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Topics - Student Rhodes

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Custom Walnut Rhodes for sale in Oakland
« on: November 01, 2017, 01:15:43 PM »
Here's a really interesting Rhodes for sale on craigslist

According to the listing, it was bought some time ago at an estate sale -- you know the kind when an old person dies -- which makes me wonder how long ago this was put together.  It seems to be from around '72 to '73 based on the knobs what appear to be Pratt-Read keys. 

If you look at the control knobs, they're installed in a top that combines what would have been the harp cover and the aluminum name rail.  I can't really tell how you access the tines and tone bars.  Perhaps the whole thing comes off, and they're using a long wire to the RCA jack.

I'd say it's rather sleek looking and looks a looks a lot nicer than the bulky home version of the Rhodes, which I don't think was available as an Eighty-Eight.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Tweeters for a Suitcase
« on: April 02, 2017, 11:52:00 PM »
Have any of you any experience with either playing, or installing tweeters on a Suitcase cab?
I sure would like to have more brightness on one of my Suitcases.  It just feels DULL and flat.
I've seen pics of the mod, but I've never heard the results.
Opinions welcome!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Gold Sparkle Student Model CUSTOM!!
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:56:50 PM »
Well, it's been two years since this...

In the interim, we finished the white Suitcase model, but now I'm back on it.

If you look in the earlier post, you can find pix of the base, pedal and legs I had fabricated.   The same metal shop is now making a smaller matching base for a seat that will pair up with this piano.

Since I already have a couple keys that have teardrop hammers and Raymacs, I've decided to do something different with this piano. I want the vintage '60s look paired with a Peterson pre-amp, Torringtons, flat keys and neoprene tips.

The top is at Custom Vintage Keys, where it has been disassembled to accept a '74 suitcase piano.  Here are a couple blurry shots of the "new" piano in the shell.  As you can see, it's going to take some chopping to get it to fit under the smaller harp cover.  The wood or the cheek blocks will have to be cut back, and we may have to narrow the harp and frame.

 I'll post more pics as the piano progresses.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Original Wurli Bench For Sale
« on: November 21, 2015, 11:59:41 AM »

For Sale / Mystery Rhodes Pedal?
« on: October 13, 2015, 05:56:32 PM »
Anybody have a guess what this pedal is from?

The craigslist ad says it's from a Rhodes, but I'm a little dubious.

It kind of seems like what was used on the early Gold Sparkle Student Models... but not quite.  Wonder if they have the rest of the piano.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Peterson LED mod
« on: September 11, 2015, 10:13:59 PM »
Anyone ever done the mod to a Peterson pre-amp where the circuit is changed to accommodate LEDs? 

I ask because I recently acquired a preamp where it appears someone has done this.  I'm hoping the mod is reversible, as the unit isn't working anyway.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Peterson Preamp with Molex connector
« on: September 03, 2015, 07:23:26 PM »
Did any late model Peterson preamps have a 4' long wire with a Molex connector on the end?   I know at some point, Rhodes was tweaking the EQ on the upper keys.  Was this part of that wiring??
If so, can anyone tell me what year(s)?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / White Suitcase Done!
« on: August 17, 2015, 12:29:06 PM »
The white Suitcase project is complete.  Well except for the hinges and latches. 
They were put on after these photos were taken.
The piano sounds great, with the two Dynaco Mk III power amps providing a lot of power and girth.
It's going to be used at the Rhodes Fest this weekend.  Perhaps some video will emerge from that.

Here's a few pics.  I may post a couple more when I get the piano back.

Click on the pictures to enlarge...

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Ray Charles on a Rhodes
« on: June 19, 2015, 03:30:28 PM »
A great clip of Ray doing a very slow blues, stabbing the Rhodes for full dynamic effect.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Raymacs v. Torringtons
« on: June 09, 2015, 12:15:23 AM »
I'm certain this has been discussed before, but I'm not sure anyone's given a definitive answer.  Does anyone have what they believe is an accurate time frame for when Fender started using Torringtons?   I've heard 72, but I've also heard some time in '71.

I ask because I've got an extra harp from early '71, with the earlier single twist tone bars, and I'm kind of hoping they're Torringtons, but I suspect they're Raymacs.     Not that I have a problem with Raymacs.   I'm currently refurbishing a piano that already has a nice set of Raymacs, and I was hoping this extra harp could be an alternate, with Torringtons, if I wanted to change up the sound.

