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Messages - Dan Belcher

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / shipping a rhodes from mayraland
« on: October 08, 2006, 07:35:13 PM »
I shipped a 73 key stage model Rhodes from California to Kentucky using UPS and it got here absolutely undamaged.  I had it packed by a UPS Store in California.

The entire piano (including the hard top case) was surrounded by two layers of heavy duty cardboard boxes.  They had to take four cardboard boxes and cut and tape them together to form two larger boxes exactly the size of the piano.  For even more protection, I asked the store to use bubble wrap on the inside and outside of the piano, but the owner was pretty lazy and just plain didn't feel like dealing with something this big and heavy, so she just put it in in a box and let it go.  It's a good thing there was no damage--if it had been damaged, she would have been held liable by UPS and would have had to pay for the damage out of her own pocket.   :P  For that reason, the majority of UPS Store owners are quite a bit more careful when packing your item!

The cost?  Well, I worked at a UPS Store in Kentucky at the time, so my boss let me ship the piano on his account and I only had to pay him his cost, so I got it for around 60% off the retail price.  However, full retail for shipping on a stage model can run anywhere from $100 to $140 depending on location, weight, and insurance.  For a suitcase piano, you should probably double that due to the amp.  Packing costs vary between stores.  Depending on the city, the state, the store, and the owner, you can look for a packing cost between $30 and $100.  That includes materials and labor.

When shipping the piano, I insured it as well.  That way, if there was damage to the piano in transit, I was guaranteed to get paid back either by UPS or that particular UPS Store.  (If a UPS Store packs your item, you are guaranteed to get your money if there's damage.  If it is not packed by a UPS Store, UPS does not have to honor the claim If it is "not packed to UPS standards").

Note that the insurance value they will pay is based on whatever proof of value you can provide.  You can either give them a bill of sale of any kind for your piano, or you can find a similar item that has sold or is being sold to prove the price.  Therefore, I advise anyone buying a piano and shipping it to find an absolutely mint condition Rhodes going for over $1000 on eBay and print up a copy of the auction just in case.  ;)

Insurance is pretty cheap.  It's around $8-$16 extra to insure your piano, depending on how much value you want to place on it.  Every UPS shipment is automatically insured up to $100 for no charge.

Also, whether or not you insure the shipment, UPS will reimburse the shipping cost if your shipment arrives after the guaranteed delivery date unless the delay is due to an act of God (i.e. ice storm, earthquake, etc.).  

But the important thing is it did make it to me completely undamaged and it arrived on time.  :D

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Pre Piano 1946-68
« on: September 22, 2006, 06:30:01 PM »
Quote from: "fiddleheadpa"
I have been trying to find out what this thing may be worth but to no avail.
I can't find any prices anywhere.   Perhaps the thing is too rare???

Very rare, yes.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Distortion effects
« on: August 23, 2006, 09:45:25 PM »
I've got a Big Muff that sounds great on my Rhodes.  If I want just a little bit of bite for an edge, but I don't want to get muddy sound when I play more than just power chords, I can set the Sustain knob down really low and get a harsh, aggressive sound.  If I want to get fat, nasty distortion for a solo, I just crank the knob up.  Sounds great with a wah too!

Quote from: "sean p"
Quote from: "vicvega1972"
My first suggestion would be to get new screws and washers, and not use the old ones. The screws are #8 1-1/2in wood screws, and the washers are #6 finish washers (cupped). Stainless steel is best, but you can also get away with zinc coated.

Why are the grommet hardware kits so expensive from major key and speakeasy when you can by the screws and washers for a few bucks at the hardware store?

Because people pay it, meaning they make money.  Basic Economics 101.  ;)

Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Nord Stage
« on: August 07, 2006, 09:00:00 PM »
I tried the 61 key model at a music store a few weeks ago.  I wasn't terribly impressed by it--I'm too damn spoiled by the real thing.  :P  The plastic keys and action just didn't cut it when it came to recreating a Rhodes, though it is a good compromise I admit for including organ sounds as well.  The sounds were OK (they'd probably sound pretty good mixed in with other instruments), but I could easily tell the difference between the real deal and that Rhodes sound when it was by itself.  If I was going to be doing a quick gig, I could definately see myself playing that.  But for anything more than just a quick, short gig, I'd settle for nothing less than a real Rhodes piano myself.

The only way you're going to get that great Steely Dan phased sound is using an MXR Phase 90.  I've got a reissue I bought for like $60 and absolutely love it.  My sound is pretty much a dead ringer for the sound Donald Fagen got out of his Rhodes back in 2000 on the Two Against Nature album and the live DVD.

Quote from: "jim"
thanks for listening!

No, thanks for posting!  The more Rhodes I hear, the better!  :D

Love the Rhodes tone, very fat.  I'm just not much for the musical style (too much empty space for my tastes, I like a little more going on in the melody)

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists /
« on: July 12, 2006, 08:26:07 PM »
Very, very cool.  I especially appreciate the videos!!!!

FYI, on the sound samples page, you have Steely Dan's "Your Gold Teeth."  While being a very damn good solo, it's actually a Wurlitzer, not a Rhodes.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Pedal problem
« on: June 17, 2006, 05:59:16 PM »
Here's some pictures of my sustain pedal setup on my stage piano (I'm not familiar with any differences with the suitcase model).  The pedal itself is original, the rod is a Speakeasy replacement.

Does that help any?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / My new baby
« on: June 13, 2006, 04:59:00 PM »
Looks pretty sharp!  Especially love that MXR phaser.  8)

They are the company that supplies Speakeasy Vintage and others with the parts they resell.  Don't worry, they're a reputable operation.  Just give them a little time, I'm sure they'll get your order filled. :)

Yeah, it doesn't really feel all that different to the touch, but it might be a bit softer or harder than its neighbors.  I'm going to have to replace all my hammer tips anyway sometime soon, so I guess I'll have to get around to that ASAP.  If it's not that, I'm stumped.  I reset the strikeline and installed new grommets recently--the piano sounds a bit better in general with more even sound and a louder bass end, but it didn't do anything to help this evil sounding A.

They have a disclaimer on their main page that they run Major Key as a part-time operation only.  It may take a few days or even a week before they will get your order processed.

Not too bad--my grommets already arrived this morning!  I'm in the process of installing them now.  It's a bit tiresome--they have slightly more rubber than my old extremely worn out, mangled grommets and thus it's a tighter fit.  My fingertips are a bit raw from pushing the screw down through the rubber to get it started!

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / bass bost button -thing
« on: May 08, 2006, 12:58:26 AM »
I've got a fairly cheap ($70 on eBay here in the States) Vox Pathfinder practice guitar amp.  It's got 54 watts according to the fine print on the back of the amp and I think a 10" speaker.  Not too bad, especially for the price.

From the thread

Search for Part# 9305K21

I just ordered some grommets from here Friday, I should get this week sometime.  :D

Personal opinion here, but I found From Left To Right to be a bit... soft.  Lots of orchestral strings and such.  Almost elevator music.  Now, The Bill Evans Album...  gorgeous album.  Fender Rhodes and Steinway acoustic blend SO beautifully on that album on some classic tunes (Waltz for Debby, Funkarello, Twelve Tone Tune, Sugar Plum, etc.)  I highly recommend it. :)

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / bass bost button -thing
« on: May 04, 2006, 09:40:15 PM »
Bass "boost" is a bit of a misnomer.  10 just means the bass is at regular while 0 means it's being reduced from the original sound source.  I'll try to get you a sample of the difference in sound in just a moment. :)

EDIT--Okay Edwin, got you some sound clips!  :D

I play the same piece of music twice in this clip--first with the Bass Boost at 10, then with the Bass Boost at 0.  Note that on my amp I have the bass and treble both at full in this recording.  (Also ignore the static on the 10 bass boost part at times--I had the input volume too high on my PC when recording)

Okay, I took the entire tone generator assembly out and swapped it with another one a couple of times.  I also tried moving the pickup back and forth.  Nothing cured it.  The problem is definately in the tonebar, the tine, or something else in that assembly.

I tried plucking the tine while holding it right next to my ear and it sounded and sustained just like the other ones did when I tried that with other notes.  Therefore, I don't think it's the tine itself.  However, I cannot get the tone generator mounting screw to come loose!  (Using a 5/16 wrench as suggested in the service manual even!)  Therefore, I can't take the tine out and test it on another tone bar.

Anyone got any new ideas?  I'm feeling rather stumped by this.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / I have a Rhodes and a minimoog
« on: April 11, 2006, 03:00:18 PM »
Quote from: "Elena"
It seems like many Rhodes people prefer MXR or the Small Stone for the phaser effect.

Someone who know the difference between them(if any?) Or they are consider to be equal in terms of quality and effect?


I have no personal experience with the Small Stone, but I do own an MXR Phase 90 and absolutely love it.  If you wanna hear exactly what it sounds like, here's a few clips showcasing what it does to the sound on my 1978 Mark I Stage 73.  (Left click to download)
A comparison between the standard dry tone and the phased tone on a few bars from the well-known theme song to the TV show Taxi
Playing a bit of Steely Dan's great blues Pretzel Logic in both standard dry tone and phased.

