The Hammond organ is an iconic instrument that has shaped a variety of musical genres. With over two million organs created over 80 years, it’s no wonder that Hammond is the name that professional musicians look to when they want to enhance their performance
Invented in 1935 by Laurens Hammond and John Hanert, the Hammond made its name by effectively creating a current from revolving a tone wheel near an electromagnetic pickup. This made it an affordable option for churches and community venues alike. Moving through the decades, the Hammond has been the go-to for genres spanning modern jazz, digital electronic and eventually landed on integrated circuits. After selling their name to Suzuki in the mid-80s, Hammond went on to re-create their classic tone wheel sound by way of emulators and modern software, thus keeping the original spirit and sound alive and well.
Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers and Jon Lord of Deep Purple are two major Hammond fans. Jon Lord saw an opportunity and played his Hammond through a Marshall stack for maximum overdrive and a growl tone, while Gregg Allman created a catalogue of music that was based around the warbling tone these organs could emit. The distinct sound was an attractive element and easily set these famous bands apart.
Today’s Hammonds have a host of features that allow you to experiment with your sound. The SK2 has two levels of keys and offers the vintage vibe of its predecessors. It also includes a host of other voices, everything from a string synth to a traditional acoustic piano. The included speaker also gives you maximum portability as it is seamlessly included in the configuration of the keyboard itself. You get the best of both worlds with Hammond’s innovative new options.
The classic tone of a traditional Hammond organ has been present throughout years and years of technological innovation. It’s obvious that this signature tone wheel sound is here to stay with musicians recognizing the historical significance. Thankfully, you can easily incorporate it into your own practice with the newly portable options available.