So I ask... When, to the best of your knowledge, did the switch occur.  Perhaps you have an early Torrington model, or a late Raymac model that can help narrow the transition window? 


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / White Suitcase Project
« on: May 16, 2015, 05:28:03 PM »
Well, as threatened, I've finally gotten underway on my white Suitcase project.  As you can see, I'm going with something a little closer to ivory.  The harp cover and the check blocks will be a different shade with added pearl for "pop".

This was a 1969 suitcase with tear drop hammers, Raymacs and Pratt-Reads.  I'm sticking with that configuration, but the hammers will be re-shaped.  I'm also going to use a pair of Dynaco Mk. III power blocks.   Removing the original power supply bought us enough room to squeeze them in with the help of new baffles with a slightly wider speakers arrangement.  I'm determined that all mods fit within the specs of a stock Rhodes, so making a deeper cab was out of the question.  As it turns out, the '69 cab, with its two removable baffles better lends itself to this install than a later model would have.

Also included a pic of the grill cloth I'm pretty sure I'm going with.  Any thoughts?

More pics and updates as the project progresses at Custom Vintage Keys.

This little item popped up on Craigslist.

To say the least, the title in the listing planes another slice off the very thin reed that separates "cleverly ambiguous" and "deceptive."

And to avoid any legal issues let me make clear, I make no claim of knowledge as to the contents of that cabinet, and I wish nothing but satisfaction to both parties in any subsequent transaction. Hey, I think most people are basically honest, so sure, maybe there is a vintage 1930s Fender amp in that old wooden radio box.

It's another facet of the new mini-trend that's been going on out there, if ya' believe what's in the papers.  There's a growing community of amp builders who either ape vintage style, or load cool tube amp builds and rescues into yesteryear's radios, TV's, ammo boxes and laundry hampers. 

And I want to know, where's that TV show?

I long ago grew bored with all the DIY home flipping, bike swapping, remodeling and/or garbage picking, storage warring Alaskan swamp shows on cable.  Can't stand 'em. 

But I'd watch the hot dung out of a show where a couple guys, and their attractive female friend who doesn't talk much slice, dice, solder and glue together wire, wood, tubes and speakers: "Okay, Charlie here has gone and salvaged the amp and speakers from this Silvertone Hi-Fi console and stuffed it into this stainless steel Amana space heater... Let's plug it in. " 

Gear fag heaven.

Even on this site, the most interesting posts are often from people showing what they've done to optimize, personalize and customize their Rhodes.  All gets me thinkin' about what would be the coolest rebirth of a Rhodes I can envision. 

As my Rhodes gets 92% of its playing in my living room, it's aesthetically part of our furniture (not sure if the sparkle top helps or hurts).  So, to bite the style of Wurlitzer's electric butterfly (Model 270), I might consider stuffing an 88 Suitcase into an baby grand case.

That may sound like sacrilege, but there are plenty of pianos on craigslist that will never be worth what it would take to properly restore them to full beauty or function.  If you've ever been to a city dump, you've seen where so many end up.

So now I ask: If you were rich or crazy enough, in what manner of shell would you stuff a Rhodes?  Perhaps a tidy cherry spinet?  A sleek upright?  A Hammond B3?  A roll top desk? An island wet bar? And if it soothe your conscience let it be built from a salvage Rhodes. 

And if you're still reading, I'll keep this post more in line with what this forum is supposed to be, I'll pack my ebony baby grand Rhodes with a '72 harp, '69 Peterson, hybrid hammers with square tips, '78 keys with '74 flat tops, pre-'70 steel badges and unlimited Wi-Fi.

Fire away
(Wurli, submissions will be considered on a case by case basis)

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / The Rare "Black" Sparkle Top
« on: March 16, 2015, 12:50:22 AM »
This Sparkle Top era suitcase piano, with a BLACK top came up on Craigslist, and even though I very recently purchased a Sparkle Top, I knew these were so rare, and this was so "cheap" that I could not pass it up.  More fun with Raymacs and square tone bars.

I've only seen pictures of these.  The shell of the top is exactly the same size as that on an actual Sparkle Top.  It's a little taller than the vinyl tops we're more familiar with, and not as wide as what Rhodes switched to, late in '69. This harp cover has a strange pair of cutouts on the audience side of the shell to fit the supports on the back wall of the shell.  I'm assuming they're stock.

