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#1768453 - 06/19/07 06:29 AM Use of expression pedal on hammond organ
yannis D Online   content
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Hi guys
I was on a Joey De Francesco DVD the other day and the guy was suggestin not to use the hammond expression pedal all the time, up and down every quarter note etc. Instead, he suggested to try to keep it on the same sound level and accentuate it whenever is needed. When i use my electro i often find myself over-using the volume pedal: sometimes the sound covers all the other instruments, some other times it just dissapears. On the contrary when i use my M-Audio 61 controlelr + B4, having not an expression pedal input, i feel that my hammond's level is always correct in the final mix. The first option (volume) is the "correct" way of playin' the hammond. The second is not supposed to be the one to follow. But it's coming out better to my ears. Whet do you suggest? How do you use the expression pedal (steady, all the time up and down...?) Any suggestion appreciated
Yannis
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#1768465 - 06/19/07 07:28 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
ABECK Offline
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Registered: 01/22/01
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When I used to have access to a real B3, I always kept the volume pedal in the same place (usually to the floor). I was never able to use it effectively. Like everything else, it is a skill to master. Whatever sounds good to your ears is what you should use.

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#1768468 - 06/19/07 07:35 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
retrokeys Offline
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Registered: 07/11/06
Posts: 1480
Obviously there is individual preference involved but what I think Joey D. was talking about, and he has said it before, is that there are some new players who wind up pumping the volume pedal along with the rhythm. This is just plain wrong. How much you use the volume pedal for accent is a matter of taste but it is not a wah wah. For me, I pretty much set it and forget it. There is the background sound and then pedal to the metal for solos. Within those overall settings I vary tone (and volume) with the drawbars. Serious church organ types use their feet on the pedal board so much that they really can't use the swell pedal that much. We sort of got our basic style from them anyway.

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#1768517 - 06/19/07 10:12 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: retrokeys]
mate stubb Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
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The most natural way to use it is to build the dynamics of your phrases. In other words, if you were playing this line on piano, where would you get louder?

The problem with pumping the volume pedal usually comes from tapping the pedals with your left foot, and not being able to avoid a reflex action with your right.
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#1768520 - 06/19/07 10:17 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: retrokeys]
Hammodel AV Offline
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Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 295
Loc: Kansas City, MO
Yes, I would concur that up and down with the beat does not make sense, but is a tendency because many people keep the beat with the right foot. As a trained organist (but popular music, not serious church style but some classical) the expression pedal is when you have crescendos/decrescendos marked on the music. But as pointed out before, when you are walking the pedals you can't really keep your foot on the expression pedal (you are SUPPOSED to use both feet AND toe/heel). In fact, theatre and pipe organs have multiple expression pedals, to set the volume by rank (or manual).

When I am actually playing I do tend to keep my foot on the expression pedal and adjust based on what I hear in my in-ears relative to the rest of the band mix. My teacher did have me use the expression pedal for special 'effects' during certain songs.
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#1768547 - 06/19/07 11:06 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: Hammodel AV]
yannis D Online   content
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Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 2117
Loc: athens, greece
Thnx for the replies guys!
As far as foot pedals, i don't use them, so i don't mix the two. I think keeping the expression pedal in a steady level and playing with the drawbars would be more effective volume-wise. I could also use the volume button on my M-Audio whenever i need more volume (on a solo let's say) and then go back to the normal level. Or i shoulb be more delicate when i use the expression pedal with my Electro and do the minimum movements (cause some time, as i said, i over do it...)
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#1768576 - 06/19/07 12:13 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
Hammodel AV Offline
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Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 295
Loc: Kansas City, MO
I would say be more delicate with the expression pedal, versus moving the drawbars. The drawbars affects volume, correct, but it is the relative volume between harmonics. This is an effect unto itself and generally for a different purpose. I forget which classic rock song (if there is only one, which I think not) has an ending passage where the keyboard player pushes in the lower drawbars, leaving only the higher frequencies.
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#1768586 - 06/19/07 12:29 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: Hammodel AV]
mate stubb Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
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 Originally Posted By: Hammodel AV
I forget which classic rock song (if there is only one, which I think not) has an ending passage where the keyboard player pushes in the lower drawbars, leaving only the higher frequencies.


"Carry On My Wayward Son" uses that effect. That's in my trick bag as well, although you have to be careful not to overuse it.
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#1768605 - 06/19/07 01:02 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: mate stubb]
ABECK Offline
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Registered: 01/22/01
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Loc: Framingham,MA,UNITED STATES
Check out the song "Danger" from Eric Clapton & JJ Cale (The Road to Escondido). It's a recent album and I've heard this tune on the radio several times recently. This is a good example of working the volume pedal to accent phrases.

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#1768630 - 06/19/07 02:15 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: ABECK]
Mr. Nightime Offline
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Loc: Melbourne, FL
When I'm playing organ my foot is always on the expression pedal. I use it in much the same way I use velocity when playing piano, for accents. Like many others, not much bothers me more than a player that moves the expression pedal to the beat, unless it's a guy that switches the Leslie speed to fast and leaves it there all the time.

