Billy Preston/Hammond Organ

I was reminded of Billy Preston as I began searching for my Hammond Organ Model # yesterday.  I did a search for his name and found a particularly cool little music video he did for BET – it seems like a sketch comedy show of some sort, perhaps with music interwoven between bits. “Music is a Voice of God” is the song – and I’m thinking about rehearsing it for some Sunday at church.  I was first introduced to Billy Preston’s music with “Nothing From Nothing.”  I LOVE that song!  This guy played a mean organ.  Inspirational.  So I took apart my organ to find the model number hidden behind the back panel.

I found it is a Hammond BC, not a B-3, like I had hoped.  Not that I understand the real difference between the two.  I’m told by Bill Connor of BC Organ & Service that “the vibrato and chorus function differently, the BC has no “percussion”, the preamplifiers are different. The BC may have a “tremulant” control on it which is not found on a B3. It is also possible that your BC has older style keys.

The B3 is more preferable because of public demand.  The features you are missing on your BC are the features that make the B3 desireable.  Generally, if you ran the BC through a Leslie speaker it would be very similar to a B3.”  I also own a Leslie speaker, so I may be in better shape than I thought.  At any rate, I’d like to share a picture of this little treasure with you.  Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll get it repaired to perfection and learn to make that thing sing.

BC, AD

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2 Responses to “Billy Preston/Hammond Organ”

  1. Mom Says:

    When you find the time, you’ll make it sing like a birdy. I have confidence in you.

  2. Dragon Says:

    The BC is a much richer sounding organ than a B3. Great for church, blues songs. The reason the B3 is popular is because of the percussion that was used mainly by jazz organists. The BC has its place although not thoroughly established and it may take a while for it to get discovered. The chorus generator on a BC is now just getting discussed on forums dedicated to clone organs and enthusiasts want to know how to create that BC chorus sound on their clones. I have both a B3 and a BC and after playing a BC you miss it playing a B3. If you don’t need percussion, you don’t need a B3. You can add a Trek ii percussion unit that won’t devalue the organ. Keep it original. The keys on a BC are different in that they are square edged, not great for palm smears like the B3’s rounded edge keys, but the older Hammonds made in the late 30’s early 40’s had better feeling key beds than the Hammonds made in the late 60’s. The BC has two tone generators while the B3 has just one. The BC’s preamp is the older Hammond 2 tube model but as with anything it has a bearing on the BC’s sound.

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