Why I Love My Hammond

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From: Theatre Organ November/December 1995

Page 42, The ETONES Column

by Jack Moelmann

featured note by Charles Wood of Pelham, New York


by Charles Wood


1. Most importantly, the Hammond organ is there when I want it. Like my piano, it is reliable and it is in tune. I can expect repeatable performance; it is a calibrated instrument. My practicing and registration over the years has the same constancy a I would expect when I use my workbench or a set of dishes. You get out what you put in, but this organ does not drop out along the way.

2. The console is by far the most comfortable and accessible that I have ever played. The tone switches are easy to see and to control. The keys are reliable and are still in great shape, although the organ was built more than 50 years ago in the very arliest days of plastics. The music rack is placed just right: low. The pedals are radial and concave. The bench comfortably seats three, so there is plenty of room for music. (on his model anyway-ed!) Hammond was always regarded for its fine woodwork

3. Although I have a pipe organ across the room, I only play the Hammond during the summer months. During this time, the pipes are badly out of tune and there have been assorted valving problems. The blower always runs pistol-hot and is a source of hea , which I do not need. I use this season to flush-out the classical cobwebs. Besides, with the windows open, my neighbor prefers Romberg over Pachelbel.

4. My Hammond actually is jealous of the pipes and thinks that it is a tracker organ. The characteristics are all there: clacky keys, lots of chiffy click, a noticeable sag on the full chords, and even a cipher. The crazy mutations are legend. But, li e a tracker, the Hammond is best played with determination to overcome primitive technology. It is a bare bones, no-nonsense, in-your-face sound.

5. Too many have gotten carried away with gimmicks on the modern electronics. Those organs let you sit back and wallow in tonal rainbows. A lot of people have bought an organ instead of a piano because there isn't much registration on a piano. Think o Itsaak Perlman with his Stradivarius. Now that guy really plays the fiddle! Ask: would you, the organist, really be satisfied to have only four strings to make your music? That Strad is worth millions, but would you really practice on it? I wouldn't! However, I am willing to compromise and "play" my Hammond. If you don't "play" it, you get nothin'.

6. I register the pieces that I play and very gradually work them up over the years. After awhile, if I hear a familiar piece on the radio, I wonder why it sounds wrong. I really live with these arrangements. If I play one and it doesn't sound right, t's an indication that something is wrong with my system.

7. I don't play the Franck "Chorale" on the Hammond. But then, I don't play the piece at all. I do play "Beautiful Dreamer," a scenario from "Carousel" and "Tico-Tico". Lots of pieces were arranged explicitly for the Hammond and many don't really work on other organs. Ethel Smith's "Souvenir Album" is an example. It requires lightening fast action and all kinds of accents. Other great arrangers were Charles Cronham, Dave Coleman and Bill Irwin. They took advantage of a basic Hammond concert: linear addition. Most theatre organs are "unified," whereby there is no more sound if you play the same rank and pitch on two separate manuals. Not so with Hammond, which electrically increases the sound of identical tones. here is the reason why detailed inn r parts are heard more clearly. Only the latest digitals are beginning to incorporate this feature.

8. Nostalgia. Remember that the Hammond was invented in a time when people actually practiced and then played for each other. In my neighborhood, after dinner, I often heard thee "Ab Polonaises," some Benny Goodman, and a decent "Lady of Spain," nightl . Everyone had a piano, although most kids hated lessons. the schools flourished with choirs and bands; live music was everywhere. As a teenager, I played an E.M. Skinner pipe organ and found it dull sounding and sluggish. At college, the Hammonds wer popular and fun; many of us were hooked. Afterwards, I traveled to distant places with no recognizable culture, such as the Army, North Dakota. I usually found a chapel with a Hammond.

9. In this vein, I believe that the Hammond organ allowed some, of lesser magnitute, to compete in the world of music. How many became church organists even though they were pianists and couldn't pedal? What about those who did backup in a band, and wi l never pedal? I'll bet that more than a few ATOS (American Theatre Organ Society-Ed) luminaries first played the Hammond.

10. Admittedly, I have searched for and found just the right Hammond. Also true, I might have serious problems with a self-contained, 13-pedal job, without presets. Mine is a Model E (quite rare) which has an extra generator, two swell shoes, a great p dal coupler and an AGO pedalboard. The keyboard 16' pitches go all the way down. I have replaced some primitive tube circuits and smoothed out the tonal response. I don't use Hammond't tone cabinets but I do use a fancy audio system which includes a De tronix vibrato, a Bigson phaseshifter and Alessis reverbs, along with equalizers and active dividers. I don't fool around.

My Grandma's M-1

Return-Path: VANCLA@aol.com
Delivery-Date: Sat, 19 Oct 96 00:53:18 GMT
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 21:53:54 -0400
From: VANCLA@aol.com
To: hammond@theatreorgans.com
Subject: My Grandma's M-1

This year I was lucky enough to be the recipient of my Grandma's Hammond. My Grandpa bought it for her in 1949 when she began playing the organ in church and needed to be able to practice at home. My younger sister played the organ in church at age 11 and learned to play on that same M1. I also took lessons but never was inclined to play much more than to play so I could sing. This year I sang at a wedding. The first time I have sung solo in 10 years. Luckily I had my Hammond to practice with. After I had the motor replaced, the sound was strong and the tones were as true as ever. The $300 I spent on getting it cleaned and a refurbished motor (after it had been in the garage at Grandma's for a few years), was definitely the best investment I could have made in my children's musical futures.

