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  • Hammond performance techniques

    This came up in another thread, and some folks thought it deserved its own title. Feel free to contribute your own techniques.

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    Well, I don't claim to be the all time expert, and other players may call these by different names, but here's the Hammond techniques I know about:

    smears (usually when you say smear you are talking about a slow build up to a high climactic note or chord - think Mark Stein)

    swipe - a fast smear, can be up, down, or up/down (aka 2-ways)

    machine gun chops - repeated down smears with both hands. Very dramatic. Done the classic Emerson way, use very few or only 1 drawbar.

    machine gun chords - fast choppy repeating chords (as in the organ solo in Hush) - although Jon Lord is reputed to be able to do this with one hand, it's easier to set up identical registrations on upper and lower manuals, and alternate the chords using a different hand on each manual

    conga slaps - playing a rhythmic unpitched pattern, usually on the lower keyboard. Hit the front rail with your palms and let your fingers kind of flop onto several keys at once. Do whatever you can to mask the perception of pitch - few drawbars, leslie on, lots of key click helps.

    fall offs - these are done by jazz cats like Joey D and others. Set up a full or bright registration on the top manual, and a mellow one like 838000000 on the bottom. Then play a chord on top, and drag your hand quickly down to play the same chord on the bottom manual. Then smear down off the chord.

    squabbling - jazz technique used by Jimmy Smith and many others. It's a block chording style with hand tremolos done with a hollow registration and fast leslie on - 800008888 or 800008880. Can emulate a horn section if played with swing.

    the sizzle - use this on a rock tune occasionally that ends on a dying chord instead of cutting off abruptly. Works if you have a lot of treble drawbars pulled out. Hold the final chord, and push the bass drawbars in with fast leslie going so that the organ sound dissolves into a high pitched sizzle. It doesn't last more than a second after the other instruments die down, it's just a little effect. Don't over use it! Listen to Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son" to hear it used right before the verse.

    HTHN - Hold That High Note. Sounds simple, but in both rock and jazz players will sometimes hold a single high note that fits the chord changes, sometimes for many measures, to build tension. I've seen Joey D reach down with his face and HTHN with his nose!

    drawbar playing - this is a whole subject in itself, but here are a couple examples:

    - do a two note trill and push various drawbars in and out to change the harmonic structure. Very ominous. You can hear this on the crazy organ solo in the old Uriah Heep tune "Gypsy Queen"

    - drawbar wah wahs. I just recently saw this trick although I can't perform it yet. Reach up and shove a fistful of drawbars in and pull them back out in the middle of a chord.

    You can see the amazing Chester Thompson do this on www.keyboardmag.tv->Lessons->How To Play->CT: Knock Yourself Out, where he displays drawbar wahs, conga slaps, and HTHN all in one cut. In fact, just go over there and watch every one of his clips. His timing is the most impeccable I have ever seen, and watching him drives home the point that Hammond can also be a percussion instrument.
    Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

  • #2
    HTHN - Hold That High Note. Sounds simple, but in both rock and jazz players will sometimes hold a single high note that fits the chord changes, sometimes for many measures, to build tension. I've seen Joey D reach down with his face and HTHN with his nose!


    I hold that high note to exemplify a solo as long as it is in the chord structure.
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    • #3
      HTHN - Hold That High Note. Sounds simple, but in both rock and jazz players will sometimes hold a single high note that fits the chord changes, sometimes for many measures, to build tension. I've seen Joey D reach down with his face and HTHN with his nose!


      I hold that high note to exemplify a solo as long as it is in the chord structure.


      I hold the high note sometimes even if it is outside of the chord structure - creates some interesting tension when used sparingly! Another cool way to HTHN is using a folded piece of paper, matchbook or matchstick wedged in between the keys.

      I love the conga slap. I do lots of this kind of stuff, percussively slapping rhythm on the organ keyboard. It can sound good with a variety of drawbar settings...great with the spooky 800000008 or 008000000 settings and also cool with 888888888 with a lot of overdrive, combined with some smears.
      Originally posted by p120dUdE
      These are family forums, and many young kids come here and read them.

