Harvesting vintage components for custom pedals

Will_Darden

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I recently came into two vintage organs (magnavox A1-20 and a Hammond H112). While the organs are complete, I value them more for their vintage components which I’m wanting to repurpose for various projects.

Currently I’m doing an inventory of the components and would like suggestions on what I should watch for if I’m interested in building the following custom pedals:

- Tube driven compressor Ala EHX’s Black Finger
- Homemade Wah
- Fuzz using one of the various transistors, possibly switchable like the Muffuletta
- Preamp/interface for my Leslie 122

What components should I be on the lookout for? Am I undertaking something foolish?
 

BB

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I have no idea, but also have many caps/resistors I saved out of an old 50's reel to reel.

Much to my wife's chagrin, I just can't seem to throw them away. Since I no longer build/make anything, would be happy to pass them along.
 

Peegoo

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Save everything that works (switches, relays, knobs) and jellybean parts (resistors, caps, etc.) that are in spec. Note that electrolytic (polarized) caps used in older stuff do dry out over time and go leaky, and even if they measure in spec, they may not function in spec when installed in the circuit.

Tubes--the good ones are those common to guitar amps. Examine the tube sockets for burnt contacts before you reuse them.
 

Will_Darden

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I have no idea, but also have many caps/resistors I saved out of an old 50's reel to reel.

Much to my wife's chagrin, I just can't seem to throw them away. Since I no longer build/make anything, would be happy to pass them along.
Very kind of you! I’m planning on doing an inventory of what I have and comparing it to parts lists for the projects. I will reach out if I have gaps.
 
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Will_Darden

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Save everything that works (switches, relays, knobs) and jellybean parts (resistors, caps, etc.) that are in spec. Note that electrolytic (polarized) caps used in older stuff do dry out over time and go leaky, and even if they measure in spec, they may not function in spec when installed in the circuit.

Tubes--the good ones are those common to guitar amps. Examine the tube sockets for burnt contacts before you reuse them.
Current “must save” items are as follows:
- Tubes and sockets
- Caps
- Transistors
- Boards and chassis in good condition
- Pots
- Adjustable resistors (used for tuning on the Magnavox)
- There are some solid switches, incl. rotary switches

Pretty sure I’m gonna figure out a power supply for the pedal assembly and save the entire thing as either a midi interface or an actual separate instrument.

Also working on a custom amp project and could use the pedal boards as a switching relay. I have 3-5 foot switches I could use instead but I’ll probably save those for the actual pedals.
 

Will_Darden

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Save everything that works (switches, relays, knobs) and jellybean parts (resistors, caps, etc.) that are in spec. Note that electrolytic (polarized) caps used in older stuff do dry out over time and go leaky, and even if they measure in spec, they may not function in spec when installed in the circuit.

Tubes--the good ones are those common to guitar amps. Examine the tube sockets for burnt contacts before you reuse them.
Just looked through all the components for the Magnavox -- tons of vintage Ajax "Blue Molded" caps -- and they're all only rated for 100v 😭

Guess I won't be using those for the amp project, but I suppose I could use some for the other pedals.
 

Peegoo

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Just looked through all the components for the Magnavox -- tons of vintage Ajax "Blue Molded" caps -- and they're all only rated for 100v 😭

Guess I won't be using those for the amp project, but I suppose I could use some for the other pedals.

You certainly can use them in an amp where the voltages are under 100v.
 

bebopbrain

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Just a suggestion. Totally from left field. Why not build a Hauptwerk organ?

So take out all the guts until you have just an empty box. Use the guts for your personal projects. Then add two M-audio Keystation61 midi keyboards and MIDIify the 25 pedals and the expression pedal. For stops use a Novation Launchpad of some kind. Then add a computer that runs Hauptwerk or GSi VB3 or something similar. Add massive subwoofers (down to 16Hz) and crank out Passacaglia in C minor.
 

Will_Darden

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Just a suggestion. Totally from left field. Why not build a Hauptwerk organ?

So take out all the guts until you have just an empty box. Use the guts for your personal projects. Then add two M-audio Keystation61 midi keyboards and MIDIify the 25 pedals and the expression pedal. For stops use a Novation Launchpad of some kind. Then add a computer that runs Hauptwerk or GSi VB3 or something similar. Add massive subwoofers (down to 16Hz) and crank out Passacaglia in C minor.
Cool idea! I actually thought about this at first and realized it would be less work/money/time to just get a high-quality keyboard and adapt the pedals as a midi interface or second instrument that is routed through a keyboard. Also, I don’t have the space for an additional organ beyond the organ I already have and my acoustic baby grand piano.

Still toying with the idea of converting the manuals into some kind of midi controller with a raspberry pi or something, though.
 




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