Put Those Piano Lessons To Use: Play Fender Rhodes and Hammond Keyboards

Put Those Piano Lessons To Use: Play Fender Rhodes and Hammond Keyboards

You ve been inspired by your favorite funk and jam bands and now you want to learn how to play piano. To get a taste of where your online piano lessons will eventually lead, you decide to go see your favorite jam band in concert. At the concert you see the band s keyboard player surrounded several keyboards. Though this sight may seem daunting, overwhelming or even just for show, each keyboard on stage serves a specific purpose and has a unique sound quality and tone.

Within a professional keyboardist s arsenal you will occasionally find a Hammond or Hammond B3 organ and Fender Rhodes keyboard. If the keyboard player is really serious, a Leslie cabinet will amplify the Hammond. These are both classic pianos with revered sound quality. If you want to get serious about playing keyboard and even becoming a professional musician, you ll want to acquire some knowledge about these classic instruments.

  Hammond B3

Hammond is one of the top manufacturers of keyboards and organs in the world. The Hammond B3 is an old organ designed in the late 1930s that is still popular today. This organ has two sets of keys, multiple effects and drawbars (also known as stops) all built into this organ, which weighs a whopping 400 pounds. The effects include percussion, chorus and vibrato, among others, and the drawbars change the harmonic pitch of the notes. The reason this keyboard was designed with so many features was to be able to emulate just about any sound that could be used in a band, essentially making this the only instrument you ll ever need.

If someone is willing to lug around a Hammond B3 from gig to gig, he or she is also willing to accompany the organ with a Leslie amplifier. Leslies are an essential component to the tone quality of the Hammond and have a design and tone quality that you won t find anywhere else. A Leslie amplifier is composed of one or two rotating horns inside a cabinet. The rotating horn speed generally has two settings, slow and fast. The slow setting generates the organ s clean tone, while the fast setting is used when you want a vibrato organ sound. A classic Leslie weighs about the same as the organ itself, but if you want the classic B3 tone, it is essential.

Fender Rhodes

Harold Rhodes, creator of the Rhodes keyboard, introduced a 38-key model back in the mid 1940s. After several years and teaming up with Leo Fender, the most notable and popular suitcase Rhodes came to fruition. This design had become widely successful for two main reasons: its sound and the fact that it was actually portable. Many notable musicians such as Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis have used Rhodes keyboards on their recordings. This keyboard presents remarkable warmth and sustain that only the Rhodes keyboard can obtain and is still used throughout the music industry today.

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