Author Topic: Fender Rhodes KMC I  (Read 3595 times)

Offline AdrianTvedten

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Fender Rhodes KMC I
« on: May 20, 2011, 11:40:41 AM »
I'll have a Rhodes KMC I in hand by next week, and I've got some questions regarding mod's for it. I haven't been able to find out it's age yet... Please see this link to the add on the Norwegian site (Norway's equivalent to eBay...) for pictures of it.

1. The Rhodes has wooden side panels which run all the way from the top lid to the legs under the speaker cabinet (which is of course fitted under the rhodes itself). The seller says that the Rhodes and the speaker cabinet are not made so that they can be separated. I'm thinking, it's wood - and it's most likely produced in the veeery early 70s, so what harm could I possibly do to it if I just saw off the speaker cabinet? It's not like I'm chopping a MOTIF in half... :) Have any of you done this (or a similar operation) before? I will obviously be using the speaker cabinet, but I'm not sure I'm able to fit the instrument into my car if I don't separate the two parts..

2. If you've checked out the pics, you've seen that the preamp is fitted below the key bed on the left hand side. Do any of you know if I can replace this preamp with a preamp of my choice? And if yes, will it be a lot of trouble fitting it in the name rail, like the preamp on the mkI's and mkII's? Again, this would mostly be to ease transportation of the instrument. I imagine the preamp would easily be harmed during transport when sitting underneath the key bed...?

3. Any additional info on the instrument will be appreciated! I'm kind of taking a chance here, as the Rhodes is currently living close to where I live, and the price is great...

Sorry if my English is bad, I'm Norwegian ;D


Offline bumpyrhode

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Re: Fender Rhodes KMC I
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 12:38:11 PM »
Don't know if I can be of much help but I would dissamble that thing
before I cut the cabinet off. My guess is you could have it apart in
less than an hour. Either that or find a friend with a truck.

As far as the age I'm guessing the mid 70's. The harp has the Fender Rhodes
gold label but the name rail just says Rhodes. I'm thinking it was put
together right after the name change and they used a harp assembly
that was in stock. 

From what I see in the pictures you should be able to mount an original
or repro Mark I preamp in the rail. Just disconnect the original and leave it
be. From the age the Peterson 4 - pin is probably what you want but I'm
not sure if these pianos used the same amp system as the suitcase models.
The preamps do show up on ebay occassionally and sometimes with the rail.

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Fender Rhodes KMC I
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 01:56:52 PM »
I just sold one of these after having it for about five years.  A few comments:

That's not just a preamp. It's a 10 watt power amp that powers the speaker in the cabinet. It might be okay for quiet practice, but it's pretty bad.  You'll love the sound you get by bypassing it:  Run directly off the RCA jack on the harp, and through any preamp and guitar amp of your choice.

If I had kept mine, I was going to remove the amp.  These were built for kids, and the amp hangs so low that you will keep banging your left knee into it.  (On most of these -- and I seem to see it on your's, too -- the lower right corner of the amp panel is dented in.  Ouch!  That corner probably took some skin off someone's knee -- more than once.)

The switch to the Rhodes-only logo happened earlier on the student models than on the Stage and Suitcases.  Mine was a 1973, and had the Rhodes-only logo.  You can get the age off the stamps on the harp -- they are coded like any other Rhodes piano.  Mine, too, said Fender Rhodes on the gold serial number sticker.

To add a Stage preamp on the rail, you would have to buy a Stage namerail or drill holes through the existing one.  I believe you would also have to trim the plastic lid where it goes behind the namerail to clear the preamp components. (I think the lid is shaped slightly differently from the ones they used on the Stage and Suitcases.)

I don't think there is any way to disassemble that cabinet. A small SUV or station wagon ought to do the job without surgery.  You don't really want to destroy the cabinet, do you?

Congratulations on your new purchase!  I also bought mine because it was a lot cheaper than other Rhodes models. But under the lid, it's every bit a Rhodes -- and the walnut veneer cabinet really is cool.  Just look out for gum stuck under the keyboard!  (It WAS used by kids...)  And I hope you're not planning to move it often, because it's quite heavy.


1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73
1972 Rhodes Silver Sparkletop Piano Bass
1978 Hohner Clavinet D6
1968 Hohner Pianet N II
1966 Wurlitzer 140B
1967 Gibson G101 combo organ
1965 UK Vox Continental
1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H
1977 Fender Twin Reverb
Vox AC30CC2X amp

Offline AdrianTvedten

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Re: Fender Rhodes KMC I
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 03:08:14 PM »
Thanks for all your help!

Hehe, of course I don't want to destroy the cabinet:) Hopefully it will fit into my car and all will be well.

Can't wait to get it :D


Offline laquer09

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Re: Fender Rhodes KMC I
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2015, 06:24:09 PM »
Very old thread, but since it is pretty related to my topic I thought I'd hop onto it.

I also have acquired a KMC-1 recently, and I love it.  Interestingly, I am not a gigging musician (anymore, at least...and when I was, it was with a 6-string varietal).  So I half agree with alan here - since I only use it for practice, I can speak to the fact it's definitely meant for that purpose.  However - I'll diverge a little here in saying that the sound of the on-board amp and speaker is fantastic.  Its got a great warm, thick tone and boils over to a bubbly distortion when pushed.  Audio engineer friends of mine drool over it actually. 

That said, I also like using my other toys and amps.  I've been running a line out from the headphone output to a mixer with my effects in the loop, and then split the channels; left to my tube vox guitar amp and right to a clean powered monitor.  Sounds damn good out of those as well but I do wish I could have my cake and it - similarly to the main/ensemble/echo switch on my Hammond M3, what I'd love to do is have both the on-board combo cranking along with the external output described above. 

I am by no means a professional at this stuff, but I do tinker.  So, here are my newb approaches that seem achievable:

Option 1 - The easiest, seems to be just splitting the signal off the harp.  The downside is that I'll not be getting the pre-amp love from the rhodes, which I really like.  And I wouldn't be able to control which outputs are engaged easily via the Rhodes. Functional, but not optimal.

Option 2 - Rewire the switch in the amp to have 3 settings, or at least rig it so that when it is set to "Headphone", it will also run to the external out.  Kinda seems like I could use a three position guitar switch to get the job done.  However, I really don't know the mechanics of this switch...if it's carrying power this might not actually work. 

I've  started working my way through schematics but it's hard to tell I'm looking at the right amp combo at the moment.  In any case, any guidance or thoughts are welcome!

Thanks so much, y'all rule.  I've gleaned a lot just from lurking through your history :)