Archive for the ‘rhodes mark v’ Category

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.

Broken hammer pins in my Rhodes Mark V

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Last night I was doing my weekly checkup on my Rhodes. I gig with it relatively frequently, so I like to check it out before I take it to a gig. During my check up, I noticed that two of my hammer arms have broken pins!!

Here is a post on the Fender Rhodes Supersite that details someone reshaping Mark I and II hammers to mirror the Mark V standard. It would be nice to come up with a robust method of fixing this problem.

Here is an image of the pivot pin on a reshaped Mark I hammer arm:

rhodes hammer pivot pin

I’ll be fixing it somehow soon, and posting pictures as well. I’ll keep you posted.

Picture of an 88 key Rhodes Mark V electric piano?

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

In an earlier post, I made the comment that I would have loved to see the 88 key version of the Rhodes Mark V. Well, it looks like I have found something very similar. It was called the Rhodes Dynamic 88. Take a look yourself:

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Thanks to Jon, a fellow Mark V owner in Hellerudsletta, Norway, I am presenting the Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual! I have been unable to find a copy of it online up to this point. Now it is here for all to share:

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Cover

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Pages 0 and 1

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Pages 2 and 3

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Pages 4 and 5

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Pages 6 and 7

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Pages 8 and 9

Rhodes Mark V Owners Manual Back

Rhodes Mark V advertisement

Monday, July 24th, 2006

In my quest to collect as much Rhodes Mark V specific literature as I could, I was sent this (thanks, Frederick!):

Rhodes Mark V advertisement

Oh, I would have LOVED to see the 88-key model, and a suitcase model, if one was in the works!

Replacement hammer tips, new tine bar grommets, and key pedestal maintenance

Monday, July 24th, 2006

A few weeks ago I replaced the hammer tips on my Rhodes Mark V. It was tedious work, but it was sooo worth it! The thing sounded brand new. Also, I have some replacement tone bar grommets but have been waiting to put them on because it is yet another tedious procedure. I’m not having sustain problems now, so I’m not sure how much of an improvement I should expect to see, if any. Lastly, looking head on at the Mark V, I noticed that all of the keys were not level on the keyboard. At the higher register I noticed that a few keys were higher than their neighbors. I was able to adjust the number of paper “washers” on the key pivot pin to correct this. All in all, the Rhodes looks and sounds fantastic!

I recently bought a Buddah Wah pedal from Mojo Tone, a wonderful company specializing in building custom tube amps and vintage tube amp restoration and repair. Luckily they had a good deal on the wah pedal, so I bought it from them. The Budda Wah seems to boost the signal even when it is “off”, and it really makes my Rhodes shine! I was suprised how much better the Rhodes sounds through this wah pedal even when it is off. Go figure! Of course, my vintage Ampeg J-12T tube amp has something to do with that.

Right on.

Rhodes Mark V Stage 73

Monday, April 17th, 2006

This post is all about my Rhodes Mark V Stage 73 piano. But first, some background, if you please.

I must give credit to Will Ammons, good friend and keyboardist from my college band, for introducing me to vintage keyboards and organs, expecially the Fender Rhodes piano. Thank you, Will.

I was in high school when my mom was given a Fender Rhodes Mark Ib Stage 73 from a local school. This was before I knew anything about the instrument, and as a consequence it sat unused in our home., and eventually my mom and I gave it away to a local recording studio; a decision I came to regret.

I eventually purcased my first Fender Rhodes piano; a Mark 1b Suitcase 88 for $400. What a piano! I fell in love with the stereo tremelo. I later sold it to purchase a mint condition Mark II Stage 73 (with wooden keys) for $300. I eventually sold the Mark II as well. I was playing the EVP-88 Logic Pro rhodes emulator with a MIDI keyboard and thought that I should sell the Mark II, as some tines and pickups had broken. I thought that I would be as happy with the rhodes emulator as I was with the real thing. I was wrong.

After only one month of being “rhodesless” I decided to start looking for another one. I read up on the different models and decided to start looking for a Mark V Stage 73, but would also like to find a Mark 1b Suitcase 88. I knew it would be difficult to find a Mark V, and if I found one, I wasn’t sure how much it would cost. I placed 2 online WTB ads, one of which was on my personal blog.

After only a month, an email appeared in my inbox bearing the subject: “Rhodes Mark V Stage 73”

It read:

I have a Rhodes Mark V Stage 73 model that I don’t use. Everything works
and I rarely use it. Interested ?? and how much is a fair price ??

I could not believe it! It turned out that there was a gentleman in Baltimore, MD who saw my WTB and decided to write to me. Based on my previous purchases, I suggested a price of $400, to which he agreed. Over the next 6 months I saw two Mark V’s sell for over $4,200 on eBay. However, both of those were in mint condition, with the original documentation and replacement tines. I have seen them in fair condition selling for $1,500 – $2,500 on eBay. The selling price seems to dramatically increase ($300-$400) if the original optional stand is included.

The Mark V was in good condition when I got it, and I was able to tune it and clean it with success. I have had to replace about 4 tines, which I broke while playing it. But other than that, it has been very reliable. I plan on keeping this one for a long time.