Hammond Envy

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Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 10:49:46 -0400
From: Bluez59@aol.com
To: Hammond@theatreorgans.com
Subject: Hammond Envy

Soul,expression, life.. Hammond organs (the classic B-3 and C-3 models) have the ability to be expressive. Finally keyboardists could scream, wail, and cry along with the saxaphones, electric guitars, and of course human voices. Certain instruments (Pianos that have been played by great players, certain guitars and violins, and I imagine saxaphones) can bring out new styles of expression in a player The Leslie Hammond combination was one of those magical combinations that allows you to play in ways you hadn't considered before. One finger on a Hammond can express more than all your fingers and patch changes on a synth offer. It's a magical experience. I once got a standing ovation in a studio session from the band and engineers for playing a simple slide and a couple of notes on an intro with the appropriate Leslie changes. I have spent weeks working out intricate piano parts without anywhere near the reaction that simple slide achieved. God Bless Don Leslie and Mr Hammond for allowing us this kind of expression.

Why I Love My Hammond

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Delivery-Date: Thu, 26 Sep 96 05:11:44 GMT
From: DIGMAN@ix.netcom.com (Bob)
To: hammond@theatreorgans.com
Subject: Why I love my Hammond
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 06:11:31 GMT


My name is Bob Barnes, I'm 37 years old and have been a musician since the age of 11. I'm from a musical family so I've been around organs and guitars since I was a child. My first contact with a Hammond was on an M-3 owned by an aunt of mine. It had no leslie but it was fun to mess around with. I started playing both guitar and organ at the same time (my parents had a Thomas Organ) I really fell for the Hammond /leslie sound listening to Jon Lord and Keith Emerson. I loved the way the organ seemed to "blast-off " when the rotors kicked in. The sound of it "winding-up" on a chord or note from slow to fast ......still my favorite.

I got my first M-3 in 1986 for $200.00. Someone had already modified it for stage by removing the bass pedals. I went one step further and constructed a porta-B style case for it, rewired the amp to bypass the final stage and ran it through a modified wurlitzer version of a leslie, powered by a Peavy amp. It actually sounded pretty good for what it was. In 1990 I came across a 1959 C-3 for $700.00. Naturally I grabbed it right up. I actually always preffered the C over the B because it's a little more road worthy. I also came across a '73 (?) leslie 245. Being a rock & blues player I modified the organ and leslie (what else?) The organ is basically original except that I split the tone tube grid input and wired in an effects loop, I then Installed a guitar pre-amp so I now have EQ, overdrive, presence and reverb on the organ. It works really slick. It has that "Blast-off" power and sound I came to love. The leslie was de-amped, lightened and setup for touring. It's powered by a 130 watt power amp. The motor relay was revamped with a DC coil unit with 15 amp contacts. No spikes or pops at all!!

Nowadays, the old C-3 sits in my recording studio next to a Model 730. I use a Voce Micro-B running through the 245 for the small clubs. The micro ain't perfect, but through the rotors it's the closest thing out there in that vain. But I do use the C-3 on recordings constantly.

To me the Hammond is the one instument that can go from spiritual soulfulness all the way to raw madness and everything in-between.

Long live the Hammond

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated....

Return-Path: rosenwas@tcnj.edu
Delivery-Date: Thu, 26 Sep 96 20:42:03 GMT
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 17:35:39 -0700
From: Jersey Shore Baby - rosenwas@TCNJ.EDU
To: hammond@theatreorgans.com
Subject: Often imitated, never duplicated, and all that . . .
X-URL: http://theatreorgans.com/whyham.htm

The Hammond organ is the voice of God. End of story. (This from a nice Jewish boy who has no associations with the church.)

I can't say exactly where my love affair with the Hammond sound began, but it was certainly somewhere in the murk of elementary or junior high school when I first began to listen to rock'n'roll music. It could have been "Layla," or Springsteen, or my choice for the U.S. national anthem, "Green Onions." Who knows. But when I first began to experiment in the studio, at age 16, it was the organ sound I'd strive for, even when the equipment was the farthest thing from a Hammond you could imagine (think Casio).

But at age 19, I recorded a four-song demo in a Jerusalem (Israel) studio. The studio was a converted living room, the centerpiece being a Hammond M3 surrounded by a host of other (lesser) keyboards and his recording rig. The owner of the studio was a character himself: a newly-practicing Hasidic Jew from South America who refused to give up his musical equipment or his Frank Zappa collection when he found religion. But I digress. I sat and played that organ for hours, all through the recording set-up time and long after I was done. This was it, the real thing, no more piddling little noiseboxes anymore. I had a Hammond on my demo and I was in heaven.

I didn't get to record with a Hammond again until about two years ago, when I did a rather unique cover of Springsteen's "Glory Days" which spotlighted the Hammond -- a B3 this time, talk about heaven -- amidst the chaos of tribal jungle jazz drums and crunchy guitars. Now, whenever I look for a studio, I specifically seek out those that have a Hammond in-house.

Ah, you ask, why don't I have my own? . . . the usual dire straits and lack of space to put such a big machine in a small apartment. Owing to these factors (although the space factor could be overcome, if need be) I am currently playing a Viscount D9, which is an XB2 wanna-be minus many of latter instrument's features. It does sound good through my Leslie, though. But have no fear. My ship will come in, and rest assured that said ship will be bearing my dream: The B3. And maybe an XB3 right next to it, for the sake of all the modern conveniences.

