Hard Rock Hammond Organ Tips

Written by alex baker
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The Hammond organ is one of the most instantly recognisable sounds in rock music. The Hammond B-3 was widely adapted by hard rock and classic rock bands in the '60s and '70s. Bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Steppenwolf made the Hammond a signature element of their sound. The Hammond is a timeless, classic sound that is still utilised by hard rock bands today.

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Play Through a Leslie Speaker

To achieve the classic hard rock Hammond sound heard on records like Deep Purple's "Hush," there is simply no substitute for playing through a Leslie speaker. The Leslie relies on a distinct "doppler" effect that lends a unique warm, driving sound to a Hammond B-3 when such an organ is played through one.

Overdrive the Sound

Hard rock players like Deep Purple's Jon Lord liked to overdrive their Hammond's sound in order to mesh with overdriven guitars being played through Marshall and Hiwatt amplifiers. One way to overdrive a Hammond is to crank the volume up all the way on your Leslie speaker or amplifier and use the organ's volume pedal to regulate the sound level. This provides a growling, distorted, overdriven sound.

Turn off the Synchronous Run Motor

Switching off the synchronous run motor on a Hammond organ can lend your notes a wobbly, pitch-bending sound. This sound has a feel that complements certain passages of hard rock and classic rock-style music.

Repeat a Single Note Rapidly

The Hammond was widely adapted by hard rockers because it had a sound that was complementary to the electric guitar. One performance technique that was widely used was rapidly repeating a single note the way a guitar player would during a solo. A good example of this can be heard in "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf.

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