Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

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Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby wez » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:41 pm

So a while back I picked up an extremely rare (well I'd never seen one in the flesh) Korg BX-3 (the dual manual version of the CX-3). Having regretted selling my CX-3 a few years earlier, I was all over it.

When I got it there were a bunch of things not working, and not being in a position to test it thoroughly, I negotiated it down to next to nothing, in the knowledge that the big Siemens ICs are almost impossible to get, and depending on how many were kaput, I might be buying an enormous paperweight.

Anyway, the short story is that I sorted out most of the little issues, leaving me with just a bunch of notes on the upper manual that were dodgy - out of tune, distorted, weird crunchy noises when played together. I've actually been gigging with this beast and had just learned to avoid those notes! Anyway, I finally got around to pulling it apart to track down this fault, fully expecting it to be a dodgy SM304 (and thus resigning myself to never getting it fully operational!)

On pulling the first two ICs (in order to swap them round and seeing if the fault followed them), I found them to be very sticky, with a lot of black corrosion on the legs. Having stripped down two MCI tape machines in the past, and finding this to be a major cause of problems, I set about cleaning the pins with isopropyl and finishing with D5. I put them back in - and bingo, it's all good.

To be honest it may well have been the simple act of removal and re-insertion that fixed the issue (another lesson learned from my MCI machines!) Anyway I thought I'd just share this anecdote - in future it will be the first thing I do with synths/keyboards from this era!

This leaves me with just one issue that I've not been able to fix - no percussion on the lower manual. I'm tempted to live with the problem (percussion works fine on the top manual), especially as I need to put it back together shortly for it's next outing - but if anyone has experience with this issue and can give me any advice, that would be awesome.

The funny thing about the BX-3/CX-3 - i sold my first one after I bought a real hammond (T200) and didn't think it sounded 'real'' enough up against an actual hammond. But now I appreciate what it does, and through a leslie (or really good simulator like my Tube Rotosphere) it absolutely rocks!
wez prictor
composure music
http://www.composuremusic.com.au/

Australian importer of Crumar Mojo keyboards & accessories. Vintage keyboard fetishist.
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Re: Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby headman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:24 pm

is the percussion supposed to work on the lower manual? I never thought it was a feature.

It's a beauty all the same Wes.

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Re: Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby wez » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:15 pm

Hey Richard, yep there are separate percussion controls for both manuals. Ah well, I'm pretty lucky that it works at all!
wez prictor
composure music
http://www.composuremusic.com.au/

Australian importer of Crumar Mojo keyboards & accessories. Vintage keyboard fetishist.
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Re: Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby Cymatics » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:00 pm

I got a working BX-3 last year but sold it once i found a CX-3.
I agree they have their own sound - I even like it's built in Leslie sim. Even though the nord electro has a more realistic hammond b3 sound I use the CX more as an instrument in its own right. I put a moog phaser in the effects loop and then the out put into a frostwave resonator and space echo for the band I use it in, great sound!
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Re: Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby Thirteen » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:09 am

I had forgotten just how good the CX-3/BX-3 sound, I had a good play on a CX-3 last week, Korg really got everything right on those organs.
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Re: Vintage Korg BX-3 (Hammond clone) experience

Postby Thirteen » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:17 am

The percussion system looks pretty straightforward, it shouldn't be a difficult fix.
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