Author Topic: Best Rhodes MK2  (Read 1608 times)

Offline alexdecker

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Best Rhodes MK2
« on: October 19, 2016, 08:50:24 AM »
Hi all

I always read and hear a lot of which Rhodes Mk1 is the best.

Rarely do I see a discussion on which Mk2 model is the best. To my knowledge, there was models with wooden keys, plastic keys, Torrington tines and other tines.

I would love to hear some of your opinions on the Mk2 models only - which ones you prefer, would you ever buy and keep one yourself and so on :)

I am restoring a Mk2 from 1980 right now with wooden keys. Not completely sure about what tines are in it, but the action as very nice - completely different to my Buz Watson model!

– Alex

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Best Rhodes MK2
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 05:14:21 PM »
The best Mark II piano is from very late 1979, 1980, or upto early 1981 with wooden keys.  Production numbers on 1980 pianos are relatively high, so they're also easier to find.

The killer in 1981 was the plastic keys.  Ideally in concept, the plastic key models should have actually been better(that's right) than the wooden key models.  The keys themselves would be interchangeable and not susceptible to wood swelling, they had adjustable action by position of the balance rail to give players a heavy or light touch preference, and would have reduced cost overall for Fender without relying on the cost of wood.

Unfortunately, the plastic key pins were too susceptible to breakage, there is no key felt for the balance rail pins so they make this god-awful clackety noise when played or just running your hand over the keys, and the adjustable action is pretty bad on the "heavy" setting.  With some re-engineering they could have been made better, but I wouldn't recommend a plastic key piano from 1981 and on.

I have an affinity and appreciation for the sound and performance of a 1980 wood-key Mark II, they can be great pianos with adjustments.
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Offline retro-mike

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Re: Best Rhodes MK2
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 08:03:03 PM »
For example this one ;) Late 1979 Mk.II.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwIZhqQzMJg

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Best Rhodes MK2
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 10:34:47 PM »
Re the Retrolinear Mk II: 

The dynamic range of that instrument sounds significantly wider than that of a late '79 Mark I that I used to own.

Did Retrolinear remove the factory pedestal bumps and replace them with a more effective bump mod?

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 Groove4Hire

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Mk2
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2016, 05:10:20 PM »
My all time favorite mk2 pianos are the ones with wooden keys from early 1981, just before they switched to plastic keys. Fantastic action and great sounding pianos. I read somewhere that when they switched to plastic keys, they also decreased the hammerthrow. This was done in order to save money on warrant claims due to broken tines. That may explain why they feel weird and don't sound as good...
Jon
Rhodes-tech, www.vintagebua.no, Norway

Offline retro-mike

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Re: Best Rhodes MK2
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2016, 05:15:26 PM »
Alan, we did remove the bump on that 1979! However the dynamic response is the result of a good setup! We're all about the setup and Tim is nothing short of fanatical about nailing the subtle nuances of what makes a great playing/sounding Rhodes.

If anyone cares to do some comparative listening here is a range of pianos we've done over the last 5-6 years, notice the consistent sound from era to era? :-)

• 1973 Suitcase 88> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTHnOdMysAM
• 1973 Suitcase 73>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Iiu2AqxqY
• 1975 Suitcase 88>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62taR00M53Y
• 1976 Stage 73 >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1jHNDbuiNs
• 1977 Suitcase 73>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgZFf6aqKug
• 1978 Stage 73>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVPUKPx-LOE
• 1979 Stage 73 Mk.II>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwIZhqQzMJg