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The Fender Rhodes Documentary

Started by Ben Bove, October 11, 2011, 10:16:22 PM

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Ben Bove

I wanted to make a special announcement, the book version of our documentary is finally complete and now available!




Through Hal Leonard books, we have published a nearly 300 page color book with the full length interviews from the musicians, many never-before-seen photos of the artists and a lot of Rhodes history.  Included in the back cover is the exclusive Blu-Ray HD version of the documentary as well, with superior video quality and bonus interviews.  It has been a huge undertaking, and we are very excited for its release.

To order a copy, please visit our website at www.fenderrhodesstory.com which has links to online ordering. 

Thanks for everyone's continued support, please follow us on facebook, twitter etc. and help us continue the legacy of the Fender Rhodes!
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martin

when are you interviewing stevie wonder??? ;)
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Ben Bove

We've been in front of him on multiple occasions and he's been receptive to the idea.  We're still excited for when he's willing and ready to have time to come through for the project.
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Student Rhodes

Hey Ben,
I own the DVD, and it's great.
Is this book pretty much just a transcript of the documentary? 
If not, how much additional material is in the book.
I know the doc focused mainly on the players and their styles.  Does this book have sections on the mechanics etc. of the Rhodes?

Ray

Ben Bove

#104
Hey Ray!  The book includes the unedited full interviews from each player and CBS techs.  To put it into perspective, the film is about 2 hours - all the footage transcribed into the book equals 40+ hours of footage.  Needless to say, there is a ton more information that we didn't include in the film for the sake of run-time on a movie.

There are definitely great stories from the CBS folks talking about the factory, the production line, design, inner mechanics and more.  The focus is definitely on the players that made it famous and their music, but I learned a lot myself when we conducted the full interviews with the original techs like Steve Woodyard and Mike Peterson.

There are also some incredible photos from the 40s 50s and 60s that I had never seen before, and have to give a huge thank you to Kenneth Manning for making that happen.

Thanks again for the support!
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kphlx2000

Thanks a lot Ben. It was a pleasure being a part of this project and can't wait to get my copy of the book. Great work guys(Ben & Gerald)!

Kenneth
Fender Rhodes Collector/Music Producer/Recording Engineer

vanceinatlance

Already enjoy the video, but can't imagine not having the book to accompany it, Ordered! Well put together, thanks for your efforts and can't wait for the delivery!

Loucas

I ordered before one hour !
Maybe the first one to enter Greece!
Thanks Ben for everything!

P.S: Amazing stuff too Kenneth !

voltergeist

Watched "Down the Rhodes" last night.  Excellent work, very well done.  Thanks!
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

LeonSpinks

Any Executone sightings/information in the book and/or movie?

Ben Bove

Haha I believe Kenneth had/has one and did have photos, but I will say a couple of rare birds have landed in there.
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voltergeist

bjammerz, what's the story behind that pimp suitcase you're playing in the doc?
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Loucas

Ben , also what kind of setting did you perform on that "unreal " Fender Rhodes suitcase in the dvd ?The one that appears in most of the videos (Ray Manzarek etc).

Ben Bove

Haha - the pimp suitcase aka "Solid Gold" was set out to be my building of the ultimate Rhodes.

It started out as a 1974 suitcase 73, one of my preferred eras and I also prefer the 73 key sound vs 88 sound.  However, I wasn't a fan of how relatively low output the Peterson power supply is on stage.  So I wanted to pair the top with a speaker cabinet from late 70s with the more powerful 5-pin power supply.  As well, I really like the Eddy Reynolds EQ mod that was done to Peterson preamps - so the custom preamp I have is modeled after that sound, powered by a "Janus" 5-pin amp with a '74 top.  For me it's the best of all 3 worlds and the piano is killer.

Of course it was also a total internal restoration, even changing out so-so tines, recapping the keys, key bushing job etc. so it's pretty new.  Jensen C12N speakers.

