Up for sale, a 1970s Hammond X5 vintage combo organ in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Produced by Hammond’s Japanese division (Nihon-Hammond) starting in 1976, the X5 was one of two organs introduced with the goal of portability and flexibility for the gigging musician; filling the need for a "mobile" means of creating the Hammond Sound, which had been popularized thanks to artists like Jimmy Smith and Booker T in the ‘60s.
Instead of relying on then-standard tonewheel technology, the X5 utilized brand new (at the time) solid state circuitry. These large-scale integrated circuits, or LSIs, allowed for the full Hammond drawbar-based experience to be more efficiently packaged within a smaller form factor. This organ is functionally somewhat akin to analog synthesizers of the time; producing square waves which are then filtered down to sine waves by the 12 onboard multi-derivative divider circuits and processed by the onboard 35-watt amp. That warm, breezy Hammond sound can be faithfully recreated, with just as many options in the way of tonal customization as ever before.
Sonic sculpting is achieved through the various onboard controls, of which there are many. On the right side of the instrument are a trio of knobs for Repeat Rate, Volume, and Brilliance. Repeat Rate and Volume function as expected of any such electric organ, but the Brilliance control is where the Hammond goodness really hides. Early transistor-based organs suffered due to their “smoothed out” sound, which many musicians and listeners found undesirable in contrast to the raw authenticity of tonewheel-based organs. Players such as Jimmy Smith made key clicks and general hardware noise an integral part of the “Hammond sound”; the introduction of the Brilliance control enabled those imperfections to remain in the mix even as the hardware changed. When down at 0, the smoothed-over, “transistor” sound is produced, but as the dial is turned, the bite and distinctive Hammond click comes back in a big way.
Further controls include: two preset options for both Reverb and Vibrato; a switch to adjust the speed of an attached Leslie speaker (not included); Decay parameters; and a comprehensive bank of drawbars for both manuals and the original bass keyboard. Adjacent to the bass pedals is an expression pedal, which is smooth and responsive.
The X5 features a number of different possible outputs including a standard speaker, a slave amp, or a direct 9-pin Leslie output designed primarily for use with the Leslie 760 or 825 units.
This Hammond is in great shape, with light wear on the wooden cheeks that frame the enclosure and bass pedalboard. The metal tubular stand has bright chrome plating, securing both the organ and bass pedalboard.