Author Topic: Questions about Supertramp  (Read 19299 times)

Offline AFeastOfFriends

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Questions about Supertramp
« on: November 16, 2011, 07:21:41 PM »
I finally got some vinyl copies of the big Supertramp albums and really got to wondering how they got that electric piano tone that's in most of the songs, especially Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger, and Bloody Well Right. The pianos don't sound like any Rhodes I've heard, so I was wanting to know if anybody knows what type of e-piano they used? And how they got the tone?

I hope they used a Rhodes, I love that tone, and I'd love it even more if I could get mine to sound like it, even if it was only close. I'm thinking after I get a Mellotron, I'll buy a second Rhodes and have it dedicated to that Supertramp epiano sound, if that's what it is.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 07:37:27 PM »
No, not a Rhodes at all. They only used a Rhodes on one track that I can remember and people argue with me about that. ( that particular song uses a Rhodes AND a Wurli AND an acoustic piano, AND an organ!)  You'll have to figure out what song I am talking about.....lol

They used a 200 or 200A, painted white. ( I saw them live once and sat right in front of the wurli) There is or was a posting somewhere on the internet telling exactly what effects pedals they used, but basically they used reverb and flanging. The korg SV-1 has the exact sound programmed in already AND it has a mellotron setting.

Bloody well right just has reverb on the Wurli, I  think. That was in 1974, way before your time!
( I was in high school....)

The Logical Song and Goodbye Stranger are from the same album, they were using more effects at
that point.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 07:39:45 PM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline AFeastOfFriends

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 09:02:57 PM »
I didn't think it was a Rhodes, just naively hoped it was one. Either way, I could probably get it voiced to be close enough to make me happy.

I've considered a sample keyboard like the Korg, but I'd rather have the real keyboards. Something about them.

And all this stuff is before my time. I never hear the end of that. I guess it's because so many other people make a big deal about their age and how they listen to old music or some dumb reason like that. I just listen to what I like to listen to, and play what I like to play.


Offline alenhoff

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 09:27:59 PM »
If it's any consolation to you, my Wurli 200A doesn't sound close to their sound, either.  As Steveo mentioned, multiple effects were employed, and maybe some additional processing in the studio.

I've heard their "Breakfast in America" album described as a clinic in how to use a Wurli.  My other "model" for using a Wurli well in rock is the Small Faces.  ("Lazy Sunday," "Tin Soldier," backing up Rod Stewart on "Stay With Me.") The Faces'  Ian McLagan knew a thing or two about playing Hammond, too.  Then there's Benmont Tench, who plays with Tom Petty.  I could go on... 

You need a Wurli, too...   ;)

Alan
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
(SEE THE COLLECTION: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 10:01:50 PM »
Ian used a 140B as did 3 Dog Night. That model has a distinct sound.


Owning the real instruments is cool, but when I was a teen money was real tight and I would have killed to have a keyboard that had a Wurli, Mellotron, Rhodes, Hammond and more all in one.
Of course they weren't invented yet, but that is another story.

What I really like about the SV-1 is that the Logical Song sound is a preset!

The best I could do was my $80 wurli model 700, and I sure got my money's worth. (I still have it)

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 10:36:24 PM »
Supertramp used a Wurlie 200 onstage

In the studio they used the old tube Wurlie (120?)

A buddy had one of those - instant Supertramp.

Offline leon-

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, 07:06:27 AM »
Just naively hoped it was one...I've considered a sample keyboard like the Korg, but I'd rather have the real keyboards. Something about them.

I made exactly the same mistake, a few tracks I thought were Rhodes ended up being Wurlitzers all the time.
Sample keyboards are a compromise yes, but don't miss the opportunity to check out the Korg SV-1 if it comes up. I think its does a superb Wurli emulation, in fact I prefer it to the Scarbee A-200 (which admittedly is very good).

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 07:45:40 AM »
 I hate to disagree, but I really do not think that they used a 120 unless that was what they used on the real early stuff. The 120/700 also has a distinct sound, and I do not hear that on any supertramp recordings. Remember, I had a 700 back when they (Supertramp) were real popular, and I knew that it basically was the same instrument, but it did not sound just like theirs. There is slight vibrato on Bloody Well Right, the 120 does not have vibrato.

If you compare Ray Charles recordings to Supertramp, you can tell they used completely different models.

