Archive for the ‘rhodes mark 7’ Category

Rhodes Mark 7 endorsement from Jeff Lorber?

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The site, the official website for the Rhodes Mark 7, has a “Latest News” headline that reads:

Jeff Lorber Review of the New Rhodes Mark 7 in June Keyboard Magazine

They then print his quote from an article:

“If I could bring a Rhodes like that everywhere I go, that would be incredible.”

However, after reading the article in question, this quote has been taken out of context. Here is what Jeff Lorber /actually/ said about the Rhodes Mark 7 (

“I had the feeling that — given my experience with the prototypes —they’ve got a little ways to go to make them perfect. The feel might have been a little bit spongy, but basically, they’re great. Hopefully this will be a way we can play Rhodes pianos that aren’t as beat-up [as heavily-used rental instruments] and get new ones that are much more fun to play. If I could bring a Rhodes like that everywhere I go, that would be incredible.”

When he said he would take a “Rhodes like that everywhere [he went]”, he was referring to “new ones that are much more fun to play.” In fact, he specifically said the Rhodes Mark 7 had spongy action and had a way to go to be perfect.

Seems like the Rhodes Music Corporation (RMC) are misrepresenting what Jeff Lorber was quoted as saying in the article.

Also, RMC quotes Stevie Wonder as saying “You got it better than right, its unbelievable!” However, the “full article” they link to is only a blogger’s post about the Rhodes Mark 7 which seems to be regurgitated information, verbatim, from the RMC website. A cyclical citation? Tsk-tsk. Where is the citation showing that Mr. Wonder actually said this??

If they have such an amazing instrument, why are they resorting to taking quotes out of context, and using unacceptable citations, in order to produce favorable quotes about their piano? If it is indeed a good product, you would think there would be plenty of quotes that /clearly/ praise the piano.

The weight of the Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

If/When the Rhodes Mark 7 hits the street, one should carefully review the consequences of its light-weight design. Rhodes design engineer Mike Peterson designed the prototype Rhodes Mark IV, which weighed significantly less than previous models. Unfortunately, the reduction in weight had some unintended, and possibly undesirable, side effects:

The weight reduction program succeeded at reducing weight, but introduced a serious side effect. The various non-musical noises made by the piano mechanism increased dramatically. The traditional design made noise too, but the massive wood box kept it contained. The new, thin, lightweight case seemed to amplify the noise, almost like an acoustic guitar body. Of course, none of the noise got into the amplified sound, but when the piano was directly connected to a mixer in a studio, a nearby open microphone could easily pick it up.

The Mark V weighs in at 100lbs for the 73 key model. The Rhodes Mark 7 73 key model weighs in at approximately 85lbs ( I am at a loss as to how the Rhodes Mark 7 engineers were able to shave off 15lbs from the Rhodes Mark V design, which weighed 100lbs with lid and sustain pedal. Perhaps they don’t include the sustain pedal in the Mark 7 weight calculations. Perhaps they don’t have a lid for the Rhodes Mark 7….I have yet to see a picture or illustration of a lid for the thing.

It must be one of these two possibilities, because the Rhodes Mark 7’s pictured have the same harp assembly, wooden keys, and aluminum and wood structures as the Mark V. In other words the “guts” appear to be identical between the Mark V and Mark 7. So, if the weight reduction didn’t take place in the “guts”, they had to reduce weight somewhere else. You can’t significantly improve on the weight of the Mark V case….it is thin plastic. So, the only things I think are left are the lid and sustain pedal. Maybe that is how they arrive at the 85lb weight for the 73 key Rhodes Mark 7.

If they did, /somehow/, manage to shave the pounds from the guts or case, I think we will see the same problems Mike Peterson ran into with the Mark IV due to its reduced weight. So…I will hope that they just aren’t including the lid and sustain pedal in the weight. Right?

Anyone else care to take a guess?

Mark V action technology mysteriously vanishes from the Rhodes Mark 7

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

I noticed a few months ago, after my post on the Rhodes Mark 7, that RMC removed any reference to the Rhodes Mark 7 containing Mark V action technology. Perhaps it was because I raised a concerning question as to how they produced an 88 key Rhodes Mark 7 prototype with such action.

Doubting that they are yet manufacturing new Mark V plastic hammers, which gave the Mark V its improved action, I suggested that they would have had to cannibalize two 73 key Mark V’s and an 88 key Mark I or II in order to build an 88 key Rhodes Mark 7 prototype with Mark V action.

Other Mark V owners were anxiously discussing the arrival of these plastic hammers, as their vintage ones were needing replacing, and there were none to be found. We all looked forward (and still do) to the supply of Mark V style hammers that would be available with the production of the Rhodes Mark 7.

