There was an estate sale in my neighborhood I spent an hour at (no musical instruments other than an overpriced piano or Hi-Fi audio), a trip to be made to the hardware store for some building materials and trip to the store for dinner makings, so progress was a challenge. In the last set of pictures you can see the shadows are getting long. I started feeling some time pressure to get to it if I was going to have it together before I went to bed, I started rationalizing about at what point I could say I was successful. I still needed to test a bunch of tubes, find a 5U4 and make a power cord. I had to take a break and cook some steaks, but I ran back and forth between BBQ and the project. My dad joked he would hold the flash light. My back was getting tired, so I didn’t relish the thought of not being done by dark. I ate fast, but it was still delicious. Must finish. I decided if it was assembled, and the tubes tested before I went to bed I could take my time bringing it up on a variac and testing stuff the next morning.
I tested all the tubes when it got dark and every one was good, but two of the 12AU7s were not very well balanced so I pulled two same construction replacements from the vault that tested much better and called it a day. The organ was back together and I did what I said I would. My plan for the next day was to install the tubes, get the missing screws from the hardware store, do a few hour variac bring up and see if it worked.
The next morning I did just that and once I figured out that I forgot to solder the speaker wires the organ came to life! Every note sounded, and every control impacted the sound in a musical way. The chord organ part is amazing. Buzzy chorusy string pads are reminiscent of Beach House, Grandaddy and Sparklehorse. Moody, dark and full. It IS a Hammond my friend with one in his studio said when I texted him the good news.
A few hours later stuff was beginning to show its age. The pedal that fills out the chord organ sound with a bass accompaniment started having some issues with the tone, and after being on and playing for maybe 6 hours it sort of lost its composure. There are a lot of contacts to clean, which I will get to this week, and a few electrolytic capacitors I might as well replace. It’ll take time to get it right, but it’s no longer in parts and in danger of becoming a parts machine or land fill. I found a tuning procedure, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Will have to take it slow.
There is a modification I found to add an overdrive type bass boost – going to have to do that. I have a PR-40 tone cabinet I’d like to hook up to it, but I need to figure out the best way to get a signal out of the S6 and into the PR-40. Manual says hook it up to the speaker terminals, but that doesn’t sound like the ideal approach, Any recommendations – comment below and I’ll discuss.