Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hammond Organs then and now

I just stumbled across this page.
The 'brief history' is indeed very brief but interesting. I can't imagine what sort of sounds Henry Ford would have been getting from the first Hammond organ but I can imagine uncomfortable scenes of the immensely wealthy and powerful Ford 'entertaining' his guests with his renditions of popular church music of the day. Anyone know any details about this?

And I wonder if the jurors had not been cloth eared dolts (who couldn't tell the difference between a real pipe organ and an electric tonewheel organ), what would the Hammond organ have been called? An electric piano? Surely not. Perhaps an electromagnetic harmonium?

I didn't know they were still making B3s. Only $23,950! But as anyone with a love of the organ stylings of Jackie Mittoo knows, the organ really needs to be well broken in to get that texture and color in the sound. A bit out of tune is usually a good thing too!

They even have their own sound module!

The ultra modern models just don't look right. I wonder what they sound like...

A more thorough history of Laurens Hammond, his early inventions and the Hammond organ itself is here.
Well worth reading (the site itself needs a lot of repair as does the punctuation, grammar etc. but in this age of instantaneous publication I think we can all turn a blind eye...)
"In the mid-60's Hammond began to recognize the increasing influence of men like Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes and Brother Jack McDuff on the American musical scene. Without much effort or concentration, Hammond had cornered the jazz business for years simply because of the love affair between the artists and the B-3, the only instrument on the market giving them the "dirty" sound they were looking for".

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