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The 1971 KMC Home Rhodes

Started by spave, July 01, 2023, 04:15:41 PM

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Hi all,

Came across an old reverb listing today for an elusive first gen 1971 KMC Home model Rhodes. There is a lot of misinformation/confusion on this model here and on other places online so I figured I'd repost these photos to show what one of these actually looks like and to start a thread dedicated to this particular model.

A lot of people confuse the original Home KMC with the Student/teacher KMC and assume they are identical but the Home model has some different features and is significantly rarer than the Student/teacher version.

Some unique differences of this particular unit include:

- Inclusion of a Fender Rhodes badge instead of the standard Rhodes badge that all other KMC student/teacher models had. (Side note: My 1969 Home model has a Rhodes badge so there seems to have been a bit of variation for the few that were produced.)

- No student power amp/metronome unit. This particular Home model has what appears to be a Peterson preamp box in the name rail but instead of the normal dual concentric knobs, this one has 3 witch hat knobs that control volume, treble, and bass respectively. It seems like this might be a later production design change as the only other 1st gen Home models I have seen actually have a normal peterson with stereo tremolo. This one also only has the student style power supply instead of the suitcase supply which might mean it only has the single 10" speaker as opposed to the 4 10's that my Home model has.

- The Fender Rhodes gold foil logo has HOME stamped in the model section. Normal student/teacher KMCs have either FR or FR-7055 stamped in that section instead. (As a side note, all the Executones seem to have HOME stamped here as well. I almost think someone came up with the name Executone after the fact and that they were just considered special order home models back in the day but if anyone has literature/ads showing the Executone name please let me know.)

-The power switch, headphone jack, and pilot light built into the right cheek block. I haven't ever seen them put into the right cheek block before. As far as I know, all the other Home/Executones have them built into the left cheek block. If you look closely, this one also has a jewel pilot light similar to the executones as opposed to the normal light from the peterson power amp that the other Home models I've seen normally have. It also looks like there is a second switch which might be a standby which if confirmed would indicate this particular unit might actually be powered by some sort of tube amp!

Note: It seems like these original Home models were not standardized and it is possible that every single one was just a one off that was built whenever an order for one came in. Each one I have seen has unique features and even the original ad which I included below shows one with a second foot pedal which I have never seen on any of the other surviving KMC Home models (aside from the 1977 version).

If anyone has any additional info on these original KMC 1 Home models please comment below. Ever since I bought my own, I have searched for seemingly nonexistent info on them and it seems like most of the information out there gets them confused with the KMC student/teacher model and/or the later 1977 KMC walnut home model.

Original reverb link:

Thread on my own 1969 Home model:

Thread on the Executone:
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1977 Wurlitzer 270


Just came across a current Reverb ad for another early KMC Home piano. This one is just 2 serial numbers away from the one in my prior post and it has a lot of additional photos that confirm most of the details on the prior unit weren't just one offs and it also confirms some of my prior hypotheses as well.

The biggest one is the fact that these particular 1971 KMC Home pianos have TUBE AMPS! It seems like for this particular run of KMC Home models, Fender opted for what looks like a Fender bassman style preamp with volume, treble, and bass controls, two Utah speakers, and some form of 50W tube amp. (I think this might be based on a Bassman 50 as that was an amp that Fender sold in 1971 but I am not familiar with Fender's tube amp layouts so if anyone knows what amp this looks like, please comment below.)

As far as I know, the only tube amp Rhodes were the really early 1964/65 73 sparkletop/student models, the Executones, and now these 1971 KMC Home models. Harold was clearly interested in the idea of a tube Rhodes but it seems like the failure of this model along with the Executone doomed it from ever coming back. Adding up all the above models, I'd guess less than 100 tube powered Rhodes were ever made with the bulk of them being the early Sparkletop/student versions.

Hard to say if the current asking price is fair due to the weight of the KMC body, but in my opinion it is easily one of the coolest and rarest production Rhodes ever made.

Reverb link with additional pictures:
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1977 Wurlitzer 270