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Moving from tonewheel to clonewheel


MoKen

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I recently started gigging with my Hammond Porta-B and Leslie. The response has been amazing and gratifying. However, I've been planning to get an E2 or E3 when the funds allow. I understand that with the E3, the sound will be very similar. But I'm thinking that maybe part of the crowd reaction is to the look and age of the Hammond.

 

What is the experience here of people that have quit hauling the beast around and gone the clone route? Is it just the sound that matters or does the look play a big part?

 

Thanks.

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My feel is that most people respond to the sound more than the look. I gig with a laptop running VB3, and get tons of compliments about my "hammond" sound.

 

However, this does remind me of an anecdote, I may have shared this here before. I was playing a relatively recent Jethro Tull DVD at the store I work at, and the keyboardist had a custom wood case that looked like a B3, but actually housed an 88-key lower board and a 61-key upper. A drummer was hanging out in the store, and was kind of getting on my nerves, he had that bitter aging muso vibe where he was dissing every player in my area, including my bands and my friend's bands. Anyway, at one point, the camera pans across the keyboardist's setup, and drummer dudes exclaims, with an obvious lack of irony, "There's nothing like a real Hammond!" The funny thing is that the keys player was playing an acoustic piano patch!

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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The Hammond Organ. Been there done that. Love the soundhate the organ.

 

If you are new to organ gigging you have to know what you are getting into if you are thinking of actually giiging with one of those old *******.

 

I never chopped my organs. If you are going to chop one you might as well get a clone and save A BUNCH of weight. I think chops are obsolete plus a waste of a perfectly good case.

 

When you gig with an organ you become more attuned to building architectures. You got to love it when you get to the job and the organ doesn't fit through the 30" front door without unloading the organ from the trailer then unloading it from the road case before you can squeeze it through the door. ..... or there are stairs to face and though the organ case has very nice wheels together the two is about a 500 pound package. Stairs SUCK. A lot of the outdoor staging system have rickety aluminum stairs those are fun ... or small town Midwest street dances and city festivals where you show up and see that you have to play on top of a flat bed farm truck. I never realized how tall those truck beds were until the first time I had to play on one.

 

When you dead tired and are trying to load the damn thing at 2:00 AM in the morning all that romanticism of playing old wood case organ goes right out the window.

 

You are from Columbia Missouri? You have winter there. You need to think about cold weather. One time about 30-35 years ago we were playing in Peoria IL. It was ridiculously cold. Wind Chill was like -20. Driving up from St. Louis was a treat. They had not built that 4 lane interstate spur I-155 yet so half the trip on little 2 lane roads. Driving conditions were awful. We got there barely in time to get setup. Of course, the organ would not start. Played the first set without the organ. You will need to carry a hair dryer with you in the winter time in case the organ gets too cold to run.

 

What is a E-2 or E3? I never heard of that?

 

Good luck and have fun.

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Since the Porta B was essentially an L model spinet, I think you will discover that the clones, VK7 and 8, CX3 or XK3, are going to have a lot more fullness. Each of these was modelled off the B3 and IMHO sound a lot better than any spinet model. I went from a vintage C3 to a VK7 first and then to an XK along with an Electro2. All of these made an acceptable subtitution and were much easier on the back. With a real leslie I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Don't know that much about the E model but if finances allow get a good modern clone. You won't regret it.
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MoKen,

I think the look matters. I just had my annual gigantic backyard bash/jam out (~ 200 people) only this year I didn't bring the Hammond + Leslie out. I have 2 M3's and the one at grade level had been buzzing lately, the one in the basement, well, I never got around to getting it up and out of there.

 

Anyway, a couple of people noticed the absence of the Hammond. They did not notice the presence of the Electro. FWIW...granted we were playing rock and blues covers and I am no Jimmy Smith.

 

Regards,

Joe

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At one time Hammond did make an E100 model (like the man used to say "google is your friend"). Like CEB, I had never heard an electro referred to as an "E2 or 3", probably to avoid this type of confusuion when dealing with old Hammond nomenclature. At any rate, the Nords will sound better than a Porta B particularly with a real leslie. Of course for real B3 goodness from Nord, go for the Nord C1 or newer Nord C2.
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The Hammond Organ. Been there done that. Love the soundhate the organ.

