List of Hammond organs

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Aeolian Hammond BA player organ with Hammond tone cabinet (1938)

The Hammond organ is an electric organ, invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert[1] and first manufactured in 1935.[2] Various models were produced, which originally used tonewheels to generate sound via additive synthesis, where component waveform ratios are mixed by sliding switches called drawbars and imitate the pipe organ's registers. Around 2 million Hammond organs have been manufactured, and it has been described as one of the most successful organs ever.[3] The organ is commonly used with, and associated with, the Leslie Speaker.

Tonewheel organs[edit]

Tonewheel organs generate sound by shaped mechanical wheels, that rotate in front of electromagnetic pickups. Each tonewheel assembly creates tones with low harmonic content, close to a sine wave. Inside the coil is a permanent magnet. As the profile of the tonewheel pass by, the strength of the magnetism changes—when the highest part is closest to the tip of the magnet, the magnetism is strongest. As the magnetism varies, that induces an alternating current (AC) in the coil, which becomes one of the frequencies used in harmonic synthesis.[4]

Image Model Name / Number Years produced Description
USD100301S Organ Console (1936-05-01 filed, 1936-07-07 published) by George H.Stephens - Hammond A (clip).jpg
A 1935–1938[5] The first Hammond in production. Two 61-note manuals, 25-note pedalboard, 2 x 9 drawbars per manual, 2 pedal drawbars, 9 presets per manual, a tremolo effect generator ("tremulant").[5]
A-B 1936–1938[5] /1942[6] After the introduction of Model B-C in 1936, previous Model A was available as Model A-B.[5] / B series actually starts with Model A-B.[6]
Hammond BC and Leslie.jpg
B-C 1936–1942[7] The first organ produced in the deeper Model B cabinet, to accommodate the chorus generator[7]
AeolianHammond Player Organ model BA, NYSFair 2011.jpg
B-A 1938[8] Model B-C style organ with built-in player organ mechanism[9] (possibly Duo-Art), custom built by Aeolian-Skinner.[10]
BV 1946–1949[6] Same as Model B-C but with the Hammond Vibrato and Vibrato Chorus. Model B-C itself could be converted to the Model BCV by installing these units.[6]
Hammond B2.jpg
B-2 1949–1954[11] Model B style cabinet with Selective Vibrato (vibrato available on either manual independently).
Hammond B3 at RCA Studio B.jpg
B-3 1954–1974[12] The best known Hammond. Similar to the B-2, but with added Touch-Response Percussion Control. Made famous by Jimmy Smith who influenced numerous other players.[13]
Hammond A-100 inside-1.jpg
A-100 1959–1965[14] Same tone-wheel generator as the B-3 / C-3 but with power amp and speakers built into the console, along with a separate Reverb amplifier and speaker.[15]
USD120175S Organ Console (1939-09-08 filed, 1940-04-23 published) by George H.Stephens - Hammond C (clip).jpg
C 1939–1942[16] Almost same as Model A-B but with church style cabinet.[16]
Hammond CV (1945) - Estúdio IAPI, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2014-08-22 16.05.57 by Tumpatumcla~commonswiki).jpg
CV 1945–1949[17] Based on Model C, Hammond Vibrato was added. Similar to the B-V, but without a chorus generator, and with in a church style cabinetry.[17]
Hammond C2 (Supernatural Sound Recording Studio) - brighten.jpg
C-2 1949–1954[11] Identical to the B-2 except for cabinetry (Tudor-style "closed" cabinet).
Hammond c3 Emilio Muñoz.jpg
C-3 1954–1974[12] The second best known Hammond. Identical to the B-3 except for cabinetry.
Hammond D (clip).jpg
D 1939–1942[8] A model C organ with factory supplied chorus generator
D-100 1963–1969[18] Internals of an RT-3 with built-in amp and speakers
Hammond Concert model E Organ - Science Museum, London.jpg
E 1937–1949[19] The first Hammond Organ with a 32-note American Guild of Organists (AGO) pedalboard. Also included toe pistons, a Great to Pedal coupler and separate Expression Pedals for Swell and Great Manuals.
