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Thread: A Modern-Day "Hammond Organ Society"

  1. #1

    A Modern-Day "Hammond Organ Society"

    Have any of you guys been a part of, or started, or read about a currently active Hammond Organ Society in your area? From what I've read they used to be everywhere. Shoot, they even had lapel pins, though I would have opted for a secret decoder ring. I'd love to start one here in Nashville, but would like to hear from others who may have already tried the idea first.

    Let me hear your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Me & My M3

  2. #2
    Member handyczech's Avatar
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    Off we go again with an unsolicited history lesson from the dim recesses of an ex-salesman's burned out brain.

    The Hammond Organ Society concept was a not so thinly veiled sales tool from a simpler more naive time. Much like the Lowery clubs of today. But truly less pressure (usually).

    A bubbling cauldron of hot coffee (8 O'clock brand in our case, and the only one I still like), some donuts or pastries from the favorite local bakery. Plus the occasional minor talent local supper club organist or teacher for a guest appearance. The ne plus ultra of '50s social events-food, fellowship, and fun. And the opportunity to stir up prospects from referrals, or step-up existing owners to newer bigger units.

    Some of these took on a life of their own, with folks having meetings at home and elsewhere, not sponsored by a store or salesman. Vestiges of these can still be found around the country, though most gravitate to a theater organ core interest. I read of a society in the northeast centered on the X-66. I am sure there are others.

    I believe it would be difficult to bring this concept back. No Lawrence Welk, Ethel Smith, Eddie Layton, or Lenny Dee to plant the widespread interest, and no network of dealers to provide the fuel to drive the engine. That is not to say that defined interest clubs could not be formed or still exist. Like sewing circles. We all have a lot on our minds these days........................
    Larry K
    Bolingbrook, il

    Hammond Colonnade, Aurora Custom, Digital Piano for now
    Retired: Hammond L-102, M-3, S-6, H-112, B-2+21H+PR-40, B-3+21H.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TheAdmiral's Avatar
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    Somewhere on another thread here I wrote of being in the Pensacola Florida Hammond Organ Society at the local Hammond dealer's in the 1960's. Most dealers had them for sales promotion as mentioned previously. They were fun for people of all ages, styles and degrees of accomplishment. The great thing is you could play on any organ there so having an M3 with no Leslie at home I always chose the largest, an RT3 with a 122. I was the youngest so got lots of attention and it got me to playing in front of an audience which certainly helped later in life. The national publication was the Hammond Times magazine. I've seen copies on ebay if anyone is interested.
    In the 1980's there was a private group out of Ohio called the Museum of Hammond Organs. It comprised of people from all over the world, a lot like this forum, but mostly in newletter form. There were some lapel pins made in the form of a B3. If I can find mine, I'll post a picture.
    Last edited by TheAdmiral; 04-15-2011 at 08:07 PM.
    Hammonds: A; AB; B3; D; E; 6-M3's; 2-A100; T582C.
    Leslies: 3-31H; 21H, 22H, 4-44W; 46W; 25; 47; 45; 125; 50C; 51; 55C; 2-120; 122; 122A; 145; 147; 245; 770; 825; 2-102; 2-103; 300.
    Wicks 2/5 pipe organ; Yamaha upright; Kurzweil Micro Piano & Micro B with M-Audio Oxygen 61; Yamaha DGX520; Wurlitzer 4100 (it came with a Leslie!). Peavey KB100 keyboard amp. Peavey Bass Guitar. Yes, I have A. D. (acquisition disorder) and don't want it cured.

  4. #4
    Senior Member toasterDude's Avatar
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    This is great - I have an image in my mind now, of a little tyke Admiral seated at the massive RT3 console... hair slicked down... feet barely reaching the pedals... Leslie 122 cranked... wailing away on some fugue! Probably blowing the wigs off the ladies of the Hammond Organ Society...

    Where's Brendooon - I think we need an illustration here! Great stuff.

    cheers,
    td
    Nobody loves me but my mother,
    And she could be jivin' too...

    --BB King

  5. #5
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Brighton (UK) used to have a thriving Hammond Organ Society. It was supported by the local Hammond dealer (for whom I worked) and the dealer would supply a Hammond or two, plus tone cabinets or leslies as required. There was no selling activity at all, that was banned! The society met in the plush surrounds of the Dudley Hotel in Hove once a month. First half of the evening was usually some members playing, though I was frequently called upon to play a free mini-concert - and did so willingly (OK I was being paid by the dealer, as the concerts were also geared to show off the organs, but not that much!) After the interval we'd have a visiting artiste, who would play a one hour concert. Once a year, there was a formal dinner-dance, complete with guest of honour - usually a well known theatre organist. The society continued after the Hammond dealer folded and bought itself a model R122. Oh, the storm that caused, with the 'purists' (not many, but they were vociferous!) declaring the leslie as almost the work of Satan! Eventually, it was changed for a C3 plus a PR40 - no leslie, despite my pleas. They even moved from Brighton to Worthing, thus losing some members who found it too far to travel.