The lower right corner of the harp on this one was stamped the 20th week of '69.  I think my other '69 suitcase is from somewhere around the 40th week and has the more familiar shell dimensions and harp cover profile that Fender stuck with until the Mk II.
I was surprised to see this piano has a pair of Oxford 10s facing the player, and two twelve inch Jensens (C12Ps?  I forgot to check) facing the audience, or as in many cases, facing the living room wall.  Further confirming Ben's assetion that the toying with 10s happened later, rather than earlier in Sparkle Top production.  Neither speaker set was dated from '69.  The Oxford were both late '68, and the Jensens were from '65 and '66 respectively.

I was please to find this piano also has rather uncommon glides on the bottom of the swivel legs, which are in pretty decent shape.  I always wondered why the didn't put something there.  Without them, my hardwood floors get scraped.  As you'd expect, the legs have a slightly different profile from a 70s era Suitcase.

Another odd feature is the universal voltage selector switch.  Has anyone ever seen one of these on ANY Rhodes piano?  Perhaps someone gigged internationally with this and had it installed.  Or maybe it was a rare stock/special order item.  Kind of cool, but I'd hate to have someone rotate this switch while I was playing.  Not sure if I'm going to keep it.

Happily, this piano also has a Peterson Preamp, but the cabinet was missing one of the power modules.  The guy swore the last time he played the piano, it worked in stereo, and that I must be mistaken, but I opened up the cab and showed him the mounting holes for the missing module.  The one remaining has a CTS trim pot from the 49th week of '67.

The fact that one of the power modules was missing played heavily in getting this thing for $300 bucks less than the seller wanted.  Unbeknownst to him, I luckily have a pair pulled from '69 suitcase that is having a pair of tube amps installed.

One thing I found very interesting was the unique key pedestal bump.  Rather than metal clips, as we've seen on so many Sparkle Tops. These keys have a tiny little wood bump that appears factory. It's little bigger than a toothpick, but it seems to work quite well.  I didn't really get a chance to plug this piano in and play -- because I wanted to close the deal before another person came by -- but the action certainly wasn't sluggish. Has anyone ever seen a Pratt-Read Rhodes key with a pedestal like this?  Seems like a new piece to the ever expanding puzzle of Rhodes evolution.

Anyway, the wife wasn't too happy about it, but long ago I learned you really only regret the stuff you didn't buy.  It's going to need a ground up restoration, but other than the module and a couple Raymacs, which I have covered, it's "all there".   It'll be something I can work on five or six pianos from now. 

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Janus Preamp for sale
« on: March 14, 2015, 01:19:34 AM »
I think I saw a recent post where someone stated they were looking for one of these.  This is on ebay, and right now it's at fifty bucks.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Oh those Europeans...
« on: March 14, 2015, 12:46:00 AM »
Check out these things on ebay across the pond.  Might be worth grabbing the pics for your Rhodes archive. 
This is a Satellite system in Italy for the Rhodes, oddly branded as "Piano Amp"

This magnet set has a rather odd choice for the Fender Rhodes.  Take a good look.  Someone in Poland has made a magnet version of the extremely rare Executone.

I believe someone in the group actually owned this actual piano for a while?  I recognize the odd "custom" switch or jack on the far right side of the name rail.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Favorite Rhodes on Youtube
« on: March 05, 2015, 03:39:56 AM »
In a recent post I offered a link to one of my favorite sounding Rhodes pianos on youtube.
If you missed it, here it is:

It's got all the things I look for in a Rhodes: sparkle, growl, fatness, punch, sustain and the stereo tremolo.

I now ask you to reply with your favorite Rhodes piano clips as seen on youtube.   Maybe it's you?  Or a clip of someone you've found? Or perhaps it's a Vintage Vibe demo?  I'd like to keep it to actual examples of people playing, not uploads of pre-recorded albums and CDs.

Also, I would hope your choice(s) feature the piano tone more than the player, if you know what I mean.  Because let's face it, Herbie Hanc**k will make whatever you stick in front of him sound amazing.  That said, if there's a pro player clip that really captures the tone you look for, send it along.

I look forward to our choices,

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Dating a Sparkle Top
« on: February 28, 2015, 05:54:47 PM »
Anyone know what year the Sparkle Top switched from using a pair of 12"s (facing the audience) and a pair of 10"s (facing the player) to using  four 12" speakers?  I'm trying to date a recent purchase.  Mine has a pair of Utah 12s from early '67, and a pair of Oxford 10s that appear to be from '68, but I don't know if any are original. 