I designed the faceplate online from Front Panel Express which turned out great.  Found some gold shiny tolex-ish material, custom fabric for the speaker cloth - but my favorite is the "Chameleon" paint job on the lid.  So in different lights, it's from green to gold to brown sparkle, from Alsa Corp.

I haven't had it out in the sunlight to capture the full effect so I'll snap a good picture in the near future.
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Ben Bove

That suitcase 88 is also a 1974, and I've been over that piano meticulously time and time again.  I have a good deal of overtone compared to fundamental set up in the tonebars... the 88s tend to be muddier for me so I try to get some more mid-range out of them.  Just a lot of time invested in adjusting each note, swapping out funky tines and playing with sustain in the high register... There are a couple funny moments where you catch a sticking key to which I always say, "I can't win!"  haha.

For the film it was recorded stereo line-out of the power amp, and some slight EQ and reverb.  But it's all really how the piano is set up to get a good sound.
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voltergeist

bjammerz, did you put backchecks in your pianos?

It looked like George Duke's piano had backchecks, other than that it didn't look like any piano in the doc did (though I don't remember paying attention to that detail on "Solid Gold").
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Ben Bove

I've actually grown accustom to the action without backchecks.  Pianos should have them by nature of an action design though.
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voltergeist

I'm definately more of a tech than a player, but I'm suprised that more players don't consider back-checks a must-have mod. 
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Loucas

Hi.
Just receive the Book along with the blue ray .
This is a must for every Rhodes fun on earth .
This is  a dream came true : A book full of Fender Rhodes story and not only.
Amazing testimonies from dozen of players.Plus photos etc.
THANKS BEN AND JERALD !

Mark S 1

Just watched the video (MP4 download). Then watched it again with the wife, and afterward she handed me a shopping list of CD's to buy! Fortunately I had some of the material on LP, but I still spent 10x the cost of the video buying music!

Very well done Benjamin! That must have been an amazing experience getting to interview all those legends. The editing and recording was superb! I especially liked how the person interviewed would play a part of a song and then you would continue that song in the background. I assume this was a loop of their performance as it appeared seamless. And boy can those guys still lay it down. Wow!

Oh, and my wife loved the story of Phillinganes asking Stevie to call his Mom - hysterical!

Thanks again!
Mark


Ben Bove

Thanks very much for the support :) Gerald and I spent a great amount of time making sure it would become a quality film and book.  My brother Chris Bove is an editor for PBS so he had the experience to bring together the footage in a very creative way.

I'll admit my own music library increased after the fact as well haha. :)
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Ben Bove

#121
Just wanted to let the French-speaking community know, we have the Rhodes documentary MP4 version translated into French on our website.  Would love you to spread the word abroad!
www.FenderRhodesStory.com

As well, we're beginning to post some webisodes from the former CBS Musical Instruments staff, not found in the film.  Enjoy!

Steve Grom
http://youtu.be/Qt5Rba4yzN8

John McLaren Sr.
http://youtu.be/SnCLVkif_Ak
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Ben Bove

Another update - I know a lot of discussions about the Rhodes action have come up recently, Here's a webisode featuring former Rhodes engineer Mike Peterson talking about the Mark IV prototype and Rhodes action design:

Mike Peterson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60WY-2jd0nM

Here is also John McLaren, Jr. talking about Harold and Leo's history together:

John McLaren, Jr.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9kWuY9DfyY
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Ben Bove

Here is a webisode with Steve Woodyard, many of you may have seen his name in discussions about Rhodes over the years as a key contributor to the piano and personal friend of Harold.

http://youtu.be/XQEY2VBO_7s

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longcat

just finished watching the full documentary, bought it on monday,

it is so dense with information, i want to watch it again with notebook in hand - catch all the names of tunes, albums, artists,

and then to see so may musicians that i've loved - along with quite a few i've never heard of...

thankyou very much for a great piece of work, i have all the many webisodes to devour now x

