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#1475850 - 07/16/10 11:21 PM Drawbar Organ
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3487
Loc: Virginia, USA
I just built a new church. (what can i say? I'm an engineer. Ahem. A government engineer. )

But i let the chaplain spec the organ.

Today it was installed and I sat down to play it, hit a few stops and ran a few familiar hymns.

A more experienced player ran over and sat down to show me what I was doing wrong. He canceled all my stops (he called them presets!) and started moving drawbars.

Yeah, drawbars. In my haste, I didn't notice they were there. I'm used to looking at swell and great stops and trying to set a registration.

Wow! This guy was really really good at gospel organ, a genre I have zero background in, being Episcopalian.

Uh, there's something called a Leslie, too. Not sure what that's for, I would have put it in the dumpster myself. <g>

But he did all his work with drawbars, and I haven't the slightest clue what they do.

Can anybody point me in the right direction?
gotta go practice

#1475877 - 07/16/10 11:58 PM Re: Drawbar Organ [Re: TimR]
pelf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/10
Posts: 67
In "The American Organist" (the journal of the American Guild of Organists), October 2009 issue, is an article, "How to Make Friends with a Hammond" by Jonathan B. Hall. It's a nice one-page intro to Hammond registration.

Briefly on a Hammond the drawbars are for the fundamental pitch (8') and the overtones (4', 2', etc.). The article lists them as:
I brown 16'
II brown 5-1/3'
III white 8'
IV white 4'
V black 2-2/3'
VI white 2'
VII black 1-3/5'
VIII black 1-1/3'
IX white 1'

So the white drawbars are the unison and octave pitches, and the black and the 5-1/2' brown are "mutations". Pulling a drawbar out more lets that pitch sound louder.

Wikipedia has a nice article:

which links to an old Hammond owner's manual with example "registrations":


#1482151 - 07/26/10 11:07 PM Re: Drawbar Organ [Re: pelf]
Ken Knapp Offline

Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2355
Loc: Pennsylvania
And that Leslie will give you a great tremolo effect.


Piano Organ Depot
Hammond Organ Technician
Vice President - MITA, International

#1535027 - 10/14/10 12:30 AM Re: Drawbar Organ [Re: Ken Knapp]
Steve Nixon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 216
Loc: Chicago
Hi there,
I realize this is an older post but I just came across it. I wrote a whole article awhile back called "Hammond B-3 Drawbar Tips For Piano Players" I hope this helps you. Keep us updated on your progress and good luck!

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