How Do I Oil a Hammond Tonewheel Organ?

Written by ryan heiser
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How Do I Oil a Hammond Tonewheel Organ?
Vintage organs require regular maintenance. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Hammond organs manufactured before the mid-1970s achieved their distinct sound by rotating mechanical tonewheels alongside electromagnetic pickups. Without yearly maintenance, the lubrication in the tonewheel generator will wear away, and the organ's vital mechanisms will malfunction. Regular application of tone generator oil to the tonewheel generator bearings will prevent wear and tear and extend the life of these highly sought-after vintage instruments.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screw driver
  • Quick-dry contact cleaner
  • Tone generator oil

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  1. 1

    Loosen the four screws on the front of the organ to loosen the generator cover.

  2. 2

    Remove the seven screws on the back of the organ to release the generator cover. Remove the generator cover to expose the tone generator.

  3. 3

    Disconnect the wires leading from the output terminal to the transformers on the main generator cover. Remove the main generator cover to expose the tone generator bearings.

  4. 4

    Spray contact cleaner onto any suspect bearings.

  5. 5

    Wait for the contact cleaner to dry, and apply oil to the bearings.

  6. 6

    Move the main generator cover back into position, and reconnect the transformers to the output terminal.

  7. 7

    Screw the generator cover back into position.

Tips and warnings

  • Different oils have different lubrication properties. Be sure to use tonewheel oil or the organ may sound out of tune.

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