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 Post subject: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 07 May 2012 23:15 
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Hammond X-66 Console
Photo by Paco de la Rosa
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Console transistor organs
In the 1960s, Hammond started making transistor organs.

The first organ that bridged the gap between tone wheel and transistor was called the X-66, with more features than a tone-wheel. This model had a 12-note tone generator and used electronics for frequency division. Later, Hammond introduced several different IC organ models: Concorde, Colonnade, Commodore, Grandee, Regent and the Elegante.

This series of organs were developed as early as the 1970s, and continued in production through the early 1980s. Artists such as Bob Ralston and Ethel Smith played these organs.

The super sounds of the Hammond X66



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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2012 18:38 
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The X66 is a fascinating instrument. It was the first big Hammond I heard (well, bigger than a C3 or A100) and I wanted one. I still do!

Hammond polled leading US organists about what they'd like to see in the ultimate Hammond, and the console design was the result of an industrial arts competition. The prototype X66 was first shown to dealers in the Penthouse Suite of the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago in late 1964 - I've spoken to two people who were there. But it took nearly two more years before the organ entered production. Hammond ran a competition in their 'Hammond Times' magazine, asking readers to come up with a name for the organ, still code named X66. The winner was, of course, X66!

There are two versions of the X66, with slight variations between them, consensus is that the later Type 2 is slightly better. It had no leslie, but a multiple vibrato system quite unlike anything else around. Along with extra 'mixture' drawbars, its basic Hammond tone was unique. Then there were the orchestral voices for each manual and the fabulous percussion section. Between the manuals, the watch-strap like device is the world's first arpeggiator, running your finger over this set of rollers produced arpeggios based on the notes played on the lower manual, using the percussion voices.

It had outputs for one or two Series 12 (AKA D-12 or even 12-77) tone cabinets that had a huge sound. Despite Hammond's best efforts it didn't take the Leslie company ling before developing kits to fit a 122 or a 900 (or 910 or 760) leslie to make a good thing even better.

The X77 is a bit dull by comparison. It's basically a solid state model H in a pedestal console, with no vibrato scanner, but a dedicated X77L leslie. Great sound and fabulous looks, but nowhere near the X66 in terms of versatility.

Andy G

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2012 12:00 
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Hiya Andy,

Thank you for your informative post on the X66 ... they were certainly some instrument. The only one I ever came across was when I worked at Chingford Organs, it was almost a daily routine for COS to send a van to Sonorous Works, Deansbrook Road to collect stock and, on one occasion, I had the chance to listen to Tony Back playing one which was a real treat :)

Gene then sent me to work with Gerry at his Finchley shop and I missed out on those little perk trips to Hammond :lol:

Gene Ashworth's right hand man at the time was Barry (can't remember his surname) and he lived in one of the high rise blocks in Walthamstow - he bought a Hammond X77 and it took nearly all of the staff to get it up there .... he really wanted the X66 but it was way too big ... thank goodness :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2012 20:44 
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The first one I saw was played by George Blackmore at the Dome, Brighton, in 1970. That was literally my 'I want to do that!' moment. He had two D12 cabinets next to the organ. After his first number, the overture from 'Zampa', he turned round and asked 'Can you hear it OK at the back?' When someone answered 'Yes' he shook his head and said 'You should try it up here!'.

There was one at a hotel (where I later became resident organist) near me but by the time I found out, I think the organist had 'lost' it. Someone told he hadn't kept up the payments. Anyway it arrived at Lyon and Hall, where I worked as the 'Saturday boy' but they wouldn't let me play it! Roland Friday had one up a Sharon Organ Studios in Bromley, but he wouldn't let me play it either - he did let me play the H100 instead, though! It wasn't until 1974 that I found one near to me and got a regular invite to play it. Here's a photo.

Back then, I could never have hoped to afford one. Even when I got married, had the room and the finances (just!) I couldn't find one. Now, I can afford one, but they're rare and I don't have the room! :(

Sonorous Works, Deansbrook Road, Edgeware, eh! That brings back memories of a few visits to see 'Mac' and Bob Grant.


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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2012 12:27 
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Hi Andy,

Ahhhh .... now that's more like the Andy Gilbert I remember ... well, maybe a tad older than then :wink:

It was dear ol' George who got me the job at Chingford Organs back in 72/3; a great man, he had this incredible knack of lighting a cigarette, taking a quick puff and then play an entire tune with hands and feet shooting all over the place as the cigarette, still between his lips, had burnt completely down to the filter with a two and quarter inch length of ash on it ... god bless him :)

The last time I saw either Bob or Mac (Ewart Murdoch as I insisted upon calling him :wink: ), was back in the mid 80's, Bob had moved to Milton Keynes and I bought a computer of Mac's new business in Abingdon ... two more great characters from the erstwhile 'organ industry' 8)

Thanks Andy, a few more memories evoked by your post ... great stuff :D

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 12 Oct 2012 20:30 
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More on the Hammond X-66

The organ’s design was the product of an innovative industrial competition of the time. The result a wonderful futuristic concept that transcends time.

