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Messages - spave

Hi Steveo,

Unfortunately I do not have my 270 anymore so no photos, but from memory I don't think your 270's rod was modified. Mine had a similar looking nut but there was also a 2"ish brass piece above it that spun freely that gave it the extra bit of length to connect to the piano.

On hard floors that extra piece meant you had to lower the adjustable foot under the pedal to get it in the slot and then raise the foot once it was connected. It seems like a prior owner might have skipped that step and broken yours off.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
Hi cece,

Yes it is true that the differences between the 79 and 80 are minimal. The only major difference would be that the 80 will likely have the "white tape" pickups that are known to have a higher failure rate although I believe some of the late 79s also have a version of the red pickups that fail at a similar rate.

The main thing you are noticing in the sound is the setup. (Nearly) every Rhodes can be setup to sound like the classic "fat and sweet" sound depending on the setup and hammer tips. If the MK1 already has the sound you want and is in good mechanical condition then I'd go for it. That being said, the 80 would also be able to achieve a similar sound with enough tinkering.

Also, the suitcase electronics between the 79 and 80 are completely identical  :)

Hope this helps!
Hi Matthew,

I'd give this restoration video from Vintage Vibe a try. I haven't watched this particular one myself but I have seen its 200 counterpart and it contained a lot of useful info that wasn't available in the free YouTube videos.

Hope this helps!
Just came across a current Reverb ad for another early KMC Home piano. This one is just 2 serial numbers away from the one in my prior post and it has a lot of additional photos that confirm most of the details on the prior unit weren't just one offs and it also confirms some of my prior hypotheses as well.

The biggest one is the fact that these particular 1971 KMC Home pianos have TUBE AMPS! It seems like for this particular run of KMC Home models, Fender opted for what looks like a Fender bassman style preamp with volume, treble, and bass controls, two Utah speakers, and some form of 50W tube amp. (I think this might be based on a Bassman 50 as that was an amp that Fender sold in 1971 but I am not familiar with Fender's tube amp layouts so if anyone knows what amp this looks like, please comment below.)

As far as I know, the only tube amp Rhodes were the really early 1964/65 73 sparkletop/student models, the Executones, and now these 1971 KMC Home models. Harold was clearly interested in the idea of a tube Rhodes but it seems like the failure of this model along with the Executone doomed it from ever coming back. Adding up all the above models, I'd guess less than 100 tube powered Rhodes were ever made with the bulk of them being the early Sparkletop/student versions.

Hard to say if the current asking price is fair due to the weight of the KMC body, but in my opinion it is easily one of the coolest and rarest production Rhodes ever made.

Reverb link with additional pictures:
If you are having trouble dialing in a good volume, I'd recommend getting a volume or EQ pedal to give an extra layer of adjustment.

Personally, I use a MXR 10 band EQ which works pretty well with the volume and it helps add a bit of top end sparkle to the original preamp.
Hi blueberryjam,

I only have experience with the Peterson system but even those get very loud past 2 when in a household environment so it wouldn't surprise me that the Janus is similar. My guess is the electronics probably weren't been modified to make it louder. However, if a previous owner adjusted the pickups too close that could be causing it to be excessively loud.

I would use the guide below to check and make sure the pickups aren't too close to the tines. If they are, then pulling them back a bit should help with the excessive loudness.
Hi Jimmymio,

They do come up for sale occasionally but they're usually only offered locally as opposed to Reverb or eBay. I'd keep an eye on your local Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace and one should pop up eventually.

Alternatively, I'd consider trying to sell it as is first if the outside of the cabinet is still in good condition. Although not as popular, the student models are significantly rarer and some buyers might actually prefer how it looks now as opposed to the Stage.
Hi all,

Came across an old reverb listing today for an elusive first gen 1971 KMC Home model Rhodes. There is a lot of misinformation/confusion on this model here and on other places online so I figured I'd repost these photos to show what one of these actually looks like and to start a thread dedicated to this particular model.

A lot of people confuse the original Home KMC with the Student/teacher KMC and assume they are identical but the Home model has some different features and is significantly rarer than the Student/teacher version.

Some unique differences of this particular unit include:

- Inclusion of a Fender Rhodes badge instead of the standard Rhodes badge that all other KMC student/teacher models had. (Side note: My 1969 Home model has a Rhodes badge so there seems to have been a bit of variation for the few that were produced.)

- No student power amp/metronome unit. This particular Home model has what appears to be a Peterson preamp box in the name rail but instead of the normal dual concentric knobs, this one has 3 witch hat knobs that control volume, treble, and bass respectively. It seems like this might be a later production design change as the only other 1st gen Home models I have seen actually have a normal peterson with stereo tremolo. This one also only has the student style power supply instead of the suitcase supply which might mean it only has the single 10" speaker as opposed to the 4 10's that my Home model has.

- The Fender Rhodes gold foil logo has HOME stamped in the model section. Normal student/teacher KMCs have either FR or FR-7055 stamped in that section instead. (As a side note, all the Executones seem to have HOME stamped here as well. I almost think someone came up with the name Executone after the fact and that they were just considered special order home models back in the day but if anyone has literature/ads showing the Executone name please let me know.)

