Author Topic: What's your story?  (Read 2939 times)

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
What's your story?
« on: April 22, 2014, 02:26:35 PM »
I've often wondered about the background of many of the regulars here. I hope I'm not being intrusive but I'm curious how folks ended up in this particular niche. If you prefer playing your cards close to your chest, feel free to pretend you didn't see this post.

bjammerz - I gather you're a professional musician. Do you also work on Rhodes pianos as a side gig? just for fun or for customers? When/how did you gather all of the Rhodes knowledge?

pianotuner steveo - You've been a professional piano tech for many years who's applied his skills to a personal interest in vintage instruments.

The Real MC - I've visited your personal site and can see that you're an electrical engineer and a "prosumer" audio enthusiast who just digs equipment and vintage keys.

sean - As far as I'm concerned, you are a huge enigma. You drop in occasionally and lay some incredibly useful information on us - information that suggests a thorough familiarity with Rhodes pianos, but from where? Are you a hobbyist? a professional technician?

voltergeist - I think you've given us some background information in the past but what I want to know is, where did you get that incredible shop you work in? Just an extension of your day job, or were you a fabricator in a past life?

My story is that I bought a Fifty Four when I was in high school. I didn't know what a Rhodes was, only that it was an affordable keyboard with weighted keys. I played it for many years then stored it for many more. A few years back, I pulled it out and worked to make it playable again (many dead white-tape pickups). I enjoyed working on the Rhodes and thought such a hobby would be a good excuse to develop my garage into a shop. And it has.
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3288
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 03:25:01 PM »
Yes, that is pretty much right, except I learned how to repair Wurlitzers side by side with acoustic pianos, because I was just moving out of the house and got a cheap Wurlitzer to play on that needed much action work.

Rhodes work came about 2-3 years later when I got my first one (literally a basket case) and also they were still popular at the time and I actually had a few Rhodes tuning clients back then. Not everyone wanted to tune their own, I guess.

Also, I have been doing this since I was a teenager ( almost 40 years)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 08:10:01 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 Tine-E

  • Sparkletop
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 07:08:02 PM »
Thank you for bringing this up Dave as I've been in awe of the knowledge that you all have been contributing to this site. Invaluable tips, procedures, methods without which many would have probably given up on their restoration projects! THANK YOU guys for your generous sharing of your wealth of knowledge & experiences!

Offline voltergeist

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 751
    • View Profile
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 11:18:39 AM »
I've often wondered about the background of many of the regulars here. I hope I'm not being intrusive but I'm curious how folks ended up in this particular niche. If you prefer playing your cards close to your chest, feel free to pretend you didn't see this post.

voltergeist - I think you've given us some background information in the past but what I want to know is, where did you get that incredible shop you work in? Just an extension of your day job, or were you a fabricator in a past life?

My shop actually has nothing to do with any job past or present.  It's just my place to build stuff.  It's like a lake cabin for a person who doesn't know how to enjoy being idle.
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

Offline Ben Bove

  • Vendor
  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3279
  • Formerly bjammerz
    • View Profile
    • Retro Rentals Website
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 05:24:28 PM »
My story's in the Down The Rhodes book!  (insert plug here haha).
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear

http://www.RetroRentals.net
(818) 806-9606
info@retrorentals.net

FB: https://www.facebook.com/retrorentals.net/
IG: @RetroRentalsNet

Offline voltergeist

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 751
    • View Profile
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 07:02:08 PM »
My story's in the Down The Rhodes book!  (insert plug here haha).

Ha ha.  Good answer!
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

Offline sean

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 811
    • View Profile
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 09:28:22 PM »


The first time I touched a Rhodes was while walking past the keyboard room at Veneman Music in Rockville, MD in 1981.  A Mark II suitcase had been dragged outside the keyboard room to make room for Prophets, Polysix, Juno 6, Casio VL-1, etc.

My buddy scoffed "look, it makes noise even when it is turned off!"  And I played a few notes, and heard the tines go plink.  And I never touched a Rhodes again for 20 years.
(I was an innocent and clueless guitarist, but somehow that moment stuck with me.)

I took piano lessons as a kid, and I do love the piano - probably more than guitar.  I can fool some folks into thinking I am a piano player, but I never progressed to a high level of skill.

There is a keyboard sound that I liked that I had always thought was a vibraphone, but the vibes didn't sound right in the bass.  In 2001, I bought a Yamaha P-80 which I still adore.  When I got the P-80, I was exposed to the electric piano sound, and realized that this was the voice I had been hearing on records.  Pretty soon I found out that the sound I wanted was a Rhodes, not a Wurly, Pianet, nor CP-70.

A friend showed me the ebay website, and I started trolling for musical instruments.  I watched a lot of Rhodes auctions.  Finally, in February 2002, one popped up within driving distance - buy it now for 500 bucks.  I drove way out into West Virginia to get it, and loaded it into my car without even opening the case to see the keys!

When I finally got it home it was too late to set it up and plug it in; but I popped the top off, wiped off the keys, and played a little bit.  It was magical.  It was a 1973 Mark I Stage 73 with really sluggish action, square hammer tips, and wonderful sound. 

I have bought four other Rhodes 73-key pianos since then: a 1984 Mark V, then a 1979 Mark I, 1981 Mark II, and a 1983 Mark II suitcase top with plastic hammers.  Then the price on craigslist and ebay got too high, and I ran out of space to keep pianos.  (Because I also bought two Wurlies (200 and 206), a Pianet-T, and a rash of guitars and drumsets.)

The entirety of my knowledge of the Rhodes is from the Rhodes Supersite, the defunct yahoo group, this EP forum, reading the service manual, tech supplements, Steve Woodyard's stuff, and fixing my five pianos.  (Lots of thanks to the folks that made the web resources possible:  James Garfield, Freddan Adlers, John Della Vecchia, Ben Bove, and Cormac Long.)


In my day job as an IT technical consultant, I get to interpret customer questions and provide answers that are useful and complete.  I believe in "factual information should be free" ethics, and I have an irrational sympathy for absolute beginners.  I am also a penny-pinching DIY tinker (can't let my engineering degree go to waste).  So I have the perfect disposition to compose elaborate and long-winded answers for folks that have just bought a Rhodes.

I have repaired my Rhodes pianos to a fully-playable state, but none are pristine.  I have not done any elaborate big restoration jobs.  I think all of my pianos could have better damper adjustment, and all of them could benefit from cosmetic touch-ups.  However, if they are enjoyable to play, that is good enough for me. 


Sean




Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1196
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 08:04:37 AM »
Thanks for the replies folks!

Ben, I'm ashamed to have to admit, your book wasn't really on my radar. I've watched the video a couple of times but I guess the book wasn't available when the video first came out? Amazon says they're not selling it right now "because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here."

I believe in "factual information should be free" ethics
Right on brother!
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline Ben Bove

  • Vendor
  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3279
  • Formerly bjammerz
    • View Profile
    • Retro Rentals Website
Re: What's your story?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 04:40:14 PM »
Yes the book came at a later date from the film itself.  Thanks btw for the Amazon heads up.
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear

http://www.RetroRentals.net
(818) 806-9606
info@retrorentals.net

FB: https://www.facebook.com/retrorentals.net/
IG: @RetroRentalsNet