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Messages - John Brevik

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Buying / Re: Buy Straight from Store or restore a Used Suitcase?
« on: November 19, 2021, 03:57:57 PM »
Unbelievable the asking prices you see on Reverb and the like! I do wonder how much they're going for.

Anyway, as mentioned above SoCal is great for these instruments. And I can't speak highly enough about Ben -- reliable, knowledgeable, does great work, and is a great guy to deal with.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Post your Rhodes pics and its story
« on: November 19, 2021, 03:56:04 PM »
I'd agree with Sean except maybe just to say that since you got such a good deal on the piano it might be worth it to rebuild the preamp anyway.

The Satellite speakers are basically impossible to find. There were the "Leslie 60" and "Leslie 70" speakers as well, but those are fairly rare. The power supply kit/stereo out will be a great investment. Back in my performing days I had that rig (with a different power supply) and loved the effect when the speakers were set wide apart!

I just hit upon the old piano, TBH. I'm currently learning a bit about piano tuning as I try to get it back to being a real musical instrument.

I ran across a photo of the inside of a Sparkletop suitcase cabinet, and it appeared to be wired series-parallel with two Jensens and two of something else (couldn't make out the stamp, but they didn't look like Utahs). Of course, somebody might have cannibalized it to build a guitar cabinet. There were also big caps at the non-Jensen speakers, which made me think that maybe there were bass and guitar drivers in there. I'd be fascinated to know what originally went in them, but that information seems hard to find, and the answer might well be "whatever Fender had lying around that day."

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. The preamp is surely a good idea; my old Satellite piano sounded good through its preamp and any dumb old PA. As for the speaker, I imagine I can't go too far wrong with a Jensen that isn't too bright. I'm leaning toward a 2x8 over a 1x10, just because I usually like the sound of a 2-driver cabinet better.


These are great questions. Thank you for helping me frame the problem I'm trying to solve.

First off, great suggestion about mounting the speakers internally, but my student piano is very old, a pre-"Jetsons" model. The piano itself is similar to the early silver-top models, and it has no internal speaker mounts. My understanding is that originally it would have come with a matching bench with the amp and speaker mounted inside.

I suspect that the answer to your tone question is "suitcase." I've been listening to a lot of recordings of teardrop-hammer pianos, and those must have basically all been mic'ed suitcase cabinets. "In a Silent Way," "Fat Albert Rotunda," and "The Bill Evans Album" sound great to me. With later iterations of the Rhodes, I like the "Aja" tone, which would have been a Suitcase. I'm not sure what recordings used a Twin, beyond the early Chick Corea records (and while I'd give my eyeteeth to play 1% as well as Chick, I don't love that tone).

Thanks again,


Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Small speaker setup for home use
« on: October 12, 2021, 06:29:07 PM »
Hi, all,

I'm setting up my student piano in the living room, so to keep the spouse happy I need an unobtrusive but reasonably attractive amp/speaker setup. I have settled on a nice li'l 5-watt (solid-state class AB) amp and am looking probably at a small custom cabinet, but I really don't grok speakers. I was thinking about a 2x8 or even 2x6 for space factor, maybe with one (Jensen?) bass driver and one full-range -- but as I say I'm no expert so I'm open to suggestions (1x10?). Any suggestions or things to think about? I really just want to get a nice vintage tone at living-room volume.

I realize that the question is a bit vague, but I'd appreciate the input of those who know more than I do about these things. Thanks!


Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Rhodes Miracle Mod help
« on: January 02, 2013, 10:40:28 AM »

I hope you have seen this thread
which is pretty much definitive!



For Sale / John McLaren to sell his Rhodes collection
« on: October 30, 2012, 07:24:38 PM »

Dear List Members,

I have had the privilege to be in touch with John McLaren, and he asked me to post on this site that he will soon be putting his collection of 30-40 Rhodes pianos, spanning the production run, up for sale. I'll make sure that one way or another any further updates get posted here.

So if you are shopping for a very special piano, particularly those of you local to Southern California, you might want to hold off just a bit longer!

Best regards,


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Plexi(?) music stand for Student Piano
« on: December 01, 2011, 06:42:54 PM »
Hi, all,

Trying to get a very old gold sparkletop student piano functioning. I'm missing the clear plastic music stand. Anybody have any info about dimensions/material for these things? I'd also be grateful for any ideas about what kind of shop I might go to in order to get it cut cleanly and precisely.



The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Shout-out from John McLaren
« on: May 23, 2011, 11:47:41 PM »

Hi, Rhodes fanatics,

I have had the good fortune to meet up with John a few times. A very interesting, gracious, and generous human being!

Anyway, he asked me to pass along his best wishes to his friends on this site. He is doing well but is experiencing computer trouble, so he's had trouble keeping up here and with his emails.

Just wanted to pass that along!



Hey, it's for a "Rhode Keyboard Instrume." Must be rare -- I've never heard of one!  ;D

Rob, you freakin' rock.

