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Appreciate what we do after so long
Ron Lebar our chief Eng. at 77 said we should appreciate more what we have done and what we have learned and experienced after being around for so long and not take for granted how lucky we all are.
So here is a photo of the pair of Keith Emerson Minimoogs we have taken so much time and care restoring. We recently realised we hadn't taken photos of them both together. So here they are for all to share. There isn't another place in the world you will see or hear them.
Aren't we fortunate and we most definitely appreciate them.
The summer seems to last for ever, just like 1976 if you were there, and recently we have more synths that to be honest are more popular now than they ever were.
Just like summer in the past people seem to have rose-clouded views of some synths, especially if they were not around when they actually came out.
The EMS VCS3 when it first appeared you didn't have much choice and it was used more as a sound processor, but distinctive, typical British in design and now much desired.
Then three Moog Memorymoogs in at the same time, now all sounding stable and sweet.
Then we recently had a Rhodes Chroma. Today there is a whole group of people that love them and the updates are definitely needed. It was a failure when it came out and rarely seen in a professional studio for more than a day. As a hire item best to be avoided but today it's loved which is nice.
Reading reviews and YouTube comparing synths seems odd as no two sound the same and to be honest YouTube isn't the place to listen to comparisons.
It doesn't matter what you have it's what you do with it.
We are relisting more items for the sale list and will be showing more photos of the fully restored items we have done recently.
We get calls late at night and people expecting an answer machine and apologies for calling so late. We explain we are open 24 hours, 7 days a week and have been for over 44 years, it's what we do. And we enjoy doing it.
The sad thing is driving around London and you remember all the recording studios we helped day and night and are now long gone. We have our memories as pedestrians walk by never knowing the history so close to where they walk.
Never fails to be a few surprises
A VCS3 PUTNEY which was found in a junk shop in 1974, a Memorymoog never serviced since it was purchased in 1981. Then two more Memorymoog Pluses arrive just as the two B3 Hammond restorations are ready for clients. Wurlitzer ep200 and 200a in need of a full service ready for touring but should we be surprised as it's what we do and have been doing it longer than anyone else in the UK.
Too busy to worry about the weather
After over 40 years one would have thought we would be short of news but when one's passion is one's work it's never the case.
We added a few sales to our mailing list before we advertise them
1 Roland JP4 - a most underrated synth and 1 Korg Polysix, another small synth which offers lots without the classic synth price, both serviced and guaranteed
2 Summit line limiters and a Summit stereo EQ, all first versions ex Brit Row
1 Focusrite Producer Pack MK1 with all the best options built for us
Restoration continues, the latest being a 1965 Hammond B3 and 122 rig. Restoration of the second Keith Emerson Manticore Minimoog D was completed along with restoration of a Musonic Minimoog D c1971 with all original nos parts even down to the period mains cable.
Hire of our classic keys always puts a big smile on the client's face hearing how a Hammond should sound or the Rhodes and Wurlitzer ep200 being so good they rewrite the track.
The H Box, our 4 stage hand-built preamp on demo at our music room is making a few guitarists think again about the FX pedals being promoted in the guitar mags, though it does help to have one of the best guitar techs helping out at the moment. Please come along and hear it for yourself.
Resurrecting rusty wrecks and putting the soul back into the keys
Wurlitzer EP200 200a and Fender Rhodes 73 pianos serviced restored and tuned.
Numerous Wurlys and Rhodes delivered to us in Jan from producers and writers. 'They are in need of some TLC', the owners say. One had what looked like blood and another had wine spilled into the piano. Rust mould and years of neglect was revealed, nothing new, all stripped down and restored, repaired and now loved by their owners.
Our chief Eng. has seen it all before as he has been servicing them since the mid-1960s. We also have a vast stock of NOS parts which certainly helps.
If your Wurly and Rhodes need a professional service please come and say hi and play our hire keys which have been used by many famous players and for recording for over 40 years.
A large diverse bunch
It says Hammond Hire but for over 40 years we have been involved in hire and servicing all the classic keys, synths and pianos, many before they were classic. Rocket Ron our chief engineer was tuning Wurlitzer electric pianos and Fender Rhodes and splitting Hammonds for the biggest names since the nineteen sixties and still does.
Our restored Hammonds, Rhodes and Wurlys are all around the world on the biggest world tours.
Our hire Rhodes, Wurlys and Hammonds are requested by the top studios and in private studios and homes.
Recent work has been as the title says, a large diverse bunch. Restorations, a Hammond B3 c1971, C3 c1969 and now a c1969 split A10. A trio of Roland J106s. A pair of Roland JX3Ps. A pair of Selmer Claviolines. And a single Roland TB303.
And November was only half way through.
