Hammond Tone Wheel

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What type of organ is used in a whiter shade of pale?

I love the song and want to play the organ part on my keyboard, but I don't know what type of organ is used.

Thanks in advance if you can help
Edit// Cheers for that one, what about the organ used in Fix you by coldplay?

Best Answer...


In both cases it is a a Hammond tone wheel organ, most likely a B3 or C3 but all Hammond tone wheel organs use the same sound generation technique and thus sound identical when run through the same amplification system. About 90% of the organ sounds you hear in pop/rock music were since the genre began are Hammond organs.

Hammond stopped making tone wheel organs in the mid-1970's but there are still many available on the used market. These organs are extremely heavy (the most popular, the B3 tips the scales at 450 pounds) and require quite a bit of maintenance. Good ones also command very high prices. For that reason many electronic musical instrument companies today make electronic clones (called "clonewheel organs") that imitate that tone wheel organ sound electronically. They have gotten so good at replicating the sound that the new ones take an expert to tell it isn't a real Hammond. Just about any current synthezer, workstation or home keyboard available today will also have some sampled Hammond organ patches in its memory banks although they might not exactly mimic the settings used on WSoP or sound as authentic as the dedicated clones.