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Messages - solyaris

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Hi. Brand new to the forum.

I've started restoring an '81 (I think) 73 and hope to continue bringing other neglected pianos back to life.

Very Well Done Rhodes Info Blog!

Hi all

I repaired myself here in Italy a mark I, now the piano sound almost fine and I'm pretty satisfied and also meverilled about the success.
Now, here attached a MP3 audio clip containing an improvisation; that's a soundcheck to test sustain pedal notes decays (I love so much):

Premising that:

a - I'm not a pianist, so sorry for bad playing ;)

b - I know that notes are not perfectly in-tune (in the upper octaves) ...
I experienced not so easy to tune in the "right way" (despite I used a tuner...) probably that's a topic to start a part.

c - I realizing some notes (especially in the central octaves) sound "fake", despite the pick-up "seem" ok and the tine "seem" ok and of course I did regulations... so I concluded the illness is probably the case of "exausted tine"... :( isn't it ?

Your opinions:

1. Please let me know how you think generally about the sound quality ?

2. the pedal sustain / dumper seem to work fine, but I noted that when I quickly release the pedal after that many keys are pressed, I listen in the audio a mechanical "tonf" sound probably caused by the dumper sudden stop of tines vibrations ( by example listen at 2:36 , 3:25 ); it's this "tonf" normal / avoidable ?

Thanks to all in this forum for previous suggestions!

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Restoration Thread
« on: February 03, 2011, 11:49:11 AM »
I decided to bring back this thread, I was curious to know how did spaceduck and solyaris get on with their restorations? I'll start adding in mine on Sunday.



in facts I finished fase II restauration of my stage piano!
At the moment I'm satisfied by the result! generally every one of 73 notes sound pretty well now.

Here a two days ago sound check:

here two tracks of rhodes, passed on Digitech TSR24 5 sec delay patch...
please note I'm note a pianist, just a big lover of rhodes hypnotic sound ... possibly matching my music view ( ).

I retain it sound great!...Yes ...
1- some problems of lack of sustain on upper octaves ... (indeed lower octaves are amazing!)
2- and some problems here and there on the middle octaves where some very "hitted" seem to be affected of what I have see descibed as "exausted" tines syndrom ... possibly I'll detail this "minor" problem here in future.
3- Minor tuning difficulties especially on the two upper octave...
Even if I confess restauration have been hard. I do all by myself and I'm neither a pianist, neither a rhodes expert ...
and I thank you VINTAGEVIBE Video and all helped me here in this forum!!

Thanks to all!

just a sound check of restored rhodes;
two tracks overdub,
passing rhodes through a Digitech TSR24 delay patch programmed by myself.

ciao Fred

yes I replaced old screws and grommets with these in the vintagevibe kit:
realizing the substitution have been perfect!

BTW, I have to thanks You, at vintagevibe, for ALL your excellent youtube videos ;-)
you won't believe,  but I found genial that particular video that show how to repair the wood keys action,
moving a simple screwdriver in the holes ... really genialand so simple!!!
I just few hours I made my 73 keys all acting correctly in mechanical mouvement...

so thank you again ... !

my best regards

beatiful animation ;-)
btw, myself I do not yet unserstood the reason why I love that sound ... I could say because it's at the same time a generator of "harmonic dissonaces" and "disharmonic consonances" :-)

Why Rhodes have a so magical, so magnetic sound ?
Please reply your feelings, technical or "philosophocal" reasons !

Pourquoi le Rhodes a un son si magique, si magnetique ?
Si vous plait disez votre raisons emotionelles, techniques  or "philofophiques"!

Perchè il Rhodes ha un suono così magico, così magnetico ?
Dite le vostre ragioni emozionali, tecniche o "filosofiche"!


mmhhh... not cheap but seem sound beautiful
thanks Spookyman for your suggestion...


Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Jan Hammer tears it up
« on: November 30, 2010, 01:59:38 AM »
Sweet digs here!  Thanks for turning me on to Jan and Mahavishnu Orchestra.. He really goes off!  I heard a little bit of their music before, but remember it being much more guitar driven.  I had no idea  the Rhodes was such a prominent part of the sound as it is in the clips you posted.  Thanks for sharing!!

yes... indeed Mahavishnu Orchestra have been my preferred band when I was 20 years old ;-)
The keyboardist Jan Hammer played almost only a Rhodes! if i'm not wrong; and that times I loved his style;
he pheraps copyied a bit the Corea's Return to Forever magnificences, but with his one great personality and sound I admit ...
but immo many of harmonic-frames and compositional ideas was by the leader, the guitarist John McLaughin! one of my preferred guitaris all times.

