Although the Hammond organ, with its black-and-white keyboard layout, may appear to be played just like a piano, the techniques you use to play the organ are very different from the techniques you use to play the piano. The Hammond organ even differs from pipe organs in technique and layout.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Turn on the Hammond organ via the power switch. Let the organ run for 5 minutes before you play it. Since the organ uses mechanical parts, the same principle works with it as with a car. If you play the Hammond organ too soon, it will damage the internal parts of the machine.
Sit down at the Hammond organ. Make sure you are in a comfortable enough position to reach not only the pedals (which act as bass tones in most popular genres of music) but also both manuals (keyboards) of the Hammond organ.
Pull some drawbars to suit your taste. The white ones, being only octaves and fundamentals, do not add as much thickness and texture as the brown and black ones do. A good rule of thumb for choosing drawbars is that the white drawbars are "pure," while the black and brown ones are "gritty."
Add percussion to your sound. Most Hammond organs have a few buttons by which you can add percussion, or a "punchiness," to the sound quality.
Play the Hammond organ now that you have moulded your sound. Note that a much-lighter technique is needed to play a Hammond organ than is needed to play a piano, since the keys are not weighted.
Tips and warnings
- If you pull down the first three drawbars, this will result in the signature sound of rock players such as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman.
- Make sure your Hammond organ's amplifier is not turned up too loud. Loud noises can permanently damage your hearing.
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