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I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

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I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:42 am

After a long time on this Earth not getting the Hammond organ at all, in any way, hated it, I’ve finally succumbed, in a very unlikely way.
I was messing around putting something together in Garage Band, and I chose the Hammond plug-in, what a revelation, after processing it a bit, I got the distinct impression that if I had a real Hammond interesting things could be done.
I’ve made a percussion track out of the Hammond sound, looping it, adding delay, and a bit of EQ just to emphasise certain draw bars.
It’s turned into this amazing texture, it’s got that typical Hammond percussive sound, with a high frequency sheen that sounds like rain over the top, it’s just this nice funky percussion thing, which is the tip of the iceberg for me.
So I’m on the lookout for a decent Hammond, or a good recreation ( not software)
All this interest in Mellotrons, Hammonds, Rhodes etc, it’s not looking good for my partner, and the space needed for our new sofa....also, she’s going to have to get used to me wandering about the house in a gold cape....

:D
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby IAA » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:17 am

wandering about the house in a gold cape....
.....you’ll find your partner will get used to it after a while, mine did!

The Hammond is a wonderfully expressive instrument given its relative simplicity. I used a real Hammond L122 for years paired with a Leslie 147 I loved it. Sadly in between various house moves it was finally sold, but I’ve never experienced anything that replaced it in software or hardware. I’ve used most of the clones and VST’s, some can sound convincing in the mix (I tend to use my Kronos CX3 now), but none come close the experience of sat in front of a L122 with that electromechanical smell, whirring tonewheels, polished wood and yellowing spinets.

Even now, 35 years after selling it, I wish I hadn’t. I’ve toyed with the modern hammonds which Hugh has reviewed positively but so far I’ve not built up the enthusiasm. One key thing though when approaching the organ, it’s a very expressive instrument played well (not approached as if it’s just a synth) and getting good access to expression, Leslie motor speeds, drawbars and percussion tabs to use in real time is essential. Welcome to prog Nirvana. :thumbup:
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Given your feelings about the CP it's probably of no interest that my favourite Hammond emulation at less than trouser-tightening prices is the reface YC...

And I have created MIDI Designer Layouts for the YC and CP that provide me presets that these devices otherwise lack.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:17 am

Thanks folks, yes, I think the Hammond is like the guitar, it needs a lot of physical input to make it interesting, you have to continually twiddle things.
Mind you, I’m thinking a voltage controlled Hammond would be "well wicked" :D
One thing I’m finding really great is the control of the harmonics using the draw bars in real time, even that Garage band one sounds good in that respect.
I just can’t get anymore little keyboards, they’re awkward things to have around, I can accept and make space for a Hammond or similar, after all, it’s a nice piece of furniture!

:D :D
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:19 am

Arpangel wrote:I can accept and make space for a Hammond or similar, after all, it’s a nice piece of furniture!
Wish you'd told me this before my poor old T202 went to landfill a few months ago! I literally couldn't give it away :cry:
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:29 am

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I can accept and make space for a Hammond or similar, after all, it’s a nice piece of furniture!
Wish you'd told me this before my poor old T202 went to landfill a few months ago! I literally couldn't give it away :cry:

AAAARRRGGGHHHHH! :cry:

That looks really interesting, I’d have had it!
To the dump too, that’s really bad.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby IAA » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:58 am

it's probably of no interest that my favourite Hammond emulation at less than trouser-tightening prices is the reface YC...

..I’m interested though! I’ve spent ages with the cx3 engine and got it to a point where it’s sounding closer to what I have in my head (soft distortion, Slight leakage, chorale and chorus setting 1) but it’s still not something that has me fully convinced. Is the reface much better, it’s worth trying at the price if so?
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:02 am

A real Hammond with a Leslie is a thing of real beauty. And the key action is like nothing else ever built.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Dave B » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:06 am

A couple of years ago I did a “Hammond emulation shootout” using a variety of hardware and the Apple B3 plugin (which is what you’ll have in GB). Very interesting all round. For me, the Hammond I have (a cheaper one) sounded the best, with the Kronos CX3 model sounding least Hammond-y, but still sounding fantastic. I use my SK2 a lot live (well .... I did until a few months ago) and it’s a great gig machine with almost everything to hand. Very happy with mine.

