The Hammond organ is an electric organ, invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and first manufactured in 1935. Various models have been produced, most of use sliding drawbars to create a variety of sounds. Around two million Hammond organs have been manufactured, the organ is commonly used with, and associated with, the Leslie speaker. The organ was originally marketed and sold by the Hammond Organ Company to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the pipe organ. It quickly became popular with jazz musicians in organ trios. Organ trios were hired by jazz club owners, who found that organ trios were a cheaper alternative to hiring a big band. The Hammond Organ Company struggled financially during the 1970s as they abandoned tonewheel organs and these instruments were not as popular with musicians as the tonewheels had been, and the company went out of business in 1985. The Hammond name was purchased by the Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation and this culminated in the production of the New B-3 in 2002, which provided an accurate recreation of the original B-3 organ using modern digital technology. Hammond-Suzuki continues to manufacture a variety of organs for both players and churches. Other companies, such as Korg, Roland and Clavia, have achieved success in providing emulations of the original tonewheel organs. The sound of a tonewheel Hammond can also be emulated using software such as Native Instruments B4. A number of distinctive Hammond organ features are not usually found on other keyboards like the piano or synthesizer, Some are similar to a pipe organ, but others are unique to the instrument. Most Hammond organs have two 61-note keyboards called manuals, as with pipe organ keyboards, the two manuals are arrayed on two levels close to each other. There is no difference in volume regardless of how heavily or lightly the key is pressed, the keys on each manual have a lightweight action, which allows players to perform rapid passages more easily than on a piano. In contrast to piano and pipe organ keys, Hammond keys have a flat-front profile, Early Hammond console models had sharp edges, but starting with the B-2 these were rounded, as they were cheaper to manufacture. The M series of spinets also had waterfall keys, but later models had diving board style keys which resembled those found on a church organ. Modern Hammond-Suzuki models use waterfall keys, Hammond console organs come with a wooden pedalboard played with the feet, for bass notes. Most console Hammond pedalboards have 25 notes, with the note a low C
A Hammond C-3 organ
The two manuals of the Hammond B-2.
Preset keys on a Hammond organ are reverse-colored and sit to the left of the manuals
Console Hammond organs such as the B-3 require two switches; "Start" to drive the starter motor and "Run" to drive the main tonewheel generator.