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Hammond A-100, B-3 and C-3 modification for jazz playing.

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  • Hammond A-100, B-3 and C-3 modification for jazz playing.

    First post here, I have searched with little success on this topic. Any info I have found has been disorganized or appeared to be hearsay. I’m curious if any techs or players know if the the jazz organ grinders like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Mcgriff, Dr. Lonnie or Joey D. have or had any modifications to their organs in the left hand bass fold back and bass output area? Also, the position of the output in the circuit for the bass output seems to be different on some tracks. I have noticed that the bass is either not affected or affected less by the expression pedal in relation to the upper register on some albums.

  • #2
    I knew a promoter who booked a Jimmy Smith gig in the early 70`s and the venue had to provide the organ,I believe Joey D requires the same today.Don`t know if this holds true for studio dates as well.A lot of what you`re hearing could be parametric eq settings by the recording engineer.

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    • #3
      As a side branch to this discussion, good drawbar-pullers will lightly tap the middle B bass pedal to significantly reinforce the bass "feel." Combined with the bass drum, the punch is discernible.

      With my 55 B3, the type of Leslie can really push the EQ. It has a 21H with 2 speed mod, and a 147. The former is okay, but in the latter I installed matched 6550's, and THAT simple change blows me away for left handed bass.

      I have also seen Joey D lift up his left hand to show that he is actually playing runs with his pedals, and there is no question that the bass takes off even more then.
      1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

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      • #4
        Hi Jpeacheybass.
        Originally posted by Jpeacheybass View Post
        First post here, I have searched with little success on this topic. Any info I have found has been disorganized or appeared to be hearsay. I’m curious if any techs or players know if the the jazz organ grinders like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Mcgriff, Dr. Lonnie or Joey D. have or had any modifications to their organs in the left hand bass fold back and bass output area? Also, the position of the output in the circuit for the bass output seems to be different on some tracks. I have noticed that the bass is either not affected or affected less by the expression pedal in relation to the upper register on some albums.
        As far as I am aware, there is no authoritative information about modifications publicly available about the Hammond organs of these above mentioned Jazz organists.
        If there are modifications, then this information has been kept "secret".

        As for the bass being affected less by the expression pedal, yes this is indeed the case because the expression pedal of the -2 and the -3 series and other Hammond organs actually functions as a midrange scoop when the expression pedal is set at the lower volume level settings.

        It appears that the Hammond organ expression pedal is designed to function as a "Loudness compensation" control at the lower volume level settings similar to the "Loudness" switch on some home stereo amplifiers which boosts the bass response and the high treble response when the stereo amplifier volume control is set at the lower volume level settings in order to compensate for the Fletcher-Munson curve tendency of the human hearing response to de-emphasize the bass frequencies and the treble frequencies when music is heard at lower volume levels.

        When playing the Hammond organ you can clearly hear that the bass response and the high treble response remains stronger whilst the midrange response is noticeably reduced when the expression pedal is set at the minimum volume level setting, and that as you turn up the expression pedal, then the midrange response gradually becomes much stronger as the midrange scoop effect is gradually removed at the higher volume settings of the expression pedal so therefore this would be why the bass response seems to be less affected whilst the above mentioned Jazz organists turn up the expression pedal.

        However some people do modify their Hammond organs to have a constant bass volume level regardless of the setting of the expression pedal, by tapping into and taking a line out signal directly from the secondary winding of the lower manual section of the drawbar matching transformer, and they then pass this direct line out signal through a steep low pass filter so that the midrange and the treble frequencies are greatly removed from this line out signal thus resulting in a bass only line out signal which is then sent to a separate amplifier and a sub woofer speaker.

        This bass only line out signal is therefore not affected by the expression pedal settings because the drawbar matching transformer is located in the signal chain well before the signal passes through the expression pedal.

        On to another modification, I do remember many years ago reading a Hamtech post by the late Sal Azzarelli where Sal mentioned about an alligator clip lead shorting out (if I remember correctly) the blue wire and the red wire from the Vibrato line unit on a B3 organ that Jimmy Smith used at a gig.

        After I read Sal's post, I then tried out this modification and it did change the way that the Vibrato Chorus effect sounded. This is a very simple modification, but I cannot 100 percent remember if the alligator clip shorts out the blue wire and the red wire, or whether it shorts out the red wire and the brown wire, or whether it shorts out the blue wire and the brown wire on the vibrato line unit, but you can easily try out this simple modification and then listen to the difference in the Vibrato Chorus effect.