In my opinion, it's curious and sad to see that after Mahavishnu experience Jan played music more oriented to pop-rock ...
I mean music that I define banal ... I'm feel sorry to say ... :(
Also McLaughlin didn't achieved that "ascension" that I could imagined ...
I do not love music he play nowadays ... :(

My possible error his that I always think that an artist have to improve his art during his life ...
Experience tell me indeed that's rarely happen ...
What do you think about it ?

Anyway: the piece "down" is beatiful as was in the studio version:

Inner Mounting Flame have been a work that absolutely entusiasmed me: there is the Davis session experience and vast compositional lyrism...
rock-jazz in a more intelligent and less cunning compared to the Return to Forever last "decandent" works ...

my two cents

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Help with info about your Rhodes!
« on: November 29, 2010, 03:18:55 PM »
Hi guys!  I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, and finally got around to creating a survey for production data on your Rhodes.  Basically, I’m trying to compile all data about Rhodes piano transitions, from Serial numbers which we don’t have a master list of, down to what kind of latches are on your case.  It's a shame that these records aren't available to us, and the only means to know is to gather it ourselves.  There’s so much to be gained from lists created from this data to post on the main site – for example, someone wanting to buy a Rhodes on ebay with a serial number listed, but no date code - and wants to know what they're getting.  Someone that wants to buy a Rhodes and wants factory lighter action.  Buying a hardshell case lid that will fit your piano.  Also great for someone that wants to make sure their Rhodes is original and not frankensteined.  The end goal is to have a usable timeline reference for us all.

I have 2 different surveys up here, one for Stage and a separate one for Suitcase Pianos.  I’ll have one for PianoBasses and student models up soon.  If you know your way around your Rhodes it could take you around 15 mins or less.  I understand that the Rhodes is very often modified or changed around from its original factory specs, but hopefully with a huge bank of info from pianos around the same time, inconsistencies would be apparent.  I appreciate any info you can help me out with about your Rhodes.  Also, if anyone can post on other forums, for example the yahoo groups - I'd love to invite them to fill this out as well.  Thanks for all your help!


Hi Ben
if I well understood your request:
here data of the piano I'm repairing:
Rhodes Stage Piano 73 Keys

SERIAL NO. K 744529
010254-TBJ 1079

the '79 instrument have been here in Italy for probably 20 years inside a humid cellar and before probably used in a session studio...
I have no more info ...

more info on my facebook dedicated photo-story:

hope this help

Yes Rob! I played your triades: they seem to me absolutely that played in the original piece!
fourths-chords bit-dissonant progression...
it's funny that a part the dissonant "loop", there is also "implicit" a kind of bluesy cadenza...
very interesting also the whole improvvisation on further progressions ...

many many thanks!:)

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: restoration (hammer tips)
« on: November 28, 2010, 01:48:26 PM »
You also get to decide if you want to replace the hammer tips.  If you want the mellower sound that non-hardened-by-age, not-old-and-crusty, not-grooved-and-damaged new hammer tips can give you, then see: (I love the bandaid on his finger, and Leon Russell in the background at 2:20),,,,,

Thanks Sean for very detailed list!

I have two questions regarding hammer tips:

1. do you know if exist some video/audio  that sho difference amongs damaged/old tips versus new tips ?
I ask because I'm repairing a Mark I stage 1979 ... remained in cellar for more than 20 years...
probably also some tips have been ... bad ... changed: see:

in facts it not seem to me a big problem in final sound ... I'm probably worng ?

2. where I can puchase hammer tips replacement (73 keys) ? Vintagevibe seem to sell huge amount of these ...
probabluy indeed I would change only the really exausted tips ...


box set reissue of "The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions."

