Rhodes vs. Digital piano

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thestreets
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Rhodes vs. Digital piano

Post by thestreets » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:02 am

I have one of those yamaha 88 key digital pianos that has your standard grand piano, church organ, vibraphone, and harpsichord. However, as of late i have taken particular interest in the rhodes sound and i have been considering buying an actual rhodes off of ebay. Is the authentic rhodes sound worth paying for or is the one i have good enough? In other words, how much better is the real thing than the replica?

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Post by wiss » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:25 am

why do you like the rhodes, what does it give you other electric piano's cant. If it the sounds, cheaper electric's comprossed and eq will give you the same similar vibe.
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Post by hearttimes » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:48 am

the rhodes is one of the greatest keyboards of all time, and all serious keyboardists owe themselves the pleasure of spending some time with one.

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Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:17 am

I had a Rhodes for a short time and hated it. Yes, prepare to spend a fair amount of time with it.... fixing it, that is. I much prefer the Rhodes samples on my S90ES. I know it's not authentic but it sounds pretty damn close, and cleaner.
I like vintage synths....

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Post by hey_timj » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:37 am

in a word: yes. the rhodes is a wonderful instrument, find one in good condition that plays well and it is well worth the money.
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Post by tspit74 » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:23 pm

Even though Wurlitzers have better action, nothing like a real Rhodes. Go for it!

Then get a ping-pong vibrato pedal and an MXR Phase 90. You'll never leave your house.
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Post by atkbg » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:46 pm

If you've got the ability to get it, do. They're fun. They sound great once they're setup (escapement, strike line, tuning and adjustment).
You don't have to do this very often. But you most-likely will when you first pick one up.
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Seconded on the Wurli action, though I've heard you can get the action that tight on a Rhodes with a little work (bumps, stops, etc).
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Another plus for the ping-pong (for the suitcase like sound) and/or a phaser. I run a MF103 and really like the ability to adjust the depth, rate, res and sweep. You can also run it using the aux out to get a stereo/ping-pong affect.
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Post by gs » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:53 pm

The most authentic Rhodes sound I've heard in the digital realm was the software VSTi Mr. Ray. I imagine Scarbee Rhodes is even better. Man, I would love to have a Receptor to carry around some of those sounds (I don't trust taking my PC on the road and don't have a powerful enough laptop for VSTi yet). $omeday....

I owned a Mark I Stage 73 for a while. It was great sounding of course, but you really needed the hardware outboard FX to bring it to life (chorusing, et al), and I always hated the action. A huge metallic thunk at the bottom of the key travel always put me off (though that's probably why some ppl like it). I sold it off after a while. Old Rhodes actions were never really that great, folks.
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Post by donaldm » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:03 pm

I owned both a Wurlitzer 200 and Rhodes mk II at the same time. The rhodes action felt like akin to smashing your fists against cement. The repairman that restored my Wurli said that the rhodes is perhaps the most time consuming piano hes every worked with, though in the hands of the right technician (not him) they can play fantastically, but you're not going to find one on laying around or on craigslist, a good rhodes needs annual maintenence and those in good condition tend to stay with their owners. I like the intrinsic sound of the wurli more and decided to sell the rhodes to pay for its repairs. Oddly enough my RMI has a really unique and enjoyable action to it that feels nothing liek a piano nor a synth.

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Post by miket156 » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:32 pm

I doubt that I would buy a Rhodes off EBay. Its imperative you inspect and play the instrument before you buy it. A lot of how its going to sound and play is what model it is, how much it was used, if it was moved around alot, if it was stored in a damp basement for 15 or 20 years. The list goes on. Its easier to get a beat Rhodes than one in playing condition.

If you must want the sound, you can get great sounding Rhodes from the Yamaha S90ES, Motif ES, Motif XS, some of the Yamaha home and pro pianos, as well as from other manufacturers.

Most people that have a Rhodes in great condition won't part with it, like me.