The most heart-rending stories of how others manged to acquire their B3's came to me as I was shopping for a studio here on the Jersey Shore. At least two studios told me similar stories, of how there was a bar or restaurant across the street or somewhere else nearby where an old guy would come to play the organ for the customers every Sunday afternoon. The old man went on his way, either to Florida or to the next world, and the Hammond remained in the bar with no one to play it. Studio owner just happens to be in the bar, asks who the organ belongs to, bar owner says it belonged to the old man, it's yours if you can carry it away. Thus studio owner ends up with B3, free of charge. Similar story in Asbury Park when Tusting Piano closed . . . one instrument left in the whole place, a B3. Studio owner carts it away, it's his for nothing. I can only ask: Where was I when these deals were going down?

But, like I said . . . my ship will come in . . .

Heshy, a/k/a Jersey Shore Baby rosenwas@tcnj.edu

Why I Love My Hammond

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Delivery-Date: Sat, 28 Sep 96 01:00:56 GMT
From: "Steve Leigh" - stleigh@ibm.net
To: "hammond@theatreorgans.com" -hammond@theatreorgans.com
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 96 21:57:18
Reply-To: "Steve Leigh" stleigh@ibm.net
Priority: Normal
Return-Receipt-To: stleigh@ibm.net

Why I Love My Hammond Organ

It's a combination of reasons. For one, other people love it. It's very easy to feel positive when you receive a lot of positive feedback from the people you play for. Down here - in Tampa, Florida - all I have to do is roll in an A100 or a B3, and a Leslie or two, and the fun begins. People whom I've never met wander over and begin a Hammond discussion. Other keyboard players get that starving look in their eyes, and jump at the chance to play it. On Monday night blues jams, the guys wait around all night for their turn on it. All the local blues players show great enthusiasm, even when it's time to load it in the truck. Back in the old days, I used to have to ask for help - now people practically get in line to move it. People of all ages seem very attracted to Hammonds, and it seems that the level of general knowledge is improving daily. I rarely hear people calling an A a B3 anymore, just because it says "Hammond" on it. Awareness is definitely on the upswing.

A Hammond A, B, or C adds something to the sound of R&B or blues that's not going to be found elsewhere. Depending upon how it's played, it can be very fat, or very thin. With a lot of restraint, it can be one of the most tasteful instruments in an R&B group, or it can dominate the group's sound. What can you do -except- love it?

I've got a small collection right now: 2 B3s and an A100, a few 122 Leslies, and a 147 Leslie. More are on the way, though. Everything's in excellent condition; my late model 1973 B is immaculate. I've been doing my own tech/service work for nearly 25 years. That's a big part of the fun, too. Tearing one down to an empty wooden box, and cleaning, polishing, rebuilding. When the work is finally finished, sometimes several weeks later, it's a great feeling to crank it up and hear that famous Hammond sound.

Hammonds are sort of a world of their own. I think you have to have one, play it to death, resolve problems with it, lug it around, and try your best to protect it from bangs, scrapes, and damage to understand the feeling. Anyway, I certainly love mine!

Steve Leigh stleigh@ibm.net

Canine Training - Lutz, Florida


Return-Path: sbrush@boris.infomagic.com
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 1996 22:16:34 +0000
From: Tom McMillian
To: hammond@theatreorgans.com
Subject: Why I love my Hammond
X-Url: http://theatreorgans.com/hammond/whyham.htm

At age 12 I had my first keyboard gig. I was the envy of all the keyboard players around because I owned a Farfisa organ with a Gibson amp. But then I remember listening to a local group where the keyboard player had some kind of small hammond and a Leslie. However he placed the Leslie behind the stage curtain while playing. Afterwards I asked him why the Leslie was placed there. He told me that the rig belong to his mother and that he didn't want anyone to see it. That was my first hammond/Leslie experience.

Later on the band I played with was booked to play a battle of the bands at a local car show. I can remember the moment when I walked in and saw our main competition. The band, called the Air Tweesers, sported a keyboard player who of course played a B-3 but, who had four, count them, four Leslie 122's. This was the very first time I heard what the awesome sound of a B-3 and Leslie could really sound like. I knew I had to own one. Needless to say, the price tag of a new B-3 ($3,600) and Leslie ($700) was out of my price range for a now 14 year old. So I managed to find a blond Hammond M-3 which I paid $500 for and rented a Leslie 147 for it for $27.00/month. It was the coolest sound I ever heard. I could now play Santana and Allman Bros. covers. Never mind that I couldn't play them lick for lick, the fat sound of the hammond covered my ass (when in doubt, play the high 7th and or 9th with the Leslie screaming).

Over the years, as I got older and the B-3 was no longer made, I was able to afford other models of the hammond (L-100, CV, B-2) but never THE B-3. Then after getting out of graduate school, I started a career. I put aside the avocation that not only put me through college but provided hours of pleasure. For 12 years I was retired.

Now, if that was the end of the story, it wouldn't be worth reporting. However five years ago I went to see a childhood friend and fellow musician who was (and still is) the drummer for a well known 70's band (The Association). While taking a sound check, the band broke into the classic number of In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. The sound of the Hammond B-3 was almost like a wake up call. I promised myself that even though I was not currently playing, I would go out and find the best B-3 I could (I still owned my CV and a Leslie 122). After all, I was no longer a musician but a professional and now I could afford one. Two weeks later after calling a number of hammond repair shops in my state, I was referred to a women whose Grandmother had willed her the families Hammond B-3. I bought it sight un-seen. It turned out to be of Cherry finish which I understand is somewhat rare.