Well we may have celebrated too soon. Either the Rhodes Mark 7 will use the “old” action design, or the RMC has stopped referring to it as Mark V action technology. For now, they say that the Rhodes Mark 7 has an improved action that is “an extremely responsive mechanical action with the most professional touch.” As a Mark V owner needing replacement hammers, I will keep hoping for the best.

Rhodes Music Corporation benefiting from vintage Rhodes forum

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

As I’ve said before, let’s hope the new Rhodes Music Corporation (RMS) pays more attention to detail with the Rhodes Mark 7 than they do to their website. Multiple grammatical errors on the RMC website have been reported in forums at These forums consist of folks who are fans of the vintage Rhodes pianos….and because of that, there is also interest in the new Rhodes Mark 7.

Mysteriously, soon after these errors are reported on this fan-administered website, they are corrected on the RMC website. And this is not only happening with their website. When the Rhodes Mark 7 was unveiled at NAMM 2007, many folks questioned the placement of two USB ports on the face of the Rhodes Mark 7. To most, it seemed like the worst possible place to put such a thing, offering no benefit over a USB port place somewhere else on the piano….say with the other ports (1/4″, MIDI, etc) on the side of the piano.

Again, this feedback was placed on the fan site ( and soon after, RMC had photoshopped those USB ports out of all of their images of the Rhodes Mark 7. To my knowledge, no thanks or acknowledgment was given to the fan community for their, what amount to, free consulting services. But I think I speak for many vintage Rhodes fans when I say that no thanks were ever expected. We all want the Rhodes Mark 7 to become a mass-produced reality for one reason or another.

And if we can help make that final product better, we will ultimately benefit….thanks or no thanks.

Movie clip of the Rhodes Mark 7

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I found a great (but short) video of the Rhodes Mark 7 at NAMM:

Also, if you are interested, there are great conversations regarding the Rhodes Mark 7 on The Super Site Forums:

Even more pictures of the Rhodes Mark 7 from NAMM

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

As I find new pictures on the web, I’ll make sure to link to them here:

rhodes mark 7 suitcase 73

rhodes mark 7 suitcase 73

rhodes mark 7 suitcase 73

rhodes mark 7 interior

rhodes mark 7 61

rhodes mark 7 stage 88

More photos of the Rhodes Mark 7 trickling in

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Found some more photos on the web of the Rhodes Mark 7. Shows the pitch bend and mod wheels, speaker cabinet, and (of interest to me) the 61 key passive electronics model (the one in red).

rhodes mark 7

rhodes mark 7

rhodes mark 7

First impressions of the Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano

Friday, January 19th, 2007

(also see the Rhodes Mark 7 NAMM 2008 Product Release post for the latest information)

UPDATE: It seems that popular enthusiast sites, including, are being pressured into deleting all information critical of the new Rhodes Mark 7. And even stranger, any critical remarks regarding the new Rhodes Music Corporation website are being pulled as well.

I’ve written about many of the deleted posts here on my site:

Fender Rhodes Super Site bowing down to the new Rhodes Music Corporation
Rhodes Mark 7 endorsement from Jeff Lorber?
The weight of the Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano
Mark V action technology mysteriously vanishes from the Rhodes Mark 7
Rhodes Music Corporation benefiting from vintage Rhodes forum

Sorry for that interruption. On with my first impressions of the Rhodes Mark 7:

Let me start, first, by saying that I have not seen one of these in person. However, from the following pictures it is possible to make some distinct observations. Overall, the Rhodes Mark 7 piano shown at NAMM looks a little rough. Almost as though it was thrown together: a frankenstein of modern electronics and the guts from vintage (70’s/80’s) Rhodes pianos.

And I mean that literally. The guts of these things could come only from old Rhodes pianos. Given the production facilities the original Rhodes pianos demanded, I find it impossible to believe that the electromechanical parts in the Mark 7 come from a source other than old Rhodes pianos or New-Old-Stock (NOS) parts.

However, recently a person at Major Key built the Major Key 54. A Rhodes that is comprised of “65% new parts, 30% new/old stock [leftover from when the factory closed], and 5% whatever [i.e., the Harmonic Clarifier]”. This, perhaps, shows that the Mark 7 could be built without using parts from old Rhodes pianos. Perhaps the Mark 7, like the Major Key 54, used only new parts, NOS parts, and new electronics (MIDI/USB/PRE).

But wait! Making that scenario even less likely is the fact that the new Rhodes corporation claims the Mark 7 is based off of Mark V technology. For those unaware, the Mark V included some significant differences from previous models. Most notable was the increased hammer throw, resulting in a more expressive piano. You can read about the Mark V at the Fender Rhodes Super Site.

