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Does anyone know how Herbie recorded his rhodes in 70s ?

Started by spuchtelwulz, August 24, 2005, 07:47:17 AM

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The only thing i know about Herbie's recording is that he used a 88 Suitcasepiano,but i think this is not really difficult to find out....i wonder how he recorded it...did he use an additional amp like the fender twin and recorded through a microphone or did he use the direct way from the chinch-jack inside the rhodes directly to the recording tools?Does anyone know?If Mr. Rubinson happens to visit this page...please say something about it,David:-)!



interestingly enough, i have the answer. this is from a skype conversation with my fellow-herbie-nut mate max who tracked down an interview with david rubinson from a magazine he had:

[09:55:20] Max Schlueter says: what's the most difficult keyboard instrument to record? [asked to david rubinson]
[09:56:16] Tom O'Grady says: a ha - what did he say - the rhodes?
[09:59:03] Max Schlueter says: the rhodes electric piano is probably the hardest single keyboard to record, harder than an acoustic piano. the dynamics are very wide, and the transients are very strange up and down the keyboard; they're not uniform. you'll get sudden transients that are way off the scale, and then when there is a pianissimo section, the electronics of the instrument are so structured that the notes sink down somewhere into the noise level. the output electronics in the rhodes are not particularly of professional recording quality. recording direct from an electric piano, which is what almost everybody does, and certainly what we do, you have to use a limiter on the signal because of the dynamic range and because of the particular way that the tines are struck. there's a very fast transient.
[09:59:40] Max Schlueter says: does that create distortion?
[10:00:48] Max Schlueter says: there's peak distortion on the transients, and also, because of the way the piano is designed, there's harmonic distortion, too, if you hit a cluster, or a good fat chord the way herbie does with his left hand - he's not someone who just jabs at the piano with his left hand.
[10:01:05] Max Schlueter says: are there any other pecularities in recording the electric piano?
[10:03:54] Tom O'Grady says: that is very interesting
[10:04:29] Max Schlueter says: you're familiar with the effect where, on stereo records, the electric piano vibrato bounces back and forth between the left and right channels? well, the device that makes the vibrato on a rhodes is a phase-cancellation device. it's not like a leslie - there's nothing physically moving. so if you record the instrument that way in stereo, when you play it through a monaural system, such as a tabletop radio, the whole piano will disappear. the signals will add up to zero. in order to prevent this, you have to record the piano out of phase when you're using vibrato. then when you play it mono, you'll still hear the piano. but when you go back to normal straight piano without vibrato, you have to go back in phase.
[10:04:50] Tom O'Grady says: interesting that he recorded directly from the piano (and not mic'd which is what i assume he meant).
[10:05:24] Max Schlueter says: that's what interests me most as well...i've always been very keen to know how herbie's rhodes was recorded
[10:05:41] Max Schlueter says: to me it sounds as though they didn't mike the rhodes but went direct
[10:06:35] Tom O'Grady says: i think a lot of people must think they mic'd it - i believe there's less trouble with hum that way. but herbie's rhodes sounds so warm, like melting butter, on those headhunters records - amazing that they recorded it direct
[10:11:42] Max Schlueter says: well, rubinson's and fred catero's (the engineer who recorded virtually all of herbie's 70s albums) first bought a recording studio in san mateo called pacific recording
[10:11:55] Max Schlueter says: that studio had a quad 8 console
[10:12:32] Max Schlueter says: as rubinson got more work on the west coast, he bought a studio in the wally heider recording complex, he bought studio a
[10:13:10] Max Schlueter says: i'm pretty sure that they had an API desk there
[10:13:50] Max Schlueter says: in 1977, rubinson then built his own recording studio, also in san francisco, which was called the automatt...there they recorded on a trident tsm

so there you go, herbie's rhodes was recorded direct, with a limiter.


I allways thought it was recorded with ProTools 7  :lol:

Thanks a lot for the report, i'm allways interested in vintage recording technic !
Fender Rhodes Stage 1971
Fender Rhodes Suitcase 1973


The most interesting Quote is the one about the "Out of Phase"-Recording Techique when the Suitcase's Vibrato is enabled. The funny Thing is that during a recent Recording Session we accidentally recorded my Suitcase 88 out of Phase (which was caused by some faulty XLR-Adapters). And the Moments when the Vibrato was enabled sounded indeed very spacious, three-dimensional.
Fender Rhodes Stage 73 ('76) - Boss GE-7 - Small Stone - Boss MD500 - Boss RV-6 - Roland Cube 60 (vintage)
Fender Rhodes Suitcase 88 ('74)
Wurlitzer 200a
Arp Odyssey
Prophet 10