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Rhodes Keyboard

Posted by on 11 September 2009

1600 Mk7S 73RBK tines

:: Rhodes Keyboard ::

As a keyboard player there are only a few times in my life when the thought of a brand new keyboard reminds me of days gone by playing at the Gluepot corner bar in the late 80s on a Saturday night. There is a reason this happens rarely and this is no ordinary new product. It is the newly released RHODES piano.

Many of you will fondly remember the Fender Rhodes product. The 73 note suitcase model that required a couple of piano movers to get it into your car and to a gig. Who can forget the key action, the growl of the lower notes when struck correctly or the distinctive analogue sound made famous by the likes of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles and Jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

For many people the only way to relive this is to buy a second hand model (usually very expensive to buy) and restore it which for many people has proven to be difficult. That has now all changed. You can now get a brand new one made like the original.

Harold Rhodes who created the original Rhodes was able to get back the rights to the name around 1996 which allowed him to get to work reproducing the original electromagnetic instrument and Rhodes Music Corporation released these new concept models at Namm 2007.

When these arrived into NZ, I was one of the lucky people to be able to unbox and view them for the first time. Believe me when I tell you it was like being a 5 year old on Christmas morning waiting to unwrap the biggest present!! Once un-boxed the cabinet design proves to be instantly appealing and tastefully done. It comes in 4 different finishes including black gloss, red gloss white gloss and a black Road Touch version. I have seen both the Road Touch version and the black gloss. Both are stunning and distinctive. Click to enlarge.

Black Gloss
White Gloss
Red Gloss
Black Road Touch


"it's just like the original
only new"
 

INSIDE
Opening up the unit reveals the genius of the new Mark 7 model. What is it you say? In the words of our Technician (he has worked on many of the original Rhodes pianos and fixed many old Rhodes) “its just like the original only new!!”. There are a few minor adjustments but fundamentally inside they are the same (without the dust, rust, cobwebs and other dirt an original Rhodes would have gathered by musicians on the road or in their bedroom studios).



"produces that distinctive growl digital products cannot reproduce effectively"
 

FEEL
Both models were instantly magic to the touch. Due to its original mechanical design it still produces that distinctive growl that digital products cannot reproduce effectively. Every chord played reverberates through the unit which can only come from hammer meeting the single metal tine. It is pure indulgence. The active model comes with a 3 band EQ and tremolo option. Both are excellent features that add more depth to the instrument.

 

There is an Active / Midi Rhodes I haven’t seen in the flesh as yet but you can view this through the Rhodes website http://www.rhodespiano.com/. There are many videos on this site which you can view but nothing beats playing it in the flesh. If you get a chance I highly recommend it.

FINAL THOUGHTS
All of the people that I know that had an original Rhodes and have seen and played the new ones are fizzing about these new models. The toughest decision is which colour!!

For some history on Rhodes check out this web site although there are many sites on this subject.

http://www.fenderrhodes.com/history/narrative.php

To view these items in person ring your local Rockshop and they will be able to let you know where the current models are. We have 4 models in stock.

$5995 - Rhodes Mark 7 - 73 note Standard in Black Gloss
$6995 - Rhodes Mark 7 - 73 note Active in White Gloss
$6995 - Rhodes Mark 7 - 73 note Active in Red Gloss
$6995 - Rhodes Mark 7 - 73 note Active in Black Road Touch