The use of chrome pedestals, mahogany and ebony, give the X-66 it’s signature look, never again attempted due to its extravagant cost.

Its great sound is being produced by a very unique tone generator and 11 tone bars. The vibrato give it a it’s unique brand of animation which is achieved in perfect balance. At the end we have the perfect Hammond organ sound that is the X-66.

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Hammond technician on the X-66 production line.

Specifications:

    2 Keyboard – each one with 61 notes
    Pedal – 25 notes
    Arpeggiator
    Cancel Pistons (3)
    Generator – 12 tone wheels
    39 tabs voices and percussions
    Microphone Controls
    2 sets with 11 drawbars on upper manual
    2 sets with 10 drawbars on lower manual
    1 set with 5 drawbars for pedals
    Reverberation I II II
    Brilliance – On / Off
    The percussion division – Reiterate, Chime, Arp, Celesta, Marimba, Piano, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Banjo
    Orchestral manual (supplementary tab voices) – Diapason, Viole D’ Orch, Trumpet, English post horn, Kinura, Tremulantl, ff orch, Orch 16´ and Unison off
    Accompaniment manual (supplementary tab voices) – Diapason Viola DA Gamba, Tuba sonora, Tremulant, ff accomp
    Pedal division (tabs) – String Bass I, Sring Bass II, Pedal vibrato
    Manual Drawbars (tab controls) – Vibrato bass, Vibrato Treble I, Vibrato Treble II, Celeste, Tibias
    Traps (tabs) – Pedal, Orch, Accomp
    Sforzando – (a general piston which instantly produces a pre-set full organ combination on both manuals)
    Special Effects Panel, Power switch and light
    Total weight: (organ pedalboard, and bench): 574 pounds

Tone Cabinet – Matching the futuristic design of the console is the series 12 tone cabinet which houses a 5 channel 200 watt (Music Power Output) amplifier driving seven speakers and two high frequency horns.
    1-15″ omnidirectional woofer
    6-8″ speakers – all of the wide dispersion type
    2-Horns for added brilliance

Production Dates: May 1967 to sometime between September 22, 1973 and April 1, 1975

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Final testing before delivery to another customer.

Source: Paco de la Rosa

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PostPosted: 12 Oct 2012 20:52 
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A Great Mexican Organist

I just love the way he performs .... very cool :D



Tony Cabral was born in the City of Zacatecas, Mexico. As a boy, his parents observed his innate ability for music and his lyrical ability to play the guitar, piano and the accordion. He settled in the City of Guadalajara, Mexico to the Catholic Seminary where he practiced the organ and the piano on a liric way.

Years later, he formed a musical group, integrating his own brothers whom displayed their own unique abilities in performing diverse musical instruments such as the accordion which, he preformed for many years.

Later on, (1959) Tony still being very young, moved to Mexico City, where he found work playing for an organ importer called “Magnum”. During his time there and because of his exceptional talent he was contracted by the Hilton Corporation to perform for the Hilton in Mexico City, being one of the most exclusive hotels at the time.

In 1962 Tony got his first Hammond organ S-100 model being the newest at that time; the sound of this new organ was well received by Hilton visitors. In this same place in 1964 Mr. Ward Fulmer, the President of the Hammond Organ Corporation in Mexico, had the opportunity to listen to Tony, and was profoundly impressed by his ability and unique style, that he decides to contract him to promote the Hammond Organ line in all of Mexico.

The arrival of the Hammond X-66 to Mexico City
It was a big event in the making for the year of 1967. The arrival of the first X-66, a new innovative instrument not only in it’s futuristic design concept, but in it’s impressive sound characteristics. This X-66 was Serial No.76 of the assembly line; a few years later Tony Cabral got that very same organ (76 serial no.).</p>

In 1968 Mr. Jim McLin of the Hammond Corporation of Chicago was invited to promote this new Hammond X-66 legacy with Tony Cabral and Manuel Zacarias through concerts given at the Hilton Hotel in Mexico City and Latin America. These concerts were a complete success for both organists, setting the path for them and the paths of many Mexican organists whom adopted the X-66 as their favorite performing instrument.

Tony Cabral and Television
In 1968, Tony Cabral was invited to perform in Mexico’s foremost variety shows called ”Siempre en Domingo” in which he performed regularly for over a year playing his X-66. The same year he recorded his first LP.</p>

International Tours
In 1969, Tony Cabral was invited by Mr. Donald Hace, the President of Hammond Organ International to promote the Hammond X-66. This tour brought Tony to Mexico, The United States, Canada, and South America, the tours were a tremendous success, bringing Tony to repeat some of his performances during this tour dazzling the audience with his style and ability on the X-66.

Tony Cabral has been an authentic fan of the Hammond Organ, but as he confesses, “ To me the best sounding organ in the world is the X-66, it is simply incomparable… the X-66 is my passion!..

