The classic Rhodes electric piano has been reborn. Like the iconic earlier versions, the new Rhodes Mk8 is a fully electro-mechanical instrument, employing steel tines and magnetic pickups for sound generation. The keyboard employs newly designed uniform-height four-zone hammer tips, custom-made damper combs, and black wool damper felts, while the pickups are based around AlNiCo magnets with anti-slip adjustment for accurate voicing, and flat-ended pickup heads for better fine-tuning of individual key volume. The frame, meanwhile, is constructed from oak and beech.
In terms of electronics, the output from the pickups first passes through a preamp, which features separate controls for volume and drive, and also a knob labelled Envelope, which brings an auto-wah effect into play. Thereafter, an analogue EQ provides three bands of adjustment, the middle of which can have its frequency modulated either via the Envelope control, or by an expression pedal, for more traditional wah operation. Next is a Vari-Pan section, with adjustment over rate and depth, plus four different wave shapes: square, upward ramp, triangle or sine. The LFO can apparently go right up into audio rates, for synth-like tones.
As an option, customers can also choose to have an effects section fitted, and this comprises a VCA compressor (with adjustable ratio and a wet/dry blend), a phaser, a bucket-brigade chorus and a bucket-brigade delay.
The Rhodes Mk8 features a comprehensive set of audio I/O, including balanced XLR outputs (in stereo of course, to accommodate the auto-panning), balanced jack outs, effects loop send and return jacks, and a direct pickup output, for use with external amps and preamps.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but we’ll bring you news as soon as we find out.