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Messages - sunrunner

I could never find anything to use for the legs, so it's not 100% complete.  But close enough for a desk ornament.

Photoshop works too, but I just measured my suitcase 88 and built it to scale. the "tolex" is thin vinyl but looks real enough from a distance.

The case was built with very thin 1/8" plywood. Vinyl was cut and glued for "tolex"

The handles are made from an old extension that I painted black. That's grey duct tape on the ends :)

The cabinet is a solid block of wood. The grill cloth is printed (in color)  on paper and glued to the block!  The "Fender Rhodes" logo was done with a silhouette machine and 2 silver/black layers on vinyl. Fun weekend project.
Due to unfortunate life circumstances, i am selling my 1973 suitcase-88. It's the one in my profile picture. See below for the link on It plays, looks and sounds perfect- classic '73 tone. All new electronics, hardware, tolex , etc are new, as well as the full Vintage Vibe restoration treatment, and the result is amazing.  If you are interested, please PM me.

You are definitely very close to the sound of the E Rhodes.  That's the closest I've ever heard to that sound. If you had a little stereo chorus, I might even think it was the E. I believe the CE-1 stereo chorus was used on almost every song the E was played on. That's definitely a part of "that" sound you're going for (IMO).
Sounds great!!  I enjoyed your tracks, I love all those songs.  I have a 1973 88-key as well (suitcase, non-dyno).
Quote from: rhodesjuzz on January 17, 2016, 03:19:13 PM
The Rhodes solo of Black Cow is one of my favorites to play. My Rhodes happens to have that particilar sound for this part..... 8)

It's one of my favorites as well, and was played by Victor Feldman (probably my all time favorite Rhodes player). The Fender Rhodes playing on the Rio Nights album is among the best ever, in my humble opinion. I'm proud to say my 1973 suitcase-88 sounds very similar too. Feldman played a 1974 suitcase-88 (modified by Eddy Reynolds).

Interesting note - the Fender Rhoder solo on Black Cow was played live on the tracking date with the band - not overdubbed later.  He also played on most every song on the Aja album.
Quote from: Student Rhodes on July 05, 2016, 02:22:16 AM
Nice looking suitcase.
In your third photo, the piano has a flat top harp cover.  Is this the same piano?
Personally, I think a Mk II cover can look pretty good on a Mk I, especially an Eighty-Eight. 
The low line of the flat top over the length of the 88 adds a sleekness that isn't quite there when you put a flat top on a Seventy-Three.

Is this an early '73 Suitcase?  The extra angle on the shell near the cheek blocks would lead me to think that.


Thanks Ray - yes, it's the same piano! I have two lids: a flat top, and round top.

As for when in '73 it was made, I'll have to take a look around... I can't read the week numbers on the harp, so I'll have to look elsewhere on the piano for the date. Agreed on the possibility of early 73, due to the case angle near the cheek blocks.
I have noticed that the large logo is placed differently on different Fender Rhodes/Rhodes pianos. 

On my 1973 Suitcase 88, it's placed in the rear center of the piano (not on the speaker).  On other models from around the same era, I've seen it on the top left of the speaker, but not on the top of the piano.  On some, I've even seen it in both places!

Was this something that varied from year to year?  Or from one model to the next?
Here is my 1973 Fender Rhodes Suitcase 88, and my 1977 Rhodes Stage piano.

I purchased the 1973 Fender Rhodes Suitcase 88 from Vintage Vibe in February of this year, fully restored. It looks and plays so great, it's unbelievable...

The 1977 Rhodes Stage was given to me by my brother, after he bought it in Alabama for $65!  It was not in playable condition... on the contrary, it needed a complete restoration and lots of TLC (see last picture).  I restored everything from the bottom up - including new tines / tonebars.  After a full refurb, it plays like a million bucks.

Quote from: rhodesjuzz on March 26, 2016, 02:45:15 PM
Thanks for the update Ben. I hope Micheal McDonalds reveals what effects he used on his early songs like Minute by Minute :)

I really enjoy the info and interviews from The Rhodes Story, can't get enough....


Roy, Michael indeed plays Minute By Minute on in the video... I don't believe he mentions it by name, but that song has a phaser. Ben's video is cool because he plays it with and without the phaser. I'm familiar with all Doobie songs with Michael McDonald playing Rhodes. As far as I can remember, he used phaser, chorus, and vibrato (the vibrato was used more on earlier stuff from "Taking it To The Streets" & "Living On The Fault Line").
Does your 1971 suitcase have Raymacs or Torringtons?  I noticed that on this thread, there are varying opinions on which type of tines were on the E Rhodes...
I've always been very curious about the modification... This is just my opinion, but to me, it sounds like more than simply a treble boost. It sounds more like the effect produced by the Harmonic Clarifier, or even the Sonic Maximizer (by BBE). The harmonics give it a natural distortion-like sound on the lower notes, and definitely a pronounced high frequency harmonic boost on the higher notes.

