FDP Forum / Are Rhodes worth buying?/ 21 messages in thread.

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amphead4

Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

May 16th, 2008 12:28 PM        

I know nothing about these - I'm an amp enthusiast, not a keyboard guy.

My son's teacher has a Rhodes 88 key Stage model (the one with legs) that she needs to sell. She told me to pick a fair price and it's mine. Early 70's Fender, I think that makes it a Mark I.

I checked eBay and there were a couple sold recently. I don't recall the exact prices but it seems one was about $420 and the other about $620.

This one is in good condition - been sitting in a classroom for years. She plays it on occasion and it works as new.

I'm not buying her amp - I already have those.

A fair buy for $500? Are prices going up or down on these? A risky investment?



tc7

Contributing Member
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Richardson, TX USA

May 16th, 2008 01:10 PM        

I'd say for $500 you're not going to hurt yourself one way or the other. You can probably always sell it for more than that... and if you son takes to it, those things are easy enough to repair and keep going.

I just bought my son a 1973 Stage 73 in super-nice condition. (I spent $1000 bucks for it.) The action looks perfect-- like it has not been played and there are no parts that look like replacements. The case is a little beat, but not bad. The thing sounds extremely good to me.

I used to have several of these, a Stage, a Suitcase... but I had forgotten how much better a real Fender Rhodes sounds than the emulations and samples most folks use now. Night and day to my ears.

Of course, the problem with them is the weight!! The 73 key stage I just bought my son weighs in at 105 lbs. It's not too much to carry by yourself... it's just too much to want to carry. :-)

There's a web site called The Super Site. It has parts and downloadable repair manuals. There are several other places that have parts.

Replacement tines have gotten expensive if your son has a hammer-touch like me. But Rhodes is making noises about making new models available. If they use the same tine system, those parts may come back down to a more reasonable price.

So... go for it! It's a beautiful sound... terribly heavy to move around but everyone did it and still does... repairs are pretty easy and parts are out there... you can always get $500 out of an 88 model unless the prices I saw recently on Ebay were abnormally high.



amphead4

Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

May 16th, 2008 03:30 PM        

Thanks tc7!

To clarify, my son is not a piano student. It's his third grade teacher who is selling the piano. It's not for him, it's for me.

The Rhodes would be for me, because I have a sickness that causes me to collect old things, like tube amps. Over a period of time I can sell amps and make a little money but I'm afraid the Rhodes won't be sellable in the future.

My wife sees it as one more big old thing that I'm dragging home. She has just bought me a Steinway K-52, to be delivered next week, and will surely ask why, after getting a nice new piano, would I want this thing. So far I have no justifiable position to buy it.

I just talked to a friend of mine, someone who has gigged in the past as a keyboard player in blues and classic rock bands. His opinion is a Rhodes is a one trick pony, near worthless and he tried to sell me his 73 model that he hasn't played in 15 years.

Just looking for a leg to stand on before I get shot down.



tc7

Contributing Member
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Richardson, TX USA

May 16th, 2008 04:23 PM        

"It's not for him, it's for me."

OK. That's your first mistake with the mrs. Repeat after me: "It IS for my son!" :-)

"I have a sickness that causes me to collect old things, like tube amps."

I have the same affliction. I have no advice for you with that....


"I'm afraid the Rhodes won't be sellable in the future."

All the 73-key Rhodes I saw on EBAY that had all their legs, keys and etc. were in the $1,000 dollar range. If it's clean, for $500, you could pay yourself a couple of hundred, even if you just sell it for the teacher.


"She has just bought me a Steinway K-52..."

You've got a great wife!! That's a beauty pno.


"So far I have no justifiable position to buy it."

Just tell her that the sound of it makes you happy... like, like being around her... happy like that! ;-)

"...someone who has gigged in the past as a keyboard player in blues and classic rock bands. His opinion is a Rhodes is a one trick pony, near worthless..."

No offense meant to your pal... but not at all worthless to Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Chick Corea... There's a pretty long list of folks who were able to get some reasonably different colors and music out of their one-trick pony.

"and he tried to sell me his 73 model that he hasn't played in 15 years."