Mine still has the mono Jordan pre-amp.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Killer Trem Pedal for Rhodes
« on: January 25, 2015, 02:36:20 AM »
My home Suitcase Model is in the shop, so I've been playing my Stage 88 through a Fulltone Supa-Trem2 pedal, into a pair of small amps to get stereo trem. 

Man, this thing sounds great!   It has sine wave and warble settings that get you in the Peterson neighborhood, as well as a square wave setting for more of a Mk II sound.  It wasn't cheap, but it's still cheaper than getting a Peterson and a Suitcase cab.

Here's one of the several demos on youtube.

Anyone else tried this pedal?

Buying / Gold Sparkle Student Model on ebay
« on: January 15, 2015, 12:35:35 AM »
There's a Gold Sparkle Student Model piano for sale on ebay.  Way too rich for my blood, but lots of pics if you've only ever seen one on the old Super Site.

I'm not, and have no connection to the seller, but I have seen this piano in person at Custom Vintage Keys. Actually, it's this piano's base that I borrowed so a metal shop could fab a similar base for my own Gold Student Model (in a previous post). 

This one has been fitted with a Peterson pre-amp (as will mine) as the original preamp is long gone.  That seems to be the case with every one of these I've ever seen.  I believe the old preamps used to connect to a seat that had an amplifier in it.  That would be the ultimate find.
Anyone ever seen one of these with the amp/seat?  Did it have any kind of vibrato?

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Ray Charles
« on: November 30, 2014, 09:47:51 PM »
Here's Ray doing a Christmas standard. 
My guess is it's a Mk II.  His solo starts at about 1:20.  Tell me what you think.

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Pink Floyd -- Sheep
« on: November 04, 2014, 02:43:08 AM »
I just listened to "Sheep" for the first time in probably 25 years, which goes back to long before I started playing the Rhodes.   

My understanding is that this cut is considered by some to be a classic track for Rhodes sounds.  However, I have to say, I wasn't that impressed by what I heard. 

Part of that may have been the overall recording quality which seems to have less air and presence than other Pink Floyd recordings, particularly 'Dark Side...'.  Instead, this whole album seems rather squashed sounding and flat to me. 

The Rhodes on "Sheep" sounds sort of like a suitcase, but the stereo trem isn't very spread out in the mix and seems set too fast and shallow to take advantage of the Peterson's spatial offerings. It almost sounds like a mono signal that had effects applied to it to simulate stereo. 

Sounds Mk II-ish to me, with a tighter, stiffer quality to the tines. Anyone know any details about the role of the Rhodes in this track willing to share info and save me a Google search?  What model, year, did they use the Peterson, or add the vibrato in post?  etc?   


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Leg Brace Knob for Stage Model
« on: August 24, 2014, 12:29:09 AM »
Hey all,
What's the best source for getting a leg brace knob for a Stage Model?
I know some of the usual suspects have them, but they want twenty bucks for the knob that probably costs three bucks at Lowe's etc. if you can find them.

I know it takes a 10-32 thread, but how long should the stud be?


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Wurlizter/Musictronics Piano consoles
« on: July 06, 2014, 03:43:15 PM »
Does anyone know if these had pianos had reeds, or were they merely electronic?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Suitcase Trem question
« on: May 09, 2014, 04:07:44 PM »
I have a couple different suitcase models, and it seems that in both pianos, when using the tremolo, the Ping is stronger than the Pong, if you know what I mean  -- one channel seems to be louder than the other, rather than the expected even distribution of the trem effect.  Instead of getting 180 degrees of trem, I get a hard trem on one channel and a softer, quieter volume effect on the other.

It's not nearly as noticeable when using the cabinet, but most of the time I have to use headphones, which really brings out the annoying imbalance. 

I've swapped out a couple of spare Petersons that I have, but the negative effect remains the same.  This leads me to believe that the problem is in the power section of the amp -- either the supply or modules?  When taking the signal from the iso L/R outputs on the side I noticed that when the Peterson is on, one channel has a very clear "on/off" signal.  However, the other one is more of an "on/faintly" on signal. 

