A new philosophy in old Hammond technology

N.G.R. is a new term, standing for New Generation Renovation.
It is a method of renovating the old style Hammond organs, which we have increasingly used in our work during the last few years. In the future, our production will probably be dominated by NGR work. The term has been coined in order to conveniently summarise the following concepts;
  • NGR organs are specifically renovated to last from the present generation of players to the next, and hopefully the one after that. A new generation of players will have the opportunity of enjoying these superb instruments.
  • A new generation of thinking is required in organ workshops where NGR organs are to be produced, in order to embrace the techniques required.
  • A new generation of thinking is required by the buyers of such instruments, appreciating the remarkable solutions that modern technology can now provide for certain shortcomings in the original instruments. 'Original is Best' is no longer a concept to be applied to every detail within a Hammond organ or Leslie cabinet.
  • A new approach is needed concerning the procurement of replacement parts, since NGR work involves the replacement of many parts which are no longer available from Hammond's declining stock.
  • The standard of electrical safety must be radically improved, especially within the European market where the mains voltage is 230 V~ . [The obligatory 'safety modifications' for Hammonds and Leslies, which have in the past been exported to Scandinavia, are particularly dubious, and require urgent attention]. NGR instruments must reflect the requirements of today's higher safety standards.
  • NGR organs are bound to be expensive, due to the amount of work and materials involved. It is however the means by which a demanding player can acquire an instrument of the highest musical and technical distinction, and which he knows will last.

The work we are primarily concerned with in our workshop in Gothenburg is the complete renovation of the larger models. Over the last four years, six or seven of these organs have been what we now term NGR versions, and the customers who now own them are very satisfied. Not a single hitch has developed in any of them! The motto of the lazy engineer is, 'If it ain't broke, why fix it?' It is a question that we now have an answer for - 'because if you fix it in time, it won't get broke at all'. Quite apart from the question of reliability, one must not lose sight of the musical aspects of an NGR organ, which is, after all, the nearest we have to a brand new instrument. The reaction of musicians playing an NGR organ is one of complete astonishment; the decline in sound quality of Hammond organs has been so gradual, and spread over so many years that no-one can really remember how much better the sound was when they were new. The most decisive way of being reminded is by playing an NGR organ. One organist, after test-playing an NGR A-100 (with twin SRR* Leslies, reverb and bass sustain) compared it to his own 'normal-condition' instrument, by saying that it was like comparing the view from a mountain top, before and after the fog has lifted. Understandably, it is difficult to have NGR models in stock, since they represent so much work and capital. We have only one, a B-3 and Leslie 122, and these are available for test-playing. The specification sheet is on our marketplace page; both organ and Leslie have been specifically tailored for professional studio use. We also have a very fine, but as yet unrenovated A-105, which is earmarked to become an NGR version. It will be of great satisfaction to us when we see other NGR organs start to emerge from Hammond workshops elsewhere in the world, because these specially renovated instruments will be among the few that survive to give playing pleasure to the New Generation.

* With NGR organs furnished with twin, matching NGR Leslies, we often reverse the rotational direction of the rotors in one cabinet, to produce 'symmetrical reverse rotation' (hence SRR) which gives a subtle but fascinating improvement, especially when all four rotors are adjusted to slightly different speeds.