 

If you are new to organ gigging you have to know what you are getting into if you are thinking of actually giiging with one of those old *******.

 

I never chopped my organs. If you are going to chop one you might as well get a clone and save A BUNCH of weight. I think chops are obsolete plus a waste of a perfectly good case.

 

When you gig with an organ you become more attuned to building architectures. You got to love it when you get to the job and the organ doesn't fit through the 30" front door without unloading the organ from the trailer then unloading it from the road case before you can squeeze it through the door. ..... or there are stairs to face and though the organ case has very nice wheels together the two is about a 500 pound package. Stairs SUCK. A lot of the outdoor staging system have rickety aluminum stairs those are fun ... or small town Midwest street dances and city festivals where you show up and see that you have to play on top of a flat bed farm truck. I never realized how tall those truck beds were until the first time I had to play on one.

 

When you dead tired and are trying to load the damn thing at 2:00 AM in the morning all that romanticism of playing old wood case organ goes right out the window.

 

You are from Columbia Missouri? You have winter there. You need to think about cold weather. One time about 30-35 years ago we were playing in Peoria IL. It was ridiculously cold. Wind Chill was like -20. Driving up from St. Louis was a treat. They had not built that 4 lane interstate spur I-155 yet so half the trip on little 2 lane roads. Driving conditions were awful. We got there barely in time to get setup. Of course, the organ would not start. Played the first set without the organ. You will need to carry a hair dryer with you in the winter time in case the organ gets too cold to run.

 

What is a E-2 or E3? I never heard of that?

 

Good luck and have fun.

 

Thread over!

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I think if you can play great, the illusion of the Hammond will be dismissed by a great sound. The Clones are not second-rate substitutes anymore. In a lot of cases, they are better than the originals. I go along with CEB on this one. Carrying a large organ (at least one that is made of wood and requires wheels) is not smart these days.

 

Plug it in an play.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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At one time Hammond did make an E100 model (like the man used to say "google is your friend"). Like CEB, I had never heard an electro referred to as an "E2 or 3", probably to avoid this type of confusuion when dealing with old Hammond nomenclature. At any rate, the Nords will sound better than a Porta B particularly with a real leslie. Of course for real B3 goodness from Nord, go for the Nord C1 or newer Nord C2.

 

The Electro 3 has the C1 engine/leslie sim in it, as well as the Farf and Vox models.

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Looks don't matter, I often see the people who do favour looks are inferior players. Chops are obselete with modern clones, by all means have one for the studio/living room but go digital, with a small Leslie if your used to a real one. Sound is too close these days to care.
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I have been playing clones since the original CX-3 came out in the early 80s FWIW.

 

IMO, the best of today's clones are a decent substitute. They can sound better than a trashed tonewheel spinet or console. They can sound almost as good as an ordinary console.

 

But if you have a really great tonewheel organ, one that just has that magic aura and sound - clones are nowhere near as inspiring to play or listen to.

Moe

---

 

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If you are concerned with looks (something a lot of musicians don't think about), go with the Hammond XK Traditional System. People mistake mine for a B3 all the time because it's wood and now that I've had it for a few years, its has some scratches and marks and looks "vintage".

 

It's more weight than a Nord, but it also has real drawbars and doesn't move around when you play it (it's SOLID as a rock).

 

The Nords sound great (Hammond sounds really great, too... and you can tweak it to your heart's content), but I always think they look silly, especially when it's just a guy and one tiny red keyboard on an x-stand on stage.

 

Seriously, what looks better, this:

 

http://bp0.blogger.com/_whgusMVoNzI/R_GXmzZCadI/AAAAAAAAANM/1Ik_fFRqhpQ/s320/IMGP1207.JPG

 

Or this:

 

http://beta.asoundstrategy.com/sitemaster/userUploads/site153/XKsys_mid1.jpg

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Seriously, what looks better, this:

 

http://bp0.blogger.com/_whgusMVoNzI/R_GXmzZCadI/AAAAAAAAANM/1Ik_fFRqhpQ/s320/IMGP1207.JPG

 

Or this:

 

http://beta.asoundstrategy.com/sitemaster/userUploads/site153/XKsys_mid1.jpg

 

It's all a matter of perspective. Without a doubt, at 9pm after load-in, while you're enjoying a quick beverage before you start playing, and indeed throughout the entire gig, #2 is light years better. :cool:

 

However, at 2am when you're all done, tired, with an hour's drive ahead of you AFTER you load out, with the only option to wade through the sea of drunken patrons all looking to hook up, I gotta go with option #1. The X-stand to defend yourself with, the Electro under one arm, and Bob's yer uncle. :thu:

 

Just my 1/50th of a buck... :)

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I never had a tough time deciding which to use, then again it may have something to do with the fact that I drive a hatchback...

