There were many varieties of the Hammond organ, some designed for home use, some designed for church use, and some designed for live gigs and studio recording. But the most popular variety, and the one still commonly in use today (if you can find one that isn’t too beat up) is the Hammond B-3. This organ has two 61 note keyboards, (manuals), sometimes called the swell (top) and the great (bottom), a variety of built-in special effects, (including "percussion" effects, several different chorus and vibrato effects, and adjustable attack and decay effects), 9 preset keys for both manuals, (the inversely white and black keys on the bottom octave of each manual), two sets of nine stops (drawbars) for each manual, a full two octave set of foot pedals with two pedal drawbars built in to the console, a volume pedal (expression pedal) built into the base, a solid walnut body with 4 legs and base, a built-in stool, and it weighed in at over 400 pounds. Also, it needed to be run through a separate speaker called a Leslie (which I will explain later), which also came in many varieties and sizes, but which was usually around six feet tall and weighed almost as much as the organ. To get a B-3 to a gig, you would probably need a truck or a van to transport it, a dolly or three to four guys to carry it, and then a prayer that you didn’t have to carry it up too many flights of stairs. Why, you must be wondering, would any sane musician want to take this piece of furniture with them out to a gig? If you have ever heard a good B-3, you would understand. A Hammond B-3 can all at once sound like a carnival, a big band, a horn section, a small jazz combo, a funk group, a percussion section, a flute, and/or countless other things.
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