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Revolutionary Rhodes

Sam Sessa reviews the new Rhodes pianos

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Rhodes piano

When it comes to keyboards, the Rhodes electric piano is a class unto itself. Few other pianos, acoustic or electric, share the Rhodes’ iconic, instantly recognizable sound-or its fervent, almost cultlike following.

Vintage Rhodes pianos are the muscle cars of the keyboard world: old, unwieldy things that are tough to transport and prone to breaking down. Yet, some 25 years after the original Mark V model went out of production, Rhodes instruments are still sought after by keyboardists young and old, and perpetually available in music shops and through websites like Craigslist and eBay. The reason? Their unique character and versatility, from the snarling, dirty low end to the soft, tinkling upper register.

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