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Author: admin | Category: Piano Lessons Online | 05.10.2014

This Fender Rhodes piano was restored using Retro Linear Grommets and Cubed hammer tips which we have found to by the best quality and the most true to the original sound of the Fender Rhodes production era. This beauty is now back at Wilco’s recording loft where we will hopefully hear from it soon! As mentioned in the first half of this post, unserviced Rhodes and in summary pianos in comparable condition around the Chicago regional market vary from $300-1,000 on average. The main reason that you find such a wide range of prices for Rhodes pianos being sold is that people don’t understand how to spot deteriorating parts or even worse that the vintage parts were replaced with new parts of poor quality. The action of the instrument is more than just the feel of the instrument and will also impact the harmonics and dynamic levels of the Rhodes. It is critical that the keys are as level as possible and that they have the proper amount of key dip. Bushing felts are the felts in the center of the piano key and help guide the piano key as it is depressed. If you move the piano key gently from left to right there should be little movement. Simple action adjustments may only take a few hours but our full key bed setup can take more than 8 hours of service to achieve ideal action levels.
Tines were contracted by different companies throughout Rhodes production so when replacing tines they should be replaced with a piano of the proper production period. At this point in a Rhodes’ lifespan the grommets should be replaced to insure that the piano can be setup properly. In the upper and lower registers, gently rock the tone bars from left to right to see if they are loose. Either with a flashlight or by unscrewing the harp bracket (two screws on either end of the tone bars), check the hammer tips for grooves created from striking the tine. In early Rhodes Mark I production the hammer tips were square cubes which gave the early Mark I it’s signature attack. Look out for Early Mark I pianos with tapered hammer tips as they will most likely either have improper strike line or damper issues.
Hammer tips can be replaced on an as-needed basis but replacing them in full sets is the only way to get perfectly even voicing throughout the instrument. Notes that don’t dampen can be eliminated within a typical standard tuneup but if there are many faulty notes there may be other more critical issues with the Rhodes. This is the factor where the originality of the parts has the most impact on the value of the instrument.
Before shaking hands on a deal, or placing an offer or bid online, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the instrument and most importantly its upkeep over the years.
In the past decade the price of Rhodes pianos has increased fairly steadily but this has not always been the case. The trend over the past decade for digital keyboards, on the other hand, has been that they have not held their value, even over short periods of time. Although most stories of clients of finding their Rhodes or Wurlitzer dumpster-side happened in the 1990’s, these rare scores are still happening today. Side Note: Just as another example of how skewed this market currently is near Chicago, any Rhodes purchased for $500-600 with $500-600 of service from our shop will be in a completely different league than any Rhodes for sale at $1,000-1,200! Aside from those variations year by year, the Mark I and Mark II were offered in four common models throughout the years: the Stage and Suitcase, each offered with either 73 or 88 keys.
In general the 73 key and 88 key models are valued around the same price (because of the tradeoffs in weight associated with the additional keys) but some cases may cause the 88 key model to draw a higher price or lower price. Even though there are few official production numbers the most common Rhodes models seem to be Mark I Stage 73 models from ’76-79.
Following a few other prototype models after the Rhodes Mark II production ended in 1982, Rhodes re-engineered the Mark V and introduced it in 1984.
Like all of our other rebirth jobs, this one began from scratch with a complete rebuild of the key bed. This beauty is on its way back to it’s home at Victorian Recording in Barrington, IL. If you lift up the vinyl lid of your Rhodes you will find that there is a four digit stamp (red, blue, or black depending on the year) that will tell you what week of what year your Rhodes is from. If you’ve played a handful of Rhodes pianos you may have noticed that they each have their own unique sound and feel. Note: All opinions of the models are based on evaluating the Rhodes after it is professionally setup by our workshop in its ideal state.
Rhodes electric piano production from this era of production is easily recognizable by their sparkle top. Youa€™ll see an estimated delivery date - opens in a new window or tab based on the sellera€™s dispatch time and delivery service. This item will be sent through the Global Shipping Programme and includes international tracking. Items delivered internationally may be subject to customs processing depending on the item's declared value. Most purchases from business sellers are protected by the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 which give you the right to cancel the purchase within 14 days after the day you receive the item.
By clicking Confirm bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you are agreeing to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.
This is a private listing and your identity will not be disclosed to anyone except the seller. This item will be posted through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking.
By clicking Confirm bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.
By clicking Confirm bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agreed to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.


This is a fully restored 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88 including new tolex giving it a mint condition look. This Rhodes was inspired by the orange 44 note Wurlitzer 106 and a few vintage guitars with an orange finish.
