Author Topic: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?  (Read 350 times)

Offline Tonie29

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What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« on: November 20, 2018, 04:52:19 PM »
Hi Everybody

I’m considering buying either a Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 from 1973 that i’ve had my eyes on, or a Rhodes Mark II (don’t know which year) a friend of mine is selling. I’m looking to try them both ofcourse, but I want some outside opinions on which one you think would be better suited for more mellow stuff, such as R&B and Hip Hop? I’m really into artists like D’angelo, Jill Scot, Mac Ayres, J Dilla and Maxwell. I’ve read that the Mark II has a more bell’ish sound to it while the Mark I (at least the earlier ones) has more bark. Would it be easy to make a Mark I sound more smooth and buttery if that’s the case? I know there has been a lot of polls on this kinda topic of “Mark I vs Mark II” but there’s answars pulling in both directions, and it would like to make the right decision on this one!
Hope someone can point me in the right direction

By the way price on this is no issue. I’m really trying to invest in the one that would suite my purposes the best!

Thanks in advance!
Rhodes MKI 73, 1973
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Fender Twin Reverb

Offline mvanmanen

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 11:45:32 PM »
I think both are very much suited for mellow stuff, although a lot of the R&B and Hip Hop I hear sounds like sampled rhodes to me.

As far as which is more mellow, I think it truly does depend very much on how they are set-up. I think that the early 1970s can be voiced across a wider range meaning I can voice a 1973 to sound similar to the late 1970s/early 1980s Rhodes. But I find it hard to get a late 1970s/early 1980s Rhodes to cover the same voicing range as a 1973. To my ears, late 1970s/early 1980s also have a bit of a thin, nasal quality to their sound that while being very musical never gets quite as fat as the early 1970s models.

If price is no issue, I would suggest buying the 1973 and send it to a really experienced tech to restore and set it up exactly as you like it. I have no doubt a well restored 1973 can be voiced however you like it!
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2018, 02:26:24 PM »
Mellow tone comes from the type of hammer tips used, EQ, and setup. The tone (voicing) can be altered with set up, so it is adjustable to a point by the user without spending any money. Does the MKII have wooden or all plastic keys? I personally would stay away from the all plastic keys.
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2018, 02:54:54 PM »
My main axe is a 1980 MK2 and it sounds massive, just as wide frequentially as my early '72 suitcase. There's definitely a difference but Ive never struggled to make any era sound like any other. My 2 penneth!

Offline bourniplus

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2018, 10:16:59 PM »
My advice would be to bring your own amp when you go to try them. If you don't have one, borrow one.

If price is not an issue, buy both!
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2018, 10:45:21 AM »
Mellow tone comes from the type of hammer tips used, EQ, and setup. The tone (voicing) can be altered with set up, so it is adjustable to a point by the user without spending any money. Does the MKII have wooden or all plastic keys? I personally would stay away from the all plastic keys.

I agree with Steveo's analysis.  Hammer tips have a huge and under-appreciated effect on tone, as do the amp, the speaker(s), and the speaker cabinet.

Offline bourniplus

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 07:34:06 AM »
It seems from his signature that the OP went with the MkI.
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Offline Tonie29

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Re: What Rhodes has the “smoothest” sound?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2018, 08:54:26 AM »
It seems from his signature that the OP went with the MkI.

I did! got a super sweet deal on it. it sounds amazing!!
The action is quite sluggish though, but i guess that's what you can expect from MkI from that era.
next project is to install the miracle mod. its gonna be interesting!

thank you all for the replies
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 08:56:12 AM by Tonie29 »
Rhodes MKI 73, 1973
Moog Sub 37
Fender Twin Reverb