I see! good news! thanks(btw, I still have to try your triades :))

Ciao Parisiano,
following letter I sent you in French, here I briefly reply in English;
please note I'm a begineer on Rhodes me too and I'm just doing a restoration on a Mark I:

After a few days, I realize that refurbishing this piano is not an easy game.

ah ah! Yes right, but please note that this instrument is built as a tank   panzer ... it's made by wood, alluminium, screw, few plastic and solenoids ... you can repair all! Harold Rhodes was a genius! ;-)

I have 4 pickups dead

no problem...:
more difficult / less cost saving solution:
I realized that usually ... it happen that the thin wire of solenoid decame broken at the end ... you need in this case to re-wrap and resolder the wire ... is not difficult but need patience to do it ... a friend of mine did for me once to demonstrate the point! He stated it's a problem of soldering that after 20/30 years "crash" ..  
faster / more expensive solution:
buy used pick-ups on ebay: I did this (11 dead)

15-20 upper keys are making a big clank (mechanical noise), maybe hammers hitting dampers.
the same for me ...
I suspect it's usual a critical action in the highest octave in this sense...
I get better doing simple regulations of ton bar screws, pick-up nearness to tine ...

The 3 extreme top right tines are not vibrating when hit. Is it a workaround for this ?
mmhhh really no sound ? how you stated theses tines do not vibrate ? it's difficult to say because hide are hidden by ton bar ... ?!

The global sound of every keys is not satisfying me at all.

no problem: the answer is REGULATIONS / RESTAURATION of all mechanical parts:
my rhodes remained in a humid cellar for more than 20 years here in Italy ...
I got it as a block of RUSTY! no one key emitted sound ... :(
now ALL key emit a decent sound! :)

Same problem for the tines, even if aligned with the tone bars, they have tendancy to go on the left. It make problem for the damper felts to silent them correctly. Is it a workaround ?

I feel grommets/screw substitution would help avoid strange adrift movement of tone bar... I have to do that me too.

Some of the keys don't hit the tines as strong as the other does. Is it possible to set the piano to have a quicker or lighter action ?
I feel this is a question of escapement regulations ... thta simply mean: regulate the two screw of every tonebar...
Is it profitable to unmount every part of the piano to clean it up indepth ? Any use of unmounting the harp or the tone bars ?

clean in depth! bring out the rusty! absolutely yes!  

If so, where can I found the right order to mount everything back ?

I suggest a step-to-step approach ... let your mind know the mechanic...  ;-)

Is it possible to get a nice sounding Rhodes piano at the end (even if it take mounths no problem) ?  ???

believe me: the answer is YES! :)

I'm asking all these questions, cause I realize that all the parts I need (legs / pedal / pickups) will cost a respectable amount, and I don't want to make to much buying if the piano won't be able to play correctly at the end.

regarding legs, as I wrote you in the letter I found a mechanic laboratory in Genova (Italy) realized these under my instructions: if someone (in Italy) is interested to have legs substitute or other mechanical part broken repaired (in my case the sustain pedal) .. I could keep in touch with these very good artisans (inside the Univeristy of chemistry ??!!!!) realized all in few days and for a reasonable cost.
BTW, I realized that original 4 legs (+2) are important for stability of piano and to have a correct behaviours of sustain pedal...
original 4 legs system is a must immo. X supports have been a disaster for stability in my experience...

I hope this help .. please note I'm not a big expert and here there are a lot of very very Rhodes-skilled-guys :)

regards (from Italy)


thanks Andi for your interesting notes about the tube sound... I see!

in fact at the moment I use an active DI box (not so magnificient probably), to go in my mixer (an old small Soundcraft Spirit folio)
"having to" boost the low level signal of a rhodes, with a ST2 Guyatone (a not-so-bad booster-compressor pedal for guitar); at the moment is better tha nothing :)


WOW! thanks a lot Rob!

reading your notes, it sound correct ... I mean I was possibly never able to detect; i'm not a pianist and my ear on detecting chords on rhodes is not so good ... indeed all chords on rhodes sound wright ;-)  

There are two guys playing, so transcribing this is a major effort.
yeah, Chick and Herbie... even if in the "introduction" of chords progression I can datect just one piano ... (it seem to me Chick style...) but I'm possibly wrong and in the entire piece there are absolutely two rhodes playing.

The organizing principle is the ambiguity between major and minor thirds throughout this tune(listen to Miles' solo).
mhhh... I presume they use a "mode" where major and minor third are noth present in the scale...

It is three bars long, which adds to the tension, since they repeat it and it forms a very long hemiola against the overall 4/4 feel and the two bar bass ostinato that eventually enters.

 do not know what a hemiola is ... but you gived the idea ...
Thanks again! as soon I can I will try your suggestion! and I feedback!

