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#2243879 - 11/08/10 01:41 PM Piano and organ are really two different animals
Outkaster Offline
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As I get older and really dive into different styles I notice that the Hammond players and piano players are almost two different breeds. When you play piano the dimension is different where as with the organ that instrument does some of the work. I am still amazed at guys that can manipulate drawbars and the controls. I sold a B-2 to a guy from a gospel church in NJ. He came up some weeks back and could play the hell out of it and he was not a monster chop guy but just knew what to do. It really is two different animals the more I analyze it. One is not better than other but I do notice fewer piano players in music. Soloing on piano is tough. Soling on organ is more physical but a piano player will play it clean most of time. I have decided to leave the Hammond organ alone and just play it when the song absolutely calls for it. It is such a signature sound of the band I am in and their history but I donít feel I do it enough justice because I did not come up on organ. So I approach it like a piano player. I love the Hammonds and Leslies and even have a little collection but I really respect the guys that can play it properly.


Edited by Outkaster (11/09/10 07:59 AM)
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#2243886 - 11/08/10 01:58 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Outkaster]
MoKen Offline
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Registered: 05/05/08
Posts: 233
Loc: Columbia, MO
This is so true - even if you leave bass out of the equation (either left hand or kicking pedals).

I'm currently taking jazz piano lessons from a very good teacher. However, my true love is the Hammond sound. I find that I have to learn most things twice because they don't necessarily translate that well. Those 'interesting' chords on the piano often sound like mud on the organ. And my translations often leave something to be desired as well.

Finding a good jazz piano teacher - difficult
Finding a good jazz Hammond teacher - impossible. (well maybe not impossible, but very, very difficult.)

Did I mention that I've been quitting music lately - almost everyday.

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#2243893 - 11/08/10 02:24 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: MoKen]
Adan Offline
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Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 2013
Loc: San Francisco
I went through a period of about 8 years where I was playing alot of organ and trying to convince myself that I was good at it. I'm not. I'm a piano player. I can fake it on organ, but so can alot of other people. I'll still play it when it's called for.

I think because it's such a sexy instrument, and as you say it even does some of the work for you, that it lures many into wanting to try it. But there is such a vast difference between dabblers like myself and those who can really play it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "soloing on organ is more physical." I would say the opposite. But I think we must just using words imprecisely. I think piano is more forgiving in that you can be a little bit sloppy and it will get lost in the noise . . . depending on the style, of course. Organ requires a more precise touch.

There's quite a few very good organ players in the Bay Area, and many of them offer lessons.
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#2243896 - 11/08/10 02:40 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Adan]
yannis D Offline
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I have a friend -an old teacher- fantastic piano player. He have played with many jazz greats who travel to Greece/Europe. This guy took up the organ some years ago. Now he tours internationally playing organ. He even recorded his CD for Tony Monaco's label if this says something. He became fantastic on the organ too - not only chops (which he already got from the piano playing) but drawbars and the hole technique. Piano and organ are two different animals indeed, but having chops and a great vocabulary on piano helps a lot your organ playing. And if you're talented enough you may be good at both (Larry Goldings comes to mind)
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#2243897 - 11/08/10 02:47 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: yannis D]
gryphon Offline
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Agree. This is one of my favorites. Not a complicated part, but certainly not what a "piano" player would think of. If you've never seen this before, enjoy.

http://www.mydamnchannel.com/Don_Was/Favorites/BuddyMillerSoNewTheresStillNoTitle_2469.aspx
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#2243901 - 11/08/10 02:58 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: yannis D]
frogmonkey Offline
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Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 1383
Loc: Vermont, USA
Different animals, indeed! I've been a piano player my whole life, and it's only in the last 7 or 8 years that I started to get interested in organ. I didn't even have a clonewheel until two years ago. But now I'm hooked.

I've presently got an A100/Leslie 251 set up in a recording studio across town. I'm due back in an hour to start overdubs. We've got it mic'd up real nice-- and isolated-- and I can't believe the sound that is coming out of that thing. I think maybe it's the best recorded sound I've ever made. You're right, the thing does almost play itself.