-The power switch, headphone jack, and pilot light built into the right cheek block. I haven't ever seen them put into the right cheek block before. As far as I know, all the other Home/Executones have them built into the left cheek block. If you look closely, this one also has a jewel pilot light similar to the executones as opposed to the normal light from the peterson power amp that the other Home models I've seen normally have. It also looks like there is a second switch which might be a standby which if confirmed would indicate this particular unit might actually be powered by some sort of tube amp!

Note: It seems like these original Home models were not standardized and it is possible that every single one was just a one off that was built whenever an order for one came in. Each one I have seen has unique features and even the original ad which I included below shows one with a second foot pedal which I have never seen on any of the other surviving KMC Home models (aside from the 1977 version).

If anyone has any additional info on these original KMC 1 Home models please comment below. Ever since I bought my own, I have searched for seemingly nonexistent info on them and it seems like most of the information out there gets them confused with the KMC student/teacher model and/or the later 1977 KMC walnut home model.

Original reverb link:

Thread on my own 1969 Home model:

Thread on the Executone:
Hi Nelson,

I'm not an expert on these really early student models but here's my two cents.

First, I do think the control box was affixed to the bottom originally. I found this photo of a similar model with it on the bottom so it likely was factory. My guess is that this gold top was a transition unit between the originals with the knobs where the gold plate is and the later Jetson pianos where there was a spot under the keys to properly mount it.

As far as a "No brainer price" goes, without knowing the condition of the tines or action parts I would say anything under $2k if you are in the US. Any replacement tines or felt hammers will be major $$$ if you can even find them and the other action parts will likely be very labor intensive to fix as well. If everything under the hood looks good and plays well then it would be worth more but it wouldn't be a "no brainer" without seeing it in person first unless you get a lot more pictures/video to confirm.

As far as collectability goes, this one is a mixed bag. On one hand it is incredibly rare and very cool looking but it is also very difficult to maintain and the sound of the early models isn't known for being as desirable as later Rhodes. The two types of buyers for this keyboard would likely be A. a collector looking for a ground-up restoration with only period correct parts or B. someone looking for a custom build that looks cool and has modern reliable parts. Option B would look something like the custom student model that CV keys did a few years ago.

Because of the missing parts, this unit would be a better contender for option B which would entail some fairly extensive custom modifications. If that's in your wheelhouse then I'd say go for it but just remember, finding a buyer for a one-off build would likely be tough so only do it if you would be happy owning it long term. Also, due to the rarity, the retail price for option A or B will be mainly dependent on where you are selling it, parts/labor, and how badly a buyer wanted it. There really isn't a price guide for these restored early models or complete custom builds.

Also, as far as gigging goes, I'd advise against it. The fiberglass is likely very fragile and all the extra wood in the early actions makes them even more susceptible to temperature and humidity changes. I'd bring your 54 and leave this one as a studio piece.

Hope this helps. If you end up getting it, post some audio/video if you get a chance. It's always nice to hear these early models.

Hi Noah,

Congrats on getting your first Rhodes! Your serial number is listed on the bottom of the black Rhodes label to the left of where it says "MADE IN U.S.A". However, it does not correlate to the production date. The post below goes over the changes to Rhodes serial #s over the years and shows how they don't directly correlate to the age of the Rhodes.

With that being said, the other #s on the harp do decode what the production date was. The one in the top right corner 308 indicates when the harp itself was finished which for your Rhodes was the 3rd week of 1980. The second number 0505 is when the Rhodes was completed and it translates to the 5th day of the 5th week of 1980  :)

Hi all,

So I started compiling Rhodes production info a while ago in my free time and I wanted to share some of the conclusions I made from the data I compiled. The main reason I started this project was to try and get an accurate estimate on how many Rhodes were produced in total.

So how many Rhodes were actually produced?

Many people over the years (including Harold) have tried to estimate the total number of Rhodes produced with the consensus estimate currently being anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 units in total. Unfortunately, due to poor record keeping at the factory and a haphazard serial # system (more on that below). we will never be able to know with 100% certainty how many Rhodes were produced. However, after reviewing the data, I have come up with an estimate that I am fairly confident in and that is probably about as accurate as we can get without an exponentially larger dataset to use. With that being said, I am going to share my estimate as 2 separate totals based on what I consider to be the 2 Rhodes production eras. The first era is from 1959 to 1976 and the second era is from 1977 to the end of production in 1984 (I will explain why I choose to group production like this later).

Based on the data, my estimate for the total amount of Rhodes produced from 1959-1976 is 78,550 units which includes all the models produced during that era. My estimates for each model are listed below.

1,750 sparkle tops (73 suitcase only): Serial #s from 1-1750ish.

(In the data set, the first black top piano occurs at serial 1754 in mid 1969. While this piano is still identical under the hood to the previous Sparkletops, I consider the black lid to officially mark the start of the MK1 era.)

