Author Topic: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!  (Read 13559 times)

Offline sunrunner

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New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« on: March 22, 2016, 04:04:02 PM »
At last, we can finally experience what this famous Fender Rhodes piano looks and sounds like today.  Thanks to my brother, Pcola_Rhodes for sharing this with me!

www.emodelrhodes.com
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Offline sunrunner

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 04:04:50 PM »
And a huge thank you to the owner of this instrument!!!
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Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 05:21:39 PM »
Great website and listening examples!!
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Offline pcola_rhodes

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 05:25:53 PM »
This is a dream come true for me. I've been obsessed with this Rhodes for years (see my previous posts) and have always wondered what it might sound like today. I was not disappointed!!! A million thanks to the owner for sharing it! I was thrilled to hear that it sounds identical to the original recordings!
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Offline vanceinatlance

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2016, 11:29:28 PM »
Nice web site! Thanks for sharing the info and to it's owner for sharing more about it with us! I am hoping we can become more enlightened on the electronic modifications that were done on this instrument. I noticed a chorus effect on most of the audio examples and wonder if that is a chorus effects unit built into the piano base above the power supply? All of the connections and wires on the side make it look like it could have possibly been fitted with a flux capacitor?? I that the secret?!
Anyways, really cool to find out more about this instrument! Hope we can learn more about the electronics.

Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2016, 01:39:13 AM »
The chorus effect you're hearing is a Boss CE-3 that his piano's output is plugged into. The recordings of this piano from the late 70s and early 80s were typically done with the output going to a Rivera modded Boss CE-1.The Rivera modded Boss CE-1 allowed you to dial in the right amount of input volume so your tone would not distort. According to the producer, Jay Graydon, one-half of the signal was dry (without chorus) and the other half had the ce-1 chorus on it when the piano was used on his recordings/productions. The only major mod in regards to the preamp is that there is a major treble boost which brings out the bell tone from the late '71 Torrington tines that are voiced to bring out the overtones. The pictures that I have seen of the preamp look like Eddie Reynolds placed or replaced certain caps in the preamp and wired their signal to a flip switch to engage the treble boost or turn it off to have the stock Peterson eq according to Tim Warneck of Retrolinear. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 06:12:58 PM by gwike »
Rhodes Mark I 73 key Suitcase Model (1978)
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2016, 06:30:45 AM »
To be honest, I didn't like its sound--it was too thin and trebly, with no body.  The bass notes had no depth or richness.   ...just one person's opinion.

Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2016, 09:54:20 AM »
I'm afraid I have to fully agree with pnoboy. Sorry but these things are always subjective....

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Offline pcola_rhodes

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2016, 11:06:48 AM »
Gwike, great info about the preamp mod and the CE-1 mod as well!  I read somewhere (I think the '84 article in Keyboard magazine) that Eddy Reynolds (?) also replaced the hammertips with a "harder" set.  I'm not sure if the E originally had the felt hammertips, as the harp date on the E indicates it was made the 39th week of 1971.
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Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2016, 12:24:13 PM »
I spoke with the owner, George, about this and he said the hammer tips were stock neoprene. Eddie could have put harder wood core tips for the last few tines so this could have altered the sound some too according to Steve Woodyard who I also emailed. I wonder if one could get similar sounding eq results if they got a pre-CBS era Fender Rhodes and voiced the piano with a Dyno Preamp using only slight amounts treble boost and midrange cut eq? The one major difference I tend to hear when I compare the E model to early 70s Fender Rhodes with Dyno Preamps is that the Dyno users of the early 80s tended to cut out too much midrange so that's why the E model sounds thicker and bright at the same time. You don't just hear a really sparkly attack with little sustain like in the Dyno modded Fender Rhodes pianos. Both of these elements are working together. I've tried getting the owner to send me a picture the underside of the preamp so I could possibly have Tim Warneck of Retrolinear (who restored Donald Fagen's rhodes) reverse engineer the additional components that were soldered in by Eddie, but he's been pretty reluctant to send me anything. If Tim does crack the code I will make sure to post some schematics on here if he is ok with that.   
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 06:12:15 PM by gwike »
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 01:40:10 PM »
It's really great to see more up-close photos of the instrument!