I'd rather have his 73 than the 88 you are thinking of buying. I don't hear a lot of benefit from the extra notes... and there is more weight with the 88!!

"Just looking for a leg to stand on before I get shot down."

I have eight keyboard insts in my house (several pnos, pump organs, synths and etc). So, I may not be your best reference when people start shooting at you for too many instruments.

The Rhodes does only do one thing, your pal is right. But... big ol' but... playing a Rhodes helps bring your playing focus back to what it is YOU are playing/communicating to people who are listening to your music... instead of to what some programmer programmed... or to some endless variety of sounds.

I just got this Rhodes a week ago today for my son's college graduation gift... cause he's a Rhodes and jazz pno freak. First of all, he really loves it!

But, I can't tell you how strong my old attraction to its sound hit me to hear a real one again...!! If you can't get some amazing music out of a Fender Rhodes, it won't be the instruments fault. ;-)

But, they ARE a pain in the butt to haul around...and occasionally need some TLC. I know why most folks favor a good synth patch.

I'm sure you'll decide the right thing for you! Let me know if you get it... Good luck.



amphead4

Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

May 16th, 2008 05:29 PM        

Thanks man, that was great!

Yes, even if she puts her foot down, after the Steinway and the BFDR two years ago, she can do no wrong.



Leo Muzzy

Contributing Member
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USA

May 16th, 2008 05:31 PM        

The 73 suitcase weighs 132 lbs.

Enjoy.



amphead4

Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

May 19th, 2008 09:46 PM        

The Steinway came today. I can probably live without the Rhodes. Wouldn't want to be greedy.

My wife said the movers almost dumped it over coming out of the truck. Then they dinged it coming through the front door. The nice man is going to make good on the ding though. He was very embarrassed and apologetic.

Weird thing about piano movers is that I had a Mason & Hamlin Model BB (7') which is supposed to be the heaviest piano made, heavier than a 9' Steinway. I had it moved 6 times without a single scratch or ding or even knocking it out of tune. This upright is heavy I'm sure but maybe half of the Mason and my wife said it was one near disaster after another. I'm glad I wasn't there to see it.

Hijacked my own thread... Just had to talk about the new one.



tc7

Contributing Member
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Richardson, TX USA

May 20th, 2008 07:13 AM        

If I was going to have a vertical piano, that Steinway would be at the top of my list. How's it sound?



amphead4

Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

May 20th, 2008 07:47 AM        

What do I know? I'm just a guitar hack.

It's good, maybe not quite the volume of the Mason grand with the lid up but comparable when the grand had the lid down. It's good all the way down the bass end. When moving up the scale it gets noticably quieter 2 octaves above middle C. There must be some change in the hammers starting there. It was noticable enough that I looked inside to see if it went from three strings to two at that point but there were still three strings there.

When the nice man comes back to fix the ding and tune it, I'm going to have him check all the dampers too. On at least one note when you release the key, a harmonic keeps ringing. It sustains like a 59 Les Paul.

There also seems to be a lot of lower frequency resonance going on, way below the fundamental of the note being played. I'll talk to him about that too. Is this normal? Again, I don't know nuttin' about pianos.

The story on this piano is that it was sold as new by a dealer about 8 years ago. It left the store with a cracked sound board. The original owner complained during a tuning and the nice man looked it over, found the crack and took it as a trade-in on a grand with plans to fix and resell it. Years later we trade our M&H in on it to get a smaller footprint. When we played it there, it still had the cracked board in it but I didn't notice anything unusual. A new board was built and installed last fall, it was restrung and the tuning has been stabilizing since then. Apparently it has 6 months on the action and the board/strings are new so he's giving us a new piano warranty.

Sorry to be so long...



tc7

Contributing Member
*

Richardson, TX USA

May 20th, 2008 09:18 AM        

"There also seems to be a lot of lower frequency resonance going on, way below the fundamental of the note being played. I'll talk to him about that too. Is this normal? "

Do you mean buzzing? Could be a damper problem on lower strings. Sympathetic vibration of the undamped lower stg.

"A new board was built and installed last fall..."

I'm no piano expert, but installation of a new sound board is like a heart transplant on a piano!!

