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total sl-prokeys hits since April, 2003

On Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 2:45pm, my wife of 34 years, Rebecca, died in my arms in an emergency room.

The last words we spoke were in perfect synchronization: "I love you with all my heart."


Tone Generator Recap

The most controversial subject regarding Hammonds may be the recapping of tone generators.  There are nearly as many opinions as there are Hammond organs.  One simple fact is critical - over time, capacitors (and other components, too) change value, and no longer perform as they did 30-50 years ago.  The older wax caps are more prone to drift than the newer mylar, polypropylene, etc. types, because manufacturing techniques have improved from the days of the wax caps.  Hammonds made before about 1964 will have wax caps in the generator and line box.

We suggest this simple test to determine if your specific Hammond would benefit from recapping.

Use the Bb drawbar group, upper manual, with a setting of 888800000, and play some 5th intervals in the approximate middle of the manual.  While playing, pull out the 9th drawbar to intensity number 1 or 2 on the drawbar.  If you can very clearly hear this change, the caps in your generator most likely do not need replacement.  However, if the change is weak, if the organ sounds muffled or dull in any way, or if the percussion doesn't "ping" through, or "bite", the caps may have lived beyond a reasonable life expectancy, and recapping will, without any question, astound you.

ProKeys can recap in two distinct configurations:  the earlier version, which did not utilize additional R/C filtering, or the later version, which includes 12 additional filter assemblies.  The additional R/C filtering will considerably reduce crosstalk.

Most of our recap clients say "WOW!  I never knew that was in there!" 

Almost all of our recap clients also felt their Hammond sounds entirely too bright after a recap.  Over time, we have come to understand this.  We're simply not used to hearing the clarity in the top end of a Hammond, because it hasn't been there for years and years!  We've actually become conditioned to hearing a dull, muffled sound.  After a few weeks of playing a recapped Hammond, we all adjust our perceptions to the clarity and presence that was missing.

Typically, ProKeys installs the best - high quality GOFF Professional tone generator caps.  These caps are thoroughly tested for their audio qualities, and hand matched as a set, specifically for Hammond organ tone generator application. 

The "recap controversy" has gone on for years, but, in our estimation, our hat is off to Al Goff - his years of testing, rejecting, and research have proven the facts.

    Capacitors are made for a variety of applications by the manufacturers.  Inside any Hammond, caps are used in a variety of ways, but only one of these ways is of concern at the tone generator level .... and that's AUDIO FILTERING.  While I'm sure all current cap manufacturers do a great job of manufacturing, it's very likely that none of them are designing and building caps specifically for the purpose of filtering out the unwanted noises inherent in Hammond generators.  The application of caps in a Hammond tone generator is 100%, completely and fully, an audio signal function.  These caps are not  being used exactly for what they were designed and intended for, they're being adapted for use as an audio filter.  This fact explains why three different brand caps - of exactly the same tolerance and value - will sound entirely differently in a Hammond.

Also, subject to very rare availability, ProKeys can recap using original vintage, stock Hammond mylar caps.

Since I wrote this page, a lot of Hammond players have shipped their generators in to me for recapping and rebuilding.  I'd like to thank y'all, and congratulate each of you on excellent, careful packaging.  We've been very fortunate that each generator has arrived in fine condition.

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