Hammond E-100 series (center), with unidentified electronic organ (right) - Haus der Musik Stuttgart.jpg
E-100 1965–1970[20] A self-contained organ somewhat similar to the A-100 except for: One set of Drawbars per manual instead of two, Preset Tabs replace reverse-color Preset Keys, Percussion Voices with Reiterate instead of harmonic percussion and added Harp Sustain and rhythm effects (Cymbal and Brush) for Lower Manual and Pedals.
E-200 1965–1971[21] A version of the E-100 specifically designed for churches. Liturgical Preset Tabs, no Cymbal/Brush or Reiterate on the Percussion which plays from the Lower Manual.
E-300 1965–1969[22] A lower-cost version of the E-100. Celesta substituted for Harp Sustain in the Percussion section.
G-100 1964–1967[23] Non-drawbar tone-wheel organ built completely to AGO specifications. Included 65 stop tablets, 12 couplers, 18 thumb pistons, 8 toe pistons. Also known as the Grand-100.
Hammond H-100 series (clip).jpg
H-100 1965–1969[24] Deluxe self-contained tone-wheel organ with extra tonewheels for higher pitched tones. Also included reverse-color Preset Keys, Mixture Drawbars for additional harmonic, String Bass (pedal sustain), Stereo Reverb and stereo chorus and vibrato scanners. 50 Watts of three-channel amplification.[25]
H-262 1969–1975[26] Version of the H-100 designed for churches.
HX-100 1970-1975[citation needed] Version of the H-100 in an X-66-style case for stage work. Supplied with D10 speaker.[citation needed]
Hammond L-112.jpg
L-100 series 1961–1968[19] First Hammond to retail for under £1,000.[27]
  • L-100A Same as L-100 but with additional Percussion voices such as Guitar, Banjo, etc., alternating reiteration on Xylophone and Marimba and rhythm effects (Cymbal and Brush) for the Lower Manual and Pedals.
  • L-200 Included built-in Rhythm II rhythm unit.
Hammond Porta-B L-100P (clip2).jpg
Porta B
1971–1974[28] (1970[29]) Portable version of L-100 series for professional use.[29] There were several versions on each country, built by different factories:[30]
  • L-100NS / L-PNS-100 – USA version (LP-100 ?)
  • L-100-PN / L-100PNS – Belgian version, also sold in Netherlands. S means a version with pedal sustain.
  • P-100 / L-100-P – converted L-102, sold in Germany and Denmark.
  • P-100-S – a version with pedal sustain (1972–1974)
  • P-100-H
USD158625S Electrical Musical Instrument (1949-04-07 filed, 1950-05-16 published) by George H.Stephens - Hammond M - Fig.1.jpg
M 1948–51[11][31] First spinet organ. 2x44 key manuals, 12 note pedalboard.
Hammond M-2 (painted) edit2.jpg
M-2 1951–1955[11][31] An M with Selective Vibrato (Vibrato available on either Manual separately).
Hammond M3 Organ.jpg
M-3 1955–1964[11][31] Same as M-2 but with Touch-Response Percussion Control.
Expo Pink Floyd - Organ.jpg
M-100 1961–1968[32] Tone-wheel spinet organ, replacing the M series. Added features include Presets, Vibrato Celeste and Stereo Reverb. Also the Legato Pedal control is controlled by a tablet, replacing the foot switch on the M-series organs.
Hammond R-100 series with Rhythm II.jpg
R-100 1970–1975[33] Self-contained organ based on the E-100 but with transistor / solid-state power amp, built-in Leslie (no scanner vibrato) and Pedal String Bass.
RT 1949 Replacement for the Model E. Similar cabinet style to models C and D but with 32 note AGO pedalboard and electronic Pedal Solo Unit.
RT-2 1949–1954[14] Similar to RT but with Selective Vibrato.
Hammond RT-3, Abbey Road Studios.jpg
RT-3 1954–1969[14] Same as RT-2 but with added Touch-Response Percussion Control.
Hammond T100 series Organ, St Martin's church, Withcall ( 3225114 821173ee).jpg
T-100 series 1968–1975[34] A tonewheel spinet with a transistor / solid-state power amplifier
Hammond X-66 - Eboardmuseum (edit2).jpg
X-66 1967–1973[35] 12-tone tonewheel generator with frequency divider and various additional features
Hammond X-77 - Varga-hammond (clip).jpg
X-77 1968–1973[36] A restyled H-100, designed to replace the B-3. Had its own Leslie cabinet, the X-77L