Today, That B-3 is sitting in my living room with another mint Leslie 122 (the story how I came across that is for another time). However I am currently playing again using a hammond-suzuki XB-2 when the stage is small and my now overhauled CV w/percussion for larger gigs. I have taken the B-3 out on very big gigs but I personally oversee the handling of it.

So.......the reason I love my hammond is that it made me return to my life long passion and; because there is no sound on this green earth that can stir the endorphins like the fat/percussive sound of a hammond b-3 screaming through two 122 Leslie1s. Thats why! Tom

B-3 Forever

From: Steve Beach
Subject: B-3 Forever

I'll never forget the first time I played a Hammond organ. I was fifteen years old, and my band was playing a Satuday night dance at a lakeside dancehall in Southern Ontario. We were the opening act for a group from upstate New York, I don't recall their name. The stage wasn't so big, so I tried not to take up too much room with my Electohome Concord spinet and 145 Leslie.

Once the other group arrived, they asked if I would mind using their organ, rather than have two organs on stage. I agreed, provided they would show me a little about how the Hammond worked (drawbars, presets, etc.)

After they did their soundcheck, the organ player let me have a go on his brand new Hammond B-3 with two 122 Leslies. Well, I have never had or heard so much power and control in an instrument in my life. I kind of equate it to sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the first time - putting both hands on the manuals, your right foot high up on the volume pedal, your left foot down on the pedals and just cruising down the highway. When he showed me how the drawbars and C3 chorus/vibrato affected the sound, I was in absolute heaven.

That night during our set, it was awesome. I could compete sonically with all the loud drummers and guitar players, and if I wanted to say something musically, I could be heard, with some to spare. The variety of tone and dynamics I could get out of this instrument were incredible. I was hooked. Well, a year later I had my first B-3. Today, almost 30 years later I'm on my third B-3, as well as an M-3.

I hope I don't offend anyone, but that first time on the Hammond organ is probably as memorative to me as me first sexual experience. Awesome. Thank you Mr. Hammond.

Steve Beach,
Brantford, Ontario

Email to the PIPEORG-L Group, by John Ledwon

X-POP3-Rcpt: jkautz@Edison
Return-Path: <@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU:owner-piporg-l@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Date:         Wed, 13 Dec 1995 17:14:00 -0800
Reply-To: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
Sender: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
From: John Ledwon 
Subject:      Hammonds
To: Multiple recipients of list PIPORG-L 

As a person who has both a theatre pipe organ and a Hammond, let me say that
there are times when I enjoy the Hammond as much as the pipes. I have a
model BC Hammond which indicates two tone generators...one slightly detuned
from the main generator and called the chorus generator. Turn this generator
on (with a drawbar in the upper right hand corner of the console, just above
the Start/Run swirches) and the sound becomes most unHammond with a gentle
undulating celeste like sound. Not good with the Leslies on but a really
interesting sound that most people will not detect as a Hammond. All the
regular drawbars act on the chorus generator also.

My particular Hammond has on the rear name plate "The Hammond Clock Company"
and has a serial number in the 3000's so it manufacture date is in the late
1930's. Everything is still original (except the original AC wiring which I
had replaced for safty) without a single electronic component (except tubes)
replaced. Early Hammonds have  "painted" solder connections so it is easy to
tell where there has been a component change. It has two Leslies with
different speeds on all four rotors so as to give a sort of multiple tremolo

All in all a really fun instrument to play, very forgiving...leave it
untouched for months and it starts right up without any complaints...not
many 60 year old anythings can offer that kind of service!

True, it's not an organ, but it stands right up there as its own musical
instrument. And, as Dan said in an earlier posting, it has also served me
well professionally.

Long live the Hammond.

From: Todd A. Phipps

While I've only been playing for about 6 years, and am more into the rock an jazz veins, I find the Hammond to be a challenging and encouraging instrument. Its action is easy to deal with despite on-and-off problems with repetetive motion injury from work. My B-3 always starts and is always ready to fill the house with music, not to mention having all those real-time controls over the overall sound that modern synths lack. I question the instrument's ability to really tackle the theatre styles, as I like to hear that style (and classical too for that matter) on a real pipe organ. But, who can fit a big pipe organ in their living rooms? :-) BTW It's nice to see an interest in organs, and Hammonds in particular, on the Inernet. Thanks - you've got a cool site here!

Email to the PIPEORG-L Group, by Monty Bennett Edited for content

X-POP3-Rcpt: jkautz@Edison
Return-Path: <@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU:owner-piporg-l@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Date:         Tue, 23 Jan 1996 02:26:55 -0500
Reply-To: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
Sender: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
From: "R. Monty Bennett" 
Subject:      Hammond "organs"
To: Multiple recipients of list PIPORG-L 

