I suppose you could put organs into three categories:

  • Church organs
  • Home entertainment organs
  • Rock / Jazz stage organs

Here we are not going to consider church organs which is highly specialized.

Up until few years ago home entertainment organs were very popular and were jam packed with ‘bells and whistles’. Although still available, the demand for these is somewhat waning, probably due to the fact that many of the home entertainment keyboards have just as many ‘bells and whistles’ but are also much smaller and cheaper.

That leaves rock / jazz organs which are all ‘hi tech’ and have no unnecessary novelty features - just great sounds. But in all cases these will require external amplification.

Historically the classic organs were the Hammond B3 and the original Vox continental - both of which I had the great pleasure of owning in the 60’s / 70’s. Just about all of the present day organs are emulations of these. In fact many of the best keyboards such as the Kronos and the Nords emulate these pretty well and unless you were actually around in ‘the day’ I doubt that you could tell the difference (from the best ones).

But if you want the actual real sound of the Hammond - buy a Hammond, - they are still available and are far more transportable than they were when I was humping them around. Similarly, the Vox Continental has had a re-birth by Korg and is a wicked little board.

Beyond these there are several dedicated emulations available.

So who are they good for?

Gigging or recording musicians. Possibly 60’s tribute bands or jazz.

I still love them!