31,300 suitcases: The first MK1s started using the Sparkletop serial numbers around 1750 in late 1969 and continued till around serial 3020 in early 1970. After that, the serials go from 50,000 in late 1970 to what was most likely 79,999 in late 1976.

40,000 Stages: Started at serial number 20,000 in 1970 and goes to around 49,999 in 1975. Then because the suitcases already used the 5x,xxx's, the production #s jump to 80,000 sometime in late 1975/early 1976 and continue to around 90,000.

NOTE: For a brief time in 74/75 I believe the Stage 88s used the 1x,xxx serials before rolling into the 73 numbers. Unfortunately most of the 1974/75 pianos I came across had illegible date stamps and or serial #s so I was not able to include many in the dataset to confirm.

Piano basses: I didn't spend too much time looking for piano basses, but for the data I did collect it looks like they made about 1500 total from 1959-1973 (A 1973 was the last model I had in the dataset for pre 1977 piano basses).

Throw in say another 4,000 units for all the misc. rarer models like the Jetsons, KMC, Celeste, Home, 1974-76 basses, etc and the grand total of Rhodes from 1959-1976 comes out to about 78,550.

So what happened in 1977?

From 1959-76 Rhodes used the gold foil labels with the serial #'s hand stamped on. However, in 1977 they switched to the black ink labels that already had the serial #s printed on them. From what I can tell, they started these in early 1977 in the 6xx,xxx's and then around mid to late 1977 they jumped up to the 72x,xxx's for some reason. These labels were applied to all models indiscriminately so there is no way to see a breakdown between the different models like on the pre 1977's. These stickers were also applied randomly as I found numerous times in the data where earlier pianos had later serial #s than later pianos and vice versa. I still created a rough estimate from these pianos but because of the inconsistencies and because it seems like they might have skipped some "blocks" of #s I have a lot less confidence in the accuracy of the production totals for the 1977-84 pianos which is why I choose to create two separate eras. With that being said, the total estimate I have for 1977 through 1984 is 108,678 Rhodes produced with the breakdown in serial numbers being:

Early 1977: The black ink badges start around 600,000 and went to most likely 62x,xxx by the middle of the year. (I don't have any serial numbers from the change but based on how many they were making per week it seems likely this was the cutoff. Then they jumped to 720,000 and stayed in that format to the end of production in 1984. The very last production date I have recorded is a MKV with serial 804,332 which was made in the 43rd week of 1984. However, the latest serial I recorded is from a MKV that was made in the 29th week of 1984 which is serial 806,351. With that being said, John McLaren claims that the last serial # used by Rhodes was 808,678 so that is the serial # I am going with as the last Rhodes produced.

Added up with the 1959-1976 estimate and my total estimate for the number of Rhodes produced between 1959 and 1984 is 187,228. Obviously this a rough estimate due to the factors mentioned above but I still think it is a really good ballpark for the total produced. Ben Bove previously estimated between 100,000-150,000 and Harold himself estimated about 250,000 were made so I feel comfortable claiming 187,228 as an accurate estimate.

Feel free to look over the data and let me know what you think. Also, if anyone wants to create estimate breakdowns for specific models or years feel free to post it in this thread. I already did this once a while back on the post below where I estimated the total # of "Golden era" suitcases.


TL;DR I estimate that Rhodes produced 187,228 pianos from 1959-1984.
The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: 1965 sparkletop
January 09, 2023, 07:45:29 PM
Congrats on finding such an early Sparkletop!

I don't have any personal experience with a model this old just want to add my 2 cents...

First, did you replace the tonebar when you replaced the #16 tine? The reason I ask is it looks like it was replaced with a later 1969-70 tonebar at some point which if not done by you would indicate that somebody was tinkering with this Rhodes at some point and that some of the things you saw like the felt might not have been factory. Same with some of the higher treble tonebars as well although the picture makes it hard to tell if they are original or not. Probably not a huge deal tone wise but if you are looking for 100% original they might be something to keep an eye out for. Also, it looks like someone might have redrilled the holes for the pickup screws and moved them closer to the pickups themselves. This isn't an issue for most of the pickups but you might prefer to move the bass ones back to their original position as it can be a PITA to adjust those screws when they are hidden under the bass tonebars.

Aside from that, I would also recommend checking out InsectoidControl's YouTube channel. They have some really informative mod videos for a 1964 Sparkletop they worked on years ago that would be applicable to your 1965. I think they also used to post here as well so hopefully they will chime in too.

Link to InsectoidControl's YouTube channel:

Please keep us updated on your progress and post some more pics/video if possible. It is always nice to see footage of such a rare model.
Hi all,

Its finally time to part with my 270 Wurlitzer. Lately I've been going in a different direction musically so its time for her to go on to the next caretaker.

Some info about this particular Wurly:

I am the second owner. First owner used it mainly as living room decor and I probably played it more in the first hour owning it then it had been played since new. The Insides are in immaculate condition which as anyone interested in wurlitzers knows is a welcome change from how most look today. The walnut finish is also in great condition with only a few small nicks and polish spots. It would make a prefect statement piece in a living/music room.

