“It’s almost time for you to meet the new Rhodes,” and the recently formed Rhodes Music Group gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of the new Rhodes piano.
The Return of a Legend
I’m finding myself increasingly excited by the prospect of a new Rhodes electric piano. While many people point to what’s come before I really like the idea of a fresh but hopefully reverential approach to this classic instrument.
The Rhodes Music Group says its been deep in research and development in the two years since the company was formed. Rhodes has been looking back at the best bits of the piano’s history and forward into what materials and technology can help produce the best Rhodes yet. R&D has taken place at the Leeds based Rhodes factory with a cast of experts and enthusiasts in the hope of making the most extraordinary electric piano imaginable.
“Compared to the old pianos it’s got all the vibe and soul, but everything that wasn’t precisely built has been precisely built and with massive detail, I think it’s the ultimate collision of the vintage world and the modern world. I think what we’ve achieved in the last two years is going to blow people’s minds.”
Dan Goldman, Rhodes Chief Product Officer and long-time Rhodes fan and player, on the new Rhodes piano.
This is turning out to be the tease of the century. Every couple of weeks we seem to get another update with information about another aspect of the piano without actually showing us the thing or letting us hear it played.
We now know that the website will be officially live with all the details on the 1st November so we’ve got another month of titbits and teases to go.
There will be a “MK8 customiser engine” which will let you choose from a range of colours, sparkle finishes and whether it comes with the stereo effects and a stand.
We’ve heard how Rhodes brought in internationally renowned Kluge Klaviaturen Gmbh (Steinway Group) to design the keyboard.
The custom engineering preamp features a parametric EQ, independent drive control, envelope control, wah, vari-pan with 4 waveshapes, audio rate modulation capabilities and dual expression pedal control inputs.
There will be an effects section built into the Rhodes Mk8 which will include a VCA compressor, analogue stereo phaser, BBD stereo chorus and delay. What’s interesting is that the effects appear to be optional. Maybe the front panel will have removable sections for upgrades or maybe there will be versions with and without the effects? We don’t know because we’re still not there yet.
I am looking forward to having my mind blown. The photos from behind the scenes demonstrate that this is going to be a real instrument, not some sort of advanced modelling computer-based emulation but a real electro-acoustic music-making machine.
Rhodes left out any mention of exactly when we’ll get to witness and hear this piano so we’re just going to have to be patient.