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1939 Hammond Novachord - restored

Twangmaster

Member
Messages
1,261
i vaguely remember seeing and hearing one of those things in Chicago when I was about 6. Absolutely freaky! When I got back to grandma's house, I kept trying to get that same sound out of her M series Hammond, but no luck. I just couldn't figure out how the hell he got that sound out of that thing.. i mean it had Hammond on it, and so did grandmas! and although i'm just now (50 years later) really starting to learn how to play a keyboard, i've followed everything Hammond for all these years. There's another site (just google Hammond Novachord) that shows the full restore process.. how about something like 144 TUBES just in the oscillators, not counting the power supply of the amps! Way ahead of it's time.
 

enocaster

Member
Messages
5,338
I've lusted after these for years. Fully polyphonic analog synth… from the 30's! Blows my mind.
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
i vaguely remember seeing and hearing one of those things in Chicago when I was about 6. Absolutely freaky! When I got back to grandma's house, I kept trying to get that same sound out of her M series Hammond, but no luck. I just couldn't figure out how the hell he got that sound out of that thing.. i mean it had Hammond on it, and so did grandmas! and although i'm just now (50 years later) really starting to learn how to play a keyboard, i've followed everything Hammond for all these years. There's another site (just google Hammond Novachord) that shows the full restore process.. how about something like 144 TUBES just in the oscillators, not counting the power supply of the amps! Way ahead of it's time.
Wow, what an amazing piece of equipment!!!

Here is that restoration site:

http://www.discretesynthesizers.com/nova/intro.htm
 

Twangmaster

Member
Messages
1,261
you want tubes... take a look at this things innards! and from '39?! I'd love to try to restore one, but that's a pretty daunting task just finding tubes for the damn thing.

They are worthy of preservation, no doubt about it. I went completely through that restoration site. I've heard one live in the early 60's, and had pretty much forgotton about that beautiful, spooky, sci-fi tone, until i saw that youtube.

This IS the definition for B-movie Sci-fi filler music. after a bit of digging, i did find some patches that emulate it, but alas, no freebees for anything I've got. But that is typical Hammond... beautiful wood, incredible engineering, and a tone that just works.
 

The Pup

No Complexity Without Value
Messages
3,646
Wow...what an incredible endeavor; truly impressive.

I am awestruck at the effort and hard-earned results.
 

8Painting

Member
Messages
2,207
That what happens when clockmakers with incredible engineering skills and zero music skills make something.
 

Tom CT

Old Supporting Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,898
On a somewhat related note, years ago I did some work for a guy with a large collection of Duo-Art and Aeolian player pianos (many of them retrofitted Steinways). He also had one of these:

Hammond-Aeolian model BA -


Rare and pretty cool, but not nearly as remarkable as the Novachord.
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,709
Thxx for the link. I'd wanted to know what that sounded like since I found this picture of the insides of one. A lot of work went into these.

 
Messages
3
Hello All - I've just registered here to reply to all these nice comments on my beast!

Good to see you all enjoyed our video... yet another thread on the 1/4 ton monster that I was unaware of :) There has been a heck of a lot of interest in Novachord 346.

I recently teamed up with expert Theremin player Thomas Grillo and we recorded an improv which is likely to be the only modern recording of a 1939 Novachord and Theremin duet in existence. We called the piece Alto Volo (High Flight):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVfhzLl5C9U

You can hear my other demo recordings of this 70 year old beast here:

http://www.last.fm/music/D.A.Wilson/Novachord+346+Demo

Here is a link to my restoration blog:

http://www.vintagesynth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=51703

Have Fun

Dan Wilson, Hideaway Studio.
 

DC1

Member
Messages
15,391
Hi Dan,

Welcome aboard and thanks so much for your dedication in restoring and recording this amazing instrument.

Are you going to offer a sample library?

Wonderful stuff.


dc
 
Messages
3
Hi Dan,

Welcome aboard and thanks so much for your dedication in restoring and recording this amazing instrument.

Are you going to offer a sample library?

Wonderful stuff.


dc
Many thanks, it's heck one heck of a project.

Yes, very much so, in fact we're producing the world's first professional sound set. I've teamed up with extremely experienced sampling guru, Steve Howell, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and many other artists. He was also the guy behind much of the official sample library for the early S series AKAI samplers and well as the front panel design and user interfaces on many of the later units :)

The first format release will be at the end of this month.
 

DC1

Member
Messages
15,391
Many thanks, it's heck one heck of a project.

Yes, very much so, in fact we're producing the world's first professional sound set. I've teamed up with extremely experienced sampling guru, Steve Howell, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and many other artists. He was also the guy behind much of the official sample library for the early S series AKAI samplers and well as the front panel design and user interfaces on many of the later units :)

The first format release will be at the end of this month.
YES!

I want to layer it with the voices from a Mellotron or a Chamberlain...


heh heh :idea

:phones



:love:








What a great sound that Novachord has... Was it working at all when you started?


dc
 
Messages
3
YES!

I want to layer it with the voices from a Mellotron or a Chamberlain...


heh heh :idea

:phones



:love:








What a great sound that Novachord has... Was it working at all when you started?


dc
You really need to read my restoration blog in the link on VSE further up the page. The instrument was in pretty good cosmetic condition but the PSU chassis had litterally been on fire and the damage so extensive I had to completely strip it down to the metal chassis and rebuild it. The PSU alone is a 10 tube design featuring active noise cancelling circuits - just amazing for a design from 1939!
 




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