In our music room the annual heavyweight jazz visitors have called ahead making sure we have enough coffee. The one thing we don’t need to do is name names, it's mutual respect as long we are all happy and having fun.
Experienced ears new inspiration
With a room full of fully working synths Hammonds, Wurlys and Rhodes, it’s good to have a change, so with talented visitors with years of experience we all had a great day evaluating and playing various guitars through our custom rigs the H.BOX and Spin Doctor
Guitar cases were opened to reveal their much-loved vintage guitars: Les Paul. Fender Telecaster Strat and 12-string Strat. First up was the vintage Les Paul straight to the H.Box and our rear room rig, two Hammond Hire Forte cabinets tri-amped all valve 2x15 and 2x12 Alnico speakers per side and two 145 custom Hammond Hire Leslie. Dialling in the H.Box the room filled with the classic warmth of an all valve rig pushed by that Les Paul. Tea was made and I left them to get on with the fun. Exploring something new with old experienced ears. As the day went on, changing to the Tele or the Strat and back to the Les Paul. Big smiles and even more enthusiastic playing as the day went on revealed their pleasure in playing the H.Box
Then it was the turn of the Spin Doctor. Mono in, stereo out into 2 Forte cabinets. Everyone wanted to hear the Strat 12-string electric. The Spin Doctor is flat 15 cycles to 25k, all valve hand wound transformers by our self. Stereo Vib. Tremulant Chorus and Leslie in a 3u rack with a variable Leslie speed by a foot pedal. We call it Synphonising (c) Hammond Hire. It opens the dynamics to such an extent one can hear the difference in the thickness of the guitar pick. Stage Rhodes sound richer and articulate synths' filters are heard so clearly that one of the original Moog players form the Moog orchestra said it’s the first time I have heard the full extent of the Moog filter outside a professional studio. But at the end of the day all were very impressed and inspired
News new and old
We are not so disciplined in telling our news and everything that happens at Hammond Hire owing to the fact we are Old School and proud of it, but Facebook is simple and fast so if you feel the need to keep in touch come and say hi.
WANTED, WANTED, WANTED
Moog, Hammond, Leslie, Oberhiem, SC .PROPHET. Wurlitzer. Spare Parts. Working or not. Restorations: some are almost reclamations they are so worn and tired but people are increasingly realising that the originals are always better. With more copies and reissues saying they sound just like the real thing, but experience will tell you it's all pure spin. Now we have copy IC and again they don’t sound as good as the originals but like the other copies have their place and uses.
So we are looking for more vintage parts and items as all our restorations and service are only done with 100% original parts.
We are looking for the smallest screw to complete unserviceable items. Empty that storage unit you have had for years, have a look in the back of the garage or the workshop, even the attic for kit you have not used in years. You will be surprised how important they are to us, even the smallest part to complete that classic restoration correctly.
Here are just some of the items we are looking for:
Hammond, Leslie, Moog, Oberhiem, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, valves, unserviceable broken synths: you name it we would probably want to purchase them from you.
Restorations but no rest
It may say Hammond on the label but the variation of work we have had recently only comes with experience.
- a full Hammond C3 restoration
- Vox Continental 11 prototype
- Univox and Phillicord
- Moog Musonic Minimoog D
- Korg Monopoly and Polysix
- a pair of Pro 5s (pictured) back to their famous owners
- an early Roland Jupiter 4
- a PPG 2
- a Rhodes Chroma
just to mention a few, plus the custom work and sales of the H.Box.
Rocket Ron is 76 this year and like many with a true passion he has no interest in counting the years as he loves the work and the people we meet, yet being around for so long doesn't mean we are out of touch with today. Four of the winners at the 2017 Brits are getting our help: it keeps the old chaps smiling. We will be adding a new list of kit for sale, doubles of what we have and some we just don't use, all fully serviced.
Variation keeps active minds happy and busy as we want to be
As the old year just rolled into the New Year without a break the variety of January was a good way to start the year. Hammond rig out and the Miles Davis Rhodes makes an appearance on the same stage.
Recording in Islington, Jon Cleary gets to play on one of our B3 Hammonds surrounded by Wurlys, Rhodes, Hammonds, and Leslie etc etc, well you get the picture, a fine player and once again fun was had by all.
Manufacturing and more R&D in Coventry. More custom work and a restoration of a 1963 122R Leslie. All date codes indicate '63 but apparently they weren't out till '64 so this beautiful Leslie 122r maybe the earliest one in the UK. The sympathetic restoration was a real pleasure, its early EV 15inch speaker sounds so sweet. It will be matched to one of our 1963 UK spec B3 Hammonds.
There is a strong thread ingrained from our past: if you can't get what you need then make it yourself, so we are now oil barons. We are launching The Hammond Hire Company Generator Oil. It's our own blend just for the Hammond tone wheel generator. It's a finer blend which we have been using on our Hammond restorations. It will be for sale only from us at the end of Feb.
