Author Topic: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?  (Read 231 times)

Offline qlyde1973stage

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Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« on: December 18, 2021, 12:58:19 PM »
Okay so this may be a strange question, I've recently fully restored my 1973 Stage and I'm extremely happy with it aside from my voicing job. I feel like it's "soft tone" is a little to edgy and pokey, not that it starts barking too early or anything, it just doesn't have that mellow super smooth tone.

The sound I'm comparing it to in my head is the basic VV Deluxe 64 tone in this video from Matt Johnson -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JNvCTW0cwo

Damn that tone is just so damn smooth and silky. I'd say mine is a bit more *woody?* or grittier and vintage sounding. It seems like the Vintage Vibe pianos really get a lot of the fundamental but they still thicken up and bark when you hit it.

So what do you think some of the key voicing tips are for a silky soft tone? Where do you think my voicing has gone wrong? Am I getting too much harmonic, are my pickups too close to the tines? Is my escapement too low? Or is it simply that my Rhodes is nearly 50 years old and it won't sound like a brand new VV instrument no matter how I voice it?

TBH I don't think that's the case because I've heard many vintage Rhodes sound brilliantly smooth and silky before. I just dont think I've found that sweet spot yet.

Thanks and Cheers!

-Q

Offline spave

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2021, 01:53:55 PM »
Hi,

I would first try to focus on the timbre adjustment from this page in the manual and set it towards the "pure fundamental" setting in figure 4-8.
https://www.fenderrhodes.com/org/manual/ch4.html#4-7

Also, another thing to consider is that the VV Deluxe has an active preamp in it that both increases the dynamics and adds to the "silky" part of the tone.

Try finding some more examples of Rhodes sounds you like and see if the majority of the clips are being played with active or passive units. If you find yourself leaning towards the active/suitcase sound, then going with a preamp would be the way to go.

Here are a few examples of how the preamp "colors" the sound:

1. Before and after with a Retro Flyer preamp on a 1973 Stage Rhodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctiuM0jlhE

2. Before and after with a Retro Flyer preamp on a later MK1 Stage Rhodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXthJllUpcc


Hope this helps
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes
1977 Wurlitzer 270

Offline qlyde1973stage

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2021, 05:24:14 PM »
Also, another thing to consider is that the VV Deluxe has an active preamp in it that both increases the dynamics and adds to the "silky" part of the tone.

Hey Spave, thanks for taking the time, I should have mentioned that my Rhodes is both Passive and Active. I have the RetroFlyer on the name rail and the Original Passive Circuit in the left cheek block as you can see in these pics.

https://ibb.co/TctTGLS
https://ibb.co/BZsvhGz

I think it’s gotta come down to voicing and I’m just not experienced enough with the voicing adjustments yet, I’ve gone through the manual during the whole restoration and voicing process but I think I’ll have to keep tweaking. I was hoping maybe someone else had purposefully voiced their piano to sound very ‘silky smooth’ with a little bark on the top, and that they could give some pointers. I know a lot of Rhodes guys tend to lean towards the “ideal” voicing shown in the manual, which has more bark and a more pronounced harmonic. If I figure it out I’ll be sure to update this post!

Offline spave

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2021, 07:42:03 PM »
Thats a really cool setup!


Since you already have the preamp, I would recommend just adjusting a few notes in the middle register to see if you can get them to sound like that VV Deluxe.

The main two I would recommend would be the timbre adjustment and also adjusting the pickup distance. By moving the pickups further away they won't saturate and get that "pokey" sound as easily as they do now.

Once you get the sound you like from those first few, it should be easy to replicate it across the entire keyboard.
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes
1977 Wurlitzer 270

Offline qlyde1973stage

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2021, 09:44:41 PM »
By moving the pickups further away they won't saturate and get that "pokey" sound as easily as they do now.

Thank you! It’s a really fun Rhodes, I do like the passive sound, more dark and mellow and it can actually be useful for a more lofi sound.

As for the pickup adjustment, I think that’s exactly it. While soloing a point and sweeping around in Pro-Q, I noticed that I was getting quite a bit of saturation in the low mids, and by ear, I think the high notes had too much attack, so  naturally lowering the level a little should make a big difference..

I got a tone that I really liked today, so I made a nice quick recording. The video will be released on my YouTube in a few hours. (Dec.20 - 8am EST) Let me know what you think if you get the chance to check it out.

Video -> https://youtu.be/8EPt6zBeFZs

Thanks for your help! Cheers Spave  :D
« Last Edit: December 19, 2021, 09:47:14 PM by qlyde1973stage »

Offline spave

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2021, 01:29:56 PM »
The tone in that video is really nice. You must be very proud of your restoration because it looks and sounds great  :)


After comparing your video and the VV Deluxe video, I definitely think the pickup adjustment should get you a lot closer to the sound you are looking for. Just remember that the adjustments will be more pronounced in the middle and lower registers while the upper end will probably change in volume more than it will change in timbre.

Also, one other thing to keep in mind is that the Avion preamp only has a mid bump while the VV Deluxe and most other active Rhodes have a bass/treble boost/cut. There is a chance that a portion of the characteristics you like on the Deluxe are being enhanced by the extra tone shaping capabilities of the bass/treble EQ.


Hope this helps  :)
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes
1977 Wurlitzer 270

Offline qlyde1973stage

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Re: Voicing a Fender Rhodes like a Vintage Vibe Deluxe?
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2021, 04:32:51 PM »
Proud for sure, especially for my first time owning a Rhodes, I’ll thank my Dad for always making sure I do things right. It may not always be perfect but I’ll do the best I can haha.

But yeah that’s a good point, as much as the mid is nice to have, it is a bit high I believe it’s around 800hz so it’s not the same effect as doing a smiley EQ with the bass and the treble. I get a lot of build up and saturation from 200-400hz and the RetroFlyer won’t do anything for that but I’d imagine that’s something I could work out physically with the voicing as you said.

Probably by giving the notes in that range a little more harmonic so they’re not pure fundamental and then back off the pickups a little more in that area to balance out my low-mid build up. As engineers will tell you, it’s not always about boosting highs, sometimes cutting the lows will give you the same curve in a more natural way.

Cheers!