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Topics - Dan Belcher

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While browsing, I found a link to all the tracks from the master tape of Michael Jackson's great song Rock With You. I saved a copy of just the Rhodes part for you all. Enjoy!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Sad
« on: July 04, 2012, 11:30:15 AM »
I stopped in my local Music Go Round used instrument store yesterday and glanced over at the keyboard section when I walked in, and got all excited when I saw this!

This is only the second Rhodes I have ever gotten a chance to actually personally play in my life. Outside of the one sitting next to me right now, I have never been around one in person except for watching bands like Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs use a Rhodes on the stage in concert. So I was extremely excited just to get a chance to check it out.

Upon closer inspection, it was a 1977 Stage 73. The tolex wasn't in bad shape, but it was missing the harp cover logo, and the harp cover was very badly scratched all over, and the whole thing was dirty and grimy. Nothing too bad. But the thing that caught my eye the most was this:

The entire keyboard looked this rough! It needed either a new set of keys (not always the easiest thing to find) or some serious recapping work.

Then I tried playing the piano. It felt like the keys were floating in a bed of jelly. The action was incredibly mushy and slow. The tines and tonebars all sounded like they were in pretty good shape, and they had a much more aggressive, barky tone than my 1978 Stage 73 I have at home. Unfortunately, even the best sounding notes were extremely muddy sounding, and the entire thing needed to be completely revoiced and the strike line needed to be readjusted. Not huge deals, but in its current condition it sounded abysmal. Also no sustain pedal and no legs.

And yet they wanted $600 for it! I know the value for Rhodes pianos is higher than it has been in quite some time, but that's still asking way too much for this piano in my opinion when it needs hundreds of dollars in repairs and replacement parts. (Even the employee I was talking to agreed it was horribly overpriced) Makes me definitely appreciate how great of a deal I got on my piano ($200, a steal!). But it was also just sad to see such an amazing instrument in such poor condition. It's a downright shame so many people let their pianos fall into this condition without ever learning how to do even the smallest of tweaks and repairs to keep it sounding and playing the way it's supposed to. It made me honestly very sad to see it!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Rough sound
« on: March 18, 2011, 08:08:49 PM »
I've noticed more and more lately that my Rhodes has a bit of a dirty, distorted type of sound in it. I don't think it's always been this bad, but it has gotten more and more noticable. At first I assumed it was my amp, but even if I run straight from the harp directly to my M-Audio Fasttrack Pro to record it, it still has this sound. (In this clip, it's going from the harp output to a Boss EQ pedal to cut down on the low end, and going through my Hot Rod Deluxe amp. I'm running one of the amp's outputs to my recording box. Also, I just upgraded from crappy cables to some Monster cables, but that made no difference in this particular noise, though it did get rid of some white noise which is nice)

Here's a sample recording. No noise reduction, no compression, no EQ aside from the Boss EQ pedal. Turn up the volume and you'll notice what I'm talking about right away.

Any thoughts on how I can get rid of this sound and get a cleaner, more natural tone?

I recently picked up a second-generation Small Stone phaser.  This model:

What kind of power adapter do I need to get for it so I don't have to burn through 9V batteries constantly?  Here's a picture of the input jack on the back, and a ruler for scale

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Here's a wild looking one...
« on: July 01, 2008, 07:05:38 AM »

Wow.  That is certainly an interesting looking Rhodes.

Ray Charles on Johnny Carson's show back in 1990, he broke out one of the crappy Roland Rhodes-branded electronic/digital monstrocities.  However, at least he played a really good song, I've Got News For You.  Good stuff here! :D

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Voicing after new hammertips
« on: December 25, 2007, 01:58:38 PM »
Well, I just installed new hammertips (my mom ordered them from Speakeasy as a Christmas gift since Major Key never replied to my e-mails the past couple of months, despite having good service from them in the past).  The piano pretty much feels like brand new now!  The action is much more responsive feeling and natural.  The treble end of the piano sounds phenomenal (no more clanking keys!)  Unfortunately, I now need to go through and work on the voicing, etc. since the hammertips weren't the exact same height as the originals, particularly the second softest tips under middle C.  On the bass notes, I'm now getting quite a bit of treble overtone on softer notes, and it comes through over the bass sounds even.  What's the best way to compensate for this?