MK1 Fender Stereo Rhodes 73 c 1972
This restored Fender Stereo Rhodes was the first to go to Paris, France in 1972. Its famous and talented owner modified it and kept it until it came to us to be restored. Many of the mods he did became standard modifications on the early Fender Rhodes but the one thing he and we never changed was the b.full preamp and stereo power amps which are the sweetest sounding of all the Stereo Rhodes up to 1975.
It is for sale and though many have seen and played it, why have we not sold it? We want this to go to a musician who respects its history and most of all, wait for it, can actually play. So if you do think you can cut it and want a rare example of an early mk1 Fender Rhodes come and see if you talk the talk and can do the walk?
Hammonds hired, serviced, saved and restored
Hammonds upstairs for the Library Jazzers. Hammonds downstairs for late night rappers. Hammond in a basement four floors down, plenty of tea and glad we are still walking. A Hammond by the lake, the inspiration for Tolkien. The artist's big smile now everyone's talking Hammond up a cliff. Hammond in a lift. Hammonds in the great hall. And in a Tippie. Real players smile but their neighbours may disagree. The Hammond down the garden was a tight squeeze but once he got playing ooow he's so pleased. A C3 for Peter he's got cool chops, its no surprise his uncle has a Purple A C3 in a 12th century Barn and a B3 for a church. A fake B3 arrives leaning so much held up by its wires, it's dangerous to touch. A dubiously restored B flown in from Canada now professionally serviced, its screaming around Europe without any doubt.
With over 40 years servicing and hiring the mighty Hammond organ no one is better suited than The Hammond Hire Company so please come and say hello if you are thinking of having your treasured Hammond serviced or fully restored. Planning an event, concert, recording or even a wedding? Just come and say hello.
The Hammond Hire H.Box debut
When one of our restored Hammond B3 appears on a classical stage it can put fear into the orchestra. When the dynamics vary so much our hand built 4-stage valve preamp gives the organist more choices than he has ever had before. Earth shattering db levels so clean it hurts to sheer distortion so quiet you would think John Lord was playing 20 miles away.
The Hammond Hire H.Box was created with our no-compromise approach starting with our own hand wound transformers to the wood finish, all done inhouse. It was originally to debut with our Spin Doctor for John Lord in a commissioned work called A Concerto for Hammond Organ and Orchestra, the H.Box and spin Doctor enabling him write parts so that the Orchestra and Hammond organ could morph together. String sections and soloist could go through Leslies or one of our forte cabinets, varying the Leslie speed with our foot control, not just fast and slow. Sadly with John passing it never came to fruition. But I'm certain he would have enjoyed last Saturday's concert.
Our R&D work over the last few years has involved many musicians, from famous synth players to Hammond chaps with real chops and experienced guitar payers and techs who all said that's a sound I have always wanted to produce as it gives them a far wider range of options: its not a one trick box. Yes you can come and hear it in our music room. Play a fine example of a restored Hammond though it or any of our rare synths, but if you really want to be surprised bring your guitars and let us introduce you to another world, Tea included.
Keith Emerson Moog Minimoog D
The restoration of our second Manticore K.E. Minimoog D. Over the many years we have been fortunate to help many great talented keyboard players but when one restores, it is another level. Respect for the history of the item and the association of the artist is paramount.
We have many rare and famous pieces collected over the past 40 years, sometimes never thinking at the time how important they may be in the future. 'Just another day in the office' we would say, not realising how lucky we were to be there without a thought of the future as there was always another day.
As the industry has changed, like all things we all move on, so it's not 'just another day' when restoring such a rare Minimoog D. It's time savoured and enjoyed with respect to our and the artist's past.
Unique in sound and design, loved by many. Top of the list must be the Farfisa Compact Duo and to find a clean and working example it’s getting harder but worth the search. Farfisa Combo: the single manual has its own sound the first version being valve. They all have their own sound and even the later Professional 110 with its own rhythm unit is now desired. Once restored serviced by the Hammond Hire company.
Moog Minimoog Model D reissue at Hammond Hire
Delivered to our music room direct from New York is it the first one in the UK? Who cares? Everyone was excited to see and hear what the fuss is all about.
Keeping an open mind backed with over 40 years' experience isn't going to be easy plus having 10 other Minimoog Ds to choose from, R.A to the last edition Minimoog D 1981. We know it won't sound like an original 40 year old Minimoog D for the same reason the reissue Moog Modular 55 system we had 20 months ago didn't.
Out of the box the finish is superb. The feel of the keyboard was a real surprise. Being a Fatar we expected it to feel like other Fatar keyboards but even being fussy we are impressed, but how long the contact will last may be an issue.