I just realized this partilly give the answer to point 2:
anyway any more info / suggestion welcome: so what the better tuning method ? :)
thanks/ giorgio

premising that probably this is a topic already discussed ... eventually please forward me in a good thread.
Now, I finished "phase I" of my Rhodes mark I stage piano 73 keys restauration:
(all keys now "play") and I started a overall tuning; here my experience/premise:

I do not had good feeling with the tuning method suggested by the manual (put the harp vertically) ...
I got "fake" vibrations ... and I have difficulties to tuning with automatic tuner (I already use for my for guitars)
so I got better results just loosen the "internal" screw of tone bar, so moving the tine string with fingers ...that usually allow me a good overall exception with some problems that I expose here below and I ask your opinion / suggestion:

1. I have problems in tuning highest octave notes with the method above described is impossible, so I have to remove the tone bar completely
and the biggest problem is that tuning is "critical" also because spring are very narrow the end of the short lenght tine ... and a very small distance (less than a millimeter) change tuning of a semitone almost ...
there is some drawback / solution ?... that's normal that upper notes are so "critical" (not only in tuning but also in tone and sustain ...) ?

2. Considering that I used this cromatic guitar tuner:
It happen that ... suppose in the middle octaves (in the center of keyboard) every key alone seem well tuned (the tuner blink a green led telling that the note is in the correct tuning)

but playing chords:

it happen that sometime if I do "consonant" chords ... let consider just consonant triads like suppose A - C - E - G ... I got some "beats" ... I mean some little "detuning" of chord...

Is this dependent by the fact the tuner is possibly not so precise ? I need a a more precise tuner; maybe one with a Hertz-scale ?
there is some method to solve these tunings anomalies ?    

thanks for your patience reading my English so&so... :)

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Your favourite composer?
« on: November 26, 2010, 08:33:19 AM »
Can I say Joe Sample ?

of course :)

BTW, just to possibly enjoy people here:
a Return To Forever rare recording:
with a superb (immo) Steve Gadd on drums... and great Stanley Clarke, as usual!

That for say that I Hate ... but also I Love... Chick Corea, a part some opinable adrift of Return to Forever project ...
I think his percussive way to play piano was a perfect match with the sound of Rhodes...:
in this recording the overdriven-percussive use of a (Fender) Rhodes is paroxistic; isn'it ?! :)


Correct impedance matching basically ensures that the full tonal spectrum of the Rhodes makes it through. Impedance mismatch mostly causes a loss of high frequencies, making the sound dull.

Thanks... mmmhh... a bit off topic: in facts my rhodes is full of high frequencies and low frequencies too ... ;-) the problem is, in my restauration, to balance sound on the entire keyboard... even if I replaced pick-ups and clean tonebars/tines, do regulations ... I still have "problem" (but also a virtue in a cretain sense...) on the fact every note sound with his different "spectrum" ;-) ... but that's another topic ok.

Any other suggestions on preamps are welcome:
BTW, premising that I like TUBE sound ... at the moment my preferred choice in the above list is this device:

just for my curiosity: a friend suggested to use a transistor preamp instead of a tube preamp to save money and maintain sound quality ...
he stated that cheap tube preamp are noise-generator ... ok... so I asked to him: "really?! what brand/model ?" .. no answer ...
so, my question is: there are good transistor preamp suitable for our use, in the Eurpean market ?

Generally speaking:
please  let me know "how" you put Rhodes in the mixer:
directly on the mixer ? with a DI box ? passing through a preamp and so to the mixer ? passing to an acoustoi amplifier and so to the mixer through a micro ? passing to a multieffect processor before or in the loop of the mixer ?

My possible choice is to use the same chain of my guitars: instrument -> (preamp / DI box) -> mixer (effect processors in the mixer loop)


Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Your favourite composer?
« on: November 25, 2010, 08:20:09 AM »

do you mean "using rhodes" I presume; my prefered here are: ... Chick Corea ... and of course Joe Zawinul ... 

hi all

when I was young ... I was obsessioned by this chord progression:

does someone could tell me what chords are ... i'm not a pianist, but I know jazz terminology ?

I mean the 6-steps piano bit-dissonant chord progressions, played on rhodes by Chick Corea (If I'm not wrong).

BTW, In a Silent way (the Joe Zawinul theme and all the album of course) is immo unequalled...

Last but not least, someone know what model of organ Joe played here ?


thanks SWANG! any suggestion by users did screws/grommets replacement using vintagevibe kit?

