Author Topic: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?  (Read 37574 times)

Offline james

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« on: March 25, 2005, 03:03:59 PM »
The only difference is that a Rhodes without the Fender brand name is a newer piano, built in the late 1970's or early 1980's. The mystery behind the "Fender Rhodes" name becoming just the "Rhodes" name is a result of CBS marketing to expand distribution to keyboard dealers, as well as some guitar dealers. The case being that some dealers were limited with both names joined, therefore if separated they would be different lines entirely. So in fact, a keyboard dealership could have the Rhodes line but not necessarily the Fender line, so local music dealers would not be pitted against each other. And since Harold Rhodes was the heart and soul of the sound, it was a meaningful move as well as a marketing strategy.
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Offline MikePeterson

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2006, 06:56:33 PM »
As I remember, almost all Rhodes pianos were produced in connection with Fender.

Harold produced some very early models independently, but the Rhodes as we know it was always produced in connection with Fender.

When I worked for Fender, the Rhodes brand had been separated. The company was called Fender, Rogers, Rhodes, Squier,  a division of CBS musical Instruments.
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Offline cactusleaf

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tone difference
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006, 05:02:33 PM »
But does a sans-Fender logo correspond exactly to the two post-1975 upgrades, all plastic hammers and updated tine design?

That is to say, do all Fender Rhodes pianos have some wood in their hammers and older tines, and all Rhodes pianos have all plastic hammers and newer tines? That would mean an innate difference in tone between Fender Rhodes and Rhodes. That's a big thing.
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Offline james

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2006, 12:27:10 AM »
It's been a while since I wrote this, so I thought I should elaborate: the only real difference between a "Fender Rhodes" and a "Rhodes" is the name.  As Mike said, every Rhodes is a Fender Rhodes, because both the guitars and pianos were produced by CBS.  All of the changes to the piano happened gradually over time, and a lot of what shapes the sound has to do with how the piano is voiced (i.e. the way the tines are placed in relation to the pickups) and what kind of amp, preamp, effects, etc. are used to shape the sound further.  The wood/plastic hammers don't make a huge difference in comparison to the all-plastic ones (I've owned both), although the teardrop piano hammers from the 60's have a lot more clang & slam to them (i.e. the early Miles acid jazz sound, not classic Headhunters, Return to Forever, Weather Report).  But the one thing that really does matter in terms of getting an older sound is the tines.  If you put late 70's "Rhodes" tines in an early 70's "Fender Rhodes", it will sound like a late 70's "Rhodes".  My piano teacher in LA attested to this, telling me that when his tech did an overhaul of his 1972 Suitcase before a tour with Zappa in the late 70's, he replaced all of the tines with new ones.  My teacher went ballistic and had the guy put all the original tines back....

I'm sure there are people who will attack these ideas or at least bitch about them, but I've owned pianos from 1972, 1975, 1978 and 1981, and the first I ever played was an original teardrop Stage 73 from 1969.  I've got some firsthand experience to go on here.  Other things to consider when looking at the overall difference: whether it has the key pedestal modification for Mark I's, or which of the 3 key action settings are used for the plastic-key Mark II's; the amount of throw that the hammers are given (as Mike mentioned, the Mark V had a lot more distance between the hammers & tines); and the configuration of the dampers (tight vs. loose, plus whether they have the Mark V modification).  When you start mixing and matching features from different generations, you can get some interesting results.
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Offline modorange

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2007, 07:50:38 AM »
So I guess I need to go and find some old tines?!? Where can you get them?

I want that Miles' sound.. Bitches Brew era.. '69.. Who was the Zappa Keyboardist who was your teacher??

Cool! I currently have 3 Rhodes, a 76 80w Suitcase , a 100w Suitcase, and a stage piano, from '77, all MK I.. (see the other posting on which one to keep, I just don't have the room, or at least it would make sense to get 2 of them to someone who could appreciate them).
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Offline kitchen

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2007, 12:37:40 PM »
You probably can't get them. Maybe you'd be able to find a few if you tried really hard, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. They're pretty rare and highly sought after so if someone would offer them they'll be gone in a blink of an eye.
The Bitches Brew piano's (you hear two, one for Chick and one for Herbie, sometimes simultaneously) are '69 Fender Rhodes with the teardrop shaped felt hammers and old tines. So you'd need the felthammers as well.
Hope I didn't put you off...... :(
I would keep the '76 Suitcase....great year....