First surprise, it has a separate switch mode power supply. Why? Late style wood case design and ribbed rollers. With the rollers, it's a matter of choice. Common and popular mods like midi, overdrive, cv/gate, LFO, etc. The after touch keyboard facility was going to be available in 1980 from the Moog custom shop but it was never produced.
How many will be made? Going by the serial tag 1,000 so its not going to be rare. The feel and ease of setting up and playing is what you would expect from a brand new synth. But don't compare with another, its different as it should be as in all things analogue.
If I was to express a personal choice:
- No separate power supply.
- A fourth Osc.
- Keyboard range switch L.M.H and a duophonic keyboard.
Oh, and smooth rollers but that's my choice and remember, if you like it then that's all that matters.
PS we don't sell them.
Vox organs Voxorama
So what is so special about that? You may ask.
As we compile the feature about the Vox Continental organ we thought we would tease you with a photo of some very rare versions from our collection at Hammond hire. Two are the only examples known to exist and before you stand up at the back no they are not for sale but we can service or restore your Vox organ, in fact we are the only people in the UK were they will be serviced by one of the original Vox engineers from The Vox Dartford factory.
Client has never met us
Client calls who has never been to see us. Never met. He purchased a Hammond B3 and 122 Leslie and a Hammond PR40 from the USA as a restored Hammond rig. He said he wants to get it to us and have it restored as it just doesn't sound like he remembers they used to.
It's shipped from his home in Europe to us. On arrival it's evaluated, photographed and reported. The B3 case is bleached out and dry and evidence of sand inside. The manuals are twisted, the TWG soldering is hanging by a prayer and someone painted the scanner in blue. The Leslie has the wrong driver and replacement motors which run hot, and the PR40 just doesn't work. It's a wax cap TWG and sounds extremely dull with odd voicing, poor contacts and the keys are actually at an angle to the keybed.
The Hammond is stripped down the bare case and rebuilt nut and bolt. Manuals are stripped to frame and realigned, many keys caps are cracked and split owing to them being forced into position on a twisted keyframe. Bussbars are cleaned and each individual contact cleaned, manuals are given new felts and keycombs are refitted correctly. Keys are cleaned and polished with new felts in the sharps: no one else fits these. Manuals are reassembled, key pressure angle and spacing set and then put on our rig. The TWG is stripped down, scanner motors and the whole bare TWG is cleaned and each individual bearing is cleaned and oiled. Motors and restored scanner refitted to the TWG which is recapped then rigged to the manuals for voicing. Tested, adjusted and left to soak test. Refitted TWG is then refitted to the Hammond case, then the manuals All the mains and audio wire cables connectors are replaced. Cycled converter rewired correctly. Leslie kit fitted. Bass pedals contact section removed, serviced and cleaned, along with contacts and bussbars .New felts and bass pedal board stripped and restored and set.
Leslie 122 has a complete strip down, and case restored. Motors, amp, bearings, speaker, driver, crossover, all serviced and improved.
Hammond PR40 is stripped to the bare case. The wood case is restored, amp is recapped and built to our spec. Mains supply rebuilt, speakers, amp and power supply refitted and rewired, new wire throughout. New speaker cloth fitted from our original stock.
The Hammond and 122 Leslie and PR40 are then set up and tested: pas test and soak test and played, case is given a final polish, photos taken.
Shipping agent arrives and takes a full day packing the whole rig loading it and takes it back to the client in Europe.
A few weeks later we receive an email from an ecstatic client amazed at the sound: big smiles all round. A call again from same client some time later which we have still never met, off we go to Manchester to collect his old Hammond from the past, a Hammond M101 so less work but the same care and attention to detail and lots of tea. Aint life sweet?
Too busy for Facebook
Working in the real world with only 2 days free in 10 months we just love it. One can't detail everything and is anyone really interested?
Restored Wurlys for world tours. Wurlys for international producers and Wurlys for serious sessions.
Our super quiet Wurlitzer EP200 and 200a plus Clavinet D6 have put smiles on lots of happy people. During the jazz season in Nov we had some surprise visitors. Jetlagged but eager to have fun on some special keys “No you cant take them home with you”
Hammond rigs hired for the classics and some classic rockers.
Mr Green Onions gets to play his favourite Hammond in London.
Synths for a private collection from across the Pond, Musonic Mini Moog D, Oberhiem 4 voice expander to go with his four voice we had restored previously. Oh and he said “I just have to have one of your super quiet wurlys” after he had played one in our music room.
Our own Roland 100m system, all restored, joined our other rare restored keys, synths, pianos and organs in our music room. Evaluating patch cords and signal leads looking for the very best, every detail makes a difference.
