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Hammond SK Pro 73

Keyboard By Gordon Reid
Published October 2022

Hammond SK Pro 73

Could the SK Pro 73 be Hammond’s most versatile keyboard yet?

I recently reviewed the SKX Pro, the dual‑manual model in a range of stage keyboards that incorporate Hammond’s latest organ technologies, virtual analogue synthesizer and PCM‑based polysynth, and I described it as the best Hammond B3/C3/A100 emulator yet developed for live use. This wasn’t a conclusion that I reached lightly because I have long been a fan of the Korg BX3 and the Nord C2, but spending some time with the SKX Pro convinced me that it improves upon both of them.

Single Manual

There are also two single‑manual models in the range; the 61‑key SK Pro, and the 73‑key SK Pro 73. Both use the same semi‑weighted waterfall keys as the SKX Pro and, as before, they are velocity sensitive but not pressure sensitive. (I still think that precluding aftertouch is a mistake, especially in a keyboard of this format.) I was supplied with the wider of these and, as I soon discovered, its extra keys proved to be invaluable when programming and playing complex setups. Happily, the colour display and associated controls of the SKX Pro have been retained on both models, although the layout of the rest of the panel is necessarily different — but not by so much that you’ll have significant difficulty jumping from one to the other if the need arises. For example, the full set of Hammond drawbars on the SKX Pro (nine upper, nine lower and two for the pedals) has been replaced by a single, assignable set, and some of the dedicated buttons have disappeared, their functions relegated to the menus. Similarly, the knob to control the amount of organ overdrive has been lost, and you can’t use the monosynth’s amplitude envelope faders to control the master EQ. In addition, the screw holes that allow you to attach a Leslie half‑moon switch to the front of the SKX Pro have gone AWOL, although I could see some people finding a way around this because one of the switch inputs on the rear panel (which is functionally identical with that of the SKX Pro) still supports this, and the appropriate menu item still exists. Nonetheless, there are some small but useful bonuses too. Unlike the SKX Pro, the SK Pros have a cover at the rear of the drawbars on which the names and footages of the associated sounds are printed for each of the Acetone, Farfisa, Vox and Pipe Organ models, and the portamento button has moved to a more conventional position in the left‑hand controller panel.

Since the sound generation is identical with that of the SKX Pro — even to the extent of being shipped with the same factory sounds and sharing compatible memory files — I won’t rehash that information here; instead, I’ll direct you to my review of the dual‑manual model in SOS August 2022: Nevertheless, there are differences in how you use the SK Pro 73, especially when playing it as a three‑manual (upper/lower/pedals) organ. This is accomplished using ‘3 Part Organ’ mode, whereupon the upper manual registration is played above a split point, the lower registration is played below it, and the pedals are accessed over MIDI. This is one place where the extra keys of the 73‑note version are so useful; playing the equivalent of two manuals either side of a split on a five‑octave keyboard can be horribly restricting. You can also connect an external keyboard and select ‘2 Man Lower’ mode to use this as the lower manual. There’s also a Piano mode and, when this is selected, the attached keyboard controls only the Hammond’s Piano section, still allowing you to place the two organ manuals on either side of the split on the SK Pro’s keyboard.

The loss of the physical second manual on the SK Pros also necessitates some changes in the setup of the three External Zones, which are now distributed across the single manual, and there are differences in their MIDI implementations so they’re supplied with a different set of MIDI templates. Strangely, they’ve also lost the External Zone 1/2/3 On/Off menu items from the System/Mode/Control menu, and I noticed that the expression pedal response is slightly different. These changes are minor and I have no idea why they’ve been made, but they provided perfect opportunities to look quizzical, raise one eyebrow and say, ‘fascinating’.

A Unique Instrument?

I wondered whether it might be useful to compare the SK Pro 73 against what seems to be its immediate competitor, the Nord Stage 3 Compact. Like the Hammond, the Nord offers high‑quality emulations of electro‑mechanical, electronic and pipe organs, plus pianos and both sample‑based and virtual analogue synthesis. But despite these superficial similarities, I soon realised that there are deep differences between them. For example, the Stage 3 allows you to select whichever pianos you want from the excellent Nord Piano library, and has a superior range of e‑pianos and Clavinets. It also scores highly with its polyphonic virtual analogue synth, even though this has limitations that make it less flexible than you might think. But on the other hand, its sample‑based synthesis is merely an oscillator substitution in the polysynth, with nothing like the flexibility of the eight‑part structure offered by the Hammond’s dedicated Piano and Ensemble sections. But on the other other hand, the Stage 3’s synth can access the Nord Sample Library and you can create your own sample‑based instruments for it, whereas the PCM library in the Hammond is fixed. But on the other, other other hand, the Hammond lets you define your own split points (and lots of them), which is vital if you want to use it in the same way that you might a multi‑part workstation. So perhaps the only area in which the two are directly comparable is that of their Hammond organ emulations. To cut a long story short, the Stage 3’s are superb. The SK Pros’ are better.

So where does that leave us? In truth, the more that I tried to compare the SK Pro 73 with other instruments, the more I realised that it occupies a niche of its own. So let’s view it in isolation and ask how well it does what it sets out to do. In my view, it does better than you might think. I reached this conclusion when my stage rig was otherwise occupied and I had to grab a single keyboard at short notice to play some Hammond and transistor organs, pianos, e‑pianos, synth leads, and a selection of pads and vintage strings. Since I had the SK Pro 73 to hand and had spent some time delving into its depths I felt that I could get it to jump through the requisite hoops. So I created a few combinations that I felt would do the job. I was impressed by the speed at which I was able to do this, and then by how easy it was to use the Allocate buttons to switch between sounds — say, playing a piano distributed across the whole width of the keyboard, or adding strings to part of this range, or selecting an organ in the lower three octaves and a lead synth in the upper three — all within a single Combination. For one song, I even used the organ, synth and six of the Components within the Piano and Ensemble sections to create a Combi with nine sounds split and layered across the keyboard. I was impressed.

It’s an excellent instrument that will acquit itself equally well on stage or in the studio.


When I first received the SK Pro 73, I wasn’t sure whether it deserved a separate review, or whether it would be enough to include something along the lines of, ‘oh yes... and there are two single‑manual versions’ in the SKX Pro review. But the more I used it the more I realised that it’s a rather different beast. It remains a superb organ as well as a surprisingly good mono and polysynth, but the wider keyboard allows players to make better use of its piano and e‑piano capabilities as well as its splits and layers. I would love to use one live, and the only thing stopping me is the price. It isn’t cheap but, for players who appreciate the quality of its organ emulations and can take advantage of its other capabilities, it’s an excellent instrument that will acquit itself equally well on stage or in the studio. If you’re in the market for a single‑manual multi‑keyboard, you have to check it out.


  • Its Hammond and Leslie emulations are unsurpassed.
  • Its 73‑note keyboard allows you to take greater advantage of its piano, e‑piano and ensemble sounds.
  • There’s a lot of synthesis tucked away for those prepared to put in the work.
  • No nasty wall‑wart is required – it has a proper internal power supply.


  • There’s still no aftertouch.
  • It shares the limitations of the SKX Pro pianos and its PCM library isn’t expandable.
  • It’s not cheap.


The SK Pro 73 is Hammond’s Hammond for players who have no need for a dual‑manual organ. Its Hammond/Leslie emulation is unsurpassed and its piano/ensemble and monosynth sections are far more than mere afterthoughts. For some players, this could be their all‑in‑one stage keyboard.