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Offline james

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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 01:17:27 PM »
Your best bet is to keep the tines your piano already has, and only replace a tine when it goes dead or breaks completely.  I know that Vintage Vibe has used parts from specific years, so I was able to get the replacement tines (and keys) I needed for my 1975 Stage 73 from a scrapped piano built around the same time.  That's the best solution I've been able to come up with myself.

My teacher with the original '72 Suitcase was Tommy Mars, who toured with Zappa from 1977 to 1982.  He was already one of my heroes before I started studying with him, and now I understand a lot more about where his style came from.  Plus he taught me to be an organ player, which I don't think I ever would have learned on my own!
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Offline Freddan

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 03:38:26 PM »
Hey guys, now that's been straightened out, Thanx!
A little additional detail only. The all plastic hammers were introduced ( together with the "Bump-Pedestals" ) in 1976, two years after the drop of "Fender" from the name.

Cheers!
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Offline Rhodesman

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 08:40:58 PM »
So does that mean, that all pianos with all plastic hammers, are also gauranteed to have the bump mod? Because, although I may be mistaken as to what the bump mod looks like, I didn't think I had it, though my hammers are all plastic.
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Offline Freddan

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2007, 12:56:40 AM »
No, not at all Rhodesman!

I have not been able to pinpoint exact dates for these introductions, and I was actually wrong about it happening the same year. The all-plastic hammers came first and can be found in pianos with a flat pedestal. The new pedestal configuration wasn't introduced until mid 1978!!

Just to clarify :
I am NOT talking about the key pedestal modification, which is a procedure you can perform yourself, if your pianos keys does not have a pedestal bump profile. As usual it's all in the manual. Described here at the middle of the page: http://www.fenderrhodes.com/org/manual/ch6.html#6-4

And here's a pic of the action where you can spot the after 1978-pedestal profile with the factory created bump : http://www.fenderrhodes.com/org/manual/fig2-1.gif
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Offline tarkus boy

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2007, 04:56:43 AM »

hi Freddan,
just let me add a slight correction about dates. all plastic hammers models were introduced from late 75. they also had same neoprene cubic tips like before. the changing of tips profile was introduced from early 76 only with flat pedestal keys and white felts glued to hammers.

playing a late 75 or an early 76  is very different. i mean their tones and responses won't be the same though they both get plastic hammers. the hammers plastic changed for a lighter and smoother quality. white nylon version.

all i can say is the Rhodes piano history is complicated because i've had in my hands some rare prototypes and transition models.
the same year does not mean obviously the same model. changes and improvements did not start with the "happy" new year!
i still remember that pleasant vinyl smell from a brand new Rhodes piano in 1975. you can't forget this.

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Offline lobit

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2007, 11:55:57 PM »
hi, new to the forum, i have mk2 stage currently, the sound sample on the history page of this site says its a 1975 mk1, and it sounds different  than my early '80 piano.  
curious, what other years besides 75 would sound like that?(more or less, i know setup makes a big difference)
according to some guys a 76 would sound different, what about say a '73 or '74?

It seems to me the early 70's rhodes sound quite dark/warm.  what would contribute most to that 'warmth'

Offline mockam

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2009, 05:51:38 PM »
check
1978 Suitcase

Offline shmuelyosef

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2009, 04:13:59 PM »
Is the view of a pedestal shown here an after-market modification or is it original? This is from a 1973 Stage 73, and I've never seen this before. This piano has great action and this pedestal is set up with a piece of metal rod sandwiched between a layer of action cloth and a layer of felt; this acts as the 'bump'.

http://www.shmuelyosef.com/Misc/Pedestal_mod_as_rcvd.jpg
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Offline Ben Bove

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 05:40:32 PM »
definite mod -

Bump was a metal tab across whole pedestal for Silvertops, then no bump early 70s-ish, no bump again until mid 1978 as far as I know.  Then mid 78 factory bump until end
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Offline shmuelyosef

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2009, 06:25:54 PM »
Thanx for the viewpoint...it actually seems to work very well, and is conceivably very easy, as it just appears to be music wire.
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Offline tarkus boy