Here’s a quote on digital pianos from the article and you can read the whole Reverb article here.
Other pianos that have been partially repaired can range are valued from $800-1,200+ but are only worth the additional investment if they include a good invested labor and maintenance that keeps them in top condition.
Most of the parts insstrument will be easily accessible by lifting the vinyl lid and all of them will be accessible if you have a phillips screwdriver handy for removing the four screws that hold the wood harp bracket to its side supports.
You’re not going to get the most out of your Rhodes in terms of tone if the keys and hammers are not playing properly. When there is a loose feeling in the key and there is a lot of lateral movement in the key then the bushings should be replaced to restore the proper feel of the keys.
These are the vibrating pieces of metal that are amplified by the electromagnetic pickups (analogous to the relationship between the strings and pickups of an electric guitar). Many pianos which are being sold today will have replaced tines from improper periods which causes notes to have the wrong harmonic, attack, or sustain characteristics from other pianos. At The Chicago Electric Piano Company all of our tines are separated by the production period in order to make sure that the restorations performed are period-correct.
Grommets are the small pieces of rubber in the center of the tone bar and suspend the tone bar so that a note can sustain and hold a consistent voice.
We have experienced many Rhodes pianos with poor reproduction grommets that leave the pianos sounding nasally or thin often with oscillating notes because of improper tooling or density of the grommet. There should be no groove at all on the wood core tips in the uppermost register or it will be nearly impossible to voice well. Like the grommets. Pianos from this period will not sound period-correct for an early Mark I piano without using cubed hammer tips. This presents challenges for the setup of the instrument because the changes in the height changes the strike line of the hammers with the tines across the piano. When the height of the hammer tips is cut in half by using tapered hammer tips in an early Rhodes it requires that you reposition and service aspects of the Rhodes’ damper assembly, the strike line of the harp, and the height or escapement of the harp. Vintage instruments should be all original cosmetically or restored professionally to the original specs to hold their value over time. Originally, the Rhodes came with an owners manual and replacement tines that can increase the instrument’s value. Make sure that you have learned everything that you need to know about the instrument before shaking hands on a deal.
There are many factors to consider which may seem trivial to certain players while being crucial to others. But even as the technology has advanced, no digital emulation to this day comes close to the feel and the sound of a real Rhodes (or Wurlitzer) piano. This is largely due to newer digital pianos constantly being introduced with advancing technologies and additional features, making many of the former models less desirable and often impossible to re-sell.
In most cases, that budget will be enough to cover a complete restoration of the voice and basic setup of the instrument if the action is at a desirable level. Small design changes were made to the Rhodes piano practically every year which gives each era of production its own unique action and voicing characteristics.
In addition to these main four models, there was also a 54 key version of the Mark II and a Super Satellite (dual speaker cabinet for stereo tremolo offered as an alternative to the Suitcase) Rhodes that are more rare. Because of their bulkier size due to their speaker cabinet, Suitcase Rhodes are often in better cosmetic and playing condition since they are less likely to have seen time on the road.
Since the 88 key model requires more service it may justify a higher asking price if it is recently serviced or a lower price if it is in need of service. Still, there are certain players who cannot perform without 88 keys. Earlier Fender Rhodes models, suitcase models, and 88 key models are harder to come by. In the end, regardless of the rarity of the model, some Rhodes will be more sought after by players that are looking for a particular sound.
This is the only way to produce the dynamic action that most players have never experienced on a Rhodes piano.
This is one of the more frequently asked questions of our workshop when pianos are brought in for restoration or repair. We have seen this a small handful of times and it seems that there was a week or two in 1975 where they were accidentally stamping them as 1985. Some of these models will require more setup than others from their original design in order to achieve the ideal levels that we assume in our descriptions. Their sound characterized by its felt teardrop hammer tips similar to those of an acoustic pianos and the tone bar and tine assembly was more primitive than the later model Rhodes.
The Early Mark I was introduced in late 1969 and after a couple of design changes in the first couple years they settled into the classic Fender Rhodes design that more than holds its own against the test of time. Although most of our favorite pianos happen to be from ’72, this single year of production has some of the best design characteristics. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods and will depend on when your payment clears - opens in a new window or tab. If the item comes direct from a manufacturer, it may be delivered in non-retail packaging, such as a plain or unprinted box or plastic bag. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab. By clicking Confirm bid you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. The piano is from early 1973 which is right in the heart of the classic Fender Rhodes or early Mark I tone that everyone knows and loves. For those who are unfamiliar, changes in Rhodes tines happened almost every other year and noticeably alter the timbre of the Rhodes’ voice from year to year. The piano was completely restored by our workshop and as always we promise she sounds even better than she looks! Fully restored pianos from our workshop start at around $2,000 and range up to $4,000+ and are rebuilt from the key bed up with 15-25 hours of specialized restoration work.