I think the stereo chorus also contributes to it's sound a lot. I don't believe I've EVER heard the "E" without the boss chorus. Like others, I'm very curious to hear it with no chorus, and through the stock preamp - no effects at all. Hell I'd like to hear it with vibrato, which I don't believe I've ever heard on any recordings. I find it quite amazing that it still sounds exactly like the records. I've wanted to see and hear how it sounds these days, so the site is a real treat for me.

Ben, it would be great to feature this Rhodes in a video on your Fender Rhodes Story YouTube page! 
And a huge thank you to the owner of this instrument!!!
At last, we can finally experience what this famous Fender Rhodes piano looks and sounds like today.  Thanks to my brother, Pcola_Rhodes for sharing this with me!
After seeing some of the other god awful "repairs" done to this Rhodes over the years, somehow I'm not surprised. Luckily I'm doing a full restoration, so I'm undoing a lot of things, and replacing parts as needed. I'm going to post some before and after pictures later today. I actually began this restoration in 2010 but didn't really get much done and I'm just staring again. I restarted restoration about 6 weeks ago and have taken my time and worked on it every day. I tend to be bit obsessive about every part and have high ambitions, but I think it's common with Rhodes enthusiasts. This Rhodes was kept in a barn in Alabama for a long time and was barely playable when my brother picked it up for $65 several years ago, then gave it to me.

Some of the restoration I have done in the last 6 weeks has yielded astonishing results and I am very pleased. I look forward to the feedback from other members of the Rhodes community.

I was able to bend it back by hand (slowly and gently) and now the alignment is perfect. Key plays perfectly too. Guessing it probably got bent after it left the factory and someone didn't want to take a chance of bending/breaking it, so they drilled another hole in the key... Although the reason anyone would do this is beyond me. (Shrug).


It was built in 1977...
Hello all,

While removing the keys from my Mark I yesterday, I discovered that the key pin on #64 is bent.  To compensate for the bent key, someone drilled an extra hole in the bottom of the key, which seems to match the angle of the bent pin.  I've had this Rhodes for about 5 years and have never noticed anything different in the way this key feels.

Couple of questions...

1.  What are the odds that it came this way from the factory?  The reason I'm asking is because if the pin became bent later, it seems much easier for someone to bend the pin, rather than drill another hole in the key.  Also, the pin in question doesn't look damaged, or crooked in any way, almost as if it was put in the balance rail this way (it is going INTO the wood at the same angle, if you will).  And the wood around the pin doesn't look damaged or disturbed.

2.  Is this worth trying to fix?  I haven't noticed anything in the action of this key that feels different.


I would absolutely share it with anyone here on the ep-forum community. 
As you may have noticed, there's a few things I've not done yet, such as some of the hardware components, sustain pedal, and the braces on the legs... The hardest parts are done though!  Thanks for the kind words.

Thank you  ;D

I actually used Blender.  I started with the case, then added each component, little by little.  Glad you enjoyed it.  Here are a few more...

Also, I did make a version with the black top, and without the gold "Seventy-Three" logo (like mine has).

Thought I'd share a rendering of a 3D model I created of my Rhodes.  I worked on it for a few months, taking meticulous measurements of my actual Rhodes, getting the textures to look good, etc.  I'm using it as the user interface for a sampled VST instrument I'm programming...

The rendered images are quite large, but I've managed to get this one to a reasonable size.  A photo of my actual Rhodes is my profile picture. 

So today, I tuned my 1977 Mark I Stage Piano today and WOW!  It sounds like a brand new piano!  Now I can realize how out of tune it was before.  I spent about 3 hours and made sure each and every note is tuned within 1 cent.  Tomorrow morning, I'm going to do the voicing.  Then, on to soldering a patchbay.  hmm... I should probably get to sleep!   :shock:

I would recommend a good tuning for any old Rhodes that might need it.  Personally, I didn't realize how amazing it would sound after a good tune up.  But it made an huge difference.  I couldn't find my tuning tool, so adjusted all the springs by hand.  After a lengthy, note-by-note process, I'm happy that it's totally in tune now.  It's nice that a Rhodes holds its tune for a long time.  I won't have to worry about tuning for a while.
Good job on those keys, Spaceduck  :D BTW, white wine vinegar was part of the solution I used to clean the name rail

You asked about the keys, name rail, & harp cover...

