Mark V action technology mysteriously vanishes from the Rhodes Mark 7

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.

2 Responses to “Mark V action technology mysteriously vanishes from the Rhodes Mark 7”

  1. Rob A says:

    Seems to me the smartest thing (for them) would be to be gratuitously incompatible with any existing stocks of parts, thus ensuring a captive market for any replacement parts.

    In an interesting parallel situation, I own a Yamaha grand piano that I bought used only to find out it was grey market. I was informed of this by Yamaha North America when I tried to order a rubber bumper for the lid.

    The interesting/relevant part is that when I asked why it mattered, Y told me that they lose money on providing parts. Thus they didn’t want to provide parts for pianos whose sale generated no benefit to YNA.

    You have to wonder what the availability will be of mark 7 parts. I don’t think it would be a stretch to imagine they will be only available from your authorized dealer. It will be interesting to see whether the usual sources for parts will be allowed to become dealers, and if so under what terms (stop selling remanufactured tines?)

  2. Jon says:

    Mike Peterson who worked for Rhodes back in the days actually emailed med and asked specifically about what I knew about the problems the Mark V faces after some use… I’ve rebuilt two Mark V from the bottom up and I’ve teched 5 of them before so I know a bit about them… The increased hammerthrow in the Mark V causes the plastic pins on the hammer to wear out, causing the hammers to get all wobbly. I also know that all the molds for the MKV hammers are all gone so how they can make a MKVII without those hammers is a mystery…

    Steve Woodyard, the designer behind the MKV wrote in an email to me that he definitely would have changed the hammer/hammercomb design on the Mark V to an axlerod solution. I’ve done this on a Mark V and it’s tricy but works like a charm!

Leave a Reply