Earlier this year I had the action, strikeline, regulation, tuning, and keybed completely setup by a local tech. It now sounds better than new and I even had an effects loop installed so you can use the internal speakers with pedals.

I'm asking $3,500 OBO. I'm located in South Orange County CA. Can possibly help with local delivery in SoCal but would strongly prefer local pickup. PM me if interested.

Cool demo clip on how Hohner thought the Clavinet II would be used by musicians in 65/66.

Definitely a far cry from Superstition, but interesting to see what Hohner thought their target sound/demographic was before any major recordings had been made with it.

Just came across this excellent post/video on VV's new dual capstan action today and I'm blown away by how much it improves the regulation of the piano and corrects so many issues I thought were simply inherent to the Rhodes action.

In a perfect world, this would also be available as a retrofit for old Rhodes but I highly doubt it's feasible. In any case, I believe this feature along with the variable voice control make new VV pianos the gold standard to which all other old/new tine pianos will now be held.
Holy thread resurrection!  :o

Just came across this listing for a very similar check made out to Fender Rhodes from Leo Fender back in 1964. I have no idea if it is the same one from the original eBay link, but it seems like it could be.

Even if it is real, I find it hard to believe that it would be worth $5,000
You have the arrows reversed. Pulling the pickup away from the tine makes the sound quieter.

A good way to adjust that one loud note would be to repeatedly hit it and slowly move the pickup away from the tine until the volume matches its neighbors.
Quote from: Jimmbo on July 11, 2022, 07:22:53 PMSole remaining problem: one single loud note (not just on the's just LOUD, period). Any chance it's something easy?

Have you tried moving the pickup back yet? Take a look at this section of the service manual and see if that fixes it

Quote from: Jimmbo on June 30, 2022, 09:59:30 AMAny tips for addressing the overall rust?

How rusty are the tines and pickups? It might be a good idea to clean them if rust is starting to eat into the metal but it won't improve the sound. Cleaning off the rust from the tines would just stop them from losing their integrity and breaking sooner.

Pretty much all the other rust/oxidation is just cosmetic so its up to you on whether or not its worth the extra work involved.
Ya there is a fine line between a sterile reproduction with zero quirks (the DX7) and overly realistic. I think it really depends on who the target audience is (ie vintage aficionados vs players looking for something that sounds good even if its not 'Historically accurate")

For instance, I remember seeing a review awhile ago for one of Yamaha's CP or YC stage keyboards and the reviewer was complaining about how some of the Rhodes samples had different quirks on random notes because they use samples of real instruments. He seemed to be annoyed by it which was funny because most of the people on this forum would probably appreciate having those little details. I can't say I'd want a Clavinet emulation with sticky hammers but as the sample realism arms race continues, I'd imagine things like that will continue to be added to the most expensive emulations/keyboards.
Quote from: gacki on June 29, 2022, 02:50:08 AMIs it really? I've worked on Hammonds where players complained about the excessive key click (because the contacts were too dirty).
It's definitely subjective, but it seems like every serious vst/keyboard has key click adjustments and at least a subset of diehard Hammond players seem to enjoy the sound of it.
Here's an interesting thread on how to modify vintage Hammonds to get more keyclick:

I'm not an organ player so I can't say the key click is that essential to me, but I thought it was an interesting example of a "defect" that some contemporary players find to be very desirable.

As a counter example, nobody wants a realistic Rhodes emulation where repeated bass notes cancel each other out when using the sustain pedal, so there are definitely "quirks" that no one wants in modern vsts of vintage gear.
Quote from: Jimmbo on June 28, 2022, 03:48:33 PMAlso, I guess this is unrelated, but the harp scrapes the left railing as it hinges up, ripping up the felt.

You should be able to swing the back portion of the harp up as you lift it so that it doesn't scrape either side going up. Try to lift both sides evenly so that it doesn't put unnecessary strain on either bracket.

If only that one part is missing you should be ok. That material is used to regulate the escapement so don't modify it until you know whether or not it needs to be adjusted.
Does your damper bar have a ground to the RCA jack?

I've never heard of anyone having that exact problem before but there have been similar problems over the years that seem to have been solved by the damper bar ground wire.
Hi Jimmbo,

I'm not sure what's causing your sustain problems but raising the harp is pretty easy. There are 2 screws on each side of the harp going into the aluminum harp supports that you need to remove and then you can hinge it up.

I'd poke around a bit before going to a tech. sustain problems are usually easier to fix than other issues so its worth a try before taking it somewhere. Also, check out the Rhodes manual if you haven't yet. It has a lot of good tidbits that might help with this issue.
Hi all,

I just got done reading an old sound on sound article on Ernst Zacharias and the Clavinet in which it was revealed that Hohner actively tried to remove the percussive attack that the Clavinet was known for! In fact, Ernst received a patent to remove it in 1983 that would have likely made it to production had the Clavinet not been discontinued.