The key caps are all brand new.  Luckily for me, the black keys were all in perfect shape.  Only the white keys needed replaced, as you see here:

When I bought this Rhodes from my brother, he had already put the new caps on the first few keys.  I did the rest over the next couple weeks.  I was amazed how easily most of the caps came off.  Only a few caps were tough to remove, and I used a heat gun to remove them.  The most tedious, time-consuming part was filing the keys with a bastard file.  As you can see from the picture, the caps were yellow, cracked, and written on with a marker.  

For the name rail, I used a homemade cleaning solution that consisted of white wine vinegar  :D , baking soda, and cream of tarter.  I found this solution after lots of searches online.  It seemed to work very well, at least for getting the fingerprints and dirt off.  But not for the scratches and discoloration.  There were a few scratches on the left hand side:



After cleaning the name rail, the result wasn't as good as I hoped.  I decided to paint it.  I knew this was the only way to make it look like new.  

Now, you asked about how well the paint sticks.  I used Duplicolor adhesion promotor and painted a few light coats, and the paint stuck just perfectly.  You can pick it up at any auto parts store.

I painted on many light coats of the aluminum paint.  The brand I bought was Rustoleum.  I don't remember the exact name of the color right now, but it was an aluminum color, and very closely resembled the existing color on the namerail.  It just came out looking brand new  :lol:

After finished the name rail, I put on the new faceplate, knobs, and red felt.   I have no complaints with the results of the name rail assembly!


The harp cover was the most stressful part so far, mainly because I really wanted it to turn out nice.  It took me an entire weekend, starting on Friday night.  This harp cover is literally given a second chance of life.

After reading this link I decided to do it up in wrinkle paint.   I found some VHT wrinkle paint at Auto Zone.  I applied the paint (and adhesion promotor), exactly like the thread said.  The paint would've turned out perfectly (like it did in the pictures), except one thing... with wrinkle paint, you have to apply heat either with a heat gun or a hair dryer.  I chose to use my newly-acquired heat gun.

Things were perfect until I held the heat gun too long in one spot, causing the new wrinkles to become burnt and scorched.  Most people probably wouldn't notice, but as I was going to sleep that night, it drove me crazy, and I didn't know what to do.  Wrinkle paint is very permanent.

The next day, I decided to sand it down and start over.  The problem was that wrinkle paint can take about 3 days to dry.  Consequently, after sanding I ended up with moist, spongy paint that didn't spread evenly, and looked a thousand times worse than it did before, even with the scorch mark.

So I bought a new can of wrinkle paint.  It was a cheap, off brand (Auto Zone was sold out).  The result wasn't very good.  The cheap paint didn't wrinkle very well, and there were also these strange, shiny spots on top that stood out when the light was on.  I decided to combat the shiny spots by buying yet again, another (my third) can of spray paint.  I bought a regular, non-wrinkle glossy black spray paint.

The result ended up being something I could live with.  I put 2 coats of polycrylic on it the next day, sanding between coats.  Sanding it removed about 90% of the "wrinkle" effect.  In the end, it looked old again.  It literally had many, many coats of paint, 2 coats of polycrylic, and about 3 coats of the original fixative.

After lots of contemplation, I decided to sand it down and start from scratch. I went to Home Depot and bought a hand sander, new white primer, and Rustoleum Najavo White Gloss spray paint. I used the 60 grit first with the hand sander.  The result was a scratched top that barely seemed to do much.  After using the 220, then 320 sandpaper, I noticed some areas where I seemed to be sanding way lower, all the way down to the plastic.  Of course, I wanted to get down to the plastic, and the more I sanded, the more I realized how much all the paint and clear coats I had to get through.  I went back to Home Depot and bought a plastic-safe paint remover (it's actually graffiti remover).  I started with the graffiti remover and magically, I was able to scrape it off!  I literally had to use a metal scraper to get down to the plastic.  Amazingly, it had about 1/4 inch of paint, fixative, and polycrylic on top of the plastic.

After about 5 hours of scraping all the paint, etc off, the harp cover was basically down to the plastic.  I bought some bondo to cover the scratches and one spot at the bottom of the harp cover where it had a ding.  The bondo worked perfect, and I sanded the bondo, washed the entire harp cover with soap and water about 5 times (throughout the whole process), and was ready to paint it!

