Hammond Solovox K Tone Cabinet

The instrument

The Solovox was designed by engineers Alan Young, John Hanert, Laurens Hammond (speaker cabinet) and George Stephens of the Hammond Organ Co and manufactured in the United States between 1940 and 1948. He is a monophonic ‘keyboard attachment’ instrument intended to accompany the piano with organ type lead voices – similar to the Gibson Clavioline. 


The three octave keyboard is connected to the electronic sound generation box, amplifier and speaker housing by three thick cables and derived it’s sound from a single LC oscillator with  a one octave frequency range – the signal from which was then passed through a series of 5 frequency dividers to create a further two octaves. The Solovox (J+K models) use two vibrating metal reeds modulate the oscillator frequency to create a vibrato effect. On the front below the keyboard were a series of large thumb operated buttons for oscillator range (switchable +/- 3 octaves: ‘soprano’, ‘contralto’,’tenor’ , ‘bass’), vibrato, attack time, ‘deep tone’, ‘full tone’, ‘1st voice’, 2nd voice’, ‘brilliant’ and a switch for selecting woodwind, string sound or mute. The Solovox is able to create a range of string, woodwind and organ type sounds and was widely used in light music of its time.