Tony Cabral today
Tony Cabral, is still in the music business. He operates together with one of his sons, several musical instrument stores throughout Mexico…..but he has not lost the passion he got from that wonderful instrument, the Hammond X-66. To demonstrate this, he has made a new recording recently titled “ Tony is Back” performed with all his mastery, and full of wonderful melodies for all of us to enjoy.

Source: Paco de la Rosa

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PostPosted: 12 Oct 2012 21:19 
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The best of both worlds ... Hammond X-66 with Yamaha Tyros 5



In this video of Paco's own composition ... the style intro sounds awfully familiar :lol: :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2012 07:56 
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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2012 12:52 
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Hi there Mike,
Thank you for this review very interesting I played a one of these organs in a club at Blackhall Mill many years ago unfortunately it was equiped with the wrong speakers that spoiled the sound for me still a cracking organ cheers pal going for lunch will look at the others later. :D :D :D
Jon D. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2014 22:17 
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I have put together a short video clip of two excellent X66 organists, Jan de Nef and George Blackmore ... enjoy :D




Inside The Mighty Hammond X-66 ..... viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1702

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2014 00:02 
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The album 'Hammond Continental' by Jan de Nef (it had other titles on the other side of the English Channel) was the first Hammond LP I bought. Great arrangements, great playing, and multi-tracking at its best.

Side 1: https://app.box.com/s/2667b6d1db19842b4d8f

Side 2: https://app.box.com/s/9e5dea503c033d341d35

I'll upload George Blackmore's album 'Up, up 'n Away' in due course.

I've created a sort of 'virtual' X66, using Cubase and various bits of virtual instrument software and have tried to recreate one of the tracks on Jan de Nef's album, just to see if I could get close to the sound. What do you think?

Une Larme aux Nuages: https://app.box.com/shared/m9iujqh2o4

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2014 15:35 
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Hiya Andy,

I enjoyed listening to your re-created X66 track ... in fact, I liked it better than Jan de Nefs original :D

I do have a couple of albums with Jan de Nef playing the X66 with Co Pilley back in the late 60's which were also great examples of multi-tracked recordings ... I find the 'charity shops' are a great source of old organ records and if you search regularly you can often find some real gems :D

All the best,

Mike

P.S. Andy, I have done a little jiggery-pokery and moved 'half' of your post into the performance section so the other members can enjoy your playing too ... it's a sad fact that these retro subjects aren't getting much in the way of responses ... I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it anymore :(

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2014 10:28 
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Hi

I for one find the retro stuff very interesting. I've saved many of the scans of brochures, etc. onto my computer to peruse at leisure. Please keep it up!

Every Blessing

Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2014 10:46 
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Rev Tony Newnham wrote:
Hi

I for one find the retro stuff very interesting. I've saved many of the scans of brochures, etc. onto my computer to peruse at leisure. Please keep it up!

Every Blessing

Tony


I'm only venting a bit of steam Tony ... I'm not about to do anything drastic :wink:
Your interest and support on these boards hasn't gone unnoticed and for that I thank you :D

All the best,

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2014 17:05 
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Keep it coming, Mike. There aren't many of us old timers left, it seems.

I 'inherited' a huge collection of brochures last year. I've looked through and there are some goodies there but I really need to get a new scanner before I embark. The present one is good but slow and I now have to keep switching back to XP to scan things in - no Win 7 drivers for it!

This thread, plus a thread over on Organ Forum, prompted me to revisit an old piece that I started nearly 8 years ago, back to XP to run the old version of Cubase! Virtual Hammond plus a lot of other things.

Here's a snippet of what's to come, but lots of work to do before it's ready: https://app.box.com/s/6rxx9zfyk2iwrgav4dhx

Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2014 09:53 
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Thanks Mike

Incidentally, while we're discussing these instruments, I once came across a Concorde (or one of the other derivatives) in a church in Norfolk. It had loads of missing notes, so I took the back off - touching the big main circuit board restored everything to working order, so probably just too big a board for the edge connectors. It was a nice instrument to play.

I was there helping a friend with an evangelistic outreach, and he'd asked me to play a solo during the evening service on the final Sunday. There was a church tea prior to the service, and I was running through a few ideas, and at one point tried the rhythms - setting tempo etc. for what I wanted. I overheard the church's regular organist muttering "we don;t want any of that Jazz stuff here!". Afterwards, he actually came and thanked me for my playing and said the use of drums in one part of the solo had worked wel.

Happy days.

Every Blessing

Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2014 10:15 
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Looks and sounds great. .. Fred

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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 22 May 2015 12:18 
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Just found this entry - brilliant
Thanks to all who contributed.
Keep up the good work.
Remember the Concorde well
Heard and saw demo at Guildford Sound of Music


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 Post subject: Re: Hammond Model X-66
PostPosted: 25 May 2015 11:55 
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VAL7JEAN wrote:
Just found this entry - brilliant
Thanks to all who contributed.
Keep up the good work.
Remember the Concorde well
Heard and saw demo at Guildford Sound of Music


Thank you, there are plenty more topics similar to this one here .... viewforum.php?f=185

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