There are a couple songs where I have the Hammond reverb up very high, for effect. I'll punch the pedal then hit a staccato chord, backing the pedal off quickly, giving a really cool effect. But like any other effect, it can be easily over used, so I'll do it maybe once or twice a night. It's especially effective as the last chord of the song, ramping down the Leslie as the reverb rings out.

Just remember that expression pedal use is as much a skill to be learned as on-the-fly drawbar changes and Leslie management. It's all part of the whole Hammond performance package.
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#1768710 - 06/19/07 04:43 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: Mr. Nightime]
yannis D Online   content
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Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 2117
Loc: athens, greece
thank you all fellows! As a pianist-turn-organist i struggle with all those difficulties a trained organist would never face.
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#1768741 - 06/19/07 05:28 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
konaboy Offline
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Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 823
strange, i attended a workshop with Sweden's finest B3 player. His advice was to pulse the expression pedal with the beat on the quarter notes.

the goal is to add more of a bounce to the bass line, making it sound more like an acoustic bass. he even did a demonstration of a walking bass line where he lifted his foot off the expression pedal and then played the identical tune with his foot pulsing on the pedal. The latter was swinging and interesting and the former sounded flat, lifeless and boring.

perhaps this advice applies just to jazzers who are playing left hand/pedal bass? i wouldn't recommend the technique for rock organ.

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#1768953 - 06/20/07 04:23 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: konaboy]
yannis D Online   content
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Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 2117
Loc: athens, greece
 Originally Posted By: konaboy
perhaps this advice applies just to jazzers who are playing left hand/pedal bass? i wouldn't recommend the technique for rock organ.


When i play jazz left hand i feel more free to play with the volume pedal as there's not too many frequencies on stage and i have the hole controll of the chord/bass system. But when there's a bass player (98% of the times, there is) seems that "keep it steady" rule is the best solution
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#1769029 - 06/20/07 09:43 AM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
Jim Alfredson Online   content
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Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 5153
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Joey D is very anti-expression pedal movement. For me, it depends on the tune and how subtle you are with it. He gets after less experienced players just because it is easy to form a bad habit of pumping the pedal on every quarter note, which, if done without subtlety, can sound really bad.

I use the pedal constantly whether I'm kicking bass or not. It is an integral part of the instrument.
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#1769107 - 06/20/07 12:09 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: Jim Alfredson]
Hammodel AV Offline
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Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 295
Loc: Kansas City, MO
Using the expression pedal to control volume while playing bass pedals is a poor-man's ADSR! Think about it -- you are creating the decay/release manually (or by foot, actually). And it affects the rest of the notes being played on the manuals.


Edited by Hammodel AV (06/20/07 12:14 PM)
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#1769207 - 06/20/07 04:17 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: Hammodel AV]
humannoyed Offline
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Registered: 12/28/00
Posts: 677
Loc: Deep South ,UNITED STATES
 Originally Posted By: Hammodel AV
Using the expression pedal to control volume while playing bass pedals is a poor-man's ADSR! Think about it -- you are creating the decay/release manually (or by foot, actually). And it affects the rest of the notes being played on the manuals.


This is true, and the way I use the volume pedal, but not when I'm playing bass pedals which take both feet to do well.

When I have bass and drums with me, I don't get in the bass player's territory with pedal work, unless there is a rare occasion in the music that needs all the fullness we can muster. By not playing bass pedals I have a foot free for the swell pedal. My favorite technique is to have the pedal pressed down when first hitting a sustained chord and pulling back immediately very quickly. This indeed is using the organ to mimic the sound envelope of a percussion instrument like the piano. It is dramatic and something that can be overused also, so...careful!

Day
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#1769298 - 06/20/07 07:00 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: humannoyed]
yannis D Online   content
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Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 2117
Loc: athens, greece
[quoteMy favorite technique is to have the pedal pressed down when first hitting a sustained chord and pulling back immediately very quickly. This indeed is using the organ to mimic the sound envelope of a percussion instrument like the piano. It is dramatic and something that can be overused also, so...careful!
[/quote]

that's a nice trick!
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#1769881 - 06/21/07 10:04 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: yannis D]
loumi Offline
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Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 171
Loc: South Central Michigan
Of all the controls I have on my clonewheel, I think the expression pedal is one of the most important. True I can set it and forget it on some passages, but one of the real beautiful aspects of the Hammond sound is the ability to be just the right level at just the right time. I constantly have my foot on the pedal, only occasionally moving it, but hopefully the right amount at the right time. Next to the use of the Leslie control, I think it is one of the most important controls on the B-3.

I agree entirely with Moe. When I have used other keyboards that try to make the Hammond sound, but without an expression pedal, I find myself struggling to work the volume control to vary the level - it just doesn't sound right without it. B3-er, I have heard your playing and I really like the way you use the expression pedal - nice.

Lou
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#1770190 - 06/22/07 01:00 PM Re: Use of expression pedal on hammond organ [Re: loumi]
Jim Alfredson Online   content
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Registered: 06/04/02
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Loc: Lansing, MI
Thanks, Lou! I agree that the expression pedal is very important and mastering it is key to really playing the instrument.

The other important aspect of the expression pedal that took the "cloners" a long time to figure out is that it is not linear in it's frequency response. The high end is attenuated much quicker than the low end, which is obviously important when you're kicking bass.
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