The Rhodes name has been picked up in the UK to create the Rhodes Music Group Ltd and they plan to continue the development of high-quality musical instruments synonymous with the name.
The Rhodes brand is an unmistakable part of our electronic musical heritage most famously as the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the Fender Rhodes Suitcase piano which also had a built-in amplifier and tremolo. The company was started by piano teacher Harold Rhodes and has quite a history from the early collaborations with Fender in the 1960s and then being bought by CBS in 1965 that produced the Mk1 Stage and Suitcase pianos through to the Mk V in 1984. In 1987 it was sold to Roland but without Harold Rhodes who never approved of the Roland Rhodes MK 80 they produced. Harold got the rights back in 1997 but sadly died in 2000 before producing anything. In 2007 the reformed Rhodes Music Corporation introduced a reproduction of the original electric piano called the Rhodes Mk 7.
The history is fascinating and the Wikipedia entry is definitely worth reading.
Now Rhodes is about to enter a new chapter and under new management as the Rhodes Music Group Ltd. Chairperson Matt Pelling said:
Our mission is to continue founder Harold Rhodes’ development of the highest quality musical instruments.
Dedication to progress fuels our passion for music performance and production, along with our desire to see the legacy of the Rhodes keyboard continue far into the future.
We will stay true to Rhodes’ heritage whilst future-proofing the Rhodes brand for new generations of artists, with an evolving suite of beautifully designed, lovingly made and inspirational music products.
That sounds very exciting to me. That Fender Rhodes sound is for me timelessly alluring and effortlessly emotive. But it’s more than the sound it’s also the look, the style, something in the mechanical nature of it, in the wonderment of 60s technology that seems so quirky and awesome to modern eyes. I hope they ace this because I’d love to have one.
There’s no product information available at the moment so Rhodes is asking you to sign up on the website for more information once they have something to announce.
More information from Rhodes
- Rhodes Music Group website.
Here’s Ray Manzarek of The Doors talking about Riders on the Storm which featured the Fender Rhodes piano.