Rhodes Piano was invented by the American Herold Rhodes in 1942. This is a favorite instrument of rock, jazz and rock and roll artists. Even with today's development of electronics and the appearance of more and more electronic instruments, Rhodes Piano does not cease to occupy the leading positions of a cult instrument in the above genres of music. In the literature, this instrument is often called the "electric celesta." The name this happened because of the principle of the tool.
The idea of the developer Gerold Rhodes was that the sound was generated by converting the vibrations of mechanical energy into electrical energy. This is carried out as follows: pressing a key activates a hammer, which strikes a vibrator (very similar to a tuning fork), vibrations of the next one on an electromagnetic pickup excite current. The principle of operation of the pickup is similar to the principle of operation of the pickup on an electric guitar. So it was a kind of mixture of electric guitar and celesta.
The content of the article
- The story of the creation of Rhodes Piano.
- Lineup tool.
The story of the creation of Rhodes Piano.
As already mentioned, the tool was created in a turbulent 1942 (World War II). The idea of creation came to Herold Rhodes during his work as an instructor at the Greensboro air base. A pianist by training, he decided to create some kind of portable piano for moral support and entertainment for wounded pilots. Using what was at hand (aluminum tubes from a B-17 bomber), the craftsman made an instrument with 29 keys that looked like a xylophone.
There were no radio parts in it. The instrument quickly gained popularity and received its first name Rhodes Army Air Corps Piano. After such success, Rhodes created The Rhodes Piano Corporation. The Pre-Piano model, released for educational purposes, was presented at the NAMM exhibition in 1946. The model had 38 keys, piezoelectric pickups, a six-inch speaker and a built-in tube amplifier. All this was placed in a small wooden case, and looked like a toy piano.
The creator of electric bass Leo Fender in the late 50s bought the company Rhodes. Soon, 1959, the company released the first of its kind serial model of an electromechanical piano called the Fender Rhodes Piano Bass. The instrument had 32 keys that covered the range of the bass.
For the first time at the exhibition, this model was demonstrated in 1960 in Las Vegas. Piano Bass continued to look like a toy piano, stood on 4 legs and had one pedal (not working, but only giving a solid look). The instrument became famous for the band Doors, which used it as a bass instrument.
In 1965, CBS bought the company from Fender. CBS immediately released a new sample with 73 keys (Suitcase Piano). Thanks to this model, the instrument has become recognizable everywhere due to its unique sound. The instrument consisted of an acoustic system and an amplifier that was hidden under the keyboard.
Amplification of this type gave the sound an unprecedented density and warmth. Almost simultaneously, CBS released two more new models. The first - Celeste - the same Suitcase Piano, only without the lower and upper octaves, and the second - Student Piano - was equipped with a metronome and did not have tremolo and vibrato, intended for music schools.
In 1970, The Stage Piano Mark I saw the world, in which the speaker system was removed, thereby reducing the weight of the structure to 63 kg. We actively used the instrument of this brand during the tour of Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.
Over the course of 10 years, changes have been made to the instrument's design, leading to the appearance of The Stage Piano Mark II.
During the 80s, another model appeared - The Stage Piano Mark III EK-10, which was improved due to the increased demand for digital sound.
All technological developments of CBS for 25 years have been embodied in the new model The Stage Piano Mark V, released in 1985.
Since 1987, the Japanese company Roland has launched Rhodes. Two more new models Mark 60 and Mark 80 were released. The instrument became exclusively electronic. The piano lost its uniqueness and only approximately imitated the “classic Rhodes sound”.