HAMMOND M102
VINTAGE CONTRIBUTIONS

Think of Hammond tonewheel organs and I'll bet that your first thought is almost certainly going to be of the company's mighty B3 or C3.

However, there was more to Hammond's range of products than just these two venerable instruments that included the A-, L-, M- and T-series to name just a few.

And whilst the M-series of organs is not a range from Hammond's history that immediately springs to mind, you will almost certainly have heard one.

Despite claims that it was a C3, it was, in fact, an M100 that was used on Procul Harum's massive hits "Whiter Shade Of Pale" and "Conquistador". An M-series organ is also rumoured to have been used on the classic "Green Onions" by Booker T and MGs.

Other well known M-series players include Rick Wright of Pink Floyd, John Paul Jones from Led Zep, Jon Lord from Deep Purple and Francis Monkman of Curved Air as well as many others.

The M-series took the tonewheel technology of the bulkier previous models, refined it and scaled it down in 1960 to make smaller 'spinet' models that were more appropriate for the growing 'home market'. There were various models in the range that had different cabinets - for example, the M100 had ornate, carved legs that were appropriate for the home and church market whilst the M102 (shown above) had a more spartan cabinet that was better suited to gigging. All had the same basic specifications, however: 2 x 44-note keyboards and a 13-note pedalboard, two sets of drawbars (one for each keyboard), six presets and 'touch percussion' effects (available on tabs above the upper keyboard manual), split vibrato, vibrato chorus, built-in spring reverb and speakers and a swell (volume) pedal.

As was typical with Hammonds then (and now), the sound was (is) best heard fed through a Leslie rotary speaker although the M-Series' internal speakers certainly made it more self-contained and suitable for home and church use (and some jazz and rock musicians did use the internal speakers for recordings and live use). It was possible to order the M102 with a split cabinet where the upper keyboard section could be separated from the lower speaker/pedal section to make transportation easier - a far cry from the hernia-inducing B/C3! But the underlying tonewheel sound generating technology in the M-series was essentially the same as its predecessors.

I have a diverse range of genuine, classic Hammond sounds here from the the real thing - Paul Marshall's original, vintage M102.

Paul has meticulously sampled his M102 into his Akai Z4 at every major third for both the upper and lower manuals and the pedalboard which have been carefully converted to Kompakt for Nostalgia. The sounds are stunning and in many of the samples, you can hear the various resonances and 'bleed' of the tonewheel generator in the samples so that they sound totally authentic! All the samples are recorded directly with no Leslie. As such, these sounds can be improved by putting them through a rotary speaker effect.

I am very grateful to Paul for his generous donation.

Notes about drawbar settings / patch names:

The Hammond organ is essentially a primitive additive synthesiser and the drawbars are effectively level faders that allow you to set the relative levels of a sound's harmonics or 'overtones' (except that the fader action is reversed with 'louder' being at the bottom of the drawbars' travel).

Each of the Hammond's nine drawbars has a stepped range of 0-8 and organ players used this as a kind of short-hand to share settings.

Thus 88 8888 888 is all drawbars fully out (i.e. towards the keyboard) for a 'full on' sound:

88 8000 000 uses only the the first three drawbars/harmonics:

68 6800 000 has the following drawbar settings:

From this, you can begin to determine the nature of the sound.