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Messages - Dan Belcher

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I personally think your tone sounds really nice. The way I look at it, everybody's piano is going to sound a little different, particularly when considering different generations of the design of the parts used in the piano, and while you can tweak it, don't fight what your piano is trying to do. You could experiment with like a 2 or 3db drop around 6.5khz to take away a little of the bright attack without changing it too drastically.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Rhodes Stereo Vibe Noise
« on: August 24, 2020, 09:27:44 AM »
I have had my Stereo Vibe since 2011. I don't have any real noise problems with mine, unless you're in dead silence with the volume cranked you won't notice any noise. You're going to get an increase in noise any time you increase the treble in general, but I don't have a significant noise bump with mine. I recorded a sample for you with the noise level at a more moderate EQ setting, then the noise level with the treble turned up all the way. In fact, this clip has more noise than I usually hear, probably because I have both my personal computer and my work laptop running in the same room as my Rhodes right now, and I don't have a power conditioner so that doesn't help either.

For Rhodes, I'm interested a project that Jay Graydon has been spearheading to recreate the famous Model E Rhodes, which has a pretty distinctive tone. It's not your every day Rhodes sound, but if you are looking for that sound, nice.

Otherwise, Keyscape has some very solid electric piano recreations. Multiple Rhodes, Wurlitzers, Clavinets, Pianets, all that fun stuff, plus some acoustic pianos too. Here's a cool video of Greg Phillinganes showing off some of the presets (which FYI are a bit hit and miss, usually the bass or treble gets hyped too much in the presets I've found). Here's another video specifically done with Wurly 200A patch. I have a 1979 Rhodes, but I still like to play the ones in Keyscape sometimes just because they have a very different tone than mine does, and they can sound really nice.

As far as Hammond organ stuff goes, I don't know a ton about those options. I personally have a copy of VB3 which I bought a long while ago which is probably not the best, but still sounds great. I'm sure others have more knowledge on that than me.

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: The Youtube Rhodes thread
« on: February 22, 2020, 05:28:27 PM »
I'm a huge fan of Steely Dan, and both Donald Fagen and Walter Becker's solo work. One of my favorite Walter Becker songs is Downtown Canon. Once I learned how to play it, I decided to record myself playing it on my Rhodes along with bass and vocals.

I used some EQ on the Rhodes to cut out some of the mud from the low mids and remove everything below 80hz to not conflict with the bass guitar. I also used a little compression, delay, tape emulation, some stereo tremolo, and a very subtle amount of chorus.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: inherited a KMC 1
« on: February 21, 2020, 07:08:33 AM »
Luckily nowadays my wife and I have our own house where I am able to have my computer and all of my instruments in the same room. However, many years ago when I lived with my parents, I had my Rhodes and my desktop computer and audio interface in my bedroom. When I bought an electronic drum kit, I didn't have room for it in my bedroom, so I set it up in the basement. I drilled a small hole in the floor by the baseboard (with my parents' permission of course LOL) and ran a long MIDI cable and headphone extension cable through it. This let me connect my drumset to my PC and record with it. It was inconvenient having to go up and down the stairs all the time, but it certainly worked when I didn't have any better options. Whenever recording, I would set up my DAW to have plenty of extra space before the start of the track so I had time to get down the stairs and in position before the song started. Also sometimes I would set it to loop so I could play through multiple takes in a row if I wanted to without having to go back up the stairs and click anything.

This is super cool and quite clever. I love it.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Re: Peterson stereo pan pedal?
« on: July 15, 2019, 08:06:14 AM »
Vintage Vibe makes a preamp called the Stereo Vibe that is essentially a modernized, improved Peterson suitcase preamp. I bought one several years ago and absolutely love it. Super clean and low noise, good tone adjustment range, and the tremolo is so sweet, it even gives you a wider range of speed adjustment than the original Peterson.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Uneven cheek blocks ?
« on: August 27, 2018, 06:53:24 AM »
When I installed a Vintage Vibe preamp on my Stage Rhodes, I used a wide drill bit to carve out an indentation in the wood block under the cheek block where the 1/4" jacks went. This worked like a charm and the cheek block sits down properly in place now.