Do any of you know which way it's supposed to be?  Any help is appreciated.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Peterson Pre-amps
« on: April 25, 2014, 11:53:45 PM »
Are any of you aware of any changes in the Peterson pre-amp over the years of it's production?  I have one from 1974 in a suitcase model.  I've just had work done on the power modules, but I was still getting a bit of faint "ocean" noise on one channel, so I decided to swap the pre-amp with another I have from 1969.    The one from '69 seemed to have a lot more output than the '74 which seemed a lot more mellow.   

I haven't opened either one to see if any components had been changed, but I was wondering if any of you have had similar experience or knowledge of there being differences in the Petersons over the years.


Here's a great youtube clip of Bob Mayo in '77.   He's playing a white Stage Model, which I'm told he ran through a Leslie.  Sounds absolutely killer.  He also plays some greasy Clavinet on this track, which he wasn't using on the FCA album from two years earlier.
That guy could play!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Phaser suggestions?
« on: February 18, 2014, 11:28:16 PM »
I've been using a mid 70s Maestro Stage Phaser with my Rhodes.  Originally meant for guitar, the pedal has some pretty cool foot functions and sounds.  The only problem that I really have with it is the very pronounces "shwoooosh" in the signal, regardless of how low I set the depth.  There's an internal trim pot that I haven't tweaked yet, but I suspect the end result won't eliminate the swooshing, as much as it will diminish the overall phasing effect.

I tried a friend's Phase 90, and Small Stone, but didn't really like them that much.  I realize older pedals can vary widely.  Maybe they just weren't stellar examples. Did they just bury that in the mix, back in the day?

I just haven't found the right "Still Crazy After All These Years" sound that doesn't come with the annoying swoosh. 

Anyone want to offer an alternative?  Been thinking a lot about the Boss CE-1 Chorus as an alternative to using a phaser.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / The Rhodes, Not Fakin'
« on: January 23, 2014, 03:23:29 AM »
Man, I was loving the Rhodes tonight. The sound.  The feel... 
Got behind the 88 Stage plugged into a very overlooked Fender tube combo from the '80s. Together they gave up a tough blend of sparkle and snarl. This particular piano has such great bounce to it.  Whether I punch it, or use a light touch it pushes back just enough. 

Let it be said: The chilly, thin-walled garage was feeling the power of my rock -- which, when it's there, is most awesome.

Now, I've played and heard quite a few Rhodes sounds on digital keys, and have often been surprised at how good some are.  But five minutes after playing them, I'm bored.  The whole experience of playing Rhodes samples on a controller doesn't give anything like the vibe of getting your fingers all over a real Rhodes.  That Rhodes "thang" inspires me to play in a way the many Fauxds pianos can't. 

It's been said to death, but there really is nothing like the real thing. And yet, I've found no two are alike.  Every single Rhodes I've gotten me hands on turned out to be a completely individual creature.  Some were amazing.  Some were not. But given ample time under my hands, even the "not great" one never failed to offer up something nasty or sweet that only a Rhodes can.  They're like women, which is precisely why you need to have as many as you can before you die. 

Anyway, I love the posts.  Thought I'd dispense with all the Rhodes nerd minutia about where to find this, or how to fix that, and offer up one that just gushes about effing cool these things are.

Then I read it and it sounded stupid. Good thing I hit delete and didn't post it.
Phew!  Bullet dodged...

Aw, crap.

By the way "Render Fauxds" piano is copyrighted by me, but feel free to use it.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Double Strikes & High Speed Cameras
« on: January 13, 2014, 12:32:39 AM »
I don't have one, but I understand the newest iPhone has a high speed camera capability. 
Anyone tried to use the super slo-mo to see micro double strikes on their Rhodes? 
That would be some cool footage to post a link to.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / An Early Suitcase Model from '69
« on: December 25, 2013, 01:40:51 AM »
It's on FeeBay, right now.

It's got a completion date stamp from August of '69. You'll note it has tear drop hammers as well as the earlier "straight" twisted tone bars with no offset to allow tine travel.   

(Who knew tine travel was so easy?)

Anyone ever played one this early?  I guess it'd probably sound close to a very late Sparkle Top, which came with the Peterson stereo trem. Did those late Sparkle Tops ever have anything but square tone bars?

It's in my neck of the woods.  If I weren't jammed up with the holidays, I'd try to get out there and kick the tires.  Eh, maybe I'll find the time...

By the way, Merry Christmas everyone.

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