Mainstage Mondays: How to Use the Drawbar Organ

Drawbar organ has been central to worship music since the 1900’s, but I’d had only a vague understanding of how they worked until just a few years ago. Since drawbar organs are fairly complicated, I’m going to focus today on just one aspect of it: the drawbars. 

 

1. Open up Mainstage. Select the “Tonewheel Organ” template. 


2. In the LH corner of the workspace window are the drawbars. Each drawbar boosts or reduces a tone. There are specific names for each tone that it represents, but for time’s sake we’ll stick with the basic concept that each tone gets progressively higher as we move left to right. Experiment with the tones by pulling them into different levels, or better yet, assign them to faders, and this becomes a whole lot more fun. 


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Here are some of my favorite presets: 


• This is a great basic preset, that gives a powerful full bodied tone to the organ. One of my favorites for uptempo modern worship songs.


• This one has a lot of high end, and is great for not getting in the way of guitars onstage or in the studio. 


• This is a compromise between the first two presets, and I believe is the best blend of aggressive mids and clean highs. 

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What’s your favorite drawbar settings? Send me your patch, and I’ll give your settings a free critique!