(listening to extension of a man by donny hathaway now - )

x
Suitcase Rhodes SeventyThree 1979

pcola_rhodes

Any chances of getting the "E" model on the documentary now that it has been located?  I know the owner is anonomous (which I can certainly understand), but perhaps he'd be gracious enough to let it be seen and heard after over 30 years.  I understand Mr. Woodyard has worked on it as well...
1979 MK I Suitcase 73
1980 MK II Stage 73 w/Suitcase Preamp
Janus I Speaker
Fender Twin Reverb Reissue
BOSS CE-5
MXR Phase 90 (R28 modified)

Ben Bove

Cool idea, we did at least try to cover the topic in the Jay Graydon webisode on youtube.  A definitely historic piano.
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Rhythmicons

Ben,
I want to get my father the Blu-Ray version with the book. When I go to the site you have several sellers listed such as Amazon. Which one do you recommend?  I try to avoid Amazon if possible, and I want to make sure you get the most cut.


Eric
"Music Is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to nobody" -E.K. Ellington

http://www.youtube.com/user/Rhythmicons

Ben Bove

Hey!  Thanks for the support, it's very much appreciated.  If you're not comfortable with Amazon, people have had great experiences with Barnes and Noble. Here is the link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/down-the-rhodes-gerald-mccauley/1114794312?ean=9781480342422

I'm sure he's going to love it.  Thanks again.
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Ben Bove

#129
Hi all,

Wanted to announce that we just posted an updated version of the MP4 "Rhodes Travels," a part 2 to the documentary, on our site.  The latest addition to the interview line up was Michael McDonald - long awaited and exciting to have him as a part of the project!

This separate, second feature includes interviews and performances from Al Jarreau with Tom Canning, Clarence McDonald, Michael McDonald, Wayne Vaughn, Brian Jackson, Robert Glasper, Kandace Springs, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Frank McComb.

Enjoy!  http://www.fenderrhodesstory.com/ordernow.html

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rhodesjuzz

Thanks for the update Ben. I hope Micheal McDonalds reveals what effects he used on his early songs like Minute by Minute :)

I really enjoy the info and interviews from The Rhodes Story, can't get enough....

--Roy
1976 Rhodes Suitcase 73 <effects loop || EHX Holy Grail Nano>
Line 6 midi keys
Scarbee Mark I, A-200 and Classic EP-88S

Dan Belcher

Wonderful! I just ordered my copy. Can't wait to watch it later tonight.
Proud owner,
1978 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73

Harrygriffiths211

Had mine as a gift from my girlfriend for christmas, great documentary, and played a massive role in assuring me that a Rhodes was for me. Ordered and payed for a MK1 73 stage 1977, arriving in the next few days.

Going to be watching the DVD again the night before probably lol. (basically feels like christmas but it's mid spring.)

Ben Bove

Love that story, great to hear and thanks for the support.  Here to help on your 1977 if you have questions!
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sunrunner

Quote from: rhodesjuzz on March 26, 2016, 02:45:15 PM
Thanks for the update Ben. I hope Micheal McDonalds reveals what effects he used on his early songs like Minute by Minute :)

I really enjoy the info and interviews from The Rhodes Story, can't get enough....

--Roy

Roy, Michael indeed plays Minute By Minute on in the video... I don't believe he mentions it by name, but that song has a phaser. Ben's video is cool because he plays it with and without the phaser. I'm familiar with all Doobie songs with Michael McDonald playing Rhodes. As far as I can remember, he used phaser, chorus, and vibrato (the vibrato was used more on earlier stuff from "Taking it To The Streets" & "Living On The Fault Line").
1973 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 88-key
1980 Rhodes Mark II Stage 73-key

Harrygriffiths211

I was wondering if you guys know where I can find the version of girl from Ipanema with the early Rhodes in it?

It's on the DVD but I can't find it anywhere online! :(

Ben Bove

I haven't been able to locate it in the general public, so I'd be happy to hear if it shows up somewhere.
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e-soul91

So you're behind those short "Down the Rhodes" videos on YouTube? Awesome. I'm looking forward to buying full documentary. From what I've seen on YT is is amazing.
'77 Mark I Stage 73

"If butter had a sound, it would sound like Rhodes piano" -someone from the internet.