I just wanted to add a comment about Hammonds.  If it wasn't for
the church model Hammond (C-100  I think) that my first piano teacher 
had in her living room, I probably would not be playing the organ today.  
As I was playing the prelude to our Sunday evening service yesterday, I was
thinking back to the first time that she let me play the Hammond.  
I had a tutorial on how to start the organ, and then she showed
me the vibrato, and then she showed me how to make a sleigh-bell effect.
 After that first "organ lesson," the last 5 or 10 minutes of my hour long
piano lesson were spent playing the pieces that I had memorized for the
previous week's lesson on the organ.  The church I grew up in had an old
Allen model TC-3, and it was not very inspiring, but the Hammond could do 
all sorts of neat things.  When I began formal organ lessons while in 
junior high school, I bought a Hammond A-100.  I practiced on it faithfully
 and it served my purpose well.  When I for my first church job at age 11, 
I was unable to go to the church and practice on the pipe organ as 
much as I wanted (since I couldn't drive :) so I spent many hours at my
Hammond.  All those hours of playing the Hammond must have helped me--
I've won a handful of AGO competitions, I've toured across the country 
and in England playing concerts, and I'm very privileged to preside 
at one of America's largest instruments (the 5man, 205 rank Moller) at 
Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I think that there are probably many more organists who began in much the
same way as I did on a Hammond.  So, while the Hammond organ may not be the
greatest sounding electric organ ever invented, it has served me well--I
wouldn't be where I am now without it.

Monty Bennett
Associate Minister of Music/Organist
Calvary Church, Charlotte, NC

Email to the PIPEORG-L Group, by Cullie Mowers Edited for content

X-POP3-Rcpt: jkautz@Edison
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Date:         Sat, 20 Jan 1996 23:37:40 -0500
Reply-To: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
Sender: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
From: - Cullie Mowers 
Subject:      "Pipe guy" likes Hammonds
To: Multiple recipients of list PIPORG-L 

For musical and financial reasons, I'm convinced that only an actual
pipe organ is an adequate instrument for pipe organ literature, be it
classical or "popular."
  HOWEVER -- the big Hammonds (not the near-useless spinets) are another
species entirely, and they are absolutely irreplaceable, either by pipes or
other electronics, for many kinds of music. In gospel music, in a good deal
of rock and pop, in soul music, and in some styles of jazz, there is simply
nothing that can replace that sound. What else accounts for the still-active
market for B-3s, instruments that haven't been manufactured for more years
than some people on PIPORG-L have been alive? I'll agree that many churches
with a Hammond would be far better off with a good pipe organ, because the
Hammond simply cannot get their sort of music right. I can appreciate the
frustration of organists trained in "pipe-type" repertoire and technique
(classical or "popular") who must try to do what they've been trained to do,
on a Hammond.
   But there is vast musical potential, tonal beauty and emotional power in
those whirling magnetized wheels and slowly rotating speakers which cannot be
realized otherwise. The instruments are ingeniously designed, very well-made,
and indefinitely maintainable. They are masterpieces of American
instrument-building art and technology. I would not recommend them for any of
the congregations I deal with; I would also not recommend them as practice
instruments if *any* decent pipe option were possible. But the ravings of
those who advocate vandalizing or mutilating them are frankly infuriating.
Just because they are not pipe organs does *not* mean that they are not
high-quality, valuable, versatile and useful instruments. Don't bad-mouth
Hammonds because somebody put one in a situation foreign to its nature.

  Cullie Mowers

Email to the PIPEORG-L Group, by Jack Moelmann Edited for content

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Date:         Sun, 21 Jan 1996 02:13:59 EST
Reply-To: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
Sender: Pipe Organs and Related Topics 
Subject:      That Wonderful Hammond Organ
To: Multiple recipients of list PIPORG-L 

