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Tony Monaco’s Approach to Organ Bass

Yesterday I wrote an article about the #1 Myth of the Hammond Organ, which has to do with whether organists play bass lines with their hands or with their feet.  It seemed to spark a lot of interest in the jazz organ community.  Joey DeFrancesco retweeted the article on Twitter AND I got a nice e-mail from Tony Monaco about the article.

Tony explained to me in further detail how he gets his bass sound, and also graciously has allowed me to publish his response.  Here is the message I got from Tony:

“My approach is bass/double bass. I set my pedals 16″ drawbar to 7 so that it blends with the lh sound to become one sound. I actually follow my left hand with my foot and tap staccato to get the pluck/thump effect but also hold certain tones longer to blend the 16″ deep sound of the organ bass along with playing my lh an octave higher. This gives me more width and spread and color while not overpowering each other. By taking off my shoes, I’m able to just gently glide my foot and hold the ones I want to come out! Very nice article and thanks for including me.”

You’re welcome Tony.  Thanks for being a class act and an inspiration to other jazz organists!

Camden Hughes
Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at


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