What's very curious to me, is that Eddy Reynolds did in fact modify this instrument, however I don't see his classic blue floater board replacing the EQ section, so I'm wondering where the EQ modification is?  The preamp appears to be nearly stock, save for a few Mallorys that were replaced.  The preamp cover fits over the preamp board normally, so there wouldn't be anything on the underside of the preamp, otherwise it wouldn't be able to close (there's pretty low clearance there).  That part is a mystery to me, in fact where the switch goes to is a mystery. 

It has a 5-pin preamp and power amp connector similar to the later Janus-style Rhodes, so I'm wondering if there's something attached to the 5th pin by modification or if it's just a connection preference?  Besides the bottom cabinet being from a later model Rhodes about '75 or '76, they definitely modified the piano after 1977 - the terminology "Preamp Out" and "Power Amp In" are the exact words used on the Janus amp design, so if Eddy did the power amp, he was basing it off the Janus model ins and outs.



I can't make it out exactly, but it appears the wood core hammer tip transition on the "Model E" is around C#, so that may be a couple notes lower than standard but not by much if so.  I'd love to hear direct piano samples from George without any effects to hear a pure sound.  A great piece of history.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 01:54:44 PM by Ben Bove »
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Offline vanceinatlance

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 01:56:59 PM »
Thanks for the great info Gwike! I have now noticed the pedal placed on the floor in a couple of pictures on his site. I am mostly curious about all of the cables coming out of and going into the side of the suitcase. What is the device mounted in the suitcase box above the power supply with balanced plugs on either side? The preamp mods are also of interest as well, but there seems to be a large amount of business going on besides just connecting the suitcase to the preamp. I now understand the send and receive cables to and from the boss chorus. Are the extra balanced plugs just for output to recording equipment? One for clean and one for the ce-1? Just trying to make sense out of all of the connections on the side...
Just read Ben's post as I was about to post. Also some great info and a insight about the suitcase base. I second the thought that a clean recording without effects would be nice to hear.

Offline Phillip

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 02:11:35 AM »
Thank you for this amazing website and the music.

Offline LDS

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2016, 06:14:25 AM »
To be honest, I didn't like its sound--it was too thin and trebly, with no body.  The bass notes had no depth or richness.   ...just one person's opinion.


Yeah, it isn't my cup of tea either. I like my tone a little more... swampy for a lack of a better term.

I really love the story about the Leeds E Rhodes though.

Offline pcola_rhodes

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2016, 03:24:29 PM »
Ben, great observation about the 5-pin cable...I too noticed that a few months ago while looking at the photos of the E on the supersite.  I've not seen any other preamps modified by Eddy Reynolds (except the Victor Feldman model on www.fenderrhodesla.com), and I'm very curious to know about the classic blue floater board...not familiar with it.  Makes sense to me that the preamp might just have a treble boost activated by toggle switch, as it does seem to have more midrange than some Dyno models I have heard.  I too would love to hear a recording without the preamp modification.
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2016, 06:53:25 PM »
Thanks for the reference to Nir's pictures - yes he clearly has the Eddy Reynolds blue floater board pictured:



This is the EQ modification I'm used to seeing on Eddy Reynolds mods, so that's why I was curious looking for it on the E.
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Offline sunrunner

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2016, 09:32:34 PM »
I've always been very curious about the modification... This is just my opinion, but to me, it sounds like more than simply a treble boost. It sounds more like the effect produced by the Harmonic Clarifier, or even the Sonic Maximizer (by BBE). The harmonics give it a natural distortion-like sound on the lower notes, and definitely a pronounced high frequency harmonic boost on the higher notes.

I think the stereo chorus also contributes to it's sound a lot. I don't believe I've EVER heard the "E" without the boss chorus. Like others, I'm very curious to hear it with no chorus, and through the stock preamp - no effects at all. Hell I'd like to hear it with vibrato, which I don't believe I've ever heard on any recordings. I find it quite amazing that it still sounds exactly like the records. I've wanted to see and hear how it sounds these days, so the site is a real treat for me.

Ben, it would be great to feature this Rhodes in a video on your Fender Rhodes Story YouTube page! 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 06:41:11 AM by sunrunner »
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2016, 08:45:42 AM »
Can anyone say for sure if this is the piano used on "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington and Bill Withers? I always found that to be a really interesting sounding Rhodes.