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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2010, 03:40:43 PM »
the first metal tab bump mod has a different action since it is set in the middle of the key pedestal. later bump mod -called Marcel mod- came in 1977. its goal is to reduce the action length by getting a hammer higher resting position. then this mod was adopted and introduced into the keys production around mid 78.
Marcel mod is from french Rhodes tech veteran Marcel Bourdon. i tend to think this is true since i have had in my hands a stage model with Buz Watson's personal business card and "Marcel felt mod" hand script mention from 1977.
i'm not sure that Marcel got a patent for this mod.
some would suggest this Marcel could be french boxer Marcel Cerdan because of the punchy  feature.
i still remember that pleasant vinyl smell from a brand new Rhodes piano in 1975. you can't forget this.

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Offline Ben Bove

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Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2010, 04:58:11 PM »
The service manual also states the "Marcel Curve" present on the 1971 pianos if I remember correctly.  The key pedestal is actually scooped to match the curve of the hammer... this was 1971 though
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Offline javabirds

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 07:45:35 PM »
Cosmetically speaking, what knobs would a '74 Rhodes Stage have had?  I have heard people say that they just used skirted fender blackface amp knobs but because the Mark I nameplate is already numbered 1-10, those knobs look wrong.  I've seen the chrome skirted black knobs but all the ones I have seen have the Fender "F" and the Rhodes wouldn't have had that would it?

Offline musomarc

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 07:51:53 PM »
Hi,
A Rhodes Mk 1 1970's had these knobs as per pic.
Hope this helps.Regards
Musomarc :) ;)

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2012, 11:06:51 AM »
on 1974s I have seen those knobs pictured above, but also these all silver knobs specifically to that year.  I've seen them on a large number of 74s only.

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Offline David Ell

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2013, 09:06:22 AM »
The mod on shmuelyosef's key pedestal is the "nail mod." It was done on a lot of pianos in the bay area back in the '70s. I have seen it many times. Kinda looks like the miracal mod. I did such a mod back around '90.

Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2016, 09:27:03 AM »
   http://youtu.be/Z7UHVTyJSZ8
Check this video. Funny to see how the stamp 4876 (1976) and the Fender Logo got together. Must have been a swap with parts. Maybe Donald Fagen finds the Fender logo much cooler on his piano  ;D
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Offline alenhoff

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2016, 12:21:09 PM »
If you look closely, there is more than one piano in the video, and the '76 has a Rhodes-only badge on the namerail.

For an update on the care of Fagen's pianos, have a look here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uParFk2FRew and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lAasti4CGY

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Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2016, 03:19:13 PM »
Thanx  :)

I've seen the videos. VV must have done only the most necessary fixes 4 years before this complete treat. On the other hand 4 years of excessive usage....

A bit off topic but I am a big fan of the Dan for years now. The Rhodes solo of Black Cow is one of my favorites to play. My Rhodes happens to have that particilar sound for this part..... 8)
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Offline cactusleaf

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2016, 02:29:51 AM »
I poasted in this thread 10 years ago and haven't logged back in until today...and oddly enough the last three posts were on my birthday, this year.

Even in those 10 intervening years, I still haven't fully grasped all the nuances of what changed in what model year. I think it's a moot point now anyway, seeing as there are probably next to no fully original pianos anywhere thanks to Vintage Vibe and others. I'm still looking for an early 70s Fender-logo piano though, just so I can sit there at it and pretend to be Chick.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 02:52:34 AM by cactusleaf »
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Offline sunrunner

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Re: Fender Rhodes vs. Rhodes...what's the difference?
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2016, 09:33:49 PM »
The Rhodes solo of Black Cow is one of my favorites to play. My Rhodes happens to have that particilar sound for this part..... 8)

It's one of my favorites as well, and was played by Victor Feldman (probably my all time favorite Rhodes player). The Fender Rhodes playing on the Rio Nights album is among the best ever, in my humble opinion. I'm proud to say my 1973 suitcase-88 sounds very similar too. Feldman played a 1974 suitcase-88 (modified by Eddy Reynolds).

Interesting note - the Fender Rhoder solo on Black Cow was played live on the tracking date with the band - not overdubbed later.  He also played on most every song on the Aja album.
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