I recently came across a lovely little track by Skip Robinson called “I just can’t wait“. Its well worth a listen, features the mighty instrument heavily and got me wondering about using it for a Hammond XK3c vs C3 organ test. The organ sound is really sweet on the track so how will they compare to each other covering this song?
First, here’s the original track.
Apart from being a step lower, you can’t help but notice the similarity between this and Booker T’s “Green Onions” too. Listen to the two back to back now and see if you hear what I mean.
Anyway, this got me playing and I decided to begin the Hammond XK3c vs C3 test with my 1960 model first. I started morphing the two songs together and messing around with the sound. Moving away from the recorded tone I explored a bit of choral with a slow Leslie and got this pleasing tone
Twenty odd seconds of loveliness there, and by the way I must get a chippy in to fix that broken piece of wood. Its from the side but is gaffered on the top there so it doesn’t get lost. My C3 is from June/July 1960 and being 55 years old has clearly had a life – but I like that.
Anyway squeaky keys aside the sound itself is pretty nice. Later I went into the control room so see just how close a Hammond XK3c could get to this original sound and recorded the Skip Robinson track in my studio. I play all the parts (and I am no guitar player) but you get the idea:
Hammond XK3c vs C3 Conclusions
So, what have we learned? Well, clearly the C3 / 145 combination is more raw and dangerous sounding but the XK3c holds up pretty well – remember this is native so the Leslie pedal or Neo Ventilator are not being used. Having tweaked the overdrive lots over the years you can hear its version of the grind that the ECC82/83’s are providing and actually its quite pleasant in a tame sort of way and certainly something that you be able to get away with in a live/more portable environment.
The chorus has been tweaked too and is slower to match the C3, the drawbar type setting is Type-B2 and the tonewheels have been replaced with Jim’s Greasy Wheels (I cannot recommend this enough, its only subtle but it is palpable) and finally whack that key click up as much as you can go! My C3 is really clicky and I love it, the more you overdrive it the more it accentuates the click.
I know that the internal Leslie Sim and the chorus/vibrato settings were something that Hammond particularly worked in with the XK3c (the Sim got a bit of a hammering – rightly so – on the original version) and I think the work that they have done pays off here, particularly on the chorus.
Maybe next time I will work on vibrato as this is a different beast…can the XK pull that off too …