Two models in Church-styled cabinet were made under military specifications, and named G (G for "Government contract", with chorus), and G-2 (with vibrato), to be installed in chapels and officer's messes of U.S. Army and Navy.

Vacuum tube musical instruments[edit]

Vacuum tube musical instruments mean electronic musical instruments generating sound with vacuum tube-based electronic oscillators. Hammond Organ Company commercialized it in the late-1930s as Novachord (1939–1942) and Solovox (1940–1948). Especially, new designs introduced on Novachord — subtractive synthesis and frequency divider — were immediately followed by many manufacturers of electronic organs and polyphonic synthesizers during the 1940s-1970s. However, Hammond Organ Company did not adopt these on main products until the late-1960s, except for S series chord organ (1950–1966) and "Solo Pedal Unit" on RT series and D-100 (1949–1969).

Image Model Name / Number Years produced Description
Novachord frontS.jpg
Novachord (model H) 1939–1942[37] First commercial polyphonic synthesizer. Although Novachord itself is not referred to as an electronic organ, its basic design became mainstream, being implemented in electronic organs and polyphonic synthesizers during 1940s-1970s.
Solovox synthesizer - commercialized by Hammond, 1940.jpg
(model J,K,L)

Monophonic attachment keyboard instrument, intended to accompany the pianos with lead voice of organ and orchestral sound. It consists of two units — a 3-octave mini keyboard attaching under the piano keyboard, and a tone cabinet including electronic sound generator, amplifier and loudspeaker.[39] The sound generator is based on a vacuum tube oscillator and octave divider circuits originally designed for Novachord. There are three minor changed models:[38]

  • Model J (1940–1946)
  • Model K (1946–1948)
  • Model L (1948–1950)
Hammond Solo Pedal Unit on Hammond RT.jpg
Solo Pedal Unit
on RT series and D-100

Solo Pedal Unit (or Pedal Solo Unit) provides a monophonic bright bass sound on RT series and model D-100 consoles, layered with traditional polyphonic tonewheel pedal sound. Although Solo Pedal Unit is highest-note priority and it can play only one note at a time, the players can play polyphonic bass lines by the help of traditional pedal sound. The sound generator is electrically similar to Solovox Model L. It consists of a vacuum tube oscillator and five frequency divider circuits, controlled by a volume and 8-stop tablets (Bourdon 32', Bombarde 32', 16', 8', 4', 2' & 1', mute, pedal solo on) placed on the right side of lower manual. Although there are five revisions of units, these are interchangeable on all RT series consoles.[40]

Hammond S-6 Chord Organ, Museum of Making Music.jpg
S series
Chord Organ

First chord organ. Its "easy to play"[42] style initiated a new market segment leading to today's home keyboard market.[43] The S series Chord Organ can be played via following interfaces:[41]

  • 37-note keyboard for solo or chords
  • 96-chord buttons (12-semitones × 8-chords variation) for chords
  • 2 wire touch-plates for strumming effect
  • 2 bass pedals for root & 5th
  • 1 expression pedal (or knee lever) for total volume control
  • 3 volume knobs for volume of each part (solo, chord, bass)

Transistor organs[edit]

Hammond started to produce transistor organs when the production of tonewheels became too expensive, switching to full-time Integrated Circuit (IC) models in 1975.[44][45]

Image Model Name / Number Years produced Description
Hammond Aurora Classic.jpg
Aurora (Century, Custom and Classic)[46] 1975-81[29][46] First composite spinet organ with both drawbars and electronic voices, no tonewheels.