Hi all

I'm restoring a 10-1979 Mark I, remained in a humid cellar for 20 years almost ... :(

Now, I got the vintagevibe screws/grommets replacement kit.
and I have few questions:

1. I noticed that these new grommets appear a bit "small" in the head-diameter / thin than original ones (see photo below, the new grommets are in the right)... these grommets are pheraps "less good / strong" than the originals... ?

2. screws supplyied in the kit appear to have a different screw thread that the original screws ... now I read in a vintagevibe explanantion that that these are slightly more thick and long to make more "grip" in the "used holes ...
BUT, I feel these a bit too much thick when I'm screw-in ... that's normal ? It's what planned ?

3. In the low octave (first 5/10 keys) the spring around the (keyboard side) screw is doubled (see photo below): I mean there are two springs twisted togheter ...
I presume this is to give a more hardiness / elastic power to the spring system... it's normal and I have to remount these as I found it ?
or this double-springs is useless with the new screws .. ?

Sorry, I suspect my English is a bit rough to explain clearly  this technicalities ... so I add some photos here below:

Anyway I thank you in advance fgor your suggestions.

I own a Studio Projects VTB-1 preamp. I bought it because it was available to me cheap. (More or less why I buy any gear.) It's a unit that originally sold for around 200 USD, so maybe (or maybe not) a cut above the Behringer and Presonus entry level stuff that retailed around 50 USD. It's certainly well built.

I use it with my clav, not Rhodes, but I can post some Rhodes samples later on. I view the tube feature as an effect, no more no less. It has a blend knob that you can use to attain a mix of solid-state and "tube-effected solid state" tones. You'll find a bunch of tube guys posting rude things about it if you go reading reviews on the interweb--I just view it as an effect, not as the holy grail of tone or anything. If you like it it's good in my opinion. It has a balanced out, which for me is a crucial feature, and there's even an FX loop on it, although it's implemented as a TRS jack, so you have to build a cable to take advantage of it (instructions are in the manual). The FX loop is also kind of clever in that I can record the pre- and post- tube output simultaneously if I have the channels available.

Since we are talking input impedance these days, this unit lists 1.5Mohm for the Hi-Z input, an a switchable mic input that's 2000/300 ohms, so it's nice and flexible.  I have no complaints with mine.

Yes Rob!
it's interesting and in a range of price acceptable for me.

it seem it have all good characteristics of other preamp here pointed out  ...

BTW, my opinion about tube controls: I like "tube" sound of course... in fact I associate in my mind the term "pream" with a tube pre-amplifier :)

thanks for the detailed info!

You could also think about the SM Pro Audio TB101 oder TC01. They're not significantly better than the ART products but have a higher input impedance (1MΩ as opposed to 650kΩ if I remember correctly) and are only moderately more expensive.
Also, have a look at the M-Audio DMP3 – it's said to be one of the best in its price range.

Another idea would be to look out for a clean booster pedal, such as the MXR M133 Micro Amp.

thanks Andy

the SM Pro Audio TB101 ( ) and the TC01 ( )

feel good ... a bit of EQ and compressor could help also for use it with a mic.
BTW, the higher impedance possibly mean less background noise ?
BTW, you are used these with a rhodes ?

about the pedal booster: in fact at the moment I alredy use this solution ... a Guyatone ST2 ... it's a compressor/sustainer for guitar indeed ... with a good sound BTW ....


Thanks Emielskey for your proposal.

A note about Line-6 gears:
you are right associating my music with line-6 ... in facts I used a DL-4 on my last two works...
I admit that the "sound" of this looper is very interesting ... (even if delay emulations are awful immo)
Now, the DL-4 suddendly crashed one week ago ... no sound on output ...
I already listen about this possibility by some users ... I would'nt believe ... but it happened to myself...
I tryed to open the pedal ... absoultely bad made ... all is "digital" inside ... awfule   
So I decided to do not purchase any more line6 stuff ...

Among us: What I like so much about rhodes piano is that is something electro-mechanical ... all is made by wood, alluminium, screws, solenoids... and I'm restoring myself an instrument dead for almost 30 years ... ;-)

About effects for basses: Yes: I already noticed that''s a good idea just the reason you pointed out! thank-you for remind me



preamp: any suggestion about something in between the Art Tube MP and the MindPrint EnVoice ?


Here it's all about the pianos, ok?
really ???!!! :((((((((((((((((((((

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