I make no guarantees about the quality of my playing! :P  Also, I have not gotten a chance to fool around with really getting my piano well adjusted and so forth, so some notes may sound odd.

Quote from: "Uptownruler"
Quote from: "jeffwuollet"
try going from the rca jack inside the rhodes to the amp.

This works, as I do it with one of my Rhodes, but bypassing the preamp is not very ideal.

If his Rhodes is just a stage model, it doesn't have a preamp unless there's been modifications made to it over the years.  Therefore, this is a non-issue.

Quote from: "matt.musicman"
Are you playing the opening line to Josie?  ha ha nice

Indeed I am.  Very fun tune to play actually, sounds great with the MXR Phase 90 stomp box.  Some pounding chords in the stanzas, some free-flowing and fancy-sounding lines in the chorus.  8)

It seems the center of the hammer is striking the note basically (hell, it's probably more centered than 90% of the hammers on my piano!), so it's not a problem of slipping off the side.  I do have that problem to some degree with a few keys, however, in the bass side of the piano.

Later today, I'll take the note out and pluck the tine and see if it's working well.  I don't have any tools other than a screwdriver handy (I have the piano in my dorm room at college!), so I can't fully take it apart and inspect.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / I already got mine! :D
« on: April 05, 2006, 07:20:49 PM »
The black tabs on the highest note tonebars are used to add extra sustain to the note, I believe.

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?

Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / How to learn to play rhodes?
« on: March 17, 2006, 03:41:56 PM »
Quote from: "ti2de"
I'm not good in playing from records. I need some text and sheets or midifiles. Does anybody know good midifiles with rhodes licks? Or are there other ideas?

I strongly suggest teaching yourself how to play by ear.  It'll take some time, but you'll get the feeling better over time.  Basically, sit down and experiment with a song.  Pick a simple set of chords you heard on a song and try to figure out what they were just by sitting down at the keyboard and hammering away and using a little thinking, like common patterns (is this song a blues?  If so, I know Chord Y probably will come after Chord X!), common sounds and licks, etc.  And this really is the best way to learn how to play a lot of stuff on the Rhodes in my opinion because the Rhodes is all about feel.  I personally can't play worth a damn technically (I have no formal training and haven't been playing for very long at all), but even I can sound good on the Rhodes sometimes just because it's so much about how it feels, not how it sounds.

But for some Steely Dan MIDI files, try this link.  Some of the songs on there, such as Black Cow, Josie, Aja, and Hey Nineteen, have very well done Rhodes lines (I personally learned Josie off this MIDI, actually, very fun song to play).

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Suitcase model questions
« on: February 24, 2006, 08:02:54 AM »
Here's some pics of the Suitcase 88 model.  It's several inches wider than the cabinet apparently.

(Donald Fagen's Rhodes here is apparently a Mark I Suitcase 88 with a silver namerail on the front, but it has a Mark II top)

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase model questions
« on: February 22, 2006, 11:36:54 PM »
Quote from: "dasaxman"
I can't seem to find this out on the supersite "models" section... Was the suitcase model only a 73 and the 88 was always a Stage, OR was there an 88 suitcase?  If there was an 88 suitcase, did it use the same amp bottom as the 73 which would mean it would be wider than the amp??  Anyone, anyone...?

There IS an 88 suitcase, but it's not very common.  That is the type of Rhodes, however, that Donald Fagen from Steely Dan currently uses.  And yes, the amp bottom is smaller than the top of the piano.

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.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Small Stone Phaser Vs. MXR Phase 90
« on: February 12, 2006, 11:42:31 PM »
As far as the MXR Phase 90 goes, it's a big part of Steely Dan's sound.

Quote from: ""
Donald Fagen's rig is relatively simple (see Fig. A), consisting of a Fender Rhodes 88-key suitcase model piano going direct through an MXR Phase 90 phaser pedal.

I don't know if Fagen uses the original or the reissue, but it sounds absolutely gorgeous.  Here's a short example clip I threw together from some recent Steely Dan recordings (short clips of What a Shame About Me, Negative Girl, and a live version of Pretzel Logic)

(to download, left-click on the link, scroll down and click Free.  When it takes you to the next page, there will be a countdown timer for several seconds before you can download the file.  Type in the passcode it will give you and the download will start)

I'm waiting on my Rhodes to be shipped to me (it should be here on Friday!), but this the phaser I am planning on getting.

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