Possibly because there were relatively few Mark V pianos made (estimates range between 2,000-4,000), many Mark V owners find it difficult, if not impossible, to acquire replacement parts. Specifically, the plastic hammer assemblies in the Mark V are unique to that model. Some claim that the increased hammer throw causes long-term fatigue in the hammer arm pin area, ultimately resulting in the failure of that part. Stories of Mark V owners with this problem say that they have had to find creative solutions, because the only known source for this particular replacement part is other, used, Mark V pianos. As Mark V pianos can sell for $5,000 on on-line auctions sites such as eBay, buying a Mark V for spare parts can be economically unfeasible.

Why all of this history? Because I believe that unless the new Rhodes corporation bought a number of Mark V pianos, to use for supplying the guts of the Mark 7, then the pianos they demoed at NAMM could not have contained “Mark 5 action design”, as they claim on their website.

So, let’s assume that the models at NAMM did have the Mark V action design and in order to achieve that, they cannibalized a number of Mark V pianos.

Well, if you look closely in the pictures from NAMM, they show a 88-key version of the Mark 7 (it’s the white one). Now, I think that I may have used the word “frankenstein” too soon. In fact, I should have saved it to describe what I think about the 88-key Mark 7 they unveiled at NAMM. If the new Rhodes corporation had used vintage Mark V pianos to supply the guts of their Mark 7’s, they would have had some unique challenges while constructing their 88-key model. This is because the Mark V only came in a 73-key model.

I can imagine that they took parts from an 88-key Mark I and Mark II, and combined them with parts from 2 Mark V’s to create this beast. That’s a thought!

For now, let’s forget the gruesome method they employed in creating these monsters, and focus more on the product that they ended up with: the Rhodes Mark 7.

Here is another picture of the Mark 7. Let’s see what we can find. Looks like we can see the “Ventilated humidity system”, which looks like some speaker slits in the top of the case, and of course the I/O panel is visible. Not sure why they thought they needed a moisture vent. The vintage Rhodes pianos do not have them, and they have been working fine for over 20 years.

rhodes mark 7

And now, let’s take a look at the quality (or lack thereof) of the I/O panel. Hmmm. Aside from the lack of labeling, crooked XLR inputs, and MIDI jacks that aren’t properly aligned (the number 3 MIDI pin should be at the top, as is standard procedure in all other MIDI equipment), it doesn’t look /that/ bad. It should be nice to have those available. However, take a look at the scratching on the gloss finish. Looks like a Mark 7 wouldn’t look nice for long if you gigged with it. Also, what’s with the dust around the edges of the panel?

rhodes mark 7 i/o panel

Next, we see the font panel. Some rhodes owners have commented that the controls are not very well defined, and that the layout could improve. The first thing I noticed in this picture was the interior wooden harp showing at the top left between the front panel and the lid of the instrument. These pianos don’t seem to be very refined. Are they /hoping/ to make these in quantity with any amount of quality, or are they just showing what they can assemble in their garage over the weekend?

rhodes mark 7 front panel

Finally we see the other half of the front panel. Obviously, the keys at the right end are not level, and any number of things can cause this. Again, strange for that problem to be apparent on a floor model for the piano’s introduction to the world. And in this picture, and the last, I almost missed something. It was pointed out to me in an on-line forum, and I hadn’t seen it, I think, because it’s the last place I would want them to be. On the front panel there are 2 USB ports, clumsily located on each end. I can’t think of an argument for that placement. They almost seem to be in the way there. Finally, the wooden harp can be seen between the gap in the front panel and the lid running the length of the piano.

rhodes mark 7 front panel

In conclusion, given that a vintage Rhodes piano can be purchased under $1,000US, I’m not sure how they are going to sell these for a profit. The additional electronics can be added to a vintage Rhodes: $200 for a preamp and $1,000 for a MIDI strip installed (in fact you can install the same optical MIDI strip used in the Mark 7, if you want). It seems like the Mark 7 will sell if it is priced under $2500 with MIDI and preamp. Pricing should be available in February from the new Rhodes corporation.

First image of the Rhodes Mark 7

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Ok…..getting my first look at the Rhodes Mark 7 electromechanical piano, and boy! I’m not sure what to think yet. I need to see more pictures….inside and out! I’m sure more will come.

fender rhodes mark 7

You can keep up-to-date on it by visiting The Super Site forum:

The soon-to-be-announed Rhodes Mark 7 electromechanical piano

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Wow. Well tomorrow at NAMM, I hear that the Rhodes Mark 7 piano will be released. Apparently, as many die-hard Rhodes fans had hoped, the Mark 7 will be a true electromechanical piano. From what I have read, it will have the “guts” of the Mark V; the previous model last built in 1984. One side note: as a Mark V owner this excites me knowing that I may be able to buy new parts for my aging piano!

The Mark 7 will come in 3 sizes, 88/73/61 keys, each with 3 “trim” levels: passive electronics (like the original Rhodes), active electronics (on-board powered preamp), and MIDI with active electronics.

I’m not sure what the pricing will be, or what they look like. But by February this information should be readily available!