Link to the article:

Today these quirks are integral to both the Clavinet's sound and the other electro Mechanical keyboards but they clearly weren't always thought of that way (Ex: Hammond key click). My question to those of you who played these instruments back then is, what where your thoughts on the percussive aspect of these keyboards at the time? Was the key click in Hammonds as desirable as it is today? How about the percussive attack on the Clav, a desirable effect or a limitation to be overcome? What about on Rhodes and Wurlitzers? It seems like Wurlitzer only cared about their actions and Harold never seemed to be happy with the sound of the Rhodes but I'm curious what the player consensus on their quirks was back then.
Quote from: Brewski on June 23, 2022, 12:32:22 PM1) How can I identify which preamp this is?
2) Is there a way to test the preamp before spending money on an aftermarket power supply?
3) what are people's favorite aftermarket power supply/interface?

Hi Brewski,

1. VV is correct on the Peterson not being original to a 1978. That being said, most people prefer the Peterson so it's not really a bad thing.

2. The best way to test the Peterson without a power supply is to take it to a local tech or send it to Avion Studios to have it refurbished. Even if the preamp is currently working, it still has 40+ year old parts and will sound a lot better after being gone through. I sent one of mine to Avion and am very happy with the results.

3. If you ended up sending your preamp to Avion then you could also buy their power supply and save a bit on shipping.
I haven't used it personally but I've heard good things about it.

Alternatively, VV also makes a power supply that usually gets good reviews.

Or you could get VV's check block power supply if you don't like the look of a bulky power supply box:

Also, two other things:

1. You can plug the preamp back in then just put the 1/4 into accessory 1 which goes straight from the pickups. Looks a bit cleaner than running the 1/4 past the lid.

2. Satellite speakers do show up for sale occasionally so if you have the space, a set could be a nice alternative to the power supply box.

Hope this helps  :)
Quote from: Dave on June 02, 2022, 08:30:17 PMThe MK8 will be at NAMM this weekend. If anyone checks it out, let us know what you think. It's received a lot of hype — can it live up to it?

How about a demo by none other than Mr. Stevie Wonder?

Dr. Mix happened to be at the Rhodes booth when Stevie was there and caught a good portion of him playing the MK8. Stevie doesn't say anything about the MK8 itself in the video but he clearly enjoyed playing it.

Hearing Stevie play the MK8 makes me want to try one even more. It sounds really good in this demo and with the upcoming midi option it seems like it really could be the ultimate keyboard. I also heard a rumor that Rhodes might be leaving a demo unit in LA so I'll have to see if I can try one out soon.
Yes, Fender offered vinyl covers and hard cases for the suitcase Rhodes.

Here's a link to the price list thread which includes prices for the covers:

I've seen a few of the the Stage vinyl covers before and I think I've seen the hard case once, but I've never seen the speaker cover. It probably wasn't a common accessory and with the suitcases already being a lot less common than the stages, I doubt many were made. Add in the fact that most owners could barely hang on to their case top, 4 pin cable and braces/pedal/legs/vinyl leg bag (for stage owners), I couldn't imagine many surviving till today.
Quote from: mvanmanen on June 13, 2022, 03:23:59 PMI think what will be be interesting in time is how "vintage" will vintage keyboards be. My best playing/sounding clavinet D6 has new strings, new hammer tips, new grommets, etc.

That reminds me of the ship of Theseus thought experiment. For instance, at what point would you consider your D6 to actually be a Vibanet in a D6 shell? EP collectors are a lot more tolerant of this than guitarists but should prices rise to the level of vintage Gibsons/Fenders we might see a change in that philosophy especially with there being fewer and fewer completely original units left.

Quote from: mvanmanen on June 13, 2022, 03:23:59 PMI see from your signature you have a 1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes. For me the tines and pickups from the 1960 to early 70s rhodes are really special. I appreciate it is harder and harder to find replacements...

My 71 is from the later half of the year and has either early Torringtons or late Raymacs with the small springs. I still have a good supply of extra Torringtons should one break but I have no way of telling what year they were made to ensure "historical accuracy".

I'm curious what your philosophy for your 66 is though. Do you only play it gently? Would you only use 1966 tines should one happen to break? I've been keeping an eye out for a 73B Sparkletop for a while now but I think I'd be too afraid to lay into it for fear of breaking an unreplaceable tine.
Quote from: lukevintage on June 12, 2022, 03:20:49 PMIts strength is supported by an easy interactive forum. It means threads (posts) are answered and completed. Much of the threads on this forum never go anywhere.

One of main the reasons threads go unanswered is probably because they were already answered years ago in a different topic. I've noticed some of the newer members asking questions that have been answered multiple times before or are standard knowledge from the Rhodes manual. There's no problem in asking a question again as the consensus answer can change, but most of those new topics don't quote the earlier threads to show they have at least done the research.

Quote from: lukevintage on June 12, 2022, 03:20:49 PMMany of the most active posters were from 2008-2014.

A good chunk probably went to Facebook and Reddit. The question is, how do we get them back?

Not sure how these issues are going to be fixed but I'm curious to hear what ideas from the other forums you think would work well here
I think you can see when someone responds to a topic or post by clicking on the little megaphone icon in the top left corner. I believe there is also a way to receive notifications on threads you created by clicking the bell icon as well.
Quote from: mvanmanen on June 12, 2022, 07:20:59 AMI find the strings and pickups literally breath like they are alive playing through a nice amp with choice effects. And, of course, clavinets also have aftertouch as you can sink into the keybed to give a bit of vibrato. In short, in a well setup instrument, there is a playing experience to clavinets that I have not found anywhere else.

Thanks for sharing your experience mvanmanen. I haven't had the chance to play a real clavinet before but I've heard similar accounts on how special it is to play a real one compared to an emulation.

One thing that is interesting about the Clavinet market is how it seems to be the first vintage electric piano that is/will be more expensive than its modern counterpart (ie the Vibanet). I'm curious to see if the price of a new Vibanet becomes the ceiling for vintage clavs or if D6/E7 prices will continue to rise above them similar to how pre CBS Fenders continue to go up in price compared to their modern equivalents. The way that Clavs go will probably be a good indication on what the future holds for the Rhodes market as well. Who knows, maybe one day a new VV or MK8 will be cheaper than a vintage Rhodes  :o
Quote from: jpmas on June 11, 2022, 01:59:31 PMI don't like the keybed of my Mk II and that's the main reason why I want to replace it.

Ok, then right off the bat I'd say you want a piano made after late 1973, that's when Rhodes started getting solid wood keybeds. The earlier models will still feel better than the plastic MK II but if that's your main issue then I'd go for the full wood set. (Also, the 1979-early 81 MK IIs and MK V have wooden keys so that could be another alternative if you still like most of the other MK II features).

Quote from: jpmas on June 11, 2022, 01:59:31 PMDo the earlier models have a mellower sound compared to the 78-79 MK I and MK II?

Just about any Rhodes can be made to sound mellow or bark, 90% of the sound is in the voicing, hammer tips, grommets, and EQ. That being said, most 1971-75 Rhodes will have softer square tips which can sound a bit warm/mellower than later versions which are generally described as being cool/glassy. Also, stage Rhodes will sound mellower simply because they are passive so if that's the sound you want, you can save a bit of $$$ by not buying a suitcase.

Quote from: jpmas on June 11, 2022, 01:59:31 PMI also noticed that you excluded the pianos from mid 75 to 77.  Are there any particular reasons why these aren't the "best years" and are there certain things to look out for when buying pianos from this period?

It's not that they are bad but the general consensus is they aren't as desirable as the earlier models.

A few reasons why include:

-In early 1975 they switched from half wood hammers to all plastic which some believe changed the tone

-Aluminum harp supports replaced the solid wooden ones (The wooden harp supports were hand cut which led to some Rhodes sounding great out of the factory and others sounding terrible vs the standardization of the aluminum)

-New hammer tips which had a different "brighter" sound compared to the 71-75s (These can be changed though)

-In 1976 they put felt on the hammer cams which most people replace as its generally considered an inferior design
-The Torrington tines were replaced sometime after 1975 (Torringtons are often considered part of the "secret sauce" in the greatness of the 1971-75 Rhodes)

-After getting rid of the half wood hammers, Rhodes changed the profile of the plastic hammers which helped reduce tine breakage but also made it harder to get the Rhodes to "bark".

-The change from "Fender Rhodes" to "Rhodes" happened in late 1974 and many people simply like the look of the Fender Rhodes cosmetics over the Rhodes versions and are willing to pay a premium to have the "iconic version".

The main reason I included the 78-79s is because they came with the bump mod from the factory. Because of that alone, they are probably the best feeling stock MK I Rhodes.

I will sum all this up by saying, the condition of any particular Rhodes is more important than the year it was made.

That doesn't necessarily mean cosmetic  condition either. My 1971 is very "Rhode" worn but plays and sounds amazing while I've seen Rhodes that went straight from the factory to a climate controlled closet for 40 years and still sound horrible.

Personally, I'd recommend that you go year by year and listen to the different models on YouTube so you can hear the differences and see some of the cosmetic changes between them. After that go see a few so you can feel some of the changes in person. The MK I rabbit hole can go as deep as you want it to but you can find a gem in any year of production  :)
Hi all,

To the Clavinet owners out there, how often do you use them compared to your Rhodes/Wurly (if you have one)? It seems like rough condition D6 and E7s are going for the same or more as good condition Rhodes or playable Wurlys but I doubt I would use a Clav more than my Rhodes/Wurly to justify the price premium. Not in a position to buy one at the moment just curious to know how often they are used by current owners compared to other keyboards in your collection and if you didn't buy one recently, do you think they are worth more than a comparable Rhodes/Wurly (for usability not rarity)?
Hi jpmas,

The first question is why do you want a MK I? In my opinion the best years are 1969-early 1975 and 1978-mid 1979 but you should have an idea of the sound you want before diving deeper on a specific year. For instance, the 78-79 MK I will sound very similar to your MK II with the only major differences being the wooden keybed and rounded top so it might not be worth buying one unless you love the sound of your MK II with the keybed being the only part you dislike.

Also, how much work are you willing to do/pay for to get a MK I into good condition? The 72-75's have a great sound but will most likely need a bump mod and other TLC to play well and even then they probably won't be as fast and precise as the 78 and later Rhodes.