 If it weren't for the Hammond Organ, most of us involved with the
Theatre Organ wouldn't be doing what we do now, and maybe other organs,
including classical, as well.   The church organ was a given many long
years ago, but the Hammond, whatever you want to call it, got people
interested in organ music once again by its presence in roller rinks, bars,
nightclubs, TV soap operas, any place where there was an outlet to plug it
in.  People can call it a toaster, a plug-in, or whatever.  I have found
that those that call it by bad names are those than don't know how to play
one (I mean the Hammond).   And the ability to play a Hammond is not
necessarily the keyboard technique (because they had one of the lightest
touches there ever was on an organ whether you like it or not), but they
didn't know how to operate the drawbars.  Even though later models put 8',
4', 2', whatever and the mutations engraved on the drawbars, people didn't
know how to adjust them for the sound.  Many of the pieces of sheet music
which came out in the earlier years usually had pipe organ registrations as
well as Hammond organ registrations -- just dial in the numbers and it was
suppose to sound like something.  Just like drawing the pipe organ stops
listed on the sheet music, it was suppose to sound like something.  Well,
with all due respect to Porter Heaps, and those that rendered the drawbar
settings, and those that listed the pipe organ stops, it would sound (to
probably quote Texx) LIKE HELL!!!
        I have been around Hammonds (and pipe organs, both classical and
theatre) for years, and other electronics as well.  In fact, when I first
entered the Air Force in 1965, I was the organist in the base chapels (yes
two of them, I don't remember how many services on a Sunday).  In those
days, the military had a contract with Hammond (today Allen has the
contract for the military chapels) and they (Hammond) are the ones that
provided the organs for the Army and Air Force Chapels.  You know why --
reliability.  They even had a field model for the Army -- handles on each
end, take it anywhere, probably even in the M.A.S.H. environment, and it
would work, no tuning, no maintenance, no nothing, but produced a sound,
and my opinion a good one.   Turn off the vibrato, and it sounded "close"
to a classical organ (now, I am not saying pipe organ).  When I played
Hammond in the base chapels, I even used it with a large choir, orchestra,
and we did the entire Messiah, organ and all.
        I have played in the nightclubs, bars, etc. organ and piano and
both at the same time.  Put a "high-boy" Leslie (model 31H) and a PR-40 or
Hr-40 with a good reverb system, drummer, and saxophone, and it is quite a
combo that people enjoyed.  Even played in skating rinks, but there you
have to follow a metronome to make sure the skaters don't get messed up
with the tempo (I didn't particurarly care for that).
        I still have two Hammonds, an H-100 up at my house at Lake Geneva,
Wisconsin.  I do a "concert" every summer (past few years) for the ATOS
Dairyland Chapter there, and an L-100 spinet here at the house.  This is of
course in addition to my Rodgers 340 with pipes which is a very good
electronic Theatre Organ if I do say so myself.  For those that talk about
the electronic organs, Hammond, or whatever as the plug-in, sparkers,
toasters, etc, I always respond by saying that in many cases the Pipe Organ
is also a "plug-in" however, it is normally "hard-wired" in because it
certainly takes a lot more "juice" to run the blower, power supply, etc
than most electronics.
        I have played pipe organs, both classical and theatre, electronic
organs of every size and description, reed organs, trackers, tubular
pneumatics, you name it.  The only one that I couldn't really deal with was
the Magnus Chord organ or even the Hammond Chord Organ, but each and
everyone of them has a place in musical history, has a type of music
designed for its use, and can be adapted to anything.  The only problem I
ever had was playing the Widor Toccata on a Hammond B-3 because the high F
in the pedal wasn't there on the 25 note pedal board. SO WHAT, start at the
F below it, and then meet up with the high C.  It can be done.
        Just as another comment, my Rodgers has the 30" EV woofer everyone
has been talking about because the organ has the 32' bourdon on it, and the
16' diaphone and some other pedal stops come through it.  Sounds great,
shakes the room, and I have only cracked two walls with it, when I first
got it, the cracks have stopped cracking.
        That's my message.  Hammonds are great. The two I have still have
some of their original tubes in them after 30+ years, with the Hammond name
on them.  Had to replace a tube a couple of months ago, though, and it cost
me about $22 for the thing. One could get them years ago for under $1.00

        Hang in there.  Hammond Forever..............

Jack Moelmann 

Return-Path: <102032.3432@compuserve.com>
Delivery-Date: Thu, 18 Sep 97 04:15:28 GMT
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 00:06:52 -0400
From: "Eric D. Johnson" <102032.3432@compuserve.com>
Subject: Why I love my Hammond
To: "jkautz@theatreorgans.com"
Content-Disposition: inline

Why I love my Hammond is really quite simple, it sounds great. I'm actually a pipe organ builder that is well respected in the trade who also happens to own a pipe organ, reed organ, and a Hammond, all squezed into one house.

The Hammond that I have is a model CV from 1946 with an eighty-five note generater. The bottom several notes of the 16' pedal are actually a resultant. Hammond did not build many of these and to tell the truth, it's a good thing, the bass is weak, but it is truly rare.

Coupled to this console I have a model DR-20 tone cabinet and a model 31H Leslie, which is running as the main cabinet. Yes, it really is a tall boy Leslie,and what a noise it makes. It has the Jenson horn drivers for the treble and a 15" driver for the bass with rotating drum,(it also has stepped pullies to vary the speed to which I have also added a triac to get continous speed control).Both cabinets have dynamic speakers which means no magnets, just lots of voltage and I believe a much warmer and controled sound. Between the two cabinets I have about 80 to 100 Watts of power, but it seems like 200 to 300, Just the 31H leslie filled a room of 2500 people every Sunday. For those of you who are not sure what to put in your oil filled reverb units,believe it or not WD-40 works incredibably well, this I learned in San Diego from the Hammond nut's out there.

After that minor drift it's easy to see why Hammonds can be so much fun, the excite the musician and the technophile and the organbuilder. One thing I always like to say is that Hammond set out to duplicate the sound of the pipe organ but failed miserably, but in the so doing created a sound so new and different that it created a whole new genrea for itself. Long live the Hammond and the select tone cabinets,PR-40,HR-40,Hi-boy and Lo-boy Leslies. As an aside, who really does have a working model G, my old foreman owned one a long time ago, just wondered if any are still alive.

From: 106747.3563@compuserve.com
Delivery-Date: Tue, 16 Sep 97 21:01:58 GMT
Subject: Why I love my Hammond...

I first heard a Hammond organ in 1987. The next year, I finally tracked down an immaculate C3 with Leslie 147. My life changed forever. Despite the hernia of getting the thing upstairs, I have enjoyed every minute. I cannot tell you how much my playing has improved. The instrument breathes. It is like "Look, stop messing around and just PLAY!"

But now great sadness. My Hammond is ill. It's pre-amp died on New Years Day and I haven't been able to find anyone who can fix it. If anyone can help (East Anglia, UK) please let me know. 106747.3563@compuserve.com. Thank you Laurens & Don.

Delivery-Date: Tue, 09 Dec 97 11:28:20 GMT
From: norssi
Subject: My T-522

Well, the reason I love my Hammond is simple: it has the sound. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time... that is, one Pentecostal church here in Finland. They told me they were trying to get rid of it and/or trade it. We were playing there and the guys were joking around about me. The subject was just simple: "If only you could get the Hammond away from here!". After two months (and several thoughts) I made a clean trade with the church... KORG X3 and Roland PMA-5 away... Hammond in! So, I got a T-522 scan with built-in Leslie, made in 1974. The owner said that it was the last one with mechanical Leslie and not that electronic mess!  A friend is coming today to clean it up and then I wiil take it to the church!!! Can't wait to have it there... The Hammond truly is the voice of God 'cause in its sound we hear the majesty of God and by its ending we know and feel the grace of God :) ). I want to wish all you Hammond players all the best & good gigs! Let's keep it up together, guys!

