Hammond B-3 Drawbar Tips For Piano Players

Many piano players who start playing Hammond B-3 Organ find themselves intimidated by the concept of drawbars. Piano players are used to creating tone from their hands, wrists, fingers, and the way they use their body to strike the piano. In the beginning, manipulating tone with levers and buttons can just feel strange.
Here are a couple approach concepts that can really help you start your own map of the the "B-3"!

1. First, just memorize the general sound/feel of 4 different drawbar settings. These will be your "sound reference points" Master organists can get infinite amount of colors out of the drawbars. That can be very intimidating and a life time's endeavor. You don't have to do that right away though. As you get really familiar with 4 settings you'll be able to use those sounds as reference points for your own drawbar manipulations.

2. Here's an example of what I mean. Memorize the sound of the 3rd drawbar out 008000000 (this is the "fundamental" and happens to be a great ballad sound). Experiment with slightly pulling out other ones around it. Get a feel for the sound and emotion that creates. Pay attention to what speaks to you as an artist. This part is not science it's feel.

3. Still want more specifics? Here are 3 of my favorites that I use all the time. You may want to start with these or choose others.


888800000--- This is a really nice and full rock organ sound. It can be used for heavier blues sounds and soloing in both genres. So versatile!

808000008--- This is a really nice blues and jazz comping sound. I play a lot of grooves with this sound.

888888888--- I use this setting for complete stops out....Santana type organ sound and even really full and thick Gospel. This is power. Use wisely!

Good luck and let me know how it works for you. Keep creating!!!!

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