First play notes in various octaves softly and make sure that there are good dynamics in the bass and mid sections. When tines go bad in the low register their pitch will usually shift and in the upper register they will lose sustain (however, both of these problems could also be due other issues with the setup of the instrument). If you are planning on replacing the grommets yourself please make sure that you are using the highest quality components. We offer either hand selected vintage hammer tips or new cubed hammer tips for these models (circa 1971-mid 1976). Rather than having a linear strike line of the cubed hammers the strike line is tapered because of the changes in hammer tip height.
In our opinion performing all of these adjustments for a sound that is not period-correct is too invasive and in most cases the adjustments are not even made in DIY repairs. Once again, grooves should be avoided but as long as all of the notes are dampened then they are functioning perfectly fine. Small tears in the tolex covering the instrument may give it a Rhode-worn vintage look, but larger tears will decrease the value of the instrument.
Some of the most significant factors that will always affect the value include the geographic location or market, the rarity or demand for the specific model, and perhaps most importantly its playing condition. Players that have played both side by side often complain that they have a hard time relating to a digital keyboard the way that they find a natural connection with the real electro-mechanical instrument.
Once a digital keyboard gets to be more than five years old the advanced technologies of newer models render the former relatively obsolete.
Most Rhodes that we follow on the Chicago area craigslist sell within a single one or two weeks when listed between $300-1,000 in average unserviced condition. Aside from the Hammond M3, we believe that Rhodes pianos may be THE most undervalued vintage instrument that you will come across!
In our previous post we discuss some of the basic changes that are observed throughout the eras based on ideal setup conditions, and why certain eras are more desirable to some players. The improvements include a much more dynamic throw of the hammer arm by decreasing the surface area of the key’s pedestal and dramatically redesigning the external housing of the instrument which greatly reduced the weight. Its tone throughout these years has the quintessential warm Rhodes bark that is sought after by most players making them more valuable then the later Mark I years.
While this gives it a feel that is in some ways inseparable from The Early Mark I it lacks the feel that most players come to expect from a piano. Mid ’74 is the same time that the Fender Rhodes name was changed to Rhodes and the curved skirted plastic key caps were replaced with the fitted key caps that you find on an acoustic piano which greatly improved the feel of the instrument. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
Along with the deep thumping bass of the full 88 key set This piano has the quintessential Rhodes bark that the Mark I is known for!
These changes are analogous to the differences in tone from various gauges and metallurgical makeups of guitar strings or acoustic piano strings. Unfortunately for the buyer, this range of pricing from $300-4,000+ can leave many confused about the wide range in prices.
Next, play it with some forte and make sure that it has the proper setup to achieve the classic Rhodes bark. Unless the Rhodes was professionally setup, however, it is likely to be well outside of those margins which can cause the action to feel slow, stiff, loose or sluggish.
If you see cube shaped hammer tips sometimes with yellow and red paint on the hammer tips they are the originals and are likely to need replacement.
This was used in Rhodes production after mid 1976 and is also the signature shape of most reproduction hammer tips available before recently.
Likewise, check the logos and scripts to see if they have broken off or have been scratched or broken. Unfortunately, from our first hand observations of Rhodes sold in the near Chicago market the playing condition of the instrument is not commonly reflected in the asking price of the piano. And almost all Rhodes owners the we speak with have sold their Rhodes for the same amount that they purchased it for or more.
However, the key pedestal design was still lacking and some of the pianos from this era have sluggish action without being properly setup or modified for better response. Aside from a pretty straight forward restoration of the Rhodes piano itself we just needed to make sure that this Rhodes looked as good as it sounds! In order to make sure that the Rhodes is worth the asking price, it’s important to know what to look, feel, and listen for. When playing with forte the notes should still be pronounced and there shouldn’t be any interference in the attack of the note. We have observed nearly identical instrument models going for between $300-1,000 in relatively the same unserviced condition. The instrument has grown to have more than a cult following and are still continually heard on new recordings released every year.
From there, make sure that the volume of the notes across the keyboard are even when played with varying dynamics. Other instruments get listed at prices higher than that range but seem to have a much harder time selling. It seems that the electro-mechanical design of the Rhodes piano has stood the test of time. Given this range of prices it is absolutely critical to know what to look for when determining the fair value of an instrument if you are going to purchase an instrument that is not professionally serviced or restored.



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