Putting together the correct history of the Vox Cont Mk1 organs. In the words and memories of the man who was there Our Chief Eng. Ron Labar who celebrates his 74th Birthday this year though you would never know.
A new year and off we go. Old friends have passed and new faces surprise, the only constant is change. Time for tea.
Sssssssssh did you hear that what no rattle and hum?
The Hammondhire super quiet Wurlitzer EP200 is in fact quieter than the factory standard EP200a
So are our super quiet Wurlitzer EP200A pianos, all professionally updated in-house and designed by Hammondhire.
Hohner Clavinet D6,Duo, E7 have also been given the super quiet improvement without changing the original and character tone, they are now theoretically so quiet that only the construction of the pickups hinder it being any better. The original Hohner pickup is still the best as replacement pickups are a lot noisier.
Improved signal to noise ratio and reduced hum and better dynamics.
We do not sell the updated amps and preamps separately, they are a part of our no compromise service and restorations. So don’t accept that poor sound set up and hum, come and say hello and come and play and hear the difference for yourself.
It's 80 years old but this is no pension performer on the town hall circuit. Beautiful condition even for its age still sounds sweet unlike most. And it's for sale £2,500.
Wurlitzer Electric Piano
The 200a was purchased new, played for a few hours then put away until we purchased it a few years ago. The 200 the same. The third photo is of one of our custom black restored Wurlitzer ep200a pianos. The fourth shot is a reflection in the black finish.
All our restored and hire Wurlitzer electric pianos are genuine not made up of more than one piano or conversions from student pianos. All backed up with over 40 years of professional experience .You are welcome to come and try and hear the difference.
The Hammond Hire Company is expanding
When many hire companies have sold up or closed we never follow.
Due to growing demand for restorations and service we have added two more engineers just for servicing synthesizers.
We are the original 24 hours, 7 days a week hire company and to complement our service and restoration offering we are adding a collection service anywhere in the UK and Europe by arrangement. So now all that vintage kit, those Hammonds, synths, Rhodes and Wurlitzer Pianos will be professionally collected transported serviced and returned. Backed up by over 40 years of experience.
It’s a clue “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. Moog release a Moog Modular reissue but we all knew that, now for something rare. Not one but two YAMAHA GS1.FM synthesisers. The TOTO GS1 which now has a new owner M.K. and our Yamaha GS1 both together in our main hall with one of our Yamaha CS80 synths.
Being the only hire company in the UK to have the GS1 it was very popular but the one recording we all remember is the Vangelis score for Blade Runner. It was just another day in the office we thought that would never end. There are many videos of Vangelis playing these two on his own Youtube channel but nothing comes close to actually being there and seeing him play, compose in his Nemo studio and home, all a long time ago but still so vivid. Both our YAMAHA CS80 and GS1 are available for hire or you can track them in our music room with all the other rare restored and loved synths, keys, organs and electric pianos.
New Year new news
The Hammond Hire Company Facebook page has become popular to the point that we get requests when we don’t post a new subject each week. Please come and have a look, we welcome your interest
The custom work especially the H.Box and the Forte rig has impressed everyone that has visited THE ZOO, our music room in Coventry. The Stereo H.Box and rig will be available for demo in February after much R&D. Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos are ever increasing in popularity in the last year so much so we have a waiting list for our restored Rhodes' and Wurlys.
Something to shout about but should be taken for granted. Now celebrating over 40 years with a 100% service record, our Hammonds have never failed. The only hire company in the UK to be able to say that. Synth hire nothing new to us as the oldest established keyboard hire company in the UK.
The New Year Rig
Oberheim 8 voice, Hammond B3, Moog 15, Moog CDX, Yamaha CS-80, ARP Odyssey, R.A. Moog MuSonic, Minimoog D, Moog Music MuSonic. Just a few of the hire items we put together for a fun rig. All available for hire or tracking in our Music Room or if you're thinking of buying any classic synth or keyboard come and say hello and hear how they should sound and play. Our Yamaha GS1 and Yamaha CS-80 will be the centre of a special feature as these are the actual ones hired by us and used by Vangelis many times and on Blade Runner.
New Year, so get that kit out of storage and get it serviced before the tour starts or get it ready for sale before the storage charges start to bite. Remember our service like our hire is 24 hour 7 days a week.
Please see the ever growing list of equipment we have for sale. All fully serviced with 6 months guarantee.
Happy New Year.