I will do some listening today, but the only song I think may have had a 120 was 'Your Poppa Don't Mind' which was real early.

BTW to AFeastoffriends...the tube preamp built into the SV-1 makes it so that you can change the wurli sound from a 200 to a 120!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 04:12:16 PM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 08:08:52 AM »
 Ok, I just listened to several tracks with headphones on. 'Your Poppa Don't Mind' does sound like a 120, but everything else was a 200 series. I have owned 2 120's, a 700, a 720, 2  140B's, and over 15 200 series and I can hear the differences.

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 08:23:37 AM »
I just found a second Supertramp that has a Rhodes on it. 'From Now On' has a sparse Rhodes track.
It is only a few bars. It begins at 2:24. There is no wurli on this song.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 08:28:22 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline alenhoff

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 09:14:12 AM »
Steveo:

You must have incredible ears to pick out a Rhodes on a recording from just a couple bars, or to differentiate between Wurli models. In my next life, I want to come back with the ears of a piano tuner.

Your post inspired me to check out some of the SV-1 demos on YouTube. A *very* impressive instrument. 

Funny, though, that to my ears, neither the SV-1 nor the various Nords accurately capture the Vox Continental sound.  It always seems to sound too clean and perfect. I don't know anything about digital modeling, but this seems counter-intuitive to me: I'd think it  would be more difficult to model the nuances of an EP's sound, than the sounds of a combo organ.

Alan
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
(SEE THE COLLECTION: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 09:45:53 AM »
It's not hard to differentiate a rhodes from a wurly.  It's the attack transient.  Rhodes are "soggier" then Wurlies.   Sometimes the timbre is similar though, depending on the era that rhodes was made.

My sparkletop with plaster/wood hammers and neophrene tips has a quicker attack like the Wurly, combined with the fusion bark and bell tone and a fast action.

I own a real Vox Connie.  I have yet to hear an accurate clone of one.  The Connie has this bite in the top 1.5 octaves that eludes the clones.

Offline Dote

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 11:36:40 AM »
I too think that Supertramp used either a 200 or 200A, not a 120/140B or something like that.

The key to the Supertramp Wurly sound is a CE1 or CE2 Boss Chorus and of course a lot of EQ.

The Wurly is EQ to have only light amounts of bass on these recordings. Try to up the high mids and mids whilst cutting some bass (say 100hz or so) to get close to the sound.

Cheers,

Dote

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 04:25:28 PM »
 Alan, my friends say the same thing about picking out what type of ep....we often play name that electric piano, and I stump them quite a bit. Its not just from being a tuner, I have had wurlis and Rhodes side by side for 30 years and the bell like quality of the Rhodes always sticks out to me. The older Rhodes with felt hammers were a little more Wurli-like. The Hohner sounds more like a wurli than a Rhodes does, but there is no sustain pedal on a Hohner.

Louie Louie is a Hohner.

The Zombies used a Hohner, as did The Beatles until they bought a Rhodes. the ONLY song by The Beatles that has a Wurli is Revolution, and that belonged to ( or was rented by) and was played by Nicky Hopkins.

Sorry to disappoint, but the EP used on  Getting Better and I am the Walrus was the Hohner, not a Wurli. Probably the same one used on the Help album.

I agree- I do not like the SV-1 Vox sample. my inexpensive Yamaha keyboard has a much better Vox.

The other Supertramp song with a Rhodes is called 'Hide in Your Shell' and it has a Wurli also! The Rhodes is mixed a little louder and they are both playing almost the same part in some parts. Real cool sounding.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline Tim Hodges

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 06:13:36 PM »
One white EP200a (or 200)

Logical Song Live
Bristol Electric Piano
UK

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YouTube
Reverb.com

Offline alenhoff

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2011, 10:35:22 AM »
Ian used a 140B as did 3 Dog Night. That model has a distinct sound.

For what it's worth, Simon Beck's Hall of Electric Pianos site reports that the Faces used a Wurli 112 for Lazy Sunday and Tin Soldier, and a 200A for Stay With Me. The page says "Special thanks to  Ian "Mac" McLagan."

http://www.hallofelectricpianos.co.uk/whoplayed.html

That doesn't mean it's true, however:  Many brand name musicians have far less interest in the instruments and settings they used at various points in their careers than many of their fans.  It's quite possible he doesn't really remember -- or he just played what was in the studio, and never actually cared enough to investigate the model number.