But I had to put in a fair amount of time to really ‘get’ the whole Hammond thing. Once it all falls into place, you get a real respect for the old boys like Booker T who really exploited it.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:22 am

IAA wrote:
it's probably of no interest that my favourite Hammond emulation at less than trouser-tightening prices is the reface YC...
..I’m interested though! I’ve spent ages with the cx3 engine and got it to a point where it’s sounding closer to what I have in my head (soft distortion, Slight leakage, chorale and chorus setting 1) but it’s still not something that has me fully convinced. Is the reface much better, it’s worth trying at the price if so?
I'm going for a more Spinet L/T sound than the beefier B/C, and the YC gets me there. For such as the lead for 'Supper's Ready', for instance, the YC really does hit the spot. I ought to try for a filthy 'Your's is No Disgrace' sound and see how I get on.

In contrast I never achieved a Kronos Hammond sound that really did it for me.
(I was glad to see the back of the Kronos and don't miss it one jot!)

Although I have no time for the mini keys and short/thin PSU cables of the reface series, they do sound *far* better than they have any right to. I hoist them up high on my keyboard stand, well out of the way, and just treat them as modules. The CP and YC are truly superb. The CS is pretty good too, though it's the one I use least.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:49 am

IAA wrote:I’ve used most of the clones and VST’s, some can sound convincing in the mix (I tend to use my Kronos CX3 now), but none come close the experience of sat in front of a L122 with that electromechanical smell, whirring tonewheels, polished wood and yellowing spinets.

There is something very involving about the sound of a real Leslie in a room, and RB is right in that the keyboard action of the tonewheel Hammonds is unique and very important to certain playing styles. The current Hammond-Suzuki clones aren't bad and are definitely better than most, but they're still not quite right. However, the new XK5 is extremely close (as is the New B3), but they are very expensive and could only really be justified if you are a seriously accomplished Hammond player or need to dispose of a lot of cash to avoid giving it to the tax man.... Unfortunately, neither position applies to me at the moment! :-)

It's also worth noting that the L- and T-series spinet tonewheel Hammonds have a different arrangement of tonewheels and drawbars to the big console Hammonds (B/C/A-series), and so have a noticeably different sound character in some settings. None of the hardware clones or VSTis I've come across so far can emulate that lighter, brighter spinet sound precisely.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby IAA » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:43 pm

. None of the hardware clones or VSTis I've come across so far can emulate that lighter, brighter spinet sound precisely.

I think that’s it Hugh, my Hammond sound is a L122 through a 147. I might try the Elf’s suggestion, but certainly the Kronos can’t get close enough unless it’s in a busy mix......which fortunately most of mine are!
I notice NI released an authentic Hammond VST with endorsement from Suzuki/Hammond, I wonder if it will get the SOS treatment at some point??!
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:It's also worth noting that the L- and T-series spinet tonewheel Hammonds have a different arrangement of tonewheels and drawbars to the big console Hammonds (B/C/A-series), and so have a noticeably different sound character in some settings. None of the hardware clones or VSTis I've come across so far can emulate that lighter, brighter spinet sound precisely.
By accident or design that's where the YC scores. It doesn't have that weight and grunt of the B/C, but it does have the presence of the L/T - at least that's what my ears tell me.

The uninitiated really don't understand the importance of the key response of a Hammond, it's true. I'm no accomplished player, so something that gets me near enough is... near enough.

I've set my live Cantabile rig to give me white/black preset keys. which is a luxury I never had with my real T!

I do keep looking at the XK5 and doing the 'credit card hokey-cokey', though.
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Trevor Johnson » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:12 pm

I love the Hammond sound and used to play an RT3 quite often.

The RT3 has a 32 note pedalboard, whereas many other Hammonds only have 25, I think, like the A3, etc..
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Re: I’ve finally "got" the Hammond.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:54 pm

Yes, the Concert Hammonds like the E and RT models had 32 note concave radiating 'AGO' standard pedaboards. The more familiar console hammonds like the B/C and A series had flat radiating 25 note boards, and the L and T-series spinets had 13 note pedalboards.

The Hammond company decided to provide 25 note boards with the console organs simply because a survey of the classical organ repertoire revealed that the top notes were very rarely used, and it was a lot less expensive to build flat 25-note pedaboards. It's also a lot lighter to move too!

The RT3 was fundamentally a stretched C3 at heart -- it is wider, with wider cheeks at the ends of the keyboards to accommodate the wider pedalboard. It also had some electronically generated solo pedal stops, completely independent of the tonewheel generator, which are selected with big flat buttons in the wide right hand side cheek alongside the lower (Great) keyboard.
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