If you REALLY want a Rhodes, check your local Craiglist (if you have one) or a local or regional music store to see if they have one you could try. Moving a Rhodes on a regular basis is "an adventure in moving". In this day and age, that's not smart.

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Post by MrFrodo » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:54 pm

, the Rhodes carries an amunt of physical maintanence, but so does an acoustic piano. Go for it.

Since there's still such hot demand for acoustic pianos, even in this day and age, I should hope that the projected New Rhodes will prove to be as big a smash as the old run was in the 70's.
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Post by wiss » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:01 pm

going the craigslist route, I went and looked at Rhodes a few weeks ago for $400 bucks, I would have had to put $700 or so into it. He stated it worked 100% on his ad. which wasnt a lie but wasnt the hole truth, it needed a lot of TLC. I live 20 minute drive from a Rhodes Tech but its still wasnt worth it for me.
"All we used was the explosion and the orchestra hit. The Fairlight was a $100,000 waste of space."

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Post by KB Crockett » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:49 pm

hearttimes wrote:the rhodes is one of the greatest keyboards of all time, and all serious keyboardists owe themselves the pleasure of spending some time with one.
Totally Agree!

I used to like the Rhodes sound I got from my EX5 (it has FDSP pickup modelling) but then a few years ago decided to get a real one. I picked up a Mark 1 Stage 73 at a reasonable price. It had the horrible keyboard action, with a dull uneven tone and no sustain. It sounded nothing like the wonderful Rhodes sound i'd heard on records.

After speaking to a few keyboard techs I soon realised that to restore the Rhodes to top playing condition was cost prohibitive for me, due to the amount of hours labour I would have to pay to get the job done properly.

So I downloaded the service manual, ordered the spare parts (mostly from the US, some from UK) and embarked upon restoration myself.

I pretty much replaced everything that wears including grommets (which harden and reduce sustain), hammer tips, dampers, bridle staps, key bushings, and lots of other bits too. I also performed the key pedestal felt mod to lighten the action (as done in the factory from June 79 onwards, if I remember correctly) and I re-tolexed it, replaced the logos and polished all the chrome parts so it looked like new.

I finally replaced some dull tines (not cheap!), levelled the keys, re-established the strike line, set about adjusting all the dampers, pickups and tines and tuned it. The whole job took two years in my spare time.

and then they announced the MARK 7.. :shock: :shock: :shock:

But was all my hard work worth it? YES. It really is one of the most amazing keyboard instruments to play and my EX5 Rhodes patch will never make it onto a recording again. I have an acoustic piano at home but I now spend more time playing the Rhodes. Nuff said?

If you are looking to buy a Rhodes (and you should!) I would either buy a fully restored one, or download the service manual and see if the prospect of restoring one youself appeals to you. Failing that I would look at the new MARK 7. I can't wait to play one and if they are good, I will have the horrible dilema of whether to sell my MKI to buy it! That will be tough.

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Post by hey_timj » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:43 pm

not every used rhodes has a horror story behind it, remember. i got mine in november 2005 and it plays just fine. sure the action is a little weird, but even putting a little time and effort into it helps. one cheap, easy thing to do to fix sluggish action is to spray down the key pedestal felts with a silicon lubricant. then do the easy key pedestal mod (someone was talking about it earlier) and you've increased the quality of the keyboard by 100% with about $50 and 2 hours of your time. and what do you get in return? the sexiest instrument of all time!
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Post by MrFrodo » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:59 pm

Also, do you want a Suitcase piano with its own amp, or are you just after the sound?

My old Rhodes was a Suitcase MkI. I adored the sound, but the f**k amp gave out on me less than 10 months after I acquired it. If it were a Stage piano, it would only be so simple. In fact, I wonder why they even went with the four-prong plug, when Fender had already utilized a fantastic amp system.

If you're gonna go with a Stage, super. If you want a Suitcase, look for some spare fuses.
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