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Rhodes vs. emulations - where do you stand? My experiences..

Resolution 88

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With Aussie_Chicago and CowboyNQ that's five of us on here that feel the SV-1 is a worth a shot.

Another SV-1 user here. It works for me because I love EP sounds in general. :thu:


But, I certainly understand that it is harder for a facsimile to satisfy a Rhodes aficionado.


Regarding that Donny Hathaway cover, he serves up the tasty gospel chops in both his singing and playing. Awesome.


However, I echo brotha Steve's sentiment...the great bassist Willie Weeks is giving up the business. D8mn.


Weeks was probably motivated and inspired in part by having the great James Jamerson sitting in the audience. ;)


Just goes to show the factors that can affect how and what we play....from the instrument to the fellow musicians.


KB players have to lay hands on the instrument that provides the right FTEC (finger to ear connection). :cool:



"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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@OP I enjoyed the video clip you posted of your band Incognito. I think I remember being at a gig by an version back in the late 80s (think I bought a cassette on the night) and was introduced to the keyboard / piano player that night - nice man.


He didn't have a Rhodes on the night - AFAIR it was a stage piano (forgotten the model) but it was pre midi. Good gig. Your current line up sounds great. Love the horn section dance btw.


Did any of your current band mates ever gig with or know the crew that were The Ronnie Scots Rejects? I met them around the same time. Wondered if they'd any plans for another outing. I can't remember if there was a direct connection but the guys who took me to the Incognito gig seemed to have a connection to the RSR crew too. Another good night out.


Thanks for posting. Looks like you'd a great gig.


Hi there, thanks for watching the video - sadly my tour depping for Incognito is over now but I'll see them all again just before Christmas when I go to watch them, so I'll ask about the Ronnie Scott's Rejects!

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Is this the classic Herbie suitcase sound at 2:20?

Which model would it be?




My take is that many of the "classic" Rhodes sounds up through the early 1970s are actually Sparkletops. It really doesn't make sense that these guys went out and bought the very latest model, same with the studios. Everyone was using Suitcases at that time. Rhodes never announced/advertised changes, it was something discovered by users over time. Rhodes made the switch to the "classic" Mark I neoprene hammer/Torrington tine around 1971. By the mid-1970s, sure everyone had switched over.


Obvious ones, because of recording date:



Miles in the Sky

Filles de Kilimanjaro

Bitches Brew

In a Silent Way



Fat Albert

Mwandishi (recorded 1970)



Get Back (anything with a Rhodes)


The Doors

Riders on the Storm (recorded 1970, has mono tremolo which is unique to the Sparkletop)


Zawinul with Cannonball


Quincy Jones

Walking in Space

Gula Matari

Smackwater Jack


These are think are strong possibilities due to the date of the recordings and the sound.


Herbie: Crossings (1972); Herbie as a sideman during this period (Jazz+ post)

Weather Report: 1st and 2nd albums

Chick: Return to Forever (1972) possibly

Anything else with Rhodes recorded in that timeframe.


The 5th Beatle



Chick with Miles 1969



Zawinul Mercy



Incredible video of early Weather Report 1971 (at 17:43 you can clearly see the Raymacs)



Quincy Jones - Walking in Space (1969) Bob James on Rhodes (note solo at 1:00 and 8:35--ONE FUNKY SOUNDING RHODES BABY)



Herbie Wiggle Waggle



The felt hammers, when new, have a funky softer tone and lack clarity in the mid-range. The neoprene tips provide better clarity.


I've got a Sparkletop with worn hammers, very bright. I'll probably have to lay out 2 large$$$ to have VV replace them.




I agree with everything Busch says here. But another little-known fact is that early Mark I pianos also had felt tip hammers for a short time before they moved to the neoprene tips. So if it is a 1970-early 1971 or so time and you see the black top it is not a guarantee that it is neoprene tips.


I did this article a while back, and will be updating it for online early next year, based on great feedback I got from the experts. But it's an informative read:


Mark I/Mark II



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