Just a few of the thousands of sessions it has been used on:
Gt More and the reggae guitars. Frankie Miller. Rory Gallagher. Paul Carrack. Nick low. Elvis Costello. Squeeze. George Harrison. Hans Zimmer. Billy Preston. Vangelis. Tony Ashton. Little Richard. Junior Walker. Paul McCartney. Phil Collins. Mike and the Mechanics. Stockhausen. Bill Wyman,s Rhythm Kings. Georgie Fame. Pink Floyd. Peter Gabriel. Tears for fears. Elton John. Gerry Rafferty. Deep Purple. Eddie Hardin. Dire Straits. Sting. George Michael (Faith). Muscle Shoals. Ronnie Wood. Peter Tosh. Mick Jagger. Dave Stewart. Jon Lord. Mac.Ian Mclagan. Roger Walters. Jools Holland. Tina Turner. Uria Heep. Dennis Bovell. Godley and Creme. Trevor Horn. Jonathan Ross show. Bob Marley. Barry Blue. Chris Porter. Asia. Lulu. Tony Omally. Cliff Richard. Donavan. Texas. Howard Jones. Jimmy Cliff. Simply Red. Charlatans. BBC Proms. London Sinfonietta . London Symphony Orchestra. London Philharmonic Orchestra. Royal Philharmonic orchestra. Royal opera House. Royal Variety performance. BBC Symphony Orchestra. BBC Concert Orchestra. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Royal Opera House. Aldeburgh Festival.B.Ham Opera.Roy Powell.Van Morrison.Alicia Adams.Simon Clark.Bryan Ferry/ Phil Manzanera.Wham.Rod Argent. Cat Stevens. Carlene Carter.Sugababes.The Selector.The Cure. Eric Clapton.Diane Tell.EMI KPM.Wet Wet Wet.The Smiths.John Porter.Mathew Cang. New Order.Carmel.Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
These are just some of the hundreds into the thousands of recording sessions and concerts it was used on.
I remember the first time going to AIR but not who used it 1975. AIR Studios first session was the Climax Blues Band we are restoring their Vox Cont. at the Moment but that’s another story.
Ramport Studios had just opened and the A100 went there and for years until it closed a great studio and great people oow and NO STAIRS but great tea.
During this whole time not once did it fail to work.
Moog at Cheltenham: what would the ladies' say?
50 years after Robert Moog first presented his monophonic synthesizer to the world, Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory brings together no fewer than 10 Moogs on stage at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.
Don't just look at the label, listen to the sound!
There's an awful lot of information available about classic synths. The trouble is, if you've been hiring, servicing & restoring them as long as we have (since the 1970's), you'll know that a lot of this information is pretty misleading. As the prices rise so the hype gets more fantastic.
The fact is, most of these keyboards tend to go in & out of fashion over time for various reasons. When a classic synth defines the sound of a hit or cult record, it's suddenly in demand. Take the Korg MS20. Not too desirable until Goldfrapp used it. Now everyone raves about them! The ARP 2600 very popular today but for a long time only a core following really rated it. The Minimoog D was far more popular, but even that lost popularity in the mid-1980s when FM synthesis & early digital were all the rage. Now it's top of the pile again.
In parallel with the collectable classics there's a growing demand for alternative, lesser known (& cheaper) synths & combo organs. But these instruments create an amazing array of sounds with bags of character which can really enhance a track. I'm glad to say that people are bringing us more & more of these keyboards and, of course, we're just as conscientious about restoring them as we are the better known classics. In fact, we relish the challenge and still get bowled over by the sounds we discover - or rediscover. Here are some recent arrivals you may want to listen to: CASIO. SIEL. FARFISA. TEISCHORD. BIT ONE. WELSON. PHILICORDA. ELKA (see gallery above for photos).
So don't take all the hype at face value. There are gorgeous old classics out there, but also some wonderful budget surprises which are full of charm and just as useful.
Don't just read the label use your ears! It would be good to hear about any interesting finds that you have discovered. Don't be shy and don’t be a synth snob.
A memorable cup of tea
Over the years we have been fortunate to be involved in thousands of recording sessions, promotional videos and gigs. We have kept most of the old hire agreements, which has been useful for jogging our memories. Youtube has helped us to find the artists' videos and thrown up a few surprises when they have filmed the recordings, or interviews at the artists' home studios. Read more.
muSonic minimoog D pair in our music room
With the year already a third through time most certainly flies. The collection of synths and keys arrived safe care of SOUND MOVES (thanks chaps) and the second Moog muSonic minimoog Ds are all being unpacked ready for service and restoration. we couldn't resist setting up the muSonic minimoog D and take a few quick photos with the R.A.muSonic minimoog D
Two very rare Vox Continental Organs
Vox Continental c1963 was the first version, it was never called a high top or square top just Vox Continental organ. Later it was referred to as Vox Continental MK1 to differentiate from the double manual Vox Continental II and Super Continental II.
Our 1963 is totally original. The Vox organ, amps and speakers cases etc were made by Heathpoint Timber in Rayleigh, Essex.They also made the carpentry for other manufacturers: Marshall, HI Watt etc, even guitars. Their history is well documented.