      I am sure there will be no problems, but if there is, my moderation team will take action.

      Originally posted by ChasIII
      Im so sick of keyboards. All this keyboard stuff people always use. All this keyboard synth talk all the time. I'm done with it. Never again.

      Im thinking that at some point I will have to stop this and start doing other things. Any thoughts, feelings, or ideas?

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      • #4
        Sticking knives and swords in the keys to hold a few notes, while tilting and bouncing the cabinet around the stage to hear the reverb springs.

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        • #5
          Machine gun repeated single note with the percussion on. As you're playing the one note repeatedly with 1-2-3 fingering, you throw in a quick note above that with the 5. I also heard this called stuttering.
          stock 1974 Hammond A105 with Leslie 122RV, Yamaha CP300, Nord Electro 3 73, Novation X Station 61, Alesis SR-16, Omnisphere, NI Absynth 5, Battery 3, Reaktor 5, Massive, Kontakt, CS-80V, Moog Modular V, ImpOSCAR, GSi VB3, Sonicprojects OP-X II, SONAR X1

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          • #6
            Thanks Mate. I've bookmarked this one.
            Hi Mom!

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            • #7
              I normally HTHN with the pinky of my right hand while I solo with the rest of the fingers, usually within the chord structure.
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              • #8
                Thanks Mate. I've bookmarked this one.
                +1

                Comment


                • #9
                  hi, i'm a piano player. i just bought a hammond xk3c and i don't have a leslie or les sim yet, but i saw your post and thought you'd be a good guy to talk to.

                  i'm more of a piano player and obviously playing a hammond is much different from playing piano.

                  i loved your terms and techniques you mention in your post.

                  1. how do i find the best rock drawbar presets for my rock groups?
                  2. do you recommend a leslie simulator? the cabs just seem so damn expensive. it's such a huge $$ investment to add this organ to my bag you know?
                  3. how can i better educate myself on playing, techniques, etc?

                  thank you!

                  charlie

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    hi, i'm a piano player. i just bought a hammond xk3c and i don't have a leslie or les sim yet, but i saw your post and thought you'd be a good guy to talk to.

                    i'm more of a piano player and obviously playing a hammond is much different from playing piano.

                    i loved your terms and techniques you mention in your post.

                    1. how do i find the best rock drawbar presets for my rock groups?
                    2. do you recommend a leslie simulator? the cabs just seem so damn expensive. it's such a huge $$ investment to add this organ to my bag you know?
                    3. how can i better educate myself on playing, techniques, etc?

                    thank you!

                    charlie


                    Sent you a PM.
                    Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sent you a PM.


                      oooo. oooo. me too. share!

                      By the way....just tried the keyboard.tv link you recommended. none of the videos are available. Hope that's just a temporary "down for service" kind of thing.
                      Live:
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                      • #12
                        I really like to see videos reffering to all techniques You mentioned, but in better quality (youtube maybe). Great material to practice That one on keyboard.tv doesn't work :/
                        Maybe You know some other learning videos with hammond techniques available on internet?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          mate_stubb, awesome topic, thank you!

                          I think this should be stickied :P
                          If you need a KSP script, e-mail me! Depending on amount of work, the price can be arranged!

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                          • #14
                            I really like to see videos reffering to all techniques You mentioned, but in better quality (youtube maybe). Great material to practice That one on keyboard.tv doesn't work :/
                            Maybe You know some other learning videos with hammond techniques available on internet?


                            The keyboardmag.tv Chester stuff is great, but it's too bad that that site can't deliver videos about half the time.

                            All modern organ playing starts from Jimmy Smith - even the rock cats borrow from him. I can't think of a better video than this one.

                            Jimmy does a variation of HTHN where he holds a low note and solos over it somewhere around the 4+ minute mark. Listen to the rhythmic variation, the trills, the melodic inventiveness, all while maintaining that fierce groove.

                            Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And here's why Brian Auger is my favorite:

                              Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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