Fender Rhodes?

Controller_7Controller_7 4,052 Posts
edited June 2013 in Strut Central
Anybody have one they want to sell or trade?
Hyped? Not worth it?

I've wanted one for a long time, but I've always been a bit worried about price/condition.

Thoughts? I imagine quite a few people on here have/had one. Was it heavily used or more of a trophy piece that wasnt used all that much?


  • inVrsinVrs 687 Posts
    Its one of my most used things in the studio. Few things to know:

    I ve had 2 MKII 73s, bought one on the cheap from a friend but it had a lot of things needed to be repaired by a tech. Now this sounds easy in principle, but finding a tech in your area who isnt demanding crazy prices can be tricky. Also, parts are not cheap. So i would strongly suggest to spend some more and get a fully working and tuned one. I dont really know if my pricing is correct, but a couple of years back 1200 euros would get you a fully working one in the EU. They are not rare, so maybe wait for a good deal. Also you might want to check the differences between the MK1 and 2.

    Another thing is that you will definatly need an amp for it. A rhodes without and amp sounds really bland. I use a Roland Jazz chorus 120 which is nice, has vibrato and spring reverb. Should be around 300-400.

    Other things that go nicely with the rhodes are flangers, wah wahs etc.. or a Space Echo for the mad stuff ;-)

    Hope that helps. Its not cheap but it sounds incredible.. Depends if you will use it to actually make music or just as a trophy in the living room i guess.

  • What effects does Lonnie Smith use to get that sound? I've seen that lil' box on top of the rhodes he uses but never knew the name.

  • inVrsinVrs 687 Posts
    Fresh Blueberry Pankakes said:
    What effects does Lonnie Smith use to get that sound? I've seen that lil' box on top of the rhodes he uses but never knew the name.

    not entirely sure, but probably a mu-tron bi phase or an electro harmonix pedal.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,779 Posts
    I bought a Fender Rhodes Mark I Stage 73 off Craigslist a few years ago and it's such a joy to play!

    It needed a little bit of work, but all the parts are readily available on Vintage Vibe.

    Put it through an analog delay or tremolo unit and shit is butter. All you need to know are some basic chords and scales to have a lot of fun!

  • If you go for an amp try to get one w/ a rotating cone, like a Leslie. Thats the classic sound. Wish I had one to use for my guitar, they sound really cool.

    Edit: Nevermind. I was thinking of the Hammond B3. Still it would be awesome.

  • DelayDelay 4,530 Posts
    They are actually pretty simple instruments. You can order parts and fix them pretty easily. Tuning is tough, but I've never seen one where the tuning was off. They're made to be tough workhorses.

    I prefer the fender manufactured ones. The tines sound better, and if you are fortunate enough to find one with the original cabinet, it sounds significantly different than the late seventies rhodes.

  • uttersutters 321 Posts
    I have a Rhodes and a Wurlitzer and I must say the Wurlitzer wins every time. Built in speaker, tremolo, more portable, and action is super super light and easy. It's definitely a piano that inspires you to sit down and play

    The Rhodes needs much more to get the vibe going; amp, effects etc as people have said

  • Controller_7Controller_7 4,052 Posts
    Thanks everyone. What would you say is a decent price? eBay is kind of nutty. There are a few on Craigslist right now for about $700-800, which seems fair, but I'm just worried about condition. I don't really know shit about them. I would like to learn to play the piano and I want my kids to play too. I like the idea of being able to play with headphones when they are asleep.

    There's one for $700 with five broken tines. Are those hard to fix?

  • this is the go to site for rhodes repair: http://www.vintagevibe.com/p-158-fender-rhodes-restoration-repair-video.aspx

    i've never repaired one myself, but my friend who repairs rhodes professionally learned from their instructional videos & still buys parts from them. i own a late mk1 model, 1978 - the janus system, which is a bit strange - so if you're after that "classic" warm rhodes sound, make sure you pick up a pre-73 model. you can tell the difference from the name plate. the later mk1 models have "Rhodes" across the front, the early, better versions (imho) have "Fender Rhodes". i'm actually looking to trade in my model for an earlier version. i prefer the warmer sound of the earlier model to the bell-like sound of the later versions.

  • Fred_GarvinFred_Garvin The land of wind and ghosts 337 Posts
    Just some notes, as a longtime Rhodes owner whose father also went through three of them:

    There is no specific difference between a 'Fender Rhodes' and a 'Rhodes'. The name change was strictly business related, and had nothing to do with the way the units were built, which evolved continually over time. That, in turn, is a reason why you shouldn't get too hung up on year of manufacture. The Rhodes piano's manufacturing history is actually kind of complicated. Different units built in the same year can even sound a little different (sometimes the factory made changes mid-year), especially when you're talking about buying a used instrument that may have gone through multiple owners, who may have done different voicing or different modifications, according to their taste. The only really major difference in general(major meaning it has a noticeable effect on the sound) from one manufacturing run to the next, is the tines.

    As I haven't shopped for one in a while, I don't know what people are typically charging these days. That said, I feel like $700 is a bit much for a unit that needs repair, but that may just be me. Tines are not hard to replace in terms of skill required, but they can be a pain. Typically the tine base is aluminum, and the screw holding it in is steel, meaning they can seize up after having been connected for 30+ years. Last time I replaced one, it took two pairs of vise grips and all the strength I could muster to get the screw to loosen up.
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