Monday, July 06, 2009

B3 Blues

Readers of my other blog mister anchovy's will know that I am a fan of the colour instruments. You know what I mean, accordions, concertinas, squeezeboxes, harmonicas, and let's not forget organs. I love the sound of the Hammond B3 heard through it's sweet sister the Leslie.

Here's Root Doctor performing Hip Hug Her.


Here's , a fabulous player!


The Hammond Organ was invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 as a church organ replacement for pipe organs. This electric organ features mechanical devices known as tonewheels that rotate in front of pickups. These are adjusted by drawbars, so sometimes the B3 is called a drawbar organ. Although the B3 comes with speakers, most players hook the instrument up to speakers known as Leslies. The Leslie is a combo speaker-amp that features a rotating horn that creates the characteristic sound we know and love. You can look up all the technical stuff if you're interested. For me it's all about the sound.

Here is the late great Jimmy Smith playing his signature piece, The Sermon. Smith, who played by ear, learned horn lines on his B3. He took the B3 to new heights.


Of course the Hammond Organ was prominent in a rock context too. Everybody knows Booker T and the MGs Green Onions.

The "Memphis Group" personified the STAX sound. Even today, it's totally infectious. Booker T played a smaller organ, the Hammond M3 without a Leslie.

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