Alan
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
(SEE THE COLLECTION: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2011, 01:49:42 PM »
That is entirely possible, but most live photos show a 140b straddling his hammond, with the back legs still attached. Stay with me sounds more like a 200 than a 140 so that makes sense.

It sounds like Ian had more than one.

I am not famous but even I have used at least 4 different models of wurlis on my studio recordings.




1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Edd_K

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2011, 02:04:03 PM »
I was the Steinway piano tech for most of the Supertramp "Breakfast in Europe" tour (1979) that resulted in their "Paris" double album.  One of my other duties was assisting the keyboard tech (Van Anonson) with Wurlitzer maintenance.  Both Roger and Rick really beat those poor, white 200As (we had three of them in rotation).  Broken reeds were always the main issue we faced during the shows.  Van was a master of rapid and accurate reed replacement and I always marveled at his ability. 
When a reed would break during a song, it would make a huge explosive sound through the main house PA.  Roger and the band were quite used to this and would just continue with the performance while Van and I would scurry out onstage with a back-up piano and quickly switch it with the bad one. 
Once we got the offender off stage into the wings, Van would immediately get to work (flashlight in mouth usually) speedily replacing the broken reed. 
His technique was something to behold.  He had obviously done this many, many times. We had many sets of spare reeds.  After selecting the right one, Van would shape the solder with a pair of sharp wire cutters.  My part of it all was helping with the rapid and correct tuning of the new reed.  We used a set of Korg powered headphones to hear the piano above the din of the concert. and between us, Van and I could fix a broken one in just a few minutes.
The main effect that the Wurlies ran through on stage was the Korg CE-1 Boss Chorus Ensemble pedal.  You can overdrive that pedal (just a tad) to give a nice crunch to the sound. Nothing was added to the sound past that point. I think we also ran them through Roland 120 Jazz Chorus amps but it's been a little too long for some details to be accurately recalled.   
Needless to say, I truly enjoyed my time spent working with Supertramp.  What a great organization they had assembled at that point.  And the quality of their shows was hard to believe.   

Offline alenhoff

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2011, 04:41:09 PM »
Great story.  Thanks for sharing...

Alan
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
(SEE THE COLLECTION: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2011, 10:24:41 PM »
Cool story Edd. Thanks for confirming the pedal they used.

Did they ever have a Rhodes onstage?

Did you ever find that increasing the letoff on the wurlis reduced broken reeds?


1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Edd_K

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2011, 06:10:29 AM »
I don't recall Supertramp using a Rhodes on stage.  They had various other keyboards in use (a Hammond and a few synths) but the Wurlitzer electronic piano was the core of their sound in those days. The percussive nature and distinct timbre of the Wurly fit their style perfectly.
In answer to your query re: let-off distance:
I was always of the mind that the factory knew what they were doing when they designed and built an instrument.   I would mostly adhere to the factory specs and never really did much experimenting with things like that.  A quicker let-off might extend reed life a bit but, that might be at the expense of the tone and touch.   Not my kind of a compromise.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2011, 07:45:38 AM »
Most techs give that answer about let off, but I am not talking about making a major change. I always turn the screw just a little bit more, and I have not broken a reed in YEARS. It is not enough of a change to feel it in your fingers, but enough to take a little force out of the blow. I have a client that was breaking bass strings in his yamaha grand. I increased the let off and it did the trick. He never complained about a touch difference.

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline Adam Ziolkowski

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Re: Questions about Supertramp
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 09:45:50 PM »
If it helps, I'm only 19 and play a Wurlitzer, but hence my age get crap for it as well, who cares, age is a number, I love this music.
Hammond A102, Moog Concertmate MG-1 Rhodes MK 60 Digital Electric Piano with Grand, Clavinet D6, Vibraphone, Hammond M111, Leslie 145, Leslie Cream Pedal, Farfisa Leslie RSC-350, Farfisa Compact, Catalinbread Echorec, Wurlitzer 214, Bontempi, VST: Mini Moog,ARP Solina,SCI Prophet 5,Mellotron,EMS Putney,EMS VCS 3,Vox Continental,Pipe Organ,Step Sequencer,Drum Machine.61 Key Controller.Used to own a Hammond M3 owned by Prince's Keyboard Tech.19 years of age.A millennial with taste.