Studio Night

Updating the Leslie 122RV


I was planning to record some Hammond tracks using my modified B-2 organ (which we like to call the B-69, shocker!).  The tracks I did with my gigging Hammond (XK-2) sound decent overall, but I really want to capture the awesomeness of a real live Hammond through a big old Leslie speaker.

I’m not kidding when I say it’s big and old.  It’s taller than the B-69, almost as deep, and almost a yard wide.  And it was manufactured around 1964.

Everything in it appears to be original, so I wasn’t surprised when I noticed it was making noise on the slow setting (“Chorale”).  I had taken the back panel off to get a more raw sound to mic up, and I realized that the lower motor was rattling.  I pulled it out of its mounting and cleaned it up, but it was still imbalanced for some reason.  It made a little bit less noise after I rebuilt it, but it was still too much.

Given the fact that the motor is about 45 years old, I thought it might be an appropriate time to replace it.  I ordered a new motor from BB Organ.  It shipped within a few days (thanks BB!), and while it isn’t 100% identical to the old motor in all dimensions, it fits the mount perfectly.  I had to remove some of the washers that lifted the old motor above the mount so I could get the new motor spindle to properly contact the rotating rubber wheel that turns the lower rotor.  Not a big deal by any means.

The new motor is very quiet, and it seems to be stronger than the old motor.  The rotor is moving cleanly, and the Leslie sounds unbelievable.  I can’t wait to have a window of opportunity to get a microphone on it and lay down these tracks.  It’s going to be like putting honey on a tasty biscuit.  Yum.