sort of distorted. Also, when I turn on the percussion on the normal level, the organ's volume also drops. Could this be happening because I need to replace the tubes? The guy said that he got the organ from a friend and he was going to get it oiled and get the tubes replaced, but never got around to doing it. The volume drop doesn't sound so significant in the video, but it's a much louder drop in volume in real life.

    Can somebody please help me, I really want to get this working.

    I also took a video of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7xB1...ature=youtu.be

    Thanks!

    Also, the M3 doesn't sound as good as i hoped it would (i own 2 L-100 models and a T-232). Could this just be the tubes?

  2. #2
    Senior Member jdoc's Avatar
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    some volume drop is normal on percussion unless you bypass a resistor fyi
    1956 M3, (2)51 Leslie under upgrade, 860 (130 powered)Leslie with Preamp, S08 Yamaha and two K2000S, Young Chang spinet, Roland VR700 clone and Korg SV-1 73
    Looking for that mythical cheap or free A, BV, CV, C2, C3 or A100 but wouldn't say no to a free B3

  3. #3

    Thanks for the info. Found how to fix it on the HammondWiki. Now to fix the vibrato...

  4. #4
    Junior Member goldnmold's Avatar
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    I have an m3 that had a similar problem.. The volume drop is normal when the percussion is switched to 'normal', this can be modified. The vibrato was fairly distorted sounding when I'd hold more than one note, and the volume would drop slightly. It ended up being 3 things, a loose vibrato tube, a dirty 'motorboating' scanner, and old capacitors. I replaced all the capacitors in the organ, and that did wonders for the tone of the organ. I've found the tubes don't usually go bad on these organs, more often the sockets just get dirty.
    M3s don't usually turn heads when played through their internal speaker, though replacing all the capacitors and fixing the vibrato will certainly help! Make sure you know the proper method for discharging capacitors as they can kill you even when the organ is unplugged. If you can find a leslie however, these organs really come to life!

  5. #5

    Would you by any chance know which tubes correspond to which "functions" (vibrato, percussion, etc) and also which capacitors did you change? The ones in the power amp or the ones on the tg?

  6. #6
    Junior Member goldnmold's Avatar
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    The last few on the right are for vibrator and percussion, and one is for the pedals IIRC, not sure which in particular, there's a chart somewhere or you could look at the schem to see what type of tube does what. The capacitors in the amp will need to be changed to stop hum, small explosions, fires etc.. The ones on the TG need to be changed to make the organ sound nice and bright again, and there's a few more in the vibrato 'line box'... black box in the top center of the back of the organ.

    The vibrator! Vibrato jeez you know what I mean
    Last edited by goldnmold; 04-29-2012 at 02:55 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Junior Member goldnmold's Avatar
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    Restoring these is a long process, but you can do it bit by bit. If you got it for free, you should consider it.. Its a cool instrument that could last another 60 years with a little TLC. It looks pretty grungy in the vid, the organs I've pulled out of garage's and barns always have the worst capacitors. People argue about recapping the TG, some people like the 'mellow' sound of old caps on their TG, I'd say their organs probably lived nice stress-free indoor lives! The hot and cold and moisture and dryness just kill those old wax caps, they're values start to drift waaay up and the organ sounds like crap. Start with the amp, and by the time you're done with the TG that M3 will sound downright sparkly! BTW its easiest to buy 'capacitor kits' from organ repair companies, but you can consider piecing your own kit together elsewhere to save some money. The large can style capacitor can be replaced with a series of smaller capacitors, cheaper than buying the can style replacement.

    Don't do anything until you are certain you know how to discharge the caps without getting electrocuted. Even unplugged, they can deliver a serious shock.

  8. #8
    Member Guitarbro's Avatar
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    Tubes are not driven hard in Hammonds and rarely fail so don't replace them without a specific reason.
    I would start by checking R16 (100ohms), R10 (1Meg), R9 (560K) and the voltages around the vibrato amp.
    Schematic: http://www.captain-foldback.com/Hamm...cs/M3_late.gif this is for a PM speaker so if you have a FC speaker (has three wires) it will be slightly different.
    '60 RT-3
    '69 Leslie 147RV
    '77 Yamaha E-70
    '4x Conn Connsonata 2A2
    '6x L-133A

    Previous:
    '5x M2, '59 Leslie 25, '48 CV, '64 A-102, '6x M-143, '5x M3, '81 kimball stardust,
    '8x Hammond Aurora, A-102, M2, another M2, Wurlitzer spinet, Wersi DX350, Thomas chordian

  9. #9

    So replacing the capacitors will make it sound better too?

  10. #10
    Member Guitarbro's Avatar
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    Only the paper and electrolytics, the ceramic and film caps don't decay nearly as fast.
    The filter caps in the power supply are in the large cans on the top so you have to find a way to mount the new ones, the other ones will fit in there without trouble.
    '60 RT-3
    '69 Leslie 147RV
    '77 Yamaha E-70
    '4x Conn Connsonata 2A2
    '6x L-133A

    Previous:
    '5x M2, '59 Leslie 25, '48 CV, '64 A-102, '6x M-143, '5x M3, '81 kimball stardust,
    '8x Hammond Aurora, A-102, M2, another M2, Wurlitzer spinet, Wersi DX350, Thomas chordian

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