I used a white primer made by Rustoleum.   I used the whole can, sanding once during the priming process.  The result was a near-perfect lookin harp cover.  Once finished, I sprayed many thin coats of the Rustoleum Navajo White Gloss.   I'm finally satisfied with the harp cover.   The final step was two thin layers of protective clear coat (I used polycrylic).

It took a while, but I'm glad to be done with it!  I think the final result was worth all the work that went into it.

Here are some new pictures of my 1977 Rhodes.  I've restored the name rail and purchased a new faceplace, knobs, and name rail felt from Vintage Vibe.  

First, I cleaned the name rail with a toothbrush and cleaning formula.  The homemade cleaning formula consisted of cream of tarter, an equal part of vinegar, and about a teaspoon of baking soda.  I mixed all of this together in a double shot glass  8)

After a thorough cleaning with a toothbrush, then with a damp sponge, I removed the red name rail felt.  For those who've never had to remove the name rail felt, I can say for certain that mine was a complete pain to remove.  It's there.  The only way to remove the existing adhesive was with a electric sander using 400 grit sandpaper.  Even after that, there were still visible memories of the old glue.  Of course, it had been there for 33 years.

Once the name rail was clean, I repainted it using an aluminum paint manufactured from Rustoleum.  First I sprayed a clear adhesive clear coat, than topped it with several very thin coats of the aluminum paint.  I'm extremely pleased with the results.  Once finished, I added the new faceplate, knobs, red name rail felt, and name rail screws.

I look forward to hearing feedback.  I also restored the harp cover during this process.  I decided to go with a creamy, "Navajo White" glossy cover for the harp cover.  If anyone would like details on how I restored the harp cover, please feel free to send me a PM.

Please disregard the saw horses and cigarette-burned cheek blocks!  They will soon be replaced as well!!  Also, new tolex is planned, and I'm gonna do it up in red.

Here are some before and after pictures:

:D  :D
Thanks for the replies.  I'll probably start with some vinegar and a toothbrush and see how that works.  I'll reply to this thread afterwards to let you know if this worked okay, and show some before & after pics.

TJH - Yes, I'm definitely going to purchase a replace faceplate, logos & red felt.  Thanks for the link!

BTW, the name rail is aluminum, right?  It looks and feels like it.
I'm wondering if anybody has any tips on how I might begin restoration on my aluminum name rail on my '77 Mark I Stage.

As you can see from these pictures, it has no obvious dings or scratches.  It's pretty much in excellent shape, other than a few scuffs & scratches on the left-hand side of the name rail, but like I said, no dents or dings.

I would like to avoid purchasing a whole new name rail if possible.  Instead, I'd like to restore the appearance of this original aluminum name rail to it's shiny, original-looking state.  Does anybody have any ideas of how I might go about this?

(I'm going to order and replace the logos and felt, so those will be replaced... I'm only trying to restore the name rail itself).


Thanks for the welcome, Rob A!  I'm excited to be among fellow Rhodes enthusiasts.  

Thanks for the advice... the note is indeed "hot".  Perhaps it might benefit from backing the pickup away just a touch.  I'm going to experiment tonight with the pickup distance and the voicing to see if this makes a difference.  It's almost unnoticeable until I play the note by itself and listen closely.  It's kinda strange.  But the frequency of the low G definitely goes up as it fades out (about 20 - 30 cents).  I thought I would see if anybody has experienced the same thing with their Rhodes.

I'm going to check the other keys as well just to see if I notice the same thing.  I'll report my findings

Thanks again,

Best Regards :P  :P :roll:
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum.  Just last week, I acquired my first Rhodes -- a 73 key 1977 Rhodes Mark I Stage from my twin brother.  ("pcola_rhodes" on this forum).

I'm currently knee deep in the restoration process.  As imperfect as it currently looks, it actually sounds like a million bucks.  I've never seen an instrument in this cosmetic condition sound so good.  I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through recapping the keys with beautiful, white key caps from VV.

Anyway, the reason for my post is that I was closely listening to each note today, and noticed something kinda strange with the lowest G note on the keyboard.  Whether I hit the note hard or soft, as the note sustains, the pitch actually goes up as it fades out.

The note is tuned properly according to my tuner.  Even when I play the note in the context of a chord, or in octaves, it's right on the money... until the low G starts to fade out.  Then the pitch gradually goes up.

Anybody have an idea what might be causing this?  Is this typical of old tines?  Or maybe a problem with the tone bar?

Winter Park, FL