Your "resonance" could be due to many things... like the sides of the soundboard not being absolutely tight with the case... the bridge could be loose... bridge pins could be loose... the portion of the strings below the bridge usually has a felt damper woven between the strings to kill vibration in this short portion of the strings...that felt could be loose or missing...

If the same strings were put back (or stayed) on the piano, the winding can come loose from the core (wound strings) and produce a mysterious vibration.

I'm sure your piano guy can nail down all the noises. Moving is hard on a piano and it can take a few days for it to get happy in its new location.

I bet it sounds great!



amphead4

Contributing Member
***

Cincinnati, USA

May 20th, 2008 09:55 PM        

It does sound great. I wish I knew how to play it.

The resonance lingers after the strings are damped, like the sound board takes a while to decay - a little natural reverb. That makes sense now that I think about it because you can damp the strings but not the soundboard. It's a vibrating mass that will ring a while.

I realize replacing the sound board is major. Originally we were going to have the Mason & Hamlin rebuilt and I was very concerned about the quality of materials and the craftsmanship. There's a good knowledge base here in Cincinnati because of the Baldwin factory. I did some research and every authority pointed me to the same guy. I trust him.



stevesmith

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Australia

Tone suck is in the fingers
May 21st, 2008 05:33 AM        

The latest cheapo Casio electric pianos have a halfway decent Rhodes at a low price point. The only other pseudo-Rhodes I'd recommend is an old Roland MKS-20 module and a midi keyboard to drive it.



stevesmith

Contributing Member
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*******

Australia

Tone suck is in the fingers
May 21st, 2008 02:44 PM        

And if the danged the Steinway, you just lost $40k



amphead4

Contributing Member
***

Cincinnati, USA

May 23rd, 2008 04:26 PM        

Except I don't have $40k in it to lose.

The Rhodes deal fell through. She wanted $700 for it and I backed away.



brandobean



Utah

Humbuckers, rosewood no trem, no problem
Jun 21st, 2008 11:47 AM        

A Rhodes sold out of my local GC for $1500 used, they went $1000 out the door for a dude who had cash. This was before the policy change.

$500 is a good deal. I would personally buy it if it had no issues. These pianos are super cool. My Junior High school band had one and I severly under-appreciated it at the time.



jbryan



US

May 19th, 2010 01:28 PM        

I have a 1977 73 Stage Rhodes. I had a 1973 back in the late 80's and sold it like a fool. I do not gig with it- it is in my music room in the basement. But it is great to fire up and make like Ray or Stevie! You will def be able to unload it later if you want. There is a huge niche population out there that love vintage Rhodes. Nice ones go for a grand easily...Mine is not mint but it's decent enough for what I need from it. And it looks cool in the music room.



rockstar_not



USA

Thank God for guitars!
Jun 3rd, 2010 09:51 PM        

Whoever said it's a one-trick-pony doesn't know how to ride that pony!<br /> <br /> The guy who dinged your piano - was it a piano moving company? Doesn't sound like it.



jbryan



US

Jun 7th, 2010 11:51 AM        

When I did gig with my Rhodes, I used to have a Flanger pedal and a distortion pedal for it. Yeah, Rhodes sound awesome with some distortion dialed in! Funny, my Alesis keyboard has a "Dirty Rhodes" patch that is nearly identical to how I used to dial in the distortion. It also has a "Dirty Wurly" and such. Rhodes can do a lot- it's all up to you to decide what. Enjoy if you can get it for a good price. They will do nothing but go up in value, which is better than you can say for the stock market!!



jbryan



US

Jul 14th, 2011 11:04 AM        

BTW, your friend who said they are "near worthless" has been living under a rock since about 1988. Back then you couldn't give them away (I did give my first away then -DOH!). He needs to be corrected! One trick pony, well, like I said, put some pedals on it just like a guitar! You can have all kinds of cool Rhodes sounds and variations. The 73's do seem to be more popular than the 88's but for 5 bills, I don't think you can go wrong!!



DPH



Massachusetts, USA

Oct 28th, 2011 12:27 PM        

Vinyl sounds better too, but I'll take a Nord Electro for portability, versatility, and yes, awesome sounds.



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