Author Topic: Difference Fender Rhodes MK I and Rhodes MK I  (Read 4382 times)


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Difference Fender Rhodes MK I and Rhodes MK I
« on: August 18, 2004, 06:48:39 AM »
I've got a question about the Fender name: i read, that the sound was changed, at the time when they dropped the fender name, it is said, that the sound was afterwards more smooth and less bell-like. Is that correct?



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Difference Fender Rhodes MK I and Rhodes MK I
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2004, 09:21:28 AM »
Fender Rhodes Mark I vs Rhodes Mark I

Rhodes Mark I (1975-1979)

In late 1975, CBS Musical Instruments decided to drop the Fender name from the Rhodes line of products, in order to establish Rhodes as its own brand. The Rhodes Suitcase Piano and Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano continued to be produced in 73- and 88-key configurations.

Aside from the new logos, there were two main differences between the "Fender Rhodes" and "Rhodes" Mark I pianos: the hammers and the tines. These differences were small ones, but they still had a noticeable impact on the piano's tone. The new hammers were completely plastic, reducing the weight of the piano while retaining the same shape and replaceable Neoprene tips. The tines featured a "swaged" design, tapered in a way that made them 4 times more durable than the previous generation. The combination of these improvements produced the more mellow, less bell-like sound heard on most Rhodes recordings from the late 70's.


please try to search before you post.

Offline Freddan

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Fender Rhodes Mark I vs Rhodes Mark I
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2004, 08:36:43 PM »
Hi Constantin!
The most important fact you need to know about sound, is that there was always something going on inside the piano.
The "Fender" name drop, was only a name drop, just as the MkII name change was only a name change, however accentuated by the flat-top.
Since it's a matter of personal taste what sound you like, you have to search for a year ( roughly ), where the configuration was your favourite.

Some of the major changes that went on inside the FenderRhodes' during the -70's were:
         1970 New tines from Torrington instead of Ray-Macs
         1971 New hammer tips of Neoprene instead of felt hammers
         1972 New tone bars of steel

...and in the inside Rhodes ( after 1974 ) :
         1976 New all-plastic hammers PLUS the New key pedestal configuration.
.....and a whole bunch of other things.
So you see, it's not as simple as MkI vs. MkII or FenderRhodes vs. Rhodes. Also, you must not forget that a Rhodes ( or FenderRhodes ) after leaving the plant, was almost never properly adjusted and serviced, so 99% of the pianos you come across will feel and sound completely different and much, much better after professional and competent maintenance.

Pianos from 1974-75 generally have a terrible keyboard and usually feel awkward, heavy and dull, but they actually have a beautiful sound that comes out after service if the keys are fixed.

A fun quote from Harold Rhodes himself : "Some people think the old pianos sound better, but they are wrong! "

All the best,
Frederik "Freddan" Adlers
Frederik "Freddan" Adlers
Rhodes Supersite Lead Historian, Content Provider and Scandinavian Rhodes-Tech since 35 years.
Peacefreak Service Center
Molnlycke, Sweden