 

Seriously though, I think retrokeys said it best when he mentioned using a real leslie. The right speaker is probably the key to getting the clones to sound their best, imho. At that point looks are less important. Countless times I've had people tell me with amazement how great my rig sounded and let me tell you it wasn't pretty to look at compared to Jim's pic above!

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by Richwhite9:

 

Of course most think they are cooling fans.

 

One would be the keyboard player.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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For the ultimate look if your that way inclined, an XK3/c traditional with the Valhalla base unit. I had people posing next to mine for pics at gigs in the short time I had it. It does take a fair amount of space up though if you don't put the top section inside of the lower manual. But it's a bitch to lift when you do. Come to think of it, I must have cared about the look to have gone to the expense of the base unit! Doh!
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My Leslie is the 825, which is the scaled down version but still puts out a big sound.

 

So from what I'm reading I'll start planning on an Electro 3 and a control box for the Leslie. That will also take care of those few songs that really need the piano sound.

 

Thanks for the great input.

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Hammond v. Nord. I don't think I want to go there. But everyone else, feel free...

OK,

 

I just spent an hour tonight at Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center playing the new Hammond Portable B-3 through a Speakeasy Roadbox (don't know the model - it had treble rotors but a 12" or possibly 15" bass speaker mounted below and facing the rear - no drum/baffle). This was a floor model and apparantly had been a rental because it had some issues concerning the lower preset bank and a wobbly swell pedal mounting. I liked the homage with the two start/off switches, and since my 3's a '67 model I forgot about the squared off and labelled drawbars, but those are minor matters. The organ is superb: solid feel, controls where they should be, and I felt at home. Running through the Speakeasy kind of surprised me: my C1/2101 combination sounded much more authentic to my '67/122X2 than this did. To be fair I would have loved to hear this through a Leslie 3300 or 122A, but that wasn't the case. I wanted the Hammond to sound exponentially better than it did because of the price, and because of the name. I still would love to own the new B-3, but I wouldn't sell or trade mine to get it.

 

One other point: when I got back to the hotel I checked up on the specs of the new portable B-3 and found that the case without pedals and bench weighs 245 lbs. That would not be much easier than putting my B on the Roll-or-Karries by myself and going out on the road hoping for help.

 

My point to all this is just confirming what others have stated: The clones are thisclose to the real deal soundwise. How you feel about drawbars vs. buttons, red vs. wood/Tolex, or physical presence vs. portability is personal and important. Just realize that there are many excellent choices regardless of brand name that will get you through the gig.

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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I wanted the Hammond to sound exponentially better than it did because of the price, and because of the name. I still would love to own the new B-3, but I wouldn't sell or trade mine to get it.

 

In the end, the New B-3 is just a clone too -

Moe

---

 

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The XK3 and it's ilk (New B3 mk1, B3-P) don't sound as good as they can out of the box. They require some tweaking. First and foremost you gotta put it through a real Leslie with two rotors. But beyond that, the stock tonewheel set is too perfect and thus unnatural sounding.

 

Try the XK3c through a real Leslie (actually, it's onboard sim is damn good, too). Then consider that with either the Traditional Lower Manual or the Pro Lower Manual (which is lighter).

 

For how good the XK3 (not the newer XK3c) can sound, check out the latest organissimo record, Groovadelphia:

 

http://cdbaby.com/cd/organissimo3

 

Or the latest Root Doctor record, Live At The Cadillac Club:

 

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rootdoctormusic2

 

Or check out Root Doctor on YouTube:

 

 

All three of those links are the XK3 / XK Traditional System through a vintage Leslie 122. I now use a Leslie 3300, which you can hear on this video with the XK3 / XK System:

 

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