There are a few of these "Dynosaur effector" pedals on Ebay right now from Japan. I think its just a clone of the Dyno preamp but at $1,300 I'd hope it includes a tri chorus or was at least hand built by Chuck Monte himself. Can't find any info on them online so maybe they were only for the Japanese market?

Does anyone have any info on them? Were they made by Chuck Monte? Limited run from a boutique builder? Who knows?
Hi Will, thanks for the info!

I highly doubt either Rhodes electronics have been worked on since they were new. The KMC spent the last 40 years in a garage and the 1971 was supposedly played regularly for decades by a "little old lady" church pianist that played it so often some of the keycaps wore down.

I don't have the soldering skills to recap them so I think I'll try pressing my luck until I get the $$$ to have them properly rebuilt... or something drastic happens :o. I already play them sparingly and I'm religious about never leaving them on unattended so hopefully that will buy me some extra time  :)
How close is the tine to the pickup? If it is too close it can make a similar thunk sound so I would try moving the pickup a bit further away and see if that fixes it.

I don't think the strikeline would cause that issue if its only on certain notes but I've included a link to the manual so you can check it just in case:
Anyone else seen the new "Variable voice control" option for the new VV pianos? Matt Johnson just released a demo with his and I have to admit it seems like a really cool feature.

Basically it's a slider that moves the pickups in relation to the tines in order to shape the sound from straight fundamental to pure overtones. After spending countless hours voicing my own Rhodes, I really like the idea of moving all 73 pickups at once instead of 73 individual screws. I'm curious to know how even it stays in the extremes though. Just because you move all the pickups equally doesn't mean the sound of each note will remain consistent due to the numerous variables at play.

So what do you think, is it worth $1299 to instantly voice all 73 tines?

Edit: Vintage Vibe released their own demo today:
I can't comment on the exact Rhodes from the original recording but I can tell you a bit about the phaser and the effects/models from the others.

1. On the original recording, the phaser is most likely a MXR Phase 90 or Small Stone. Either one would sound very close to the original and the only thing you would need to do in order to get a similar sound is adjust the speed of the modulation until it is in sync with the record.

1. On the live 1977 clip, Billy is playing a 1977 MK I 88 suitcase with the janus preamp. He's also not using a phaser.

2. On the Sesame Street clip, he is playing a Mk II 88 suitcase which would make it anything from a late 1979 to 1982 piano. (Note: if you want a Mk II try to get one from 1979-80 as those are the ones with wooden keys). This recording is also using a chorus instead of a phaser.

Overall, just about any Rhodes that's properly set up will sound similar to that recording with a phaser. As you can tell in those clips, Billy played 3 very different Rhodes with different effects and they all sounded great. You can look up covers of that song on YouTube and see it played on just about any model Rhodes and it will still sound good. As long as its in good condition, just about any Rhodes from 1971-1982 will get you a similar sound with the right adjustments.

Here's a cover from an earlier stage Fender Rhodes that doesn't have a preamp yet still sounds similar to the record:
Hi all,

For the Peterson suitcase owners out there, when do you know it's time to have a tech look at the electronics? Both of mine (mostly) work but I'm worried about the amp fires that I've heard about over the years. Is that the usual way these amps die or is it just a rare situation that could have been prevented by proper care (ie not leaving the amp on overnight)? Right now I'd prefer to spend the money on getting my wurly setup but I also don't want to wait for my Rhodes to self combust either...

Here's the situation with both:

1969 KMC Home: original preamp and suitcase electronics. Occasional crackling and pops with slight constant hum that seems to only come from 1 channel. Also has occasional power loss on 1 channel.

1971 Suitcase: rebuild preamp and original suitcase electronics. One amp is dead and is currently disconnected, the other amp has a slight hum but otherwise sounds ok.

I guess my question is, can I continue playing both until they just stop making sound or are they ticking time bombs destined to go down in a blaze of glory that will cost way more to fix?

Came across this short video of Harold and thought I'd share as I have never seen a video of him before. It looks like it is the intro to one of his "Rhodes Piano Method" videos.

Please share if you have any other clips or audio, it would be amazing to hear Mr. Rhodes playing a Rhodes!
Good eye seeing that was a Rhodes! Unfortunately, on closer inspection it looks like it is the Rhodes Electronic Piano  :(. However, the similarity is no coincidence as Mike Peterson (designer of the Mk IV) actually designed the case for the Rhodes Electronic Piano first and it had a direct influence on his design for the MK IV.

Here's a link to a more detailed look inside the Electronic piano:

Link to the MK IV on the Rhodes super site:

Hopefully it will appear again someday though. The MK V 88 was a similar "lost unicorn" that was rediscovered so its definitely possible :)
Are they so far off center that it is affecting the sound or is it just a visual issue? On a previous thread, some members actually recommend straightening the tonebar itself as apparently they can bend over the years.

