Early portable (?) synthesis: the Hammond Solovox
March 6, 2011 11:29 PM   Subscribe

A tour inside a Hammond Solovox circa 1940s, a monophonic synth/organ and "a scaled down mono version of the 170-tube 500-some-pound Hammond Novacord", by Bob Weigel. via
posted by Ardiril (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'll bet it makes a nice space heater, too.

That electro-mechanical vibrato circuit is amazing, almost steampunk, like those old oilcan echo units. Just imagine if they implemented a similar moving core scheme to make those LCR filters modulatable.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:23 AM on March 7, 2011

I loved the video - but I think my dog is going to have to go through rehab of some kind.
posted by rongorongo at 12:54 AM on March 7, 2011

See also the great synth designer Phil Cirocco's page about his side project: the Novachord Restoration Project...
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:52 AM on March 7, 2011

I loved that vibrato too, and I plan to design a similar one tonight. I think I have an old Strat pickup around here.
posted by Ardiril at 3:41 AM on March 7, 2011

Interesting that they were doing electro-mechanical vibrato even before their Leslie speaker.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:09 AM on March 7, 2011

I shouldn't say their Leslie speaker, because they rejected Donald Leslie's design and he manufactured it himself. When I decided to make something similar, I started shopping for noise-free rotating multi-conductor bearings, and would tell the engineers at the various vendors what I needed it for. At one company that was marketing to wind powered generator designers, I told the engineer what I was planning, and he said, "Donald Leslie is my grandfather, and our product was designed by him for speakers."
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:19 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds like a hammond transistor home organ.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 6:08 AM on March 7, 2011

On the other hand, I really admire the design of the Hammond Novachord.

That man was so far ahead of it. If God had given him transistors, Moog would have had to operate pocket calculators for a living.
posted by Twang at 3:51 PM on March 7, 2011

Very cool. Jazz space traveler Sun Ra had one of these.
posted by hyperizer at 2:00 PM on March 8, 2011

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