Learning more about the Rhodes Mark V (Mk V)

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

What follows is information about some specifics of the Rhodes Mark V. Most of the technical information was written on the Mark I and II, probably because these far outnumbered the Mark V (of which only a few thousand were made).

I wanted to list some information on the Mark V here on this site so that other Mark V owners can learn more about their instrument. Eventually, I’d like to start a Fender Rhodes registry, where owners can register their Rhodes pianos. I think it would be neat to track where all of these Rhodes pianos are today.

Here is some information I’ve gathered on the Rhodes Mark V:

  • Using high-speed photography, the Rhodes engineers had discovered that the original damper design caused an initial snap-back when the key was struck, “kissing” the tine lightly and dampening the overtones before coming to a resting position. The new dampers behaved correctly when depressed, allowing the tines to ring more freely.
  • [Fender Rhodes Stage Pianos] were manufactured until 1984, at which time the Fender Rhodes Mark V Stage Piano was released (only about 4000 Mk Vs were made).
  • Less than 2000 Rhodes Mark V were made before the Rhodes factory in Fullerton closed down in 1985. …. The Rhodes Mark V differs from the the Mark I and Mark II models with a better action design where the hammerthrow has been increased to two inches which in turn gives the piano added dynamic capabilities. They also redesigned the dampers to mute the tines better.
  • The final Rhodes electric piano was the short-lived Mk V in 1984, which is thought to be the perfect Rhodes due to portability, and tweaked design that avoids key/hammer bouncing. The Mark V Stage 73 was the last piano to be manufactured before the Rhodes Works shut down in 1985 never to reopen.
  • According to inventor Harold Rhodes, the Mark V was “the best Rhodes ever built”. The sound of the Mark V offers improved clarity in the upper range, better consistency of tone in the low range and increased sustain compared to earlier versions of Rhodes pianos.
  • The Mark V is lighter (~100 lbs). The stand is a vast improvement over the original legs. They made really improvements in how the hammer hits the tine. The damper works much better than the original. The action feels better.
  • Rhodes Mark V: According to Harold Rhodes,the brilliant inventor of the Rhodes piano,the Mark V was “the best Rhodes ever built”. Compared to earlier models, the Mark V offered a lot of new features, such as improved clarity in the upper range, better consistency of tone in the low range, an all-new action, extending the hammer stroke length by 23%, and a rugged, light-weight enclosure, which reduced the weight of the piano by 35%. The fact is, the sound of the Mark V offers increased clarity, and sustain over earlier versions of Rhodes pianos. The new action increased the dynamic range, which also offered new harmonics.
  • Parts specifications not documented by a drawing, were documented by a model or reference part (The hammer cam curve design is an example of this aspect. I still have the model for the Mk V cam curve).
  • The MkV was released in 1984 and here we see the fruit of all the ideas and discoveries made by techs at the Rhodes-lab. Harold himself had been constantly trying to improve his instruments, and had found a soul-buddy in Steve Woodyard. Harolds way of singning-off was by letting Steve “do his thing” and use all possible knowledge and experiment with a radically altered instrument. The MkV is mainly an instrument that has been made much smaller and lighter in all aspects as well as it’s more modern design. The mayor improvment technically, however is that Mr.Woodyard managed to increase the hammer stroke length. This gives the MkV a much more dynamic response and after redoing the damper mechanism, it turned into a great instrument wich is a pleasure to play.
  • In 1983 William Schultz (head of CBS) buys Rhodes, and the year after we get the Mark V, Steve Woodyard’s baby. If you get rid of the heavy wooden case (Finnish birch wood I think), and use as light materials as possible, plus you manage to peak precision, among other things increasing the hammer travel distance by 23%, maybe there’s still a market. The Rhodes Mark V was a very good instrument, maybe the ultimate Rhodes. An estimated 3-4,000 were made during two years. Three Mark V’s were even made with MIDI: Steve Woodyard has one, Chick Corea and John Novello the other two. They are impossible to put a price on.

Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120 with my Rhodes Mark V

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Got back from Charlotte this weekend with a 1980’s Roland JC-120 amplifier! It is in great condition, with only a small blemish on the grill cloth. It also came with a custom built road case.

I plugged it up to my Rhodes piano and it sounds GREAT. I’m suprised how “clear” the Rhodes sounds through this amp. If this amp does little to color the sound, as some folks claim, then my past amps sure did. The stereo chorus and vibrato are nice. I wish the depth of the vibrato could go a bit further, but I’ll live.

Next 2 items:
1-Speakeasy Dyno-My-Rhodes preamp
2-Tuning and voicing for the Mark V

Replacement latches for my Rhodes Mark V: the resolution

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

UPDATE: replacement latches for the Mark V can be found here:

Well, finally, after months of back and forth. I was able to order a single “extrusion mount twist latch” to try out on the case for my Rhodes Mark V piano. The three latches on the back of the case had broken off over the years and these replacement ones looked promising.

They fit perfectly in the extrusion, but I had to drill a new hole for the rivet. Not a big deal, considering.

I’m going to attach the latch soon, and then order 2 more to replace the other missing ones. So, if you are ever looking for replacement latches for your Rhodes Mark V case, let me know, and I’ll point you in the right direction.