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: The Youtube Rhodes thread
« on: December 25, 2017, 10:10:13 AM »
Here's my latest song I've recorded and put on Youtube. So, this one is actually a guitar-centered blues, Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign, but it does have Rhodes throughout. (I basically replaced the horn parts with Rhodes)

The raw sounds are great. The recordings of the electric pianos on it are very treble-heavy and need to be EQed down to sound like a standard run of the mill Rhodes or Wurly. The default sound patches are not the greatest in my opinion and need a lot of tweaking to sound "right" to my ears, so the demo clips on Youtube aren't really a fair comparison to how good it can be! With some tweaking they are really authentic sounding and fun to play.

The "specialist" they brought in to determine the value said they could sell it for around $2500, so the store offered the guy $1200.

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: The Youtube Rhodes thread
« on: November 12, 2016, 06:08:57 PM »
Here's something I recorded recently. A cover of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" featuring my Rhodes. I played Rhodes, guitar, bass, drums, and sang on this!

Glad you guys got to enjoy these as much as me!
What is PYT? I could only hear about 30 seconds of that one then it locked up.
There are a few spots throughout PYT where the Rhodes drops out for a few measures and the clip is completely silent, such as the spot 30 seconds in. I didn't edit out any of those spots.

And one more. They also had stems for PYT, so I was able to get the isolated Rhodes from that song as well. I left the entire thing, including a brief intro before the song begins where Greg Phillinganes plays a couple notes without the chorus effect engaged.

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 / Re: The Fender Rhodes Documentary
« on: March 28, 2016, 06:30:31 AM »
Wonderful! I just ordered my copy. Can't wait to watch it later tonight.

Just a heads up, if you want to hear essentially the dry sound of these recordings with the chorus, listen to only the left or only the right channel. It's a stereo chorus effect, so that will basically negate it.

My personal opinion: I think it has a great tone for what it is -- a bright Rhodes tone. I tend to think of dark and brights Rhodes tones as being like single coil vs humbucker pickups in guitars. Two totally different sounds, but both are equally "good" to me and just have their own places and fit in different songs and styles of music. A brighter Rhodes with a lot of the low-mid frequencies stripped away will fit great in a ballad, while a meaty, growling tone will be right at home in a fusion or funk record. This particular Rhodes is one of the best I've ever heard at creating a bright tone without being shrill or thin. It still has body and character, even if it's certainly thinner than say Herbie Hancock's sound.

Can anyone say for sure if this is the piano used on "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington and Bill Withers? I always found that to be a really interesting sounding Rhodes.

As far as it sounding too trebly, yes, by itself maybe, but with a band and a bass, it could sound amazing. When I was in a band in '81-'83 the leader kept telling me to let the bass player play the bass notes because the bass was too overwhelming with the Rhodes and the bass guitar together.

 That may have been part of the reason for this mod?
When mixing sound, the lows and low-mids can very easily become muddy and overwhelming when you have multiple instruments fighting for sonic space. When I'm mixing audio, I almost always use EQ to remove some lower frequencies from every instrument except the bass and the kick drum. When you listen to the entire mix, the instruments sound balanced and the overall sound is rich and full. However, if you solo out any of the instruments, they tend to sound fairly thin. This is especially true of the Rhodes, since it can get very bass heavy and boomy due to its nature.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Lack of high frequency
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:16:16 AM »
If you have access to a graphic equalizer, dropping the gain a bit in the region of about 200 Hz to 400 Hz can often take lots of muddiness out of the tone.

This is something I absolutely do with my Rhodes. I have one from 1978, and the natural sound of the piano tends to have lots of low-mids. Even when using a Vintage Vibe Stereo Vibe preamp which helps my tone a great deal already, I still like to EQ out some of the stuff below 400hz. This provides a much more natural tone on the high end than trying to boost certain treble frequencies and lets the real character of the piano shine through.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Vintage Vibe Stereo Vibe Preamp
« on: January 06, 2016, 06:46:47 AM »
I installed the Stereo Vibe on my '78 stage a few years ago. I had to drill a very shallow hole with a wide drill bit in the wood under the cheek block to accommodate the power supply, but even considering that, it was incredibly easy to install.

