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With the arrival of yet another virtual electric piano with the Waves Electric 88 it got me wondering. What is it about the Rhodes that inspires software developers to pursue the perfect emulation? The history of the Rhodes piano is quite a story and you can read about the journey of Harold Rhodes and his development of the instrument here. I have played one and as I recall the keyboard action was just rhodes piano dating — really heavy to my soft synth hands — but the sound was sublime. Most of my experience of course comes through records it was used on. And then there are the effects. The classic tremolo of course, the phaser, chorus, wah and a delay are always popular. Pretty much every digital synth, keyboard workstation and sampler will have some kind of Rhodes electric piano going on.
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The Rhodes Piano enjoyed nearly 20 years of success as a professional keyboard, constantly being improved and redesigned by Harold Rhodes and his engineering team. Harold Rhodes spent nearly two decades designing keyboards for educational use before inventing the Rhodes piano as we know it today. The self-amplified Fender Rhodes Electric Piano first appeared with its silver harp cover in As the Fender Rhodes began to grow in popularity with recording artists, so did the product line. The Fender name was dropped for marketing purposes, finally giving Harold Rhodes the full credit he deserved.
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The Rhodes piano also known as the Fender Rhodes piano or simply Fender Rhodes or Rhodes is an electric piano invented by Harold Rhodeswhich became popular in the s. The instrument generates sound like a conventional piano with keys and hammers, but instead of strings, the hammers strike thin metal tineswhich are amplified via an electromagnetic pickup plugged into an external keyboard amplifier and speaker. The instrument evolved from Rhodes' attempt to manufacture pianos while teaching recovering soldiers during World War II. Development continued after the war and into the following decade. Fender started marketing the Piano Bass, a cut-down version of the piano, but the full-size instrument did not appear until after that company's sale to CBS in CBS oversaw mass production of the Rhodes piano in the s, and it was used extensively through the decade, particularly in jazzpopand soul music. It was less used in the s because of competition with polyphonic and digital synthesizers such as the Yamaha DX7 and rhodes piano dating inconsistent quality control caused by cost-cutting. The company was eventually sold to Rolandwhich manufactured digital versions of the Rhodes without authorization or approval from its inventor. In the s, the instrument experienced a resurgence in popularity, resulting in Rhodes re-obtaining the rights to the piano in Although Harold Rhodes died inthe instrument has since been reissued, and his teaching methods are still in use.
The Fender Rhodes product line evolved quickly as the 's began. The Stage Piano was the piano top from the Suitcase model, modified for use with an external guitar or bass amplifier. The Stage model featured detachable legs parts from a Fender rhodes piano dating steel guitara sustain pedal and pushrod part of a Rogers hi-hat standand a simplified front panel with only volume and bass EQ controls. Internally, the Stage Piano was nearly identical to the Suitcase model. Major changes were made to the piano action between and Aroundthe wooden teardrop piano hammers used in previous models were replaced with hybrid wood-plastic hammers. These new hammers were designed with replaceable tips, because the teardrop hammers were prone to developing grooves over time and were difficult to repair.
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