As far as it sounding too trebly, yes, by itself maybe, but with a band and a bass, it could sound amazing. When I was in a band in '81-'83 the leader kept telling me to let the bass player play the bass notes because the bass was too overwhelming with the Rhodes and the bass guitar together.

 That may have been part of the reason for this mod?
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Offline pcola_rhodes

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2016, 09:17:59 AM »
I have listened to some songs that I am quite sure have the E, one in particular is "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond (I think David Foster is the player).  I've also heard some more obscure west coast AOR songs that I am quite sure is the E (Eric Tagg, Bugatti & Musker).  Also a song by George Benson called "Being With You" (I think Jay Graydon produced this).  Another one is "For You" by Dionne Warwick, also produced by Jay Graydon.  Mostly songs from the early '80s.  As far as I know, the earliest recording I've heard of the E is Al Jarreau's "This Time" from 1980, but it could have been on some late '70s recordings too.
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Offline The Real MC

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2016, 10:28:50 AM »
My sparkletop with replacement plaster/wood hammer set going into a Countryman Type 10 DI right off the harp sounds a lot like the model E.

I tried the same DI setup with a 1976 Rhodes and it was too dull sounding.

Something about the pickups from the era of sparkletop and model E - they can get both the bark and bell at the same time, totally controllable with dynamic playing. 

If you look at the namerail of the model E, the accessory jacks and faceplate are not original.  Early suitcase pianos did not have accessory jacks.  Look at later suitcase peterson pianos and the faceplate is not as close to left edge of the namerail.  This model E was one of the early ones without accessory jacks.

Also look at the photo showing the hood open at the left side of the harp.  The bass tines can be seen.  They have the large tuning springs which were used on Raymac tines.  The model E has Raymacs like the sparkletops.

Offline Dan Belcher

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2016, 02:07:47 PM »
Can anyone say for sure if this is the piano used on "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington and Bill Withers? I always found that to be a really interesting sounding Rhodes.

As far as it sounding too trebly, yes, by itself maybe, but with a band and a bass, it could sound amazing. When I was in a band in '81-'83 the leader kept telling me to let the bass player play the bass notes because the bass was too overwhelming with the Rhodes and the bass guitar together.

 That may have been part of the reason for this mod?
When mixing sound, the lows and low-mids can very easily become muddy and overwhelming when you have multiple instruments fighting for sonic space. When I'm mixing audio, I almost always use EQ to remove some lower frequencies from every instrument except the bass and the kick drum. When you listen to the entire mix, the instruments sound balanced and the overall sound is rich and full. However, if you solo out any of the instruments, they tend to sound fairly thin. This is especially true of the Rhodes, since it can get very bass heavy and boomy due to its nature.
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Offline The Real MC

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2016, 03:29:43 PM »
Can anyone say for sure if this is the piano used on "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington and Bill Withers? I always found that to be a really interesting sounding Rhodes.

As far as it sounding too trebly, yes, by itself maybe, but with a band and a bass, it could sound amazing. When I was in a band in '81-'83 the leader kept telling me to let the bass player play the bass notes because the bass was too overwhelming with the Rhodes and the bass guitar together.

 That may have been part of the reason for this mod?

When mixing sound, the lows and low-mids can very easily become muddy and overwhelming when you have multiple instruments fighting for sonic space. When I'm mixing audio, I almost always use EQ to remove some lower frequencies from every instrument except the bass and the kick drum. When you listen to the entire mix, the instruments sound balanced and the overall sound is rich and full. However, if you solo out any of the instruments, they tend to sound fairly thin. This is especially true of the Rhodes, since it can get very bass heavy and boomy due to its nature.

