Before there were Microwaves, Cell Phones & CD’s
IN the 1960’s while still a teenager, I was very interested in both electronics and music. I played String Bass in the School Orchestra and hung out at the local Radio Shack on the weekends. I always hoped I might get a job in a TV repair shop. My vision was that the TV shop owner would train me and when he retired, I would take over the business. Then I would have a business of my own.
One of my first jobs out of high school was at a grocery store as a stocker back when checkers memorized all the prices and punched them into the register manually. Of course I was still hanging out at Radio Shack when I could. Finally, Mike the manager said “why don’t you come to work for Radio Shack and get paid for all the time your spending here?” Well, I did and was in working bliss.
In 1969 after only four months, I was drafted into the Army. There, I had the opportunity to formally study Electronics and I soaked it up like a sponge. Finally I was learning what all those little blue, orange and brown electronic things actually were. More importantly, I learned what they did and how electronics worked.
The Music World is Introduced to Quadraphonic
In 1971 I returned to Radio Shack and soon became the Manager of my own store. I also decided to pursue more Electronics Study. I began a Correspondence Course where I built a Heathkit Color Television, along with an assortment of various Test Equipment products. I still wanted to work with electronics but more deeply than just selling electronic products.
After two years of being a Manager, I decided to transfer to the Radio Shack Service Center as a technician.
Making the Decision to Pursue Electronic Service
In 1973 after transferring into the repair center of Radio Shack, I really began to learn the craft of repair. I continued to study the course at night and apply my new knowledge at work during the day.
Still being interested in all things musical, I was discussing a sound I had heard on a record to a coworker. It was the Leslie effect on a Hammond Organ. It turned out that he had a Hammond Organ he wanted to sell! Well, I bought it. It was an L-100 model with a Leslie 145. It was used in a band and needed lots of attention. I decided to repair it myself so I located the local Hammond Organ Store and ordered a Service Manual. While there I was amazed to see all the instruments and especially the guys working on Organs in the shop. (And getting paid for it!)
The Year they Stopped Making the Hammond B-3
In 1975 I left Radio Shack and went to work for Holcombe Lindquist as an Organ Technician. At last I was really enjoying my work! I found Organs to be very different to work on compared to what I had been doing. A whole new world was opening up to me.
Working on Organs allowed me to be around both Electronics and Music at the same time. I loved the music store community. A place where it was difficult to get your sales people to work late because they had booked a gig for that night! We serviced Hammonds and Leslies, Kimball Organs, and Rodgers Church Organs. Plus we serviced all kinds of trade-in models and brands.
You can make more Money Repairing Organs than Playing Them
In 1978, after three years with Holcombe Lindquist, I decided to go into business on my own. I started Benton Electronics in October of that year and shortly after that I started playing in a local top 40 band.
In the beginning of my business I was able to get by because of both incomes but after about 4 years the Company started to really take off. In fact so did the band! By around 1987 I decided to quit the band business and focus entirely on Benton Electronics.
We now average nearly 1000 service calls a year!
You Can Still Hear the Music
Also, in 1987, after leaving the band scene, I began to get more involved in Church. I was searching for something more meaningful in life and found faith in God that changed my life!
I was embraced by people who didn’t know me for what I did for a living and didn’t like me for what I might be able to do for them. (Like is so often case in business) Rather, they were concerned for me spiritually. They wanted to make sure I was living life to its fullest and were there to help me. Cool!
A big surprise was that they embraced my music as well. I thought I had retired from music and suddenly, I was in demand. Playing in Church has broadened my horizons musically and more importantly, taught me the importance of communicating with my audience. So, the music lives on!
Check out all the latest news from Benton Electronics on our Blog including:
- Acquisition of a Yamaha FX-1
- Hammond Super B Project
- Current Keyboard Setups
- Current Church Setup
- Computer Specs