    There was a profliferation of organ clubs in the area and, even back then, the membership of the Hammond society were the older generation. There were none of the up-and-coming younger organists playing for them (my services no longer came free, so I was only asked once!), just the older theatre organists, and so the younger organ enthusiasts flocked to the other clubs, also hearing lots of other makes of organ. As far as I know the society kept going for a while but I lost touch with it as I became more involved with other clubs and my own career.

    They were halcyon days, the like of which we'll never see again. We do still have a semi-decent organ club scene in the UK, with organ & keyboard festivals too, but it's not the same.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TheAdmiral's Avatar
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    TD,
    The little tyke you mention had a flat top crew cut at that time cause that's what was 'cool' and 'in' until the Beatles came along and the songs were more like 'Long, Long, Ago' (I think that's in every beginners book) then 'Tea for Two' then 'The Saint Louis Blues'. It was a party atmosphere. My cool teachers either picked out popular songs at the time or my parents choices or mine. The crew cut went to shoulder length in the late 60's to bald in the 10's! That should drastically affect your mental image which probably looks better than reality!
    Hammonds: A; AB; B3; D; E; 6-M3's; 2-A100; T582C.
    Leslies: 3-31H; 21H, 22H, 4-44W; 46W; 25; 47; 45; 125; 50C; 51; 55C; 2-120; 122; 122A; 145; 147; 245; 770; 825; 2-102; 2-103; 300.
    Wicks 2/5 pipe organ; Yamaha upright; Kurzweil Micro Piano & Micro B with M-Audio Oxygen 61; Yamaha DGX520; Wurlitzer 4100 (it came with a Leslie!). Peavey KB100 keyboard amp. Peavey Bass Guitar. Yes, I have A. D. (acquisition disorder) and don't want it cured.

  7. #7
    Member handyczech's Avatar
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    Long, Long Ago and the other stellar favorite, When the Saints go Marchin In. One or the other was always first in some easy play or Belwin or Pointer book or another.

    True story.

    Our branch store manager, God rest his soul, could play only one song to demonstrate the Hammond Organ. Never learned another. It was.............

    Old Black Joe

    Since our store was in Oak Park, just west of Chicago's west side, there made for some comic-tense moments, especially in the mid-late 60's.

    Fortunately his personality was so jovial and paternalistic, he never REALLY got into trouble. But sometimes it was close!
    Larry K
    Bolingbrook, il

    Hammond Colonnade, Aurora Custom, Digital Piano for now
    Retired: Hammond L-102, M-3, S-6, H-112, B-2+21H+PR-40, B-3+21H.

  8. #8
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Only trouble with Long, Long Ago is that it uses 6 notes! Much too tricky for a beginner!

    Seriously, all modern piano/keyboard/organ starters begin with tunes that fit the 5-finger position. Makes sense.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  9. #9

    Thanks for sharing your stories and for the history lesson. I have a couple more comments and questions, but don't have time to ask at the moment. We had some rough storms move through Nashville yesterday and I now have to work today (Saturday). Hopefully I'll have a little more time this evening.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Me & My M3

  10. #10
    Senior Member TheAdmiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    Only trouble with Long, Long Ago is that it uses 6 notes! Much too tricky for a beginner!

    Seriously, all modern piano/keyboard/organ starters begin with tunes that fit the 5-finger position. Makes sense.
    But it's only one note at a time! Must be part of the dumbing down of society of today! Most of us made it through OK back then. I didn't know 6 notes was such a problem. That's like telling hummingbirds they can't fly!
    Hammonds: A; AB; B3; D; E; 6-M3's; 2-A100; T582C.
    Leslies: 3-31H; 21H, 22H, 4-44W; 46W; 25; 47; 45; 125; 50C; 51; 55C; 2-120; 122; 122A; 145; 147; 245; 770; 825; 2-102; 2-103; 300.
    Wicks 2/5 pipe organ; Yamaha upright; Kurzweil Micro Piano & Micro B with M-Audio Oxygen 61; Yamaha DGX520; Wurlitzer 4100 (it came with a Leslie!). Peavey KB100 keyboard amp. Peavey Bass Guitar. Yes, I have A. D. (acquisition disorder) and don't want it cured.

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