Classic top of range with strings brass and presets.Final model had pro-chord.[citation needed]

B3000 1978[47] (or 1975[48]) Solid-state copy of the B-3, with additional string division, electric and grand pianos. Key click was re-introduced.[29] Supplied with matching Leslie HL-722.[citation needed]
Hammond VS-300 Cadette (1973) built in Japan.jpg
(model V,VS)
1969–1970s[49][50] Entry-level all-tab transistor spinet organ, no tonewheels. This series were all designed in the United States, built in Japan, and subsequently also assembled in England: Initially, first series were built by Yamaha (c.1969–), then by Nihon Hammond during 1973–1975. Subsequently Hammond UK began to import these models in kit form, and assembled in proper wooden cases for domestic market.[49][50]
1965–1969[51] Transistor organ with 48 chord buttons.[51]
Hammond Colonnade - manual 1.jpg
Colonnade 1979[52] Console version of Aurora Classic.[citation needed]
Commodore 1979-81[53] 9 upper and 9 lower drawbars.[53]
Hammond Composer 138124 Organ.jpg
1982–83[54] Transistor organ with "Compose-a-chord" feature.[54]
Concorde 1972 - c.1977[55] (or 1973[29]) First LSI-based Hammond console organ with drawbars, no tonewheels.[29] This model was once erroneously advertised as a next generation top model take over the X-77, called X-99; though, its official name was the Concorde.[56]
Hammond Cougar Keys.jpg
Cougar 1973–1976[57] Transistor spinet organ with drawbars, in some extent, corresponded to a kind of successor of L-100 series tonewheel spinet organ, although its new drawbars arrangement is slightly exotic; its upper manual has normal nine drawbars; on the other hand, lower manual has only two 8' drawbars with sawtooth. This anomalous design was only followed by a few models (8000 series, 8100 series, and 8200 Aurora series).[57]
Hammond Dolphin Organ.jpg
Dolphin 1973–1976[58] Spinet organ with 20 one finger chords. Dolphin 9900 series in 1976 has the built-in polyphonic synthesizer.
Elegante 1980-1981 [47] Hammond 1980s Flagship 2x61 note manuals, 25 pedals, Tonebars, Multiplex Synthesiser, Easy Play, 9 pistons, 4 speakers plus Leslie. Unlikel the contemporary Romance series, the electronics were mostly discrete transistors apart from the 440 multiplex generator and 434/435 LSI chips in the rhythm and auto-play boards.[59]
J-100 1967–1968[60] (Late 1960s[34]) Transistor spinet organ - no tonewheels
Hammond Maverick 5200.jpg
Maverick 1973–1975[61] Middle-priced all-tab spinet organ.
Monarch 1975-77 Console organ 1975-77[62]
Hammond Phoenix Organ Jan 11 2020.jpg
Phoenix 1972[29] First LSI-based all-tab Hammond spinet organ.
Hammond Piper Autochord organ (clip2).jpg
Piper Autochord 1970–1979[63] First automatic chording instrument. Single manual, with automatic rhythm, automatic chording and no bass pedals.[29][64]
Portable B-100 1980–1984[65] Single manual version of B-250.[65]
Portable B-200 Successor of X-5, portable version of Aurora 8222.[66]
Portable B-250 1980–1984[67] 2 x 61 note manuals.[67]
Portable B-300 B-200 plus strings, portable version of Aurora Classic 232000.[68]
Portable B-400 Only drawbars to upper, drum machine and Midi.[69]
Hammond Portable X-2 combo organ inside.jpg
Portable X-2 1978[29] Single manual version of X-5.[70]
Hammond X-5 rear.jpg
Portable X-5 1979[11] Portable spinet, transistor copy of the B-3 (or Porta B), derived from Ace Tone GT-7[71] circa 1971. Manufactured by Nihon Hammond, a Japanese joint venture between main company and Sakata (parent company of Ace Tone).
Hammond Regent 4172.jpg
Regent 1973–1976[72] First all-tab theatre style Hammond organ.
Hilary and Her Hammond Romance 126.jpg
Romance series 1977–1983[73] Integrated circuit generated spinet organ. No drawbars.
156 Museu de la Música, orgue elèctric.jpg
Sounder 1973[29]-1976[74] First Hammond to retail for under $500, sold through both music and mass merchant outlets. Single manual organ.