As far as look and feel, I love the fact that the faceplate matches what you'd see on a vintage suitcase Rhodes. The power supply and outputs in the cheek block aren't a big deal to me. They don't look bad, they're sturdy and stable, and they don't get in the way while still being very easily accessible. (I love having two 1/4" outputs for stereo to capture the stereo tremolo easily. And looking at the website, it appears they've added a headphone jack since I got mine!)

The sound is really fantastic. Very crisp and clear, with big amounts of boost and cut available on both the treble and bass ends. Very low noise. The tremolo has a huge range of settings for depth, stereo width, and speed. I have it set to the FET mode and never even bothered with the other setting because I loved the tone so much.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: First Rhodes 73
« on: February 05, 2015, 06:33:18 AM »
And I thought I got a hell of a steal on my Rhodes back in 2006 when I paid $200 for it! :o

Congrats! Have fun!

What's worked for me is to fold a tiny piece of paper and put it in between the harp support and the rear of the offending tone bar. No more buzzing and it hasn't affected the tone of the note (well not to my ears anyway).
This is what I did when I first got my Rhodes back in 2006, and that same piece of paper has been sitting there ever since. Works like a charm!

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Herbie on Rhodes 2013!
« on: June 18, 2013, 06:15:26 PM »
This is good stuff.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: VV EP 64: A review in german
« on: March 11, 2013, 07:28:54 PM »
The piano sounds fantastic (especially with the Small Stone) and your playing was equally fantastic!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: voicing procedure advice
« on: February 07, 2013, 06:21:28 PM »
For what it's worth, there's nothing wrong with using a little EQ. By nature, the Rhodes creates an extremely bass-filled soundscape. It really helps to get rid of some of that with EQ.

I took your clip and slapped a basic EQ plugin on it (highpass filter at 75hz to get rid of some of the low end rumble, a pretty wide 3db cut at 150hz, and a 4db notch at 450hz (since that frequency range gets kind of boxy sounding pretty easily). This makes it just sound a little more clear and punchy without really making it bright or anything. See if you like what it did to the sound.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Re: Eq pedal
« on: December 15, 2012, 01:20:08 PM »
Whatever EQ pedal you use, remember that you don't have to just boost frequencies. You can also cut frequencies that are muddying up the sound and getting in the way. Don't be afraid to remove some of the low end to make your Rhodes sound brighter and richer and clearer. This is especially true on my '78 Rhodes that has quite a bit of bass and treble but less midrange. I like using a big cut at 100hz and some cuts around 200hz and 500hz. It gives me a crisper sound without making the treble sound hyped and unnatural.

The MK1 in that clip sounds gorgeous. I strongly prefer it over the MK2.

Here's the Boss CE-5, just the mono chorus sound. (I can get you a sample of the stereo chorus later if you want, just ask).

Two takes of the same passage, one clean, one chorused. The knobs are all set at 12 o'clock except for depth at 2 o'clock. I recorded this direct through the outputs on Vintage Vibe's stereo vibe preamp, then used some serious EQ tweaking for tone and a multiband compressor/limiter to add some punch, plus some reverb. So there's no actual amp involved or anything, meaning this should hopefully show you the pedal's nature as far as sounding too digital or sterile. I personally feel it sound great.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Steely Dan sheet music or books
« on: November 07, 2012, 04:53:56 PM »
This is the book I have. It's pretty good for the right chords, but I don't know anything about how its leads and solo transcriptions are. One significant downfall is that all the songs on the Can't Buy a Thrill and Aja albums are transposed to different keys. The other albums have the songs in their original keys, however.

This DVD includes sheet music for five songs. It's an official Fagen effort, so I would imagine the chords would really be right. Chain Lightning, Peg, Josie, On the Dunes, Teahouse on the Tracks all have demonstrations in the DVD, and the case has actual paper copies of the sheet music.

I like it, both dry and with the chorus effect.

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