I'm amazed at the guys who can really work the thing, too! I'm starting to get pretty comfortable on it. I'm definitely not going to quit it, though smile

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#2243942 - 11/08/10 05:30 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: frogmonkey]
learjeff Online   content
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I think it's a lot easier for a piano player to learn to play organ than vice-versa. At least, it used to be the case back in the pre-digital days -- the organ players just hadn't developed the muscles to play a weighted keyboard. But of course, that's something you can overcome with practice regardless of where you started. I'm just talking about an organ player sitting at a piano once, vs. a piano player sitting at an organ. Of course, most piano players lack the legato fingerings the organist does without thinking, having relied on that handy sustain pedal.

I'm talking about the unschooled variety, of course. No doubt the schooled types learn all the fundamental techniques properly!

They're definitely different beasts, but I think I've muddled into a style where most of my chops work fine on either. It's the lazy man's approach (and helps that I'm mostly playing the Blues!)

But at heart I'm still a piano player, one who also plays (and really digs) organ.

I wouldn't let the difference to cause me to back off on my weaker side -- quite the opposite. Actually, I've considered doing a few sessions where I play only organ, to be forced to make it work in a variety of places where I'd naturally play piano. That works in jams, but of course isn't quite practical in bands where your bandmates would be wondering why the heck I'm playing the wrong instrument for the song!
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#2243945 - 11/08/10 05:36 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: frogmonkey]
keyman27 Offline
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Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 283
Loc: United States
I love the way Ray Charles plays the Hammond in a piano-like way on his early ABC recordings. 688600000, a tone cabinet, and turn the volume ALL the way up. Oh, and have the Basie orchestra back you up. Moanin', One Mint Julep, etc.

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#2243946 - 11/08/10 05:39 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: learjeff]
Maestro Dirk Offline
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Registered: 12/22/09
Posts: 180
I totally agree. I was awful in my piano classes in college. I'm a bass player and I was totally intrigued by the sound of the Hammond and Leslie, so eventually I bought a Nord Electro and started playing a bit of organ. Knowing the proper technique for scales was a huge help, but I'm still helpless when I sit down at an acoustic piano. I feel somewhat inspired by electric pianos, but those are a different beast as well.

On organ, I'm by no means anywhere close to where I want to be, but I do have an A-100 at my disposal at work. I play it any chance I get and I definitely feel like I know where to better fit when I'm playing organ.

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#2243947 - 11/08/10 05:48 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Maestro Dirk]
B3bluesman59 Offline
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Keyman27 said: I love the way Ray Charles plays the Hammond in a piano-like way on his early ABC recordings.
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#2243948 - 11/08/10 06:01 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Outkaster]
Steve Nathan Offline
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Registered: 01/06/06
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Loc: Nashville, TN
Quote:
Agree. This is one of my favorites. Not a complicated part, but certainly not what a "piano" player would think of. If you've never seen this before, enjoy.


Well, that's Phil Madeira in that clip, certainly a fine organ player AND a fine piano player. cool

Sure organ and piano are "different". So are synth, harpsichord and clav, but I've known plenty of players capable of moving from one to the next without missing a beat (I've even managed to make a decent living doing exactly that for many years laugh ).

The secret to being a great player is in your head, not your fingers. Free your mind and your chops will follow.

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#2243951 - 11/08/10 06:08 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
matted stump Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 11730
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
[quote]
The secret to being a great player is in your head, not your fingers. Free your mind and your chops will follow.


I was crafting a long reply that basically boiled down to "immerse yourself for awhile", but Steve is much more succinct. wink
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#2243956 - 11/08/10 06:30 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: gryphon]
rcc Offline
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Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 187
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: gryphon


Wow. Enjoy indeed. Thanks for posting.
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#2243959 - 11/08/10 06:56 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
Kelly Gibson Offline
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Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 68
Loc: Asheville
"The secret to being a great player is in your head, not your fingers. Free your mind and your chops will follow."
+1 I love that, it is so true.