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Jeff Lorber
« on: July 18, 2007, 09:43:06 PM »
Keyboard Magazine recently sat down and did a great interview with fusion jazz artist--and Rhodes player--Jeff Lorber.  They did the interview in the studio where Jeff showed off all his cool toys, including his customized Rhodes he got from Herb Alpert, which you can see here.

They also put some of Lorber's solos from his most recent album, He Had A Hat, on their website.  These solos were actually lifted straight from the multi-track masters in his studio (unlike the mediocre sounding MIDI recreations they usually use on their website).  No backing instruments, just the actual solo instrument.  Three acoustic piano solos were showcased, plus the fantastic Rhodes solo on the album's title track. You can get those mp3s here.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Amazing what a little cleaning can do...
« on: November 01, 2006, 10:27:05 PM »
Last weekend, I used some superglue to secure down a few small sections of ripped tolex hanging out the bottom of the front of the piano.  It looked a lot better, but there was still some dust and fingerprints on the harp cover, smudges on the keys, and so forth.

I was bored yesterday, so I gave my piano a good cleaning.  Vacuumed out the inside, wiped the outside down first with some partially diluted Simple Green, then again with just a regular damp cloth...  and I also shined up the harp cover with some Driver's Choice Auto Protectant Wipes I bought for $1 at Dollar Tree.   :P

Now it's even better looking than before!!  So, I figured it'd be a good time to take some pictures (and perhaps inspire a handful of people to do a little regular dusting and shining).   Enjoy!

Edit:  Oh, and if you want to hear it, here's a quick little mp3 I recorded a couple weeks ago.  Recorded line-in from the amp to my USB audio interface.  Only effect used is MXR Phase 90 box and a tiny bit of noise reduction, can't remember if I adjusted the EQ any on this, but if so it was only a slight adjustment.

Hey all, I've had this problem for awhile now, but it's gotten worse and worse in the month and a half I've had my piano.  I've got a 1978 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73 which sounds generally fine except for minor things (I need to get new grommets, I should probably replace the hammer tips, etc.).  However, the A key just to the right of the Rhodes logo on the namerail sounds absolutely terrible.  I've tried adjusting both tonebar adjustment screws and I've swapped out the grommets with the ones from another key and it made no difference in the sound.  I suspect it might be the tine, but I really don't know.

Here's a soundclip showing the exact problem:
(Left click to download)

Any ideas?

Hello all!

I can fairly safely say this is the single best purchase I have ever made in my life up to this point.  :D

Thanks to the help of a buddy out in California who found this and acted as a middleman to get it bought and shipped, I have acquired a 1978 Fender Rhodes Mark I Stage 73.

Being on a fairly tight budget, living in the dorms here at college, I also purchased a vintage Vox practice amp to run this through--it's all the volume I need to play this in the dorm or at home, and it has a mono tremolo function which sounds pretty good in my opinion.

The tolex is in great shape, even if the road case is pretty rough.  The keys themselves are great, the hammer tips don't feel too worn, and the action is much better than I expected (datestamp number on the top right of the harp board is 3578, so I understand this has the key pedestal bump modification).  The piano had been in storage for many years now, so I had to play around with a few tines where they had been pushed over to one side too far by the felt stops.  A couple of tone bars on the right side of the piano have a tendancy to rotate a bit and touch other bars, I'm not sure what causes that, but it doesn't happen except when I'm adjusting the timbre, etc.

Here are some sample clips I recorded of it (ran the headphone jack off the Vox amp to my PC's Line In jack).  Don't expect anything great playing-wise as I'm totally self-taught and have very little experience playing piano  :P

(Try right-clicking and Save Target As on the powow links.  If that doesn't work, left-click on the Rapidshare links. Choose "Free", then wait for it to give you a download code on the next page)

Holding notes on several octaves, showing off the tremolo

I've got the blues!  A little Ray Charles is always good, and What'd I Say is a great example (the Rhodes just kind of puts the Wurlitzer to shame if you ignore who is playing it!).

Here's a take on a classic Rhodes song:  I Can't Tell You Why by The Eagles.  The ending that sustains for ages is just gorgeous.

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