        I have modified my 1962 C3 manual wiring so that I can have either the stock bass foldback, or the "bass all the way down" on the lowest octave of the lower manual and on the lowest octave of the upper manual with the 16 ft drawbar, and I use rotary switches to control this.

        In order to make the "farty" sounding complex waveforms of the bass TG notes 1 to 12 sound more like sine waves and thus be better sonically matched with the other low frequency TG notes on the manuals, I have cut off the very low resistance grounding shunt resistance wires that are wrapped on top of the pickup bobbins of the pickups of the bass TG notes 1 to 12, and I then wired up 220 uf grounding capacitors on to the bass TG note 1 to 12 output terminal pins on the TG note terminal strip which is mounted on the top back side of the tonewheel generator.

        If you want a deeper bass response from the 16 ft bass pedal drawbar, you can disconnect the R80 10 ohms grounding resistor which is connected to the L20 treble cut inductor coil of the bass pedal filter.

        If you want the 16 ft bass pedal drawbar to have both a deeper, fatter and also a brighter sound with more key click, and a somewhat of a double bass or bass guitar like tonality, then you can short out the L20 treble cut inductor coil of the bass pedal filter along with disconnecting the R80 10 ohms grounding resistor.

        All the best.
        Kon.
        Last edited by kziss; 07-09-2018, 12:36 AM.

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        • Old Master Tech
          Old Master Tech commented
          Editing a comment
          As a technician, I found every console had a slightly different sound. I could tell when someone who knew what they were doing had selected the instrument. I've worked on consoles that would push a 147 (designed for speaker level input signal) to screaming/clipping overload and worked on others that wouldn't drive a 122 worth squat. All was OK, seemed to be variations in tolerances. Saw that more than a few times.

      • #5
        Great advice, Kon!

        Dave
        1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

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        • #6
          I was involved in a rental for Joey D., and the only change he wanted was the slow motors unplugged. He seems to prefer the single-speed sound.

          Other than that, the secrets of the great jazz organists were talent and lots of practice. Nothing technical you can do will take the place of good playing skills.
          I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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          • #7
            Originally posted by kziss View Post
            It appears that the Hammond organ expression pedal is designed to function as a "Loudness compensation" control at the lower volume level settings similar to the "Loudness" switch on some home stereo amplifiers which boosts the bass response and the high treble response when the stereo amplifier volume control is set at the lower volume level settings in order to compensate for the Fletcher-Munson curve tendency of the human hearing response to de-emphasize the bass frequencies and the treble frequencies when music is heard at lower volume levels.
            No, that's not the reason. It's to mimic how swell shades work in a pipe organ. Like all acoustic barriers, the shades are more effective at attenuating high frequencies than low ones. On a pipe organ, the shades are closed to soften the volume and that has a greater effect on the higher frequencies. Virtually all electronic organs behave the same way. Keep in mind that Hammonds were originally intended to be pipe organ alternatives for churches, rather than jazz or rock instruments.
            -Admin

            Allen 965
            Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
            Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
            Hauptwerk 4.2

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            • #8
              I would guess the single greatest target for mods is Leslies, at least in the Rock world.
              All of the top Rock organists used modified Leslies...... Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Richard Wright, Don Airey.... the list is endless.
              I’d struggle to think of anyone in the big time who used stock gear.
              And most of those guys modified their Hammonds, too - mostly for effects loops and increased key click & percussion
              Current:
              1971 T-202 with Carsten Meyer mods: Remove key click filters, single-trigger percussion, UM 16' drawbar volume correction. Lower Manual bass foldback.
              Korg CX3 (original 1980's analogue model).
              1967 Leslie 122 with custom inbuilt preamp on back panel for 1/4" line-level inputs, bass & treble controls. Horn diffusers intact.
              2009 Marshall 2061x HW Plexi head into Marshall 4x12 cabinet.

              Former:
              1964 C3
              196x M-102
              197x X5
              197x Leslie 825

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              • #9
                I frequently see where the percussion decay adjustment is set for no decay. I believe I read somewhere that Jimmy Smith called this the paradise setting or something like that. I actually see this in a number of Gospel churches as well. I always set it back to normal...:)

                Geo

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                • #10
                  Hi Admin.
                  Originally posted by Admin View Post
                  No, that's not the reason. It's to mimic how swell shades work in a pipe organ. Like all acoustic barriers, the shades are more effective at attenuating high frequencies than low ones. On a pipe organ, the shades are closed to soften the volume and that has a greater effect on the higher frequencies. Virtually all electronic organs behave the same way. Keep in mind that Hammonds were originally intended to be pipe organ alternatives for churches, rather than jazz or rock instruments.
                  Thank you for clarifying about the reason for the tonal altering response of the Hammond organ expression pedal.
                  All the best.
                  Kon.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    In response to the original post, i.e, did the greats such as JOS, McGriff et al use modifications. Well the answer is generally no, they didn't. I would also reiterate Mr Anderson's comment above about the playing of the greats being to do with technique and practice.

