Author Topic: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?  (Read 692 times)

Offline mjbarber431

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Hello everyone! I'm totally new to the forum, so I hope this kind of post is appropriate. I recently purchased a Rhodes that was in near mint condition, came with the original warranty, owner's manual, tine repair kit, and even a polytone amplifier catalogue with schematics! Anyway, time alone had still worn some parts, so I have replaced all the screws, grommets, tone bar springs, hammer tips, and have meticulously voiced, adjusted pickups, strike line, escapement, key dip, and key leveling over the last few weeks. No matter what I do, however, a prominent bell attack sound prevails and I was wondering if this is just normal for Rhodes pianos and I should get used to it, or if I did something wrong with my setup. I have included links to Youtube videos of two recordings I made this morning, one with harder strikes and faster playing and one with slower and lighter dynamics to demonstrate the difference in 'bell-y ness' according to my playing style. Let me know what you think, and if you notice anything else I could work on based on the recordings. I recorded via direct-in with some EQ and compression, that is the best recording setup I have at the moment. I apologize for the sloppy playing  ;)

While we are all here, can anyone guess what era my Rhodes is from the sound alone? I am simply curious to see what people think of my piano without bias, haha! If it is pertinent to the discussion, however, I would be happy to disclose. Thanks so much for allowing me into the community!

Here are the links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-z_ieCZBMc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-_6GZAHadc

Best,
Matt
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline sean

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2021, 01:57:12 PM »

Offline mjbarber431

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2021, 04:30:30 PM »
Thanks for the diagram, but voicing has not been the solution the pingy attack. I've tried voicing every which way. Incidentally, the more I listen to the recordings, the more I like the piano so maybe I'm just not used to playing it yet. It's much different in real life.
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline sean

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2021, 07:56:50 PM »

I specifically held back judgement, because I agree - the Rhodes sounds good.

Sean

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2021, 07:34:06 PM »
If you want a softer tone, softer hammer tips may be the next step.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
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2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
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....and a few guitars...

Offline mjbarber431

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2021, 06:25:04 AM »
Thanks for the feedback! I have actually already replaced the hammer tips with VV's angled color tips, which are the softest they offer besides the felt ones. I'm really starting to dig the sound, however. FYI, my Rhodes is a 1983 mk II with plastic keys. I took Sean's advice and moved the balance rail to the forward position which makes the keys feel much more substantial, plus the pin holes were much less worn so the keys appear more consistent and leveled after doing that. Only problem now is locating a source of 1/4" hole punchings for key leveling. Anything else I need to know about my new piano? Coming from a Casio, this is still a dream come true regardless of plastic keys.
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline Dan Belcher

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2021, 08:28:27 AM »
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.
Proud owner,
1978 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73

Offline mjbarber431

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2021, 05:02:55 PM »
Thanks for the kind words! That is sound advice. I recently moved the pickups a bit closer and raised the tines slightly higher which has created much more bark and a deeper tone. Regarding your post, Dan, does anybody know what kinds of changes there were in design and parts during that era (1983)? What changed besides the plastic keys and smaller hammer throw from earlier Mark II's and Mark I's?
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2021, 10:27:10 PM »
does anybody know what kinds of changes there were in design and parts during that era (1983)? What changed besides the plastic keys and smaller hammer throw from earlier Mark II's and Mark I's?

Pickups.  Different coil wire, different magnet poles.  Yes they do sound different.

The OEM of the tines changed over the years.  Raymacs were used until about 1971.  Then Torringtons.  Schagler tines were the last and most durable, and are more bell tone with less bark.

Resonators.  First generation were square resonators, replaced in 1969 with the cold rolled flat resonators to reduce weight.  They are not interchangeable.

Fender was ALWAYS changing suppliers, for two reasons.  One, they wanted a second source as a back up in case the first ran into supply or quality issues.  Two, the CBS beancounters were aggressively looking for cheaper and cheaper suppliers which drove the engineering department nuts when a new source did not make the new parts correctly or with inferior quality.

This is why it is futile to nail "the best year" for Rhodes pianos.

After listening to your audio sample, I think the piano sounds good.  You could really benefit from a different amp.  Tube amps work really well with Rhodes pianos.

Offline mvanmanen

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Re: Requesting reactions to my Rhodes recording, is it too bell-y?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2021, 09:33:05 AM »
Thanks for the feedback! I have actually already replaced the hammer tips with VV's angled color tips, which are the softest they offer besides the felt ones. I'm really starting to dig the sound, however. FYI, my Rhodes is a 1983 mk II with plastic keys.

I swear I thought 1983 within just a few seconds of hearing your recording Rhodes Flower. The more rhodes you play and listen to then you really can recognize the tonal differences recognizing as people restore them with different parts they are creating different sounding rhodes. It really is wonderful how different each rhodes sounds. It gives those of us with a passion for these instruments many different textures to choose from.

Anyways, I enjoyed your playing and think the piano sounds very nice. I owned a 1983 suitcase for awhile. I really had it sounding quite nice but ultimately it was the action that lead me to sell it.
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