Delivery-Date: Mon, 16 Feb 98 01:20:31 GMT
From: Boba1221@aol.com
Subject: Why I love HAMMONDS!

It was last year when I heard my first Hammond "Drawbar" type organ. I heard the L-102 and Leslie at the catholic church I now attend. Those contemporary hymns played on the Leslie/ Hammond combination caught my ear like a three barbed fish hook. So for the past year I have been "Imitating" a Hammond on a Casio keyboard. A month ago, I finally went up to the organist and introduced myself. After having a conversation on Hammonds, the organist recomended I get a small spinet organ.(I don't have the space for a B-3) I looked around at the local organ dealers, and found a Hammond Aurora (Model 8122) with a built in two speed leslie for $525! I have now had it since February 13, 1998 (Only Three Days before writing this!) It is enough to impress people when they visit and it is all solid state. The Leslie knocks your socks off! In conclusion, I don't know what attracts me to Hammond Organs, but they sure draw me in! I would also like to say that Spinets are not useless like some B-3 players say. Us spinet users can rock with the Big boys also! Marty Ftacek

Delivery Date: March 22, 1998
From: Mbr1946@aol.com
Subject: Why I love HAMMONDS!

I have had a B-3, an M-3, and a 1977 Grande. I played the B-3 for 30 years all across America. I recorded 3 albums with it, and it NEVER broke down. The M-3 was my travel organ, for little fun jobs on off days. I had 2 Leslie 22's, 2 142's, and 2 PR-40's for the organs. I always used 2 Leslie's and 2 Hammond cabinets in the clubs. I also had a Solovox for a while, with a Fisher Space-Expander Reverd built into the B-3. Martin Bozel beefed-up my percussion for me.

It was the finest sound ever. I played the St. Petersburg Beach clubs for 15 years, with Lenny Dee down the street. Organs were king....and things have certainly changed! I now have a great Hammond Grande in the music room, that does just about everything. Miss that B-3, though. She was the best! LOVE THAT HAMMOND.


Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 14:24:43 +0200
From: Gert Peter Felber meister@ppl.co.at
Subject: Why I love my Hammond

Hi Hammond Freaks !
Everything started when I was 10 years old. My father played in a small band at that time and as far as I remember they did pretty well. Anyway. I was proud to have a dad who´s sitting behind an organ on a stage, performing music. One day he came along with a Jimmy Smith record and what can I say. . . . .that was the beginning of the end. He was suffering to get that sound. He was so tierd of his Dynacord (or what ever it was) Organ and he nearly went nuts. Of corse, in the U.S. it was "normal" to have a Hammond in the livingroom at that time, but in Austria ? ! ? ! They could not even spell the name "Hammond". But my Dad could ! (I was proud again). And the familyclan had a huge problem:How to afford that "thing". The first decision of my parents was to quit smoking to save money.Well, if you´re 11 years old you can not really help your parents in that case. So my contribution was, not to start smoking.Which helped them a lot. At least they said so. My Dad played every gig he could get and they saved every penny they earned. And finally:

There she was ! ! ! a brandnew" P-100" ! ! And from there on a Hammond belong to our household like for other people a microwave or toaster.So far so good.

4th July 1998. 29 years later. I got my own household and after a "X 5" and a "T 500" I know exactly how my father felt when the "P 100" took over our livingroom, because 6 month ago "SHE" took over my livingroom. A 1961 B3 "cherry" with Leslie 760. To explain why I love my B3 is quiet simple: You start with opening the lid and than you take a seat on that bench,which is more a throne, and you suddenly feel majestic without playing one note yet. You kickstart your B3 and you realize that this is not a procedure, it is a ceremony. While your right hand hold the run/start switches put your left hand somewhere on "her" body and feel the vibrations of all the motors,wheels,shafts . . . . .and than: man ! than put your stops to 888080000, 3rd.perc, chorus/vib. C3, play that typical Jimmy Smith lick down the entire manual,slide bravely(while you put your Leslie on fast) up as high as you can end up with major 7/9 chord. and than you are in heaven. Let her scream, let her whisper, let her cry. what ever you want, you can do with a B3. But remember: Don´t only play her, let her become a part of you. Let her have a look into your heart and in your soul and be astonished how a B3 can help you to put your emotions in your fingers and let the audience participate in your feelings. That´s one point why I love my Hammond. The other is that you are able to control the stage. Once if you and your beast are seated nobody can mess arround with you. If one of these Hornsections or Marshallstack- guitareros want to take you for a ride; just give them a blast with your Hammond/Leslie "Truck" and all of them learning the lesson within 2 seconds. A Hammond gives you the opportunity to express your feelings on the one hand and gives you power on the other hand. And after you played your gig take off the back panel, put your nose in and take a breath of that warm-,metal-,oily-,wooden smell. You see: a B3 even got her own perfume. Two days ago a played in a Big Band. We did some Stanley Turrentine, Benny Golson,Ralph Gingery and of corse Benny Goodman, and it was really great fun. My father was sitting in the audience looking up to his son sitting on the stage behind an organ, perfoming music. I could see it in his eyes: He was proud. Things and situations might change but a Hammond stays a Hammond. And that is why I love my B3. A final word to complete the, maybe crazy, picture which I´ve drawn of me right now. If you give me the choice between spending the night with a beautiful woman and play a night in a club, I always take my B3 and go for some blues.