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#2243967 - 11/08/10 07:27 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Kelly Gibson]
VegasGT3 Offline
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Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 272
Loc: Las Vegas
Wow, I can think of a lot of competent organ/piano/clav/electric keyboard artists, especially in the rock or blues genre. Richard Tee, Billy Preston, Seth Justman . . .

If you play synth, you also learn to play each sound differently with different touch and phrasing. That is why I love the keyboards. Having said that, I am much better at piano than say Clavinet or Organ, but I'm loving learning to be better.
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#2243976 - 11/08/10 08:15 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: gryphon]
reidmc Offline
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Registered: 03/22/08
Posts: 607
Loc: God's Country, USA
Originally Posted By: gryphon
Agree. This is one of my favorites. Not a complicated part, but certainly not what a "piano" player would think of. If you've never seen this before, enjoy.

http://www.mydamnchannel.com/Don_Was/Favorites/BuddyMillerSoNewTheresStillNoTitle_2469.aspx


First, thanks for that link!!! Definitely getting all over that Buddy and Julie Miller recording when it comes out, and there are several stellar tunes on that page, like this one
http://www.mydamnchannel.com/Don_Was/Favorites/SweetPeaAtkinsonSlowDown_3859.aspx And check out "Getting Over You" by Stephen Bruton.

Second, the organ on that Miller track is nice, but nothing special. It's what you get when you know your tools and think like a musician, rather than a piano player, a jazz musician, organist etc.
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#2243980 - 11/08/10 08:27 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: gryphon]
b_3guy Offline
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#2244003 - 11/08/10 10:33 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: matted stump]
Sven Ghoulie Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
[quote]
The secret to being a great player is in your head, not your fingers. Free your mind and your chops will follow.


I was crafting a long reply that basically boiled down to "immerse yourself for awhile", but Steve is much more succinct. wink


Both in his posting, and his playing. Well said, Steve. thu

(Edited to say: I don't mean to imply that Moe overplays, rather that Steve is a nice, tasteful player. I've never heard Moe's playing (that I'm aware of), so have no idea whether he overplays or not compared to Steve. wink )

(Guess that doesn't really help much, does it? Sorry Moe. cool)


Edited by Sven Golly (11/08/10 10:40 PM)
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#2244009 - 11/08/10 11:30 PM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Sven Ghoulie]
dazzjazz Offline
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Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 1008
Loc: Sydney
I gig regularly on both and think I do a pro job.
It is hard to maintain both to the level I'd like though.
If I had to choose I'd play the organ though - it's always in tune!!
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#2244016 - 11/09/10 12:41 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
MonksDream Offline
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Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 1870
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
The secret to being a great player is in your head, not your fingers. Free your mind and your chops will follow.

Quote of the thread! Thanks for my new sig line, Steve! thu
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#2244027 - 11/09/10 04:20 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: MonksDream]
DanL Online   content
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Here's a different analogy.

The German Shepherd is a multi task working dog. He does many things well, but isn't the best at any of them. Tracking, herding, bitework/protection, scent discrimination. There are breeds of dogs that can do all of those things better (bloodhounds for tracking, border collies for herding, malinois for bitework, beagles for scenting). They are usually only excellent at one of those tasks, where the GSD is better than average at all of them. That makes him a more versatile dog overall and more valuable for so many different applications- farm dog, police/military dog, search and rescue dog.

I try to equate my playing along those lines. Organ, piano, Epiano, clav, synth- all different disciplines with different techniques. If you can be better than average at all of those, vs excellent at one and mediocre at another, you'll be a better overall player.
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#2244033 - 11/09/10 05:12 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: DanL]
Outkaster Offline
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Yes I am OK on organ. I meant that piano players will play it "clean" not adding smears,ramp ups, and being "physical" with the organ. I do agree it is easier to go from piano to organ. People like Richard Tee and Billy Preston are exceptions to the rule. I also believe there are rules for playing each instrument.
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#2244058 - 11/09/10 06:50 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
gryphon Offline
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Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 536
Loc: Okemos, MI
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
Well, that's Phil Madeira in that clip, certainly a fine organ player AND a fine piano player.
I think you and possibly others here misunderstood what I meant. I didn't mean it wasn't possible to play both well, I was simply agreeing with the OP on how these instruments are different, and if you took a "piano" (piano only) player and showed him a B3 and said, "accompany me" it's not likely he'd come up with this, or any of the other great sounds and techniques we've come to assoicate with the organ today.