                    It's also worth noting that recordings on the Blue Note label between around 1959 and the next 10 years (so that includes JOS, John Patton, Billy Gardner, some Mcduff, Babyface Willette, Don Patterson, Reuben Wilson, Larry Young plus others) were done on the Van Gelder studio's C3 with 21H Leslie. Recordings on Prestige around the same time were done on the same set up (so that includes Trudy Pitts, Groove Holmes, Charles Earland etc).

                    Personally, if you want to understand these players' sounds, and how they achieved them, the secret is to **listen** and listen to as many as possible, rather than do research on Google or whatever. Buy the records, enjoy the records, listen to ballads (a dying organ art form), dig out rarities (where organists would often experiment) that perhaps aren't as well known, but are still from the same classic period. And then the more playing you do, the more some of those secrets will slowly reveal themselves.

                    A good example is Richard Groove Holmes' track Morris the Minor from 1961. The opening is a descending bass line, but very very percussive. It took me years to work out that it was probably achieved by having both the the 8' pedal drawbar quite far out, as well as the 16' all the way out and using this over the usual 808 bass. And, it was most likely played through a 31H... because up until that point, this appears to be the Leslie he is seen to be using (and he was a west coast player at this point before he signed to Prestige and used the Van Gelder set up). I only discovered this sound by accident playing through my PR40 - the addition of the 8' pedal with 16' on a bassy cabinet brings out the Morris The Minor sound.

                    So lots of listening and lots of playing is the key. Modifications for jazz (or soul organ) didn't start happening til the end of the 60s, probably more like early 70s. But by this point the grand age of organ jazz was on its way out.

                    All the best
                    Lazlo

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by geoelectro View Post
                      I frequently see where the percussion decay adjustment is set for no decay. I believe I read somewhere that Jimmy Smith called this the paradise setting or something like that. I actually see this in a number of Gospel churches as well. I always set it back to normal...:)

                      Geo
                      Here's more on that: http://www.bluenote.com/artists/jimm...rudy-van-gelde

                      The version I've generally heard is that this organ was malfunctioning -- not that Smith found a way to turn off the decay. But who knows?

                      Since then, some true Jimmy Smith fanatics have modded their Hammonds to allow them to duplicate the sound heard on this album, and this mod is sometimes called a "Paradise Button."

                      Alan
                      Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music."
                      See a preview: ClassicKeysBook.com
                      Buy it now: www.amazon.com/dp/1574417762

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                      • #13
                        Interestingly enough, Hammond implemented this no-decay percussion option in the X-77 (and I think the H100 models) calling it "Second Voice". When this tab is down, the percussion voices do not decay. In the X-77 percussions have a vibrato that is separate from the Leslie vibrato on the main channels, so you could get interesting mixes of vibrato, Leslie, and non-vibrato. All the more useful with the complex percussion voices provided in these models.

                        Other enhancement to percussion on the later models were reiteration, twin-mallet reiteration, harp, and the ability to switch between Touch Response and non-responsive keying.
                        -Admin

                        Allen 965
                        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                        Hauptwerk 4.2

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          As David Anderson pointed out, and I'm here to state this definitively as a frequent backline supplier for jazz organists (and a player and teacher myself), these classic jazz B-3 players had NO truck with modifications. It is pure technique, a very specific one, and it takes a whale of a lot of practice! Two quotes from Jimmy Smith, the first one the time I showed him the (optional) mods on my console. He said, "I don't play that ****! I play the ORGAN!!!" And, in an interview, when asked if his organ was "beefed-up." Jimmy replied, "Beefed-up? NOTHING I play is beefed-up. I'M beefed-up!"

                          The famed C-3 used on most of the old jazz recordings at Rudy Van Gelder's studio did use a direct out for bass, and that was mixed to-taste with the miced lower speaker, and that might explain why you hear some minor variations in the recorded bass. The D/O had to be turned down for moments when the tremolo was turned on.

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