Part One - An Introduction
My story starts back in High School when I first started listening to Jazz Fusion music. I did a stint as the drummer in the school jazz band which featured a late model Rhodes Suitcase piano. I thought it sounded terrible... all muddy bottom end and no bark or presence whatsoever. Plus, I always ended up having to lug the thing around.

It was hard to believe that this monster was the same type of piano I was hearing in the new music I was discovering. I was shocked to learn that the aggressive bell-like tone of players like Chick Corea, Dave Stewart of Bruford, Kit Watkins and Frank Wyatt of Happy the Man, and Mark Parrish and T Lavitz of the Dixie Dregs was the product of the same piano I was hearing in band class.

Without a doubt the biggest influence in my love of the Rhodes was a high school friend of mine's band. They played a mix of prog and fusion, much in the style of Happy the Man, and their keyboardist played an early Fender Rhodes almost exclusively. He was a great player and had the most outrageous tone I've ever heard from a Rhodes; very bell-like on the top end but massive and overdriven on the bottom. That sound has always stayed in my head and I've wanted a Rhodes of my own every since.

I just never figured it would take 16 years for me to finally get it.

Part Two - My "New" Rhodes

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Pat Terrell
pterrell@mothersea.com