Anybody gig with a keyboard player that giged with a Hammond B3?

stratocat63

Silver Supporting Member
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I have played with a lot of them. Up until the '80s some time they didn't have polyphonic synths around so there were a lot more Hammonds being used. Later on, I used to have an M and a Leslie for house gigs here and there (I don't play them). If money was short we might not hire a keys guy and we'd set the organ up, we could get some players stopping in to play because they could play a Hammond without moving or owning lol.

Hired a guy one time in Atlanta, we had the M and he insisted we move it so he could bring his B in. And Leslie. For a one nighter. I guess he was spoiled. Damn though, he was a player and his rig sounded great.

Reminds me, I used to get to do some gigs with an old school gospel and jazz B3 guy who kicked bass. Learned a lot just hanging on. Forget the fake book charts, he wasn't playing those changes. Sub after sub after sub.
 

FlyingVBlues

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I’ve worked with three B3 players. Two of them had stock B3’s and a Leslie’s, and moving them was pretty bad. An especially miserable experience was having to lug them up a flight of stairs in a Greenwich Village club in New York City. The most recent guy had a cut-down B3 that was built into a ATA case. The case had wheels and although it was still heavy he could manage it by himself. He also had one of the smaller Leslie units, and it was easy to move it with a cart. I can attest to what a great shield a B3 is when two guys are shooting Saturday Night Specials at each other in a bar.
 

Tony

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Went on tour in ‘99 with a guy who carried a B3 and Leslie.

Next tour in ‘01 he had a Korg.
 

Seymour Cash

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I gigged for a year playing a XK-3 system with a Leslie on each side of the stage. I never had so much fun playing music and everybody agreed, both band and onlookers. There is no sound like it.
 

Mark Robinson

Gold Supporting Member
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8,367
They are all good till you hit a stairwell. Even then? Absolutely completely unquestionably reasonable and worth it! Well played, some of the most evocative sounds ever.
 

oldtelefart

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4,639
Last band I was in with a B3 and Leslie, the guy had a massive 19-year-old son with an F250 and his equally huge football buddy to move it. He would arrive on his Harley after his gear was set up. He had a C3 and two full-size Leslies set up in his lounge at home, within arm's reach of his huge coffee machine. Good player too.

My favourite B3 memory: We finished a residency at an upstairs club, the new band was moving in. They were 3 brothers and a cousin, all about 5'3" and very hairy.
The only way in was up an escalator. They grabbed a corner each, bent right over, and shuffled that B3 onto the escalator and up.
Looked like a Hammond that had grown 4 big furry feet...……..
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
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12,471
Yes - here is a funny story - my very first "pro" recording session in Hollywood (as a bass player, I was about 20) I was with my keyboard playing friend and we BROUGHT his B3 and his Leslie to the studio in his van. Naturally, when we got there we found out the studio already had both things.
 

slybird

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I've been in the audience when a real B3 and leslie speaker have been on stage several times. The people here saying moving those big things is worth the effort are in a fantasy land. There is nothing special about that equipment to your audience. We don't care if you play a synth patch imitation instead. We will not pay more for a ticket because you brought the B3 instead of using the imitation synth patch. We won't walk out on you because you didn't bring the B3.
 

Tim Bowen

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3,483
Sure. From the first 'real' gig I did in 1978; Grand Theatre in Cartersville, Georgia - there have been Hammond organs and Leslie rotating speakers. Free Bird. I helped schlep. As to Leslies, not only with keys players, but with guitar players. I helped schlep. Power pop bands, cajun/zydeco/funk bands, lots of Leslies and Hammonds. I have recordings. No mistaking the real deal.
 

Tim Bowen

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3,483
I've been in the audience when a real B3 and leslie speaker have been on stage several times. The people here saying moving those big things is worth the effort are in a fantasy land. There is nothing special about that equipment to your audience. We don't care if you play a synth patch imitation instead. We will not pay more for a ticket because you brought the B3 instead of using the imitation synth patch. We won't walk out on you because you didn't bring the B3.

And I've gigged with a guy many times over the years who uses the digital wokstations du jour at casuals, and who schleps Hammonds and Leslies when he works with Jimmy Hall. So where does that leave you and I? If you don't hear it, perhaps you should decide whether you are bragging or complaining.
 

Losov

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A guy I gigged with used one. I personally never touched it. Nor would I. His choice, his responsibility.
 

martmouse

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Just one guy's .02. I run a backline company in Alaska, and have B3's/Leslies in my inventory, which get used with some frequency. I also gig regularly (usually bass, sometimes guitar), and have often hauled a B3/Leslie to gigs (and often still do) so that our keys player can use them (we play R&B, and it really makes it more fun). The simple reality is that they genuinely do sound spectacular, and there is pretty much nothing that looks cooler in a stage setup. Another reality is that the modern synth versions get better all the time as they get more nuanced in the way they mimic the real thing (especially things like Nord mimicking the way the key contacts engage in sequence). I can still tell the difference between a real and simulated Leslie blindfolded, but the organs are getting pretty hard to distinguish, and as Slybird points out above, these very subtle distinctions are lost on our audiences. If we are lucky, they just wanna dance.... Do we really think that there are many in our audiences that can tell, let alone care about, what year a P-Bass was made? Probably not. Do WE feel different playing a serviceable '90's P-Bass versus one from the 50's or 60's? Depends on what your're after.... To me, a proper Hammond or an old P-Bass is pure magic.

I think the most significant aspect of a real B3 has everything to do with the reaction it evokes from the player and the band. There is to some of us a genuine thrill from using certain types of gear, if only because it's fun. This is why I habitually drag my '75 SVT to gigs despite the protests of my 50-something-year-old back (and the glaring looks from the sound engineers until they realize that you can play them at moderate volumes if you want). I can play through any number of more convenient amps (and sometimes do), and they will sound great, but somehow there is something about the growl, and the look of an old SVT that makes it subjectively more fun for me, which at least in my head makes me play better. Audience generally couldn't care less; I do it anyway because i like it.

Having said that, you want either a really good system or willing friends with strong backs if you're going to deal with one regularly (which, in case it wasn't already clear, I fully support). You should check out the "Roll or Kari" dollies - they are specifically designed for Hammond organs and make life a lot easier. Not cheap, but if you're gonna take the plunge, they're worth a look (I have no affiliation with them for the record, just find they work really well).

Good luck!
 

hubberjub

Member
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4,598
Yep. B3 with the Leslie. Later, he switched to a Chopped B3. We all helped. Did it sound better than the digital emulations? Probably not, but it's a visual thing. Even non-musicians value a stage show. SVTs and bigass beat up amps, too.
 

monkmiles

Supporting Member
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5,053
Yep, quite a bit for jazz gigs still do on occasion. There's nothing like the real thing. But he's got it and the leslie on wheels and one of those handicap vans to transport it. So his system is very easy and I've never had to pick it up (we only play places with ramps now, which these days most places have a ramp to be handicap accessible).
 
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jiml

Silver Supporting Member
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10,571
A small club had a whole Hammond B3/Leslie rig that was permanently set up, our keyboard player loved playing there, he would just plink his Korg "piano" on top of it and had it all going on. We sometimes rehearsed there too. We loved playing that place, the Hammond was huge sounding.

After one rehearsal, I asked the owner how he got the Hammond/Leslie setup they had. "Someone just left it here after a gig, 20 years ago. Never came back for it, and I'm not about to move it!".
 




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