Rootless Left Hand Gospel Chords

This week’s gospel music lesson is called “Rootless Left Hand Chords”

It is about how to comfortably play chords with your left hand that frees your right hand up to do other things like extend the chords or play solos.

I also briefly talk about voice leading with the left hand. The transition from one chord to the next in a smooth way. Usually only moving half or whole steps with the left hand.

Enjoy the lesson and thank you for being a member of the HMPI community.

If you like this lesson then check out this one on Gospel Chords.


Playing Chords With Flavor

We all love to hear rich and full sounding chords when people play. It seems like some guys know just what to play, and how to play to really play with a lot of flavor.

Here are a few tips that I use to add more flavor to my chords. 

  • Find The Sweet Spot

I look for the place on the piano or organ that is the optimum place for  a particular chord. Doing something as simple as moving a chord up or down an octave can dramatically enhance the sound of a chord that you are playing.  I look for the place or area on the keyboard where the chord is not too high, or too low but rather just right.  If you play your chords too far to the left your chords can start to sound muddy and if you play your chords too far to the right they can start to sound thin. I love for chords to sound rich, full, clear,

  • Try Different Chord Inversions

Experimenting with chord inversions is another way to really enhance the sound of your chords. An inversion of a chord is to change the position of the notes of the chords while still playing the same note names.


The notes are the same but you change the arrangement or position of those particular notes.

A good rule of thumb is that how ever many different notes you have in a particular chord, then that is at least how many different positions that you can play that particular chord.

  • Adding Notes To Chord

Another effective thing to do in order to really add more flavor to your chords are to add additional notes to your chords.

For example: If I am playing a C major chord which are the notes C -E -G.

I love to add the second scale degree of the chord to add a bit of flavor to the chord.



C  is the root or 1st scale degree

E is the 3rd scale degree

G is the 5th scale degree

The second scale degree for the C major chord is the note D.

So I would play:


Adding the 2nd scale degree is an easy way to add flavor to most chords (not every chord)

The 6th scale degree is another note that works well in adding notes to chords (not every chord)

Experimentation is really the best way to discover what works and what does not.

  • Study Other Musicians

I have learned so many wonderful and flavorful chords from other musicians. I am a big advocate for studying great musicians. Learn what they do and how they do it.

This is not to try to copy the person but rather learn how they think about playing. You can learn the concepts that they are using and can apply those concepts and come up with your own unique approach to it yourself.  Or if you really love how they play then copy them. It will be okay. lol But in the process look for your own style and voice when you play.

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Piano and Organ Tips – Real Success Insights

Have you ever sat down at your piano or organ to practice and didn’t know what to really work on?  Have you ever felt like you were not accomplishing much in your practice time?

We both have probably felt like this at some point in time.

Let me share some things with you that has helped me over the years.  I know you have been playing awhile but hopefully this will help.

If you are anything like me, you are probably really busy and don’t have as much time as you would like to practice so you have to make your practice time count.

I have found that it helps to make out a practice schedule:

1.  Specify how much time you can allot to practicing a particular day.

2.  Determine what you want and NEED to practice on.

3.  Divide the time up that you have so you can practice on everything. You have to stop working on a particular thing when the time is up or it will throw off your  schedule.

4.  Keep a log or diary of what you practiced on so you can track your progress.

A practice schedule for me may look something like this:

 Practice Schedule

Time: 1 Hour

Finger Exercises/Scales: 15 min

Sight Reading: 15 min

New Song to Learn: 20min

Improv/Soloing: 10 min

I”ll send you a free video lesson next time. People seem to really like the video lessons. I have a process where you can download lessons to your computer.  I think you’ll like it.

Gotta go now.  I’ll talk to you soon.


How Great Thou Art – Organ Lesson

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The Organ Alternatives

There is nothing like the sound of a well maintained Hammond B3 Organ and Leslie Speaker combination. Very few people can afford to have one of their own but many people love the sound of these organs. People have been trying for years to find ways to emulate the sound of these classic organs. There are several companies that have attempted this feat like Roland, Yamaha, Diversi, and others.

Here are a few alternatives to having an actual B3 in your home to practice on.  A good friend and HMPI customer Frederick from Sweden hipped me to the NORD ELECTRO Organ. It is interestingly close to the sound of one of the original Hammond organs.


Another alternative to having a Hammond B3 is to get your hands on a Hammond M3. The M3 is actually nicknamed the “Baby B3”. The M3 actually has been under the radar for many years and many people don’t know the potential that these little organs have.  The M3 has many of the same exact electrical components of the B3 and mainly has the same internal amplifier as the B3.  The amplifier inside of the organ is much of what gives the organ it’s characteristic sound. The amplifier is where the tubes go in the organ. The tubes look like little light bulbs that actually light up and help to create the warmth and sweetness of the organ. Again the M3 has the same amp as the B3.

The biggest difference between the two organs is that the M3 is in a much smaller cabinet, has fewer keys, and does not normally have what is called fold back. Fold back can be installed by a qualified organ tech and it adds higher overtones to the organ sound. Most M3’s that you hear people playing are being played from it’s internal speaker and usually is not connected to a Leslie speaker, so you really don’t get the full effect of the organ really can do. M3’s are not made or manufactured any more but you can find them pretty easily for sale online.  You can obtain a M3 in fair condition on Ebay for a few hundred dollars not including shipping. Shipping could be a problem. Don’t ask me how I know.  :(

I personally have a Hammond M3 organ that I bought on Ebay several years ago and they are nice little organs. They are good for practicing when you want to practice on a real organ with real drawbars but don’t have a lot of space or budget for a B3.

Here is an example of a guy that really took the time and brought out the potential of the M3.


It is very convenient to be able to practice at home and not have to go to the studio or church to practice on a real organ. If you can get a hold to a M3 for a fair price and connect it to a real leslie speaker you will be very, very close to the sound of a real B3.

What type of Leslie Speaker or even Leslie Speaker emulation that you use will greatly determine the authenticity of the sound. The Leslie makes the organ come alive! The Leslie sound has to be right. The most cost effective solution that I have found for having a decent Leslie sound without having to buy a real Leslie speaker for a few thousand dollars is this.


Lastly, several companies are making software plugins that are amazingly close to the sound of a real organ. These plugins are getting better and better all of the time.  A very popular computer plugin is the B4 plugin. The Leslie Speaker simulation is not very good in my opinion but with the right settings you can get a fairly authentic Hammond sound. You will need the plugin, a midi keyboard controller and a computer and you will be in business.