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#2244061 - 11/09/10 07:04 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: gryphon]
Outkaster Offline
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That's because a console can really be intimidating when you first sit down with it.
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#2244090 - 11/09/10 08:48 AM Re: Piano and organ is really two different animals [Re: keyman27]
kanker. Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyman27
I love the way Ray Charles plays the Hammond in a piano-like way on his early ABC recordings. 688600000, a tone cabinet, and turn the volume ALL the way up. Oh, and have the Basie orchestra back you up. Moanin', One Mint Julep, etc.
Yeah, it's kinda ignorant in the hippest way possible.

Me, I consider myself a pianist and an organ player. The '-ist' is a huge difference - I can't make an organ talk like I can a piano. That said, Steve Nathan, as always, is right on. thu
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#2244108 - 11/09/10 09:31 AM Re: Piano and organ are really two different animals [Re: Outkaster]
Steve Nathan Offline
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Quote:
Second, the organ on that Miller track is nice, but nothing special.


Really. I often wish people would at least qualify these kinds of statements with "not that special to me, or imho, or didn't move me". I get that a lot of players are only impressed with showmanship, speed, flash whatever, but some of us are moved by nuance, taste, art, or just the selfless act of supporting another artist's vision. Regardless, I once again find it amusing how 2 men can look at Picasso's "Don Quixote", one sees genius and the other sees nothing but a few squiggly lines and boldly announces "I could do that"!
Then again, what do I know, I am apparently a German Shepherd. smirk


Edited by Steve Nathan (11/09/10 09:58 AM)
Edit Reason: failure to heed spellcheck :-)

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#2244112 - 11/09/10 09:43 AM Re: Piano and organ are really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
Joe MustScareYa Offline
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LOL

Nice post again Steve. I agree with you. I'm tired of people writing on forums/facebook/twitter/etc., "[thing] sucks" as if their opinion was fact and all that matters.

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#2244115 - 11/09/10 09:51 AM Re: Piano and organ are really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
Tombstone88 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/10
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Agreed, I think the organ really added to the performance without it becoming "about the organ". The song is about the singer and the emotions stirred in the song. Or specifically its about the song not the technique. So I felt the organ was totally appropriate for the song.
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#2244116 - 11/09/10 09:51 AM Re: Piano and organ are really two different animals [Re: Steve Nathan]
CEB Online   content
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Registered: 06/03/09
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I had a hard time when I started playing organ. I was a piano player.

There are some thing that just totally different at a fundemental level. Example the use of the forearms. Years ago I was at a local Music Shop and lamentating my degree of Hammond suckitude with Darel DeCounter so he sat down me at his B-3 that was stored there at the store and spent about 3 hours getting me on the right path.

Having someone with the compassion who has traveled that road before take the time to help you along the way can shave years off your learning curve.

A player can do both very well if they just know what it is they want to do, ie hear it in your head and know a few tricks.


Edited by CEB (11/09/10 09:52 AM)
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#2244119 - 11/09/10 10:01 AM Re: Piano and organ are really two different animals [Re: Joe MustScareYa]
MonksDream Offline
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Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 1870
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
The other night I went to a benefit to raise money for a local musician who recently had a a brain hemorrhage. The leader asked me to sit in and, wanting to support the guy any way possible, I said 'yes' right away. I then asked what keyboards were available. They pointed to an XK-1 set up on stage. As the Aussies say, it was 'brown trousers' time! Thankfully, the excellent advice shared by organists on this forum came to my rescue. I remembered enough of what I've learned here to not feel like a fish out of water and had a great time. I even got compliments from other musos! The organ is a definitely different beast, and what a wonderful beast it is! It's something I'd like to do more of. smile
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