The Leslie 3300

A Leslie is a brand of amplifier designed to be used with the Hammond Organ. It has a rotating horn inside the cabinet, which causes the sound of the organ to be swirly and warbly. The horn speed can be switched from fast to slow to give musical passages varying degrees of excitement.

In November of 2010, I decided that I needed to buy a Leslie to bring to my organ gigs. I had bought a Motion Sound Pro 145, but I was not happy at all with the way it sounded. Then after reading some favorable reviews, I settled on the Leslie 3300.

When UPS dropped off the Leslie 3300 and I plugged it in, I knew I had made a great choice. It was compact, rugged, and very powerful. Immediately I started to have an issue with the high-frequency driver, which I read had a tendency to fail. After I had that replaced under warranty, I have not had a problem since.

Getting ‘my’ sound out of the Leslie has been a long process- there are EQ controls and tube preamp settings. One issue has been how to get the tube preamp to sound good without getting harsh and distorted. I’ve found that the best thing to do is to put the Tube Drive control on no more than about 10 percent. This adds clarity to the organ tone and seems to move the sound forward a bit: instead of coming from inside the speaker cabinet, the sound sounds like it originates from a few inches outside the cabinet. I guess this is what people mean when they refer to ‘3D Tube Sound’.

The other huge thing I learned from Gary Versace when he used my organ and Leslie for a show. He turned the bass knob on the Leslie almost all the way off. All of the sudden, the sound was clean and defined, but still had plenty of bass. The bass cut seemed to get rid of the low, boomy bass which doesn’t sound good, but overloads the power amp causing it to distort.

I’ve used the Leslie 3300 on probably over 300 gigs now, and it sounds good as new!

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