They were then sent to be covered by a good friend of ours, Sid. Sid was the cousin of Tom Jennings at Vox. Manuals and keyframes were made and assembled by Herrburger Brooks in Long Eaton, Northampton and by B.P.A. Ltd in Llanelli South Wales (The labels use the English spelling LLANELLY). Then off to Vox in Erith, Kent. At Vox all the subcontracted parts are assembled, tested and shipped to the outlets.
Ron Lebar our chief Engineer assembled many of the original Vox organs. They were time-consuming to make. He decided to make a simpler and better design. One prototype was made, this was accepted as the new design and 12 more Slimline Vox Continental organs were made by him and then Heathpoint Timber carried on making the rest.
Vox Continental with factory percussion
This Vox Continental organ is the original prototype with breadboard factory percussion. Vox gave it to Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers who apparently wasn't that fond of it and it went like many Vox organs into the loft where it stayed for many years. We purchased this Vox Contental organ in 2006.
We completely stripped it to parts and restored it over time. Both Vox
Continental organs and many others are available for hire and can be seen and heard at our music room by appointment.
New Year 2014
New year so it’s stock time plus new rare arrivals.
34 Hammond Organs so that's why we don’t have much room. Don’t even ask how many Leslie cabinets we have. Last year never stopped even over the so-called break, though we did manage to get some change of scenery. New Year in with a bang so what’s new?
The stereo H.Box is coming along and will be ready by end of January.
The HHC Hammond chop
We are finalising the details on a customer’s chop Hammond. This will be the smallest real Hammond tone wheel organ ever made. Until we make the next one 10 inches deep. A dual man Vox Cont 11 is 8 3/4 inches deep. Our Hammond chop is full valve.
It arrived late November and we are very pleased to add this to our music room. This was restored by Kevin Lightner a few years ago (the only chap we trust). He has also been around as long as we have, Ron pointed out. This was added to our collection as it is correct in every detail: boards, screws. finish etc. Kevin did add the Buffer board. Eager to hear it alongside the other Minimoog D. We have especially the Manticore. Surprise, surprise the Manticore early osc Minimoog D just can’t be beat for its tonal quality.
This Moog music muSonic will be with us by the end of January, Totally original unrestored and known history. Once we have serviced and set it up we will again evaluate it against the others. This will be closer to the Manticore Moog music Minimoog D. The Minimoog D development was ever changing. The 1970 to 1972 period saw the most change. R.A.minimoog D the muSonic and Moog Music sharing parts boards etc, evolving all the time.
Space: no matter how much you have it’s never enough, especially with keyboards
When restoring a Hammond RT3 you need an area at least 15ft by 15ft so it’s nice to see more synthesisers coming in for service and restoration. Minimoog Ds from New York, Switzerland and Sheffield in one week and another once owned by Geoff Downes.His other Minimoog D was restored by us 5 years ago.
Our sales list is growing and soon a new collection of synths will arrive, some brand new still in their boxes from the late 1970’s and 1980’s. A few oddities: the Moog CDX , ARP piano.etc.
C3 C1969 professionally split including pedals.
Probably the last UK Spec C3 c1975 with matching 122 Leslie and Pr40.
Rare is a term misused so often
Approximately 850 Yamaha CS80s were made, and 12,000 Moog Minimoog Ds. Even the Moog Modulars are not rare. 860,000 Hammond organs were made. But only 50 UK spec Hammond B3s are known to have been made so our Hammond B3 c1962 is a genuine rarity and for sale. Serviced or fully restored.
Another rarity is our Yamaha GS1. We were the only hire company in the UK to have them. Two in fact. It’s not for sale, it’s being restored and to be seen and heard in our music room soon. It was used on so many sessions and very popular with classical orchestrators and film scores. Being 88 note touch response it appealed to players not programmers. Jerry Goldsmith, Vangelis (Blade Runner), Elton John.
R&D never stops The H.Box will now be stereo making it appeal to a much larger group of musicians and producers. If you would like to come and try it out just email. We will only be too pleased to let you sit and relax and enjoy a whole new experience.
A series of Acetone organs were in for a full service. They never sounded better through our custom system in our music room.
A recent arrival is a Fender Rhodes Stereo 73 Mk1 piano c1972 owned by Henri Giordano. The piano had that Gitane stain look about it after many years in the Sans night club and many sessions in Paris recording studios and the Honky Château. The Château has just gone on the market after many years being neglected. The Fender Rhodes has now been stripped down to parts cleaned and restored. It is for sale and can be played at our Coventry music room.
