Keyboard Projects KPB3 portable Hammond Organ Custom Clone
After over a year of research and development, we are proud to offer our Keyboard Projects KPB3 portable Hammond organ services. These are “clones” of the classic Bill Beer designed “Keyboard Products” custom built portable Hammond organs. We call them portables, not chops, because there is a lot more to them than just cutting the cabinet off of the bottom of a C3 and calling it a day. No offense to all those cutting the bottoms off of C3’s… it’s just not what we do. The term portables is also sort of a loose term when describing ANY Hammond organ. They are not as heavy as a full Hammond console, but they are still heavy compared to a digital keyboard as they use the original manuals and generator from the vintage Hammond beasts. They are however much smaller when folded up, and have just under a 12″ x 48″ footprint. We do require your donor organ for these builds, as we don’t have the space to keep a stock of multiple Hammond organs on hand. Standard donor organs can be anything in the Hammond 3 series; B3, C3, A100, RT3. *The RT’s may require a small extra change to trim or replace the longer width parts like the name rails and end block* We can also work with most pre-3 series Hammond models, although we have not done builds with all of them. There can be some extra research or parts changes involved with these models to get all of the features to function properly.
All of our KPB3’s have our own custom built solid state preamps. These preamps are not really a plug and play device, so they are not available separately. The manuals are installed to swing up for service to access to all the internal workings without removing anything other than a few screws. We calibrate each Tone Wheel Generator note in a specific curve to preform optimally with our preamp. This sounds scary to some. But calibration of the generator is not at all permanent, and quite safe if you know what you are doing. Depending on the generator output, we may or may not have to replace the capacitors. If your organ has mylar “red-caps” you will not need replacement caps, unless they have a rare failure. If your organ has paper-in-oil or “wax-caps”, most times we are able to KEEP these if preferred. We analyze and chart each generator “as-is” before we change anything in the calibration. While we have the generator out of the organ we also clean and restore the vibrato scanner to it’s original working condition. Years of dust and accumulated “generator” oil (if you are lucky) and even the occasional “dendrite” can cause some very strange behaviors or failures with these scanners, and we don’t like to chance it.
Possibly the most recognizable feature of the KPB3 (both ours and the vintage Bill Beer models) is the metal front rail. Some people love it, some people hate it. The latter can skip ahead. We find adding controls to the end-blocks of a Hammond organ a no go. There is only so much space, and we don’t take drilling into those original wood or black plastic/Bakelite blocks lightly. So- this front rail is the control center for the organ. This is where the Volume, Bass, Treble & Percussion Volume controls (at least) are located along with the Leslie speed control switch. This rail also has the Start/Run switches and main power controls. The “at least” part refers to the ability and space to add mod controls and mod panels to this front rail. These mods can be considered anything between extremely useful and just plain extreme. Please contact us for a list of current mods, as they are rapidly growing, or if you have a new idea for a mod for your organ.
There can be a long wait time on the builds of our KPB3’s, as each one is done for a particular customer and with that customers own list of mods and features in mind. Since this is the case, we don’t have a showroom full of brand new KPB3’s ready to go out the door. It just isn’t feasible for us, or our clients. We have not built 2 of these organs exactly the same yet, since each player gets to pick their own build details. As you may have guessed, the mods and features each add to the overall cost of the finished product. The basic no-frills model comes standard with the basic controls; Vol, Bass, Treb, Percussion Vol. Worth saying, even the basic controls give you 4 more controls, within hands reach, than you get with a standard B/C/A100… without mods of coarse. More mods and tweaks can be added to the KPB3 at any time.
Let us know if you would like more information about our Keyboard Projects portable Hammond KPB3’s or anything else for that matter.