Thank you Dad, thank you guys for being on the web and last but not least thank you Mr.L.Hammond

Gert Felber / Austria

From: "Reuben Hopkins" 
Subject: Why I love My Hammond L111
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 19:57:15 PST

I have not been playing the instrument very long but bought my self an 
L111 for $600 Australian and haven't looked back since.  It is basically 
a B3 with less keys.  I can get the same overdriven sound or the really 
clean sound of the 1st and 8th drawbars fully out with percussion on the 
third harmonic.  It sounds just the way I like, it always starts and is 
in tune and will never go out of tune provided the power source is a 
straight 50Hz.  I just love it because it is reliable and has THE sound.

Date: 03/16/99 
From:  Joel Lavine
Subject: There is nothing like a HAMMOND!	
I've been playing a "Hammond" since 1970 when I joined my first rock band. 
It was a Hammond BC and it weighed a ton. We used to have to turn it up on its 
end to get into some tight places. Then in 1971 I bought a B-3 with a Leslie 122 
and I would mike it through a Sun 700 watt system to cut through all of the other 
instruments. I played very heavy Rock & Roll! Have you ever listened to 
"Vanilla Fudge"?! Mark Stein's keyboard work on those albums and his live 
playing were the most unbelievable "Hammond" B-3 sound ever! EVER!
I love Jon Lord from "Deep Purple" too, and Felix Cavilere from the "Rascals", 
but no one can come close to my Mark Stein's style! Any how, I am now going 
to use a "Hammond" A-100 with the amplifier and speakers removed so the bottom 
is opened up similar to a B-3. I like the look of the A-100, it's more modern and with 
all of the gear taken out the bottom it weighs much less then a B-3 too! 
To achieve the rotary effect, I will use one of the new rack mounted effects 
processors out on the market today, and then direct line out to straight amps. 
Some of the "Hammond" sound to me is lost with a Leslie because they are not 
powerful enough to cut through everything else. Then you have to mike it and 
then you pick up other noise as well. So...you can see how I feel about the 
"Hammond" sound! THE BEST! 

Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 19:35:18 -0800
From:  Tom Costello 
Subject: Gotta love em!

It was around 1968 when I first heard a B-3 pumped out of 2 122 leslies.
A good friend of mines Dad owned the local hammond organ store. At 15 He
was already an incredible player, playing Lee Michaels note for note.
I'll never forget listening to him playing 3 dog night, Santana ,
Chestfever, Whiter shade of pale screaming through those 2 122's. I had
never been to a rock concert yet but that first experience hooked me I
had been learning drums in highschool and there just happened to be a
full set at his Dads store. I started drumming for him and during breaks
in jams he would show me licks. Soon I was a wannabe keyboardist myself.
My first hammond was the po boy M-3 but I drove it with a 910 leslie. I
played in a progressive rock band for 6 years and never was able to move
into the elusive B-3 game. Band broke up  I got married ...kids, job,
music career on hold. But I never lost the love of the Hammond sound and
until now never have heard anything that really emulated the Tonewheel
generator sound. The Voce5 ran through a leslie definitely comes close
same with the VK-7(but only through a leslie) I must say that although I
love the married sound of a Hammond and a Leslie without the leslie a
Hammond aint shit. A lot of people don't realise when they thank Mr.
Hammond that he in fact hated the Hammond leslie combo sound. Anyway I
just thouight I'd post my love affair with the sound of a Hammond ran
through a leslie. I started aquiring A100's buying and selling them
until I made enough for a B3 which I finally bought. My kids are
teenagers now and I'm positioning myself to start playing again in the
very near future YEEHA!!!!!!

Tom Costello

From: Meastro8@aol.com
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 2002
Subject: Why I Love My Hammond
To: jkautz@theatreorgans.com

I love my Hammond B3 because to me it is the best organ ever build and the 
magnificent sounds you get from the instrument are phenominal.  There is 
nothing in this world quite like the sound of a Hammond B3 with a Leslie to 
go from the urban murmer of a cocktail lounge ballard to a mighty rock 
concert sound.  I have been playing the organ for 38 years and the Hammond 
has always been my choice for an instrument for their durability and sound.  
I have four hammonds and have loeved every one of them.  I had a model "M" 
and then graduated to an E-111, then on the an H-111 and finally to my dream 
of owning a "B3".  I am a church organist of 30 years and play on an 1868 
William Stephens 17 rank tracker and am a real purist when it comes to church 
music.  Nothing can beat the sound of a real pipe organ, but for sing-a-longs 
and for cocktail lounge and jazz trios, you can't beat the sound of the 
Hammond.  No other manufacture has ever come close to imitating the real 
Hammond.  I grew up in the 60's and was nurtured by listening to such great 
talents as Earl Grant, my idol and in a lot of cocktail lounges back then you 
could always hear someone playing a Hammond.  I miss those days and hope that 
there is a revival in that some day.  I would love to hear from others who 
have the same passion as I do for the Hammond Organ.  Please feel free to 
contact me by email.
Wayne M. Mondello  

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