When building their first pedalboard, most fresh-faced guitarists will go for the same type of pedals: an overdrive pedal for souped-up rock sounds, a reverb or delay pedal for fuller tone, and possibly a modulation pedal for warping the sound to taste. In reality, there are many more flavours to choose from, including effects that you don’t come across all the time but are actually a lot of fun to play with and can easily get your creative juices flowing. Last time, we looked at pitch shifters and harmonizers. Today, we’re checking out organ simulators!

Who Uses Organs?

The very first organs date back to the 16th century. Mainly used in Christian churches to support services, traditional pipe organs feature one or more pipes that produce a different timbre depending on the size, shape and material that the pipes are made of. Many famed composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, have written organ music and, while the name ‘Toccata and Fugue in D minor’ might not ring a bell, you’ll likely recognise the melody upon hearing it as it’s commonly ‘borrowed’ by contemporary musicians and producers.

Over the past centuries, the design of the original organ has been iterated upon a lot, resulting in various spin-offs that do things their own way. The most famous example is no doubt the Hammond organ. Built as a cheaper and way less unwieldy alternative for churches, the Hammond organ was quickly embraced by jazz musicians who found it to be a great substitute for expensive bigbands. From the 1960s on, the Hammond organ became increasingly popular, causing a spillover to styles like rhythm-and-blues, reggae, rock and prog-rock. Pioneering the mash-up between classical music and rock, Jon Lord (Deep Purple) ended up putting the Hammond organ firmly on the map.

Besides Bach and Lord, there are many other big names that have made use of the organ, think The Doors, Pink Floyd, Santana, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Zappa, Arcade Fire, Muse, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Counting Crows, Pink Floyd, Hootie & the Blowfish, Sheryl Crow, Sly Stone, and the list goes on, spanning from classical music to black metal. As you can tell, the organ is infinitely versatile and, as a 21st century guitarist, you’re actually in luck because it’s now available in the ultra-manageable form of a stompbox: the organ simulator!

Picking Out An Organ Simulator

While the organ simulator is a relatively new electric guitar effect, there are already various models on the market. Below, we’ll highlight two.

The Electro Harmonix C9 Organ Machine

Electro-Harmonix (EHX) is an expert when it comes to special effects. Simple to operate, the Electro Harmonix C9 Organ Machine comes loaded with nine presets that cover the most common organs out there, from pipe organs to electronic organs and vintage keyboards. What’s particularly great about this pedal is that the presets can be customised as needed. Settings include modulation parameters like vibrato tremolo and chorus, as well as adjustable sustain and high frequencies. The C9 even gives you the option to mix the effect signal with the dry signal via a Blend control for boosted bass, but can also be teamed up with its predecessor, the EHX B9 Organ Machine, to get even richer sound. Check out the video below to get a better impression. Listen closely to the Farfisa organ preset (used at 2:25) and you’ll notice it sounds just like the organ in ‘Light My Fire’ by The Doors.

The EarthQuaker Devices Organizer V2 Polyphonic Organ Emulator

This little box puts organic Leslie-style sound directly at your feet and can not only transform the signal of a guitar, but vocals, other stringed instruments, brass, woodwind, drums and synths — in fact, you can stick pretty much any signal through it and the EQD Organizer V2 Polyphonic Organ Emulator will still spit out the same thick and lush organ sound. The electronics inside the Organizer combine analogue and digital signal processing to provide classic warmth alongside tight, modern polyphonic tracking whether you’re dishing out single notes or playing chords.

No responses

No comments yet...

Leave a Reply