KMG Fea‍‍‍tured Gear: Leslie Loudspeaker

October 10, 2017

This week's edition of Featured Gear is about a favorite: the Leslie Loudspeaker. The Loudspeaker is useable by electric or electronic instruments and combines an amplifier and loudspeaker that rotates to change the sound. The effect that is created is known as the "chorale" or "tremolo" and is commonly associated with the organ (specifically the Hammond organ) though it has been used for other instruments such as guitar.

 

The speaker is named after Donald Leslie who embarked on the mission of inventing the Leslie Loudspeaker in the 1930s while he was trying to better emulate the sound of a pipe organ. He discovered the rotating speaker design's tremolo effect was unique but at the time, Hammond, who he was working for, was uninterested in selling the Loudspeaker so Leslie started selling th‍‍‍e Leslie himself! He produced his first version of the Leslie in 1941 and soon after it became a must have add on for most jazz organists.

 

Leslie sold his business to CBS in 1965 who then in turn, ironically sold it to Hammond in 1980. The sound of the Leslie Loudspeaker is iconic in organ playing and Donald Leslie changed the instrument forever.

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