Precisely the approach I take, and I have a strong suspicion that the Eddy Reynolds preamp mod is not a treble boost but a mid/bass cut.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 03:38:18 PM by The Real MC »

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2016, 04:15:57 PM »
Yes, when mixing recordings I do the same. ( with EQ)  I meant when we were playing live the band leader wanted me to not to play any bass notes.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 09:39:13 AM by pianotuner steveo »
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Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2016, 02:52:59 PM »
I think one of the earliest recordings to have the E model was from the Steve Kipner album "Knock The Walls Down" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY6dqoCLBnk which was produced by Jay Graydon in 1979. Also to answer the question about the Grover Washington Jr. album "Winelight" that was not the E model. In 1981 Richard Tee was playing a Mark II suitcase 73 Rhodes. He may have had some hammer tip mods or some revoicing done to make it sound clankier/brighter but those are definitely Schaller tines not Torrington tines like on the E model.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 12:22:28 AM by gwike »
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Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2016, 05:32:35 PM »
Also George Benson's song "Being With You" from his 1983 album "In Your Eyes" features Robbie Buchanan on his 1970 73 key suitcase with the Dyno My Pro Piano amp. It does sound similar to the E model but the sustain of the Raymac tines is definitely shorter than the Torringtons in the E model.
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Offline The Real MC

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2016, 10:25:33 PM »
Also George Benson's song "Being With You" from his 1983 album "In Your Eyes" features Robbie Buchanan on his 1970 73 key suitcase with the Dyno My Pro Piano amp. It does sound similar to the E model

The model E was the inspiration for the Dyno My Pianos.  The goal of their modifications was to emulate the sound of the model E.

Quote
but the sustain of the Raymac tines is definitely shorter than the Torringtons in the E model.

I have owned an early 70s and mid 70s Rhodes with Torringtons in addition to my sparkletop with Raymacs and there is no difference in sustain between the two makes of tines.

Offline pnoboy

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2016, 08:29:39 AM »
There's lots of mysticism surrounding Rhodes preamp modifications.  From the Eddie Reynold mod, to the Dyno My Piano preamp, to the Harmonic Clarifier, along with others whose name slip my memory.  As far as I can tell, they all just offer frequency-response modifications.  If any of these products do more than that I'd love to know.  If not, there's nothing they do that a good graphic equalizer can't do.  A parametric equalizer might be especially well suited to the task.  Musicians are always searching for the holy grail of tone, and lots of speculation as how to get it from a Rhodes abound.  As far as I can tell by my own experience, hammer tips, pickup placement, frequency response of the electronic signal chain, and the speaker used to put out the sound are the really important ones.

Offline pcola_rhodes

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2016, 02:59:54 PM »
Pnoboy - great point, couldn't have said it better...

Back to Leeds Rental Rhodes and the E - I read in an article by Keyboard Magazine that an Andy Leeds owned an 88 key flat top suitcase was used on "Thriller" and "Off The Wall" (not sure which model this was).  Obviously doesn't sound like a description of the E, and the Rhodes on these albums does have a different (but very desirable) sound.  Anyone have any insight into this model or any other Leeds owned Rhodes?
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Offline DynoCzarus Rex

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2016, 10:42:07 PM »
I think some of the Rhodes Leeds Rentals owned tended to be from the golden era of Fender Rhodes production (i.e. '71-'76). Perhaps this was a preference on his part, but the 88 key Flattop sounds like a golden era Rhodes with an Eddie Reynolds modded preamp-- probably by this time he was using the floating blue perf boards in the Peterson amps. I know Eddie Reynolds put a flattop with a copper shielding kit on Victor Feldman's 1974 Rhodes as shown in this link: http://www.fenderrhodesla.com/74-eddie-reynolds-suitcase.html. I suspect there's probably some midrange cut going on in the "Thriller" Rhodes and would also say it's going through a Rivera modded CE-1. The CE-1 tone is so unmistakeably thicker than the CE-2 that was typically installed in many Dyno modded Rhodes. As far as some of the other models that Leeds owned I know that letter A was for sale a few years ago. I think it was a pre-1973 stage model with later era hinges and latches. Would be interesting to know if it had Eddie Reynolds' active electronics in it. 
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Offline tomogradymusic

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Re: New photos and recordings of Leeds "E" Rhodes!!
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2016, 05:56:25 AM »
Just to echo what some have already said here, I'm not into this sound - I don't understand the fuss about the Leeds 'E' Rhodes - to my ears it's weedy / thin but then again, my threshold for chorused Rhodes is lower than many other people's.
Surely there should be way more fuss about the suitcase Rhodes that Herbie used during the Headhunters era - and also during the Secrets / Sunlight era; *that* Rhodes defines the perfect recorded sound of the instrument, in my opinion.
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