All posts by HammondToday

Love the old Hammond consoles, and when I got my hands on one I decided to log my experiences and the information I found on the web to this blog, I also play sax and bass, and sometimes take out a cigar box guitar for that instant ZZ-Top sound. I'm an active member of Wikiloops.com where you will find a fair few tracks I posted with these instruments.

The Hammond Expression Pedal – EQ properties

The Hammond expression pedal seems to be a mystery to many players, especially those that are more used to playing on clone wheels, even though at least some of these model the original Hammond expression pedal behavior very closely. Many people seem to think that the expression pedal on a Hammond is only used to control the volume of the organ, but this is only part of its function, it also acts as a (passive, non-linear) equalizer (EQ). When the volume is low, higher frequencies are much more attenuated (reduced) than lower ones, leading to a much bass-heavy sound and less pronounced highs. The reverse is true when the expression pedal is put to full throttle (loudest volume), which results in a much brighter sound with relatively reduced bass content.

Thus, you can influence the character setting of the tone by opening or closing the expression pedal. This may lead to an undesired low volume when aiming for a more bass-heavy tone with les emphasized highs, but this can be counteracted by increasing the amplification. This may be accomplished by turning up the Leslie or other amplifier you may be using to amplify the Hammond. This may also make drive your amp into overdrive more easily, so you may need to find the right balance in the settings of the amp and the expression pedal to give you the desired tonal balance as well as a usable travel to adjust dynamics using the pedal.

Personally I like overdriving the Leslie to get a bit of growl, and this gets much easier with the Leslie on very loud, and playing the expression pedal at the low volume end, pushing the Leslie into a nice drive when increasing the volume on the expression pedal.

Hammond Console Factory Presets

Hammond Console Presets Upper Manual

Preset KeyDrawbarsDescriptionLoudness
CNoneCancelNo sound
Db00 5320 000Stopped Flutepp
D00 4432 000Dulcianappp
Eb00 8740 000French Hornmf
E00 4544 222Salicionalpp
F00 5403 000Flutes 8' & 4'p
Gb00 4675 300Oboemf
G00 5644 320Swell Diapasonmf
Ab00 6876 540Trumpetf
A32 7645 222Full Swellff
BbUpper Left drawbarsNo percussion
BUpper Right drawbarsWith percussion
Overview of the factory presets on a Hammond console (B-3, C-3, A-100) Upper Manual

Hammond Console Presets Lower Manual

Preset KeyDrawbarsDescriptionLoudness
CNoneCancelNo sound
Db00 4545 440Cellomp
D00 4423 22Flute & Stringmp
Eb00 7373 430Clarinetmf
E00 4544 220Diapason, Gamba & Flutemf
F00 6644 322Great without reedsf
Gb00 5642 200Open Diapasonf
G00 6845 433Full Greatfff
Ab00 8030 000Tibia Clausaf
A42 7866 244Full Great with 16'fff
BbUpper Left drawbars
BUpper Right drawbars
Overview of the factory presets on a Hammond console (B-3, C-3, A-100) Lower Manual

Whereas the preset sounds seem to be more targeted towards the emulation of pipe organ sounds and have as such limited usage in the typical blues / rock Hammond vocabulary, some of them are quite usable, Here’s an example using the ‘Ab’ (‘Tibia Clausa’) on the lower manual:

Better Drive in Logic X for a real Hammond

In a previous post I explained how to use the Rotor plugin and the Overdrive to add a bit of drive and Leslie emulation to a real Hammond while recording on Logic Pro X. Further along experimentation with this setup, I’ve ditched the Overdrive plugin, and have switched to using the Distortion II / Growl Distortion Light as a favourite driver for the Rotor Leslie emulation. This gives a very convincing bit of dirt to the sound. Here’s an example:

Hammond Leslie Emulation And Recording In Logic Pro X

Something else I’ve been experimenting with, with better and better results, is using the Rotor in Logic, based on  suggestions from Jim at the Organ Forum. If you combine this with the overdrive, or one of the amp simulators (‘Moving Air’ is a good one) you can get very good results, and this works very well for recording, taking the signal directly from the line-out on my A-102; I’ve been struggling with how the Vent is sitting in the mix, and the levels I get from it. This may just be related to my own setup, but I’m pretty much using Overdrive / Amp modeller / Rotor now, sometimes using Spreader and Exciter for an even bigger sound, and either the standard bus 2 platinum reverb (add other buses with reflections to taste) or a modelled reverb room.

Don’t forget to set the record mode to Latch or Write to capture Leslie-switch events (I send my CU-1 through a foot switch input on my interface for slow / fast switching).

For an example how this sounds: