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Questions for the B3'er's out there.


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I first became interested in keyboard playing(NOTE: not piano playing) while in HS in the early-to mid 80's watching the videos on MTV. After I was discharged from the Navy, I enrolled in a design school where I met a fellow student who suggested I attend a local open jam. I was already in to the "prog-lite"(80's Genesis, Rush, 80's Pink Floyd), so I was expecting to do some of that. As I had found out, it turned out to be "blues" jam. Having no clue whatsoever about playing blues(hated blues music when I was a youngster), I sat in a quite a few jams, soaking up as much knowledge as I could.


Being very unskilled on the piano, I took kindly to the organ. Then, I heard a tune playing on the radio that pretty much changed my life for good. It was Jimmy Smith's "The Sermon". After hearing this, I quickly ran to my nearest record store and grabbed a copy of the Compact Jazz CD. My interest in to all things B3, needless to say, got even deeper around the early 90's after I met a blues guitarist who asked me to join his band as keyboardist. A blues historian in his own right, he had libraries of old vinyl recordings of different organists: Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, Hank Marr, Bill Doggett, Groove Holmes, etc. He had a Farfisa and a Leslie(model unknown) that he kept in his rehearsal spot. It was a single-speed Leslie, IIRC. I brought this setup to my early gigs with his band. Later, that Leslie would be replaced with a 145 cabinet that he found on the side of a street. It was a single-speed(says Leslie 25 on the tag in the back). He took it to a local music repair shop and had it modded to a dual-speed(slow/fast) with a break switch and this would be the Leslie that I would be using for the next several years with this band. My first "clone" that I've ever connected to it was of all things, a Korg Wavestation EX.


My first experience with a Hammond happened a few years later, when he picked up a chopped M-series(may have been an M-100) from an abandoned church. I used to bring it to a few gigs. We would sit the organ on top of a set of table legs. It took me a while to get it to sound at least as good as my WS EX(if not a B3), a bit of a learning process, I guess. He later scooped up a 1940's CV and a IIRC a Leslie 251. I can remember the amp in it not being very loud. A Hammond XB2 connected to the 145 cabinet would be my primary setup for the next 10 years, with the Korg CX3 and Vent afterward during the last remaining few years with his band.



Kronos 88 Platinum, Yamaha YC88, Subsequent 37, Korg CX3, Hydrasynth 49-key, Nord Electro 5D 73, QSC K8.2, Lester K


Me & The Boyz

Chris Beard Band

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When I was a kid the soundtrack to the movie "The Big Chill" was stuck (literally) in the cassette deck of my mom's car for about three years. The Rascals - Good Lovin' and Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale. I remember calling the music store when I was maybe 12 years old and asking what kind of keyboard that was. "Kid, it's a Hammond B3 and a Leslie speaker, and you can't afford one!" -click-


Jazz, rock, prog all came later. Those two songs planted the seed.


Incidentally, the very first time I laid hands on a B3 was nine years later, on stage in front of about 2000 people at an outdoor festival, subbing with a band I had never played with before a quick rehearsal that morning. We were 2nd on the bill and the Hammond was backlined, so I thought "why not?" And of course after two or three tunes going swimmingly and feeling like a stud, I cancelled out the preset keys doing a big gliss, and had to switch to piano for about half the song until the keyboard player for the headliner had mercy on me and snuck up on stage to re-engage and explain.

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Procol Harum's A white shader...


Not a Hammond B3. :laugh:


I know :laugh: but aren't people saying their stories of how they got into hammonds? That was the sound that got my attention and made me go back to the keys and buy a B3, i didn't know crap about leslies, drawbars or anything else, but wanted to learn. Did only one gig with it and realized it need a leslie (a 1k investment at the time, couldn't afford back then) and well, i had no means to carry it around, sold it and got a clone.

"The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing; Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the crimson king"
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I stopped playing guitar when i was 11 (back in 1964) i wanted to be able play a treble line as well as a bass line. I saw some cat doing that on some cheezy combo organ in one of those weird Green Chip Stamp stores. He played an R&b type riff over & over. That made in impression. Later I started copying some Booker T stuff off the record onto my mon's Baldwin spinet organ. Later, Jack Mc Duff, & then SMITH. I learned tons of his solos by ear, but always kept in mind that Booker T had the most gorgeous sound on B3. I taught myself how to kick bass on both lower manual & the pedals. Later, i would go to all the music stores & churches that had Hammonds. I mainly liked Jazz, but the organ backgrounds of a lot of Rock would hook me in, (past the guitar solos & drooling vocals). this went on for a few years until Uncle Sam gave me my induction papers for the Vietnam war. When i got out in '74, I decided to go to Music College on the gi bill. Nobody taught Jazz organ, so I spent a few years in theory, concentrating on Jazz Piano (mc coy tyner, then oscar, then tatum & powell. I would occasionally play a b3, or some hammond, but it was all piano for the next 35 years. Then 4 years ago, after getting Cancer, a non nerve-sparing surgery on my prostate, & finding out that i only had a handful of years left to live, I started with fantasy art, but remembered hearing ELP back in '72 in the barracks at fort ord, in monterey. THAT left an impression in me for decades. So after recetnly (last year) buying a few ELP albums (that had organ) I re-kindled that lost dream : to have, OWN, 7 play, both at home, & out on some gigs, something LIKE a B3 - in the past year, i went thru 5 or 6 different clonewheels, 6 amps, tons of stomp boxes, & midi keyboards, until a month ago i put the whoe issue to bed : I got the NORD C2, added to my big midi pedalboard,; in short, the last year was a quest to find the sound i was looking for. The NORD had it in spades. The whole quest has been keeping me alive : an obsession with something unresolved since childhood. If i don't get to play that sucker at least 4 times a day, I feel SERIOUSLY deprived. PURE LOVE , UNLIKE ANY OTHER.
robert w nuckels
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