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Our Hammond SK1-88 Review
Founded in 1934, Hammond has come a long way since producing their first electronic organ in 1935. Known for making organs that were ideal for home musicians, Hammond has continued to be one of the top producers of new and exciting musical equipment for home musicians, as well as for professionals.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Hammond launched their powerful range of SK stage keyboards, resulting in powerful and portable equipment that included all of the features and components that performing musicians needed to excel on stage.
What Is the Hammond SK1-88?
Released in 2013, the Hammond SK1-88 is faithful to the original Hammond voice while pushing the boundaries and making it possible for musicians to really push themselves and improve their tone and sound. Even though this powerful piece of equipment is light enough for an organist to use comfortably, it offers all of the heft that piano players have come to expect from their instruments.
Like other equipment from Hammond, the SK1-88 features high quality and classic Hammond components. Some of these include the tonewheel generator, vibrato and chorus, touch-response percussion, and drawbars. Hammond believed in trying to unify the designs of his instruments, and using the iconic drawbars is one way that he did so.
Who Is this Keyboard Designed for?
The Hammond SK1-88 is designed for any musician who has always wanted to play a Hammond but can’t invest in the larger organ. No matter if you are a pianist or an organist, you are sure to love the playability of the Hammond SK1-88, as well as the sheer power and control that it offers. Because the keyboard has been weighted enough for piano players to easily use it but is still fast and light enough for organists, it’s the perfect compromise.
The Hammond SK1-88 really shines when used for live music. It performs perfectly for recording and for practice, but the raw power that it has is best expressed on stage. While any beginner can easily pick up the SK1-88 and start playing, only more advanced musicians who understand controlling the different voices and sounds that the Hammond SK1-88 offers will be able to push it to the max and make the most of its abilities. Because of the power this equipment offers, as well as the higher price tag, it is generally enjoyed by more advanced musicians, bands, or churches.
- 12 Hammond macro profiles with 17 tweak-able parameters
- 96 individually adjustable, voice-able digital tone wheels
- 8 Leslie macro profiles
The Hammond SK1-88 ships by itself, which is completely normal for this type of keyboard. It does mean, however, that you will want to have some components and equipment ready to go when it arrives at your home so you can start using it right away. It’s a good idea to invest in a quality amp that can produce a true-to-tone sound when playing the SK1-88, as well as great headphones for private practice.
Connecting the Hammond SK1-88 to a computer will allow you to have access to great editing software, making it easier than ever to control, edit, and adjust your sound. For this reason, you will want to have a great computer, as well as powerful editing software on hand.
Primary Features of the Hammond SK1-88
One thing that really sets the Hammond SK1-88 apart from other options on the market is the Chorus Vibrato. This adds a gorgeous and silky quality to any sound by adding another detuned pitch. Other great features include:
- USB flash drive storage
- 88-key keyboard
- Semi-weighted keys
- Adjustable drawbars with nine pitches
- Multiple effects
- Sound generator
- 63-note pipe organ polyphony
- Master EQ
- Multiple volume controls
The tone control of the Hammond SK1-88 shows the commitment that Hammond had in creating quality instruments in their SK series. Tone control makes it possible to adjust and boost the blend of frequencies. This adds an interesting edge to the tone of your instrument if you want it.
Since Hammond understands that musicians want to be able to enjoy more than just organ tones, they included keyboard sounds that work well with every single music genre. They are centered mostly on the acoustic and electric piano but have all been meticulously chosen to add value to the Hammond SK1-88.
Alternatives to the SK1-88
The Hammond SK1-88 is a great option for most musicians, but if you aren’t sure that it is right for you, then you will want to consider the Hammond SK1-73 as an alternative. This is an ultralight keyboard that is great for taking on the road. It features 73 keys, 12 organ profiles, and 15 Leslie speaker profiles. Thanks to the wide range of pianos that you can choose from, there are 1000s of classic combinations that you can enjoy when playing music.
The Hammond SK1-61 is another great, albeit smaller, option. This is perfect for musicians who are on a slightly smaller budget or simply don’t have the skills or knowledge to make the most out of using the Hammond SK1-88. With 61 keys, deep editing capabilities, and 100 user presets, this keyboard has a lot to offer. It’s very convenient and reliable, making it a good alternative for some musicians.
Conclusion – Should You Consider Buying the Hammond SK1-88?
Hammond has long been known for having a great commitment to quality, and their Hammond SK1-88 is no exception. It’s a powerful piece of musical equipment that is loaded with interesting features and components that really set it apart from others on the market.
While the price tag may be a little high for some beginning musicians, it is a great investment piece that a lot of musicians can benefit from. It offers exceptional sound control and feels great when played, which is something that appeals to pianists and organists. All in all, this is a worthwhile piece of equipment and one that can really improve your sound and music. It’s a great option for most churches to invest in, as long as the money is in the budget.