Before starting

Dan Vigin

Just born after World War II, in 1946, have spent a part of my youth in the Belgian Congo at that time with my parents. Around 9 yo, I have been selected to sing in a choral in the church of the Catholic college of Lubumbashi. The rehearsals took place in the chapel where a brand new organ Hammond B2 was just installed with two Leslie´s. I was more fascinated by the sound of this instrument than singing in the choral. I really was infected by this Hammond virus at that time, indeed, a long time ago (no anti-virus available so far…).

Later on, back in Belgium, I made my studies in electronic and built by myself an electronic organ (transistorized) as final project to obtain my graduation. Surprisingly, the built-in reverberation unit was already an Hammond spring device.
After my military obligations, I started to work a few months in a research laboratory and afterwards I was hired by Wurlitzer to repair organs in Belgium. I had the great opportunity there to work with Robert De Kers, who was giving organ courses to customers and was allowed to attend those courses. Later on, slightly, I move from technician to Wurlitzer demonstrators and salesman. My wages were not sufficient to live comfortably (just married) so to supplement my incomes, I was repairing organs as a side business. Repairing organs means more Hammonds than others. This situation stood several years, thats where I acquired a certain expertise with many types of organs, tone cabinets, electronic drummers, guitar amps, etc..

The perspectives with Wurlitzer were not encouraging to envisage a real career. To be noted that Hammond had a factory in Antwerp at that time and they were very agressive on a commercial standpoint contrarily to Wurlitzer. So, I decided to move in the industry and I was hired by Marantz-Europe. By the way, I bought my first Hammond L100PS with Leslie 122 (assembled in Antwerp) just after having left Wurlitzer. I stayed 17 years with Marantz and ended as technical director for the European market. Marantz company was repurchased by the Philips group in 1983 and was assigned as Key-Account manager in telecommunication sector.

During my stay with Marantz, I was forced to travel a lot (Far-East, USA, Europe, Africa, Middle-East..) and unfortunately had not enough time to play organ on a regular basis. Business first, no other alternative ! Since several years, travelling abroad was declining and the Hammond virus, that was still in sleepiness, reappeared again.