Digital organs[edit]

After the Hammond Organ Company ceased trading in 1985, production initially went to Noel Crabbe's Hammond Organ Australia, and then to Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation, who, under the name Hammond-Suzuki, manufacture digital organs.[75]

Image Model Name / Number Years produced Description
Super B 1986[76] First full-digitally sampled Hammond organ, with dual manual, downloadable voice tables, and MIDI.[76][77] Manufactured by Suzuki-Hammond, the predecessor of later Hammond-Suzuki.
Hammond XB-2 (partial).jpg
XB-2 1991–1998[11] Single manual organ. First digital organ produced by Hammond-Suzuki. Tone generator was same as Super B.[78]
Get organ-ized!.jpg
XB-3 1993–1998[79] Dual manual organ with 4 sets of drawbars, reverse colour presets and waterfall keys. In an extended B3 case.[citation needed]
XB-5 1993[79]—? Two manual organ with two sets of drawbars and bass drawbars.[80]
XM-1 / XM-c1 1997–2005[79] MIDI organ module (XM-1) with drawbar controller (XM-c1)
Hammond XB-1.jpg
XB-1 1998–2005[79] Standalone version of the XM-1. / Cost-cut model using DSP technology (32-voice polyphony, DSP effects including Leslie-simulator, and the simplify of Leslie connector).[78]
XK-2 1999–2004[81] Improved XB-2 with waterfall keys
Hammond XE-1.jpg
XE series XE-1 / XE-2 / XE-200: Modular all singing and dancing single manual modular organ (XE-1), dual manual(XE-2), and built in cabinet (XE-200)[citation needed]
New B-3 2003–present[82] A replica of the original B-3 with digitally generated tonewheel simulation
Jon Hammond at XK-1 Hammond Organ JAZZKELLER FRANKFURT.jpg
XK-1 2005–2011 Cut down version of XK-3, but extended vib/cho settings later in XK-3C
XM-2 / XM-c2 2005–present MIDI module version of the XK-1
Hammond XK-3 in the sepia color.jpg
XK-3 2004–2007 Same internals as a New B-3 with cheaper keyboard base and built in Leslie simulator. Can be expanded with optional lower manual, stand and pedalboard.[83]
Sven Hammond Figee.jpg
XK-3c 2007–present[84] Updated version of the XK-3
Hammond SK1 (rear).jpg
SK1 2011–present[85] Stage keyboard with pianos and other instrument samples as well as organ
SK-2 2011–present Dual manual SK-1
XK-1c 2013–present Improved XK-1
XK-5 2016–present 4 drawbar sets + pedal like B3, improved multicontact shallow keybed etc
SK-X 2018–present Replaced SK-2 and has 2 sets of drawbars, improved interface and 11-pin Leslie connector


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Other sources
  • "De Hammond Encyclopedia" (in Dutch). Hammond Toonwielorgelvereniging Netherland (Hammond Organ Club of the Netherlands). Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  • Service Manual. Hammond Organ Company.
    • Introductory Section (Hammond Organ Models) (PDF). Winterpark, FL: Audio Playground Synthesizer Museum. 2001 [1970]. Archived from the original (retyped PDF) on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2013-08-07. (recreation of original in 1970); Originally published as: Introductory Section. Service Manual. Melrose Park, Illinois: Hammond Organ Company. 1970. HO-495-1-2500.
    • The Blue Book of HAMMOND (PDF). 2001 [c. 1975]. Archived from the original (retyped PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
      Note: It seems a retyped copy of original "Introductory Section" of Service Manual in circa 1975, or similar.
    • BlueBook Hammond and Leslie (scanned image in PDF). 2009 [c. 1984]. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
      Note: It seems a reprint of "Introductory Section" of Service Manual circa 1984, or similar.
  • "History & Reference". Hammond Zone ( Archived from the original on 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2013-08-06.