There is also a chance that they were drilled crooked from the factory. Here's an excerpt from Mike Peterson that describes the issue.
QuoteOne day, while Harold and Steve were inspecting a batch of harps, they observed that all of the tines and tone bars seemed to point in odd directions. After disassembly, they learned that the holes in the Finnish birch plywood had been drilled crooked, really crooked. We wondered how this could happen, so Harold and I got in the car and drove to the Fender plant in Ensenada, Mexico, where the harps were drilled and assembled. (Management had moved production from Fullerton to Mexico, to reduce costs.)

When we arrived, we were horrified to discover a rusty old drill press, wobbling on a uneven dirt floor, protruding through a hole, in a crude, rickety wooden table. The precision drill bushings in the fixture had been replaced with bushings having much larger holes. This made it easier for the operator to hit the target, as he drilled as fast as he could pull the handle.
Hi, welcome to the forum!

The noise is due to the fact that Rhodes lids are unshielded. The main solution most use is to put some sort of metal shielding like tinfoil on the inside of the lid and grounding it. However, some people also claim that you can get away with just putting the metal between the keyboard and the Rhodes lid.

Here's a good thread on this subject:

Link to Vintage Vibe's shielding tape:

You can also search the forum for topics containing the words "Rhodes shield" and you will see some more topics on this subject.

Hope this helps  :D
Quote from: Oliver Sheen on May 03, 2022, 07:20:00 AMI know the base of the top is too thin to add the leg flanges directly and i really don't want a separate stand.
The safest way to do something like that might be to build a table and attach the stage legs to that, then just put the Rhodes on top of it. Painted black or covered in tolex it would look like it was factory and anybody not on the forum probably wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't. This also has the benefit of being easier to set up than the traditional process to put legs on a normal stage.

Alternatively, you could also swap out the old suitcase top for a stage case. I'm pretty sure the stage case will work with suitcase internals (but, definitely double check especially because a 1969 could have different dimensions to later mk1's). They come up for sale occasionally and there's actually one on Ebay right now.
Hi all,

I had my 1971 Rhodes repaired by a respected expert a few months ago and at the time they said the grommets needed to be replaced. Oddly though, they recommended that I keep the old screws and washers instead of replacing them. They also used a custom set of grommets with different hardnesses in the bass, middle, and treble which they claimed were superior to the one size fits all approach.  However, I'm having difficulty voicing particularly in the bass and middle registers and I think it is due to a combination of the grommets and bent tonebar screws.

I tried swapping some of the different grommets around and noticed: 1. Each section of grommets have different heights and heads 2. the middle grommets are a very tight fit on the screws compared to the bass/treble which slide on fairly easily. and 3. the middle notes have a nicer "round" sound with the softer treble grommets compared to a more Wurlitzer like buzz with the harder ones. This leads me to believe the bass/mid grommets are acting like dried out originals by excessively dampening the vibrations from the tines.

Has anyone else restored their Rhodes with a range of different durometer grommets before and could shine a light on what the benefit is supposed to be? I know now that I should have pushed harder for new screws (especially because the bent ones have been a PITA to voice) but I have never read about anyone else doing custom grommets so I'm curious if anyone has.
hmmm, I'm not sure why the volume isn't working then. Maybe something got damaged in shipping when you got it back from Avion?

I would ask Avion and see what they say. I don't think the line out would effect the preamp (but I'm not an electronics expert). You could also try plugging a guitar into the Peterson and see if the volume works then.

Also, where are you running the line outs from the power supply?
How are you powering the preamp, did you find a suitcase or get a power supply?
Quote from: robmaile on April 24, 2022, 10:26:52 PMLow E key reads April 13th 1970. Serial #FR-7054. Neoprene hammer tips.

And wow, yes probably! There have been a couple in Vegas recently , but yes, it was on Reverb.

Wow, how funny is that? I only mentioned it because that's the only other Rhodes I've seen with the 190 stamp on it. Pre 1971 Rhodes are often unique in the stamps and marking they have compared to later models so its hard to know for sure but I think the 190 decodes to the 19th week of 1970. I looked it up and that translates to someday between Monday May 4th and Friday May 8th !970 which matches up with my previous estimate for the finish date.

Some other cool facts about your Rhodes that I noticed in the Reverb listing:

-It has the rare center latch on the lid. This was only done for a short time in 1970.

-only 1 harp support instead of the usual two.

- the rare double bend raw metal tonebars. These were only done briefly before they went to the gold colored plating that all later Rhodes had.

-Pickups with the stronger 1" magnet

-Raymac tines (you should check to make sure none were replaced with later tines)

- This Rhodes originally came with felt cube hammer tips.

Overall you have a very special Rhodes on your hands. Rhodes changed a lot in 1970-71 so those years have an ability to sound different from the later models. They were also made in much smaller quantities as they were still very niche intsruments that were mostly handmade. I made some estimations on a previous thread and I came up with something like only 800 1970 suitcases being produced.

Also, FR-7054 is the model number for the MK1 suitcase. It looks like your serial # is 73F 30I2 which is a unique number that connects to the sparkletop serial number codes. I believe the 5x,xxx serials started in late 1970 to make it look like there were more being produced then there really were.