By Jim Weisenborne
I, too, own a Hammond player. I am writing to you to request a list of the rolls which you may own. I have a reason for asking. As you probably know, I am installing a 3/30 Kimball residence organ in my house and I am attaching a Skinner player to it. I've been trying for years to complete the Skinner library of organ rolls. I have found that many of the pipe organ titles were also issued for the Hammond, except that the rolls have the Hammond registration printed on them instead of the usual pipe organ stop names. Nevertheless, the Hammond organ rolls will play in the Skinner semi-automatic spoolbox if you re-wind them on the pin-type spool. I have lots of Hammond duplicates, as I have been buying Hammond rolls for quite some time specifically to use for trading material. So I would like a list of your rolls for two purposes: to compile a master list so that if and when there is a possibility of having any rolls recut, I can find the Hammond production roll; to possibly swap titles so that I can have an original roll for recording purposes. Lord knows, the paper in these rolls is getting worse and worse with each passing year. I have added a solid state relay, combination action and recording system to my Kimball so that I can record all of my rolls before they become unplayable.
The amazing thing to me is why Hammond (Aeolian) even bothered to release some of the Skinner titles on the Hammond. They sound positively dreadful, dreary, funereal, solemn -- call them what you will, but they work with the pipe organ, but NOT with the electronic, in my opinion. My only guess is that Aeolian/Skinner already had a ready library of organ rolls in the Skinner semi-automatic format and that saved them the cost of creating new masters.
And, yes, I would certainly like to know the value of the Hammond player these days. I spent a good deal of money adding a Leslie speaker and a solid state amplifier. No matter what I've done, it STILL sounds like a Hammond.
The organ technician in Detroit who serviced my organ, believe it or not, was actually servicing organs in 1938-39 when the 3 Hammond players were sold in Detroit. He said that he even had the original service manual. And he kept telling me that when he was finished, the organ would sound terrific. Try as I might, it still sounds like a Hammond. As you've gathered by now, I am a pipe organ snob. Although, I do get a kick out of playing pop music on the Hammond from time to time. But I am seriously considering donating mine to the Music House in Traverse City. I rarely play it and it does take up space. It is truly a curiosity piece and with the Hammond sounds now available through the MIDI and Rogers organs, (to say nothing of they're being really heavy!) who'd want one other than a collector?
Incidentally, if you send me your list of Hammond rolls, you need only give me the numbers. I have been compiling a master list of rolls. Should you have a number which I don't have, then I could contact you for the title, composer, ar ranger, etc.
(Message sent Sat 22 Mar 1997, 16:04:46 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)