Buying / Recently bought a Stage 88 Rhodes for $400 but..
« on: June 29, 2010, 05:15:30 AM »
Your Stage is set up for "Satellite" speakers, meaning that it has a Suitcase-style preamp. This preamp requires power. As designed, the Satellite speakers themselves supply power to the preamp through the connecting cable, but, as in your case, Satellite speakers generally seem to end up disassociated from their pianos.

Vintage Vibe, I think, makes a box that supplies power to the preamp and gives stereo outs. Costs a little over $100 and will IMHO be more than worth it. Even beyond the stereo vibrato, the preamp does good things for the Rhodes tone.

All told, $400 seems like an awfully good deal to me for what you got.

Good luck!

This topic has come up a number of times and, sadly, the verdict is generally negative on doing such a swap. A quick search came up with this thread:

There are also a number of other relevant threads that you can search for.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / jetsons rhodes question/help
« on: April 21, 2010, 07:13:43 PM »
Thanks, Kenneth. You're right, of course -- mine's a gold sparkle. So I'll be of no help.

I actually am at Cal State -- Long Beach.



Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / jetsons rhodes question/help
« on: April 21, 2010, 04:47:35 PM »

Just getting caught up here.

That must be the piano that was on LA Craigslist. If you're close to me (northern OC), I think I could actually let you have a look at the sustain rod from my '66(???) student model. Kenneth can probably tell us whether they used the same rod throughout production.


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Problem with tuning
« on: April 12, 2010, 04:06:22 AM »
I've had a similar experience; the plucked tine seems to sound a minor second. Someone told me that this was due to a tine being damaged but not yet broken (maybe that's not true, because Steve is generally right on with advice.) I ended up replacing the tine and was OK.


Buying / Re: Really with the runaway pricing?
« on: March 16, 2010, 02:15:33 PM »
Quote from: "bjammerz"

Maybe I'll make a "best offer" of something like $26.73, just as a statement.

Hey, Ben,

I can top that one -- right in our backyard:

I thought about writing and asking whether he might have slipped a decimal place...

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Rhodes 88 preamp
« on: March 02, 2010, 01:48:02 AM »
I don't believe that the Super Satellite pianos from that era had any special designation; I've got a '73 73 SS, and it just says "Stage" on the serial badge, and as far as I know there is no other special marking anywhere.

I've seen a number of SS examples from '73-'75. I imagine they're not all that scarce.


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Rhodes 88 preamp
« on: March 01, 2010, 02:01:32 PM »
Congratulations. That's a great year IMHO.

The preamp requires power, which comes from the satellite speaker amp in the stock configuration. Vintage Vibe makes a unit that supplies power to the preamp and has stereo outs. I think if you so a search on the forum, you'll see that people like this unit pretty well. I have one from CAE, which is a little cheaper, but it's unregulated and kinda noisy. If I had it to do again I'd spring for the VV.



Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Stripping paint off harp cover
« on: February 26, 2010, 03:49:38 PM »
First off, please make sure that this method won't damage the harp cover.


A prolonged soak in plain ol' water does wonders for lifting latex paint.

Try measuring 'em. 3/16" is pretty big. There's lots of felt there.

Steve, is that because the hammers that Fender used changed shape over the years?

I wouldn't take that on. Check out the manual under the "Service" link. If the grooves are under 3/16" you can file them down with some sandpaper glued to a stick. 80 grit is about right. The manual also discusses how to make strikeline adjustments by filing a hammer a little lopsided.

Failing that, I wonder whether it might be possible to set up a "group buy" for some felt hammer sets. Not sure how many sets folks on this list would want, nor how many a manufacturer would want to do for a run, nor how much it would end up costing, though.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / No sustain pedal
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:42:07 PM »
If you poke around the forum, you'll find a couple of threads about extremely cheap and not-too-difficult DIY solutions for sustain pedals.

Buying / Asking prices for Rhodes out of control?
« on: May 29, 2009, 06:06:49 PM »
Quote from: "pianotuner steveo"
Someone told me that this model was used by Procul Harum-is that true?

It sure can sound the same except no Leslie, but then again,I guess most Hammonds do sound about the same without effects...

Procol Harum used an M-100 series, which is similar to the L except in the vibrato --  the M100 uses a mechanical scanner like the B3. I believe that L's were used by ELP and Kansas.

Sadly, these old spinets aren't worth much, and $100 seems about right for an L-100. To me, the king of the spinets is the M3, and those might fetch $250 or so on the coasts.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Rhodes sunk keys
« on: March 27, 2009, 04:40:01 PM »
Probably the first thing to do, if you haven't done it yet, is to take out the harp assembly and give the insides of your Rhodes a good cleaning. Dirt and foreign objects can really slow up the action. From that point on, you may have to be more specific with what is happening, and then you can hope that someone with more technical ability than me can help you.

Good luck.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Bumps / action-reaction
« on: March 09, 2009, 03:12:06 PM »
Do a search on "bump mod." This topic has been discussed a lot in the forum.

Hi, Nir,

Is the felt on these thicker than on the old teardrop models with felt on the cams?

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