We had a chance to set up four versions of the Fender/Rhodes Stereo 73 piano from 1972 .73 .74 .75
The first of the Manticore Minimoog Ds is completed. One can argue about the merits of early versions of the Minimoog D but there is most definitely something just beautiful about the tone and richness of this particular Minimoog D. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a few photos of seven Moog Minimoog D in at the moment. We will be adding 3 more soon and detailing differences over the years. From 1971 to 1981
In the photos is the Manfred Man 4 osc updated D2. A restored updated D2. A Welsh Minimoog E, one of only 50 made. A factory D2. Geoff Downes D2. In the foreground is the June c1972 Manticore Minimoog D from the first month of manufacture at the new Moog facility.
New News!!! Workshop and music room news.
The Vox Continental MK1 slimline, the one and only British iconic organ celebrates its 50th birthday this summer! Not a tweet or a single word on the web as most were not around at that time but ... there you are.
Moog Moog Moog Minimoog!
We had 12 Moog Minimoog D synthesizers in our music room and workshop last week.
The Manticore Minimoog D was assembled at the Moog factory on 26/6/1972. We are celebrating the birthday of the first of our pair of Manticore Minimoog restorations. Their history makes them two of the most famous and rarest Moog Minimoog D ever! They are part of our music room collection of rare and famous synths and keys, for all to play and hear but they are not for sale!
The Custom Hohner Pianet N
Finally we had the chance to take a few detailed photos of the Custom Hohner Pianet N. It came to us to be restored and like others it had a hard life and it had been neglected. The client wanted it to match the other custom black keys we had already restored for his music room.
We started by stripping it to case and individual components. From it’s original parts we only used : key caps, key shafts, harp and two switches. The rest were newly built by Hammond hire including : new case, electrics, preamp, key frame etc. Unlike the original, the restored one had got far greater dynamics signal to noise and greatly improved timber. It is a totally different instrument, the only one out there.
We have had this set up for many years and has been used on lots of famous recordings. We recently went through our hire agreements, we have kept all of the paper work since the 1970s.
Out and About
Just a glimpse of our world away from the workshop in 10 days: never the same, never dull...
Happy Birthday Ron
Ron Lebar our chief Eng is 72 today and it's 50 years since he joined Vox in Erith in 1963. Read more on our Facebook page.
No one is going to twitter as old geezers don't but its 40 years since Ron and I met
I had just purchased my first big Hammond. An A100 c1968 and part of the deal was it was to be serviced at Bill Dunn's workshop in Islington. I arrived that sunny Friday afternoon, Hammond and crew in hand and Ron opened the door to the workshop. We never thought that such a simple gesture would open so many more doors and be the start of such a successful collaboration.
We have just completed a no compromise full restoration of a Hammond B3 c1960 and matching Leslie and Hammond Pr40 tone cabinet. This restored Hammond rig has been delivered back to the client in EUROPE (see photo gallery above).
Hammond B3 c1962 uk spec for sale.
For the first time ever we are offering a UK spec matching numbers totally original one owner Hammond B3 c 1962 in a deep red mahogany .This will be restored to the clients specification.
Please email your interest. The Hammond B3 can be viewed in our Coventry workshop by appointment
Near Year, New Energy
The time of year when we all have new energy and clear out to make room.
News if anyone is awake yet .In London building works on the music room recommence with energy abounding. And our custom rig and rare items ready to educate on what real analogue kits should sound like. More news photos regarding the opening of the Zoo London in late Feb.
Clearing out to make space when we have all been around far too long it never surprises what you find. A Bechstein piano leg from the London DECCA studios that the Beatles auditioned on.
A Bass Gizmo that Godley and Creme developed. Still in its original box and instructions. A Vintage Sure Mic from the Shea stadium. They don't take up much room but certainly an odd bunch to find.
A customer's custom set up.
1.Pianet N. this is a completely new instrument using original parts, I have never been a fan of the Hohner Pianet but this has changed many minds as this has greater dynamics and a far richer tone.
2 Hohner Duo, once again a new instrument using original parts.
3 Black smooth finish Wurlitzer 200a. The customer purchased this from eBay as a restored Wurly only to find it was made up of 4 different Wurlitzer pianos.
4 Pianet combo in blonde a rare Pianet. This was advertised by Hohner to sit above a Clav D6.
The 2 heavyweight synths of the late 1970 early 1980 a SC T8 and an Oberhiem OB4V and 4V Expander (see photo gallery above) both player synths polyphonic rich and deep 2 of the all time greats.
We have started the restoration of a pair of very rare early Minimoogs from Manticor.
Hammond-wise, a 1961 B3 with 122 and Pr40 and a Uk spec 1962 B3. We have had a lot of people calling about Hammond B3 organs for sale in the UK. Some have been told they are UK built, we have seen the adverts and photos. There has not been an original genuine UK spec B3 for sale in the UK since 2005.
Well we wish everyone a great new year, Have fun.