Ben Bove

Really appreciate the support, thanks!
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Harrygriffiths211

Hey Ben, I appear to have misplaced my DVD with the documentary on it... I am devestated and was wondering if you could provide me with somewhere to watch it online/a link to download it or something?

I can provide proof of purchase :)

Ben Bove

Hey!  I'll send you a message.  Thanks again for your support.
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Prismtone Studios

#141
Quote from: Ben Bove on June 26, 2014, 02:48:23 PM
Here is a webisode with Steve Woodyard, many of you may have seen his name in discussions about Rhodes over the years as a key contributor to the piano and personal friend of Harold.

http://youtu.be/XQEY2VBO_7s

Ben,

I just bought this book/DVD set a week ago. I'm enjoying it very very much. Thanks for taking to time to compile all this info, and for these links. I was actually wondering if there was additional footage of these gentlemen after reading their bits in the book, so I'm glad to see this thread.

The Rhodes is special and everyone that has one has an interesting story...

I bought my first Rhodes (suitcase) in 1990-91 for $125 (I had a few Rhodes over the years, and was lucky to have never spent over $150 on them, one was even given to me) but I had no idea how to tune it though. Not long afterward, an article came out in Keyboard Magazine about the Rhodes and Wurlitzer, and actually had Harold's phone number in it so I called him. He was super nice and supportive, and he sent me a manual (via snail mail), paid for the postage even. After that I became deeply interested in how the Rhodes worked. I was a kid then, the Rhodes were literally a dime a dozen because people wanted the DX (or later Kurzweil) so parts were hard to come by at times unless you salvaged another unit.  He later gave me Steve Woodyards phone number to buy parts and pick his brain about stuff. At the time, Steve was one of the few sources for parts, plus his VAST knowledge etc... no one knew more about the Rhodes, and he was also very kind to me and answered any questions I had. I eventually did an album (in 2000) with my band and proudly thanked Harry in the liners. I called to tell him that I sent him an album but Margit answered the phone and told me he passed just weeks earlier... it was a heart breaking loss. While I was writing and recording the album, doing crazy effects etc with the Rhodes, I was envisioning and looking forward to an interesting conversation with him that sadly never happened.  I later did an interview with Keyboard magazine and credited them for introducing me to Harry because they printed his phone number in that one issue... one of those life changing moments (I even became a contributing editor position at Keyboard Mag for a short time).  Anyways, it's about time a documentary was made... kudos on a job well done!

Cheers,
Ramin

Ben Bove

Hi Ramin,

Thanks very much for the support.  Fantastic story... and I think we all wish we did more Rhodes buying back in the 90s haha!  It's too bad a documentary wasn't done before Harold's passing, but we hope that we covered the story as best as possible.  We live in a time now where parts are much more readily available, so the outlook is great on keeping the pianos alive out there.
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armstrongsound

I just purchased the book from our local Half Priced Books and I can't believe how extensive it is.

You guys truly outdid yourselves on this one. Very excited to finish watching the documentary! (I put it on last night but couldn't finish it as it was super late)

This book and documentary really are a service to the musical world. Thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts.
1970 Fender Rhodes Mk I Seventy-Three Suitcase (no suitcase amp)
1968 Fender Vibrolux (aa864 circuit)
1947 Hammond CV
1947 Hammond DR-20
1970s Leslie 760
1969 Hammond T202
1956 Hammond S6
1982 Kustom 88
90s Young Chang Upright
Hohner Melodica

Ben Bove

Thanks very much for the appreciation, it took many years to bring it all together.
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The Real MC

Watched the DVD again this weekend.  Inspired me to dig into my sparkletop piano.

Ben Bove

That piano was a beast of a restoration!  Glad to hear.
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kris.audioplanet

Jut ordered the book and Blueray. Looking forward to reading/watching it!

The Real MC

The Fender Rhodes story website seems to have suffered bit rot.  Some of the links take you to a page with no association with Rhodes pianos and in a different language.