Drawbar Setting Theory

Fretting over the drawbar registration setting thing ? No problem... its a lot simpler than you think.

First, the upper manual : Your basic "Jimmy Smith" type setting is 888000000. If you push in that first 8, you can "dry" out the sound a bit... if you pull out that fourth drawbar you can sharpen it (hence resulting in the famous Charles Earland sound.) When you have this setting have your percussion tabs up and on, though of course you can always experiment with them to create other sounds. As for chorus and vibrato, C-3 or chorus/vibrato off is most comon. Finally, one thing I like to do is pull out that last drawbar. You can't hear it when the percussion feature is on - - which is good... Have it out anyway, then you can get a whole new sound (a Groove Holmes type setting !) on the organ by simply turning the percussion feature off... Usually when I have that last drawbar out (which I like to call "the whistler"), I turn the Leslie to fast.

CHORDAL SETTINGS : UPPER MANUAL... I usually have the B pre-set set up to the registration described above and use Bb for my "builds" and big chordal soloing. For this, I often use ALL STOPS OUT (888888888) or TIBIA (a favorite for gospel players) 808808008)... I modify these default settings in various ways (*experiment, be creative), but as a general rule, usually have the Leslie on fast when I'm using these settings with big fat chords... it makes the sound a bit more smooth and swishy. And speaking of swishy, don't forget 800000888... which is a sound very commonly associated with Jimmy Smith (visa vis Mac The Knife) - - unfortunately, as with any drawbar setting, its not the registrations that make the sound, but really WHAT you're playing... drawbar settings only bring things to life.

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LOWER MANUAL SETTINGS - - for my walking bass lines (which are usually done in my left hand, and augmented in the pedals) I use an 808000000 type setting. Adjust the middle drawbar (8?800000) for growl. Some people swear that you have to turn the vibrato off when you're walking LH bass... I disagree with this completely, but I do like to disable the lower rotor of the Leslie sometimes (*its as simple as pulling a plug.) ...When walking LH bass I usually have the pedals set to 80 and I TAP or STOMP a single note... this method is almost universal in the professional Jazz organ world... the idea is to give your bass line a bit more attack... Without it on some organs your bass line might end up sounding a bit syrupy.

LEFT HAND CHORDS - - While most of the time I walk in my left hand, sometimes I do play pedals and chords... In this case the theory is simple. If you have an 808000000 type setting, things are going to sound way too muddy if you try to play chords too low on the manuals. So your choice is : only play chords higher up, but keep the 808 so you can easily go back to LH bass, or - - push in the first two drawbars... as long as the first two are in, you can play chords fairly low down without them sounding too muddy... for example, most commonly you might use a setting like 008800000... If you're a gospel player, you might even try a TIBIA type setting like 00880808... anyway, have fun and experiment. If you play LH chords and pedals, playing the root with your feet, a rootless chord in your LEFT hand, then the melody high up in the LM or in the UM very legato and connected, the organ's really gonna scream, especially if you know how to work the Leslie.

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