The dilemma in designing a keyboard with both faithful and accurate Hammond Organ and Grand Piano voices lies in the keyboard itself. It seems destined for compromise-should it be organ-like, or weighted? Hammond has the answer in the unique keyboard 88 note Fatar keyboard onboard the Sk1-88, which is light enough for an Organist’s comfort, yet has the “heft” to satisfy any Piano Player. The Sk1-88 also automatically adjusts the “depth” of key contact making all playing comfortable The Keys are also shaped to allow traditional Hammond “moves” like sweep and glissando. Now the Pianist who always wanted to play Hammond can do so in comfort, and vice-versa for the Organist.
Laurens Hammond’s original Organ (invented in 1935) had an intricate electro-mechanical mechanism that used 96 Quarter-sized wheels spinning on driveshafts powered by his patented synchronous motor. The wheels were notched according to pitch, and an electromagnetic pickup (much like that on an Electric Guitar) sensed those notches and rendered a musical note. The Drawbars combined those harmonic tones to produce the inimitable Hammond Organ sound.
Hammond’s adherence to quality has allowed many vintage instruments to remain vital today, and are among the most desired and imitated musical instruments ever, but at a high cost. The Electromechanical Hammonds require expensive maintenance, regular doses of oil, and were of great weight; not easy to move at all.
Drawbars – Mr. Hammond used the Pipe Organ Design concept of “Unification” in creating the iconic Drawbars of his Electronic Organ. This concept allowed one or more keyboards to control the pitches of many pipes within one set or “rank” of pipes. Adopting the harmonic standards and nomenclature of the Pipe Organ, Mr. Hammond’s design assured that any organist would be able to play his instrument without a steep learning curve. Unlike the Pipe Organ, Mr Hammond’s design allowed variable volumes of each Harmonic represented by each drawbar. This variation gave the musician millions of combinations of harmonics, and assured that every Hammond player would be able to summon a unique voice. An extra level to the expression a Hammond Organist had at their fingertips was added because the Drawbars could be manipulated in real time. The Sk Series features real drawbars in the size, shape and configuration of Vintage Hammonds. The Drawbars also serve the Combo and Pipe Organ divisions, but with a slightly different function.