Vintage Vibe restores custom Walnut Rhodes 88 stage piano

Vintage Vibe has restored a Rhodes 88-key stage piano with a completely custom natural wood walnut case, white top, and unique accents for a mid-century modern look.

The ‘Walnut Rhodes 88’ was restored for Dr. Len, a New York-based musician, who said after seeing and playing the instrument, “The job that Chris Carroll and the team at Vintage Vibe did for me on my Rhodes…is extraordinary! They took my beat up, hardcore Rhodes and gave it a new life. They breathed something wonderful back into this old rig. They topped my expectation.”

After discussions about the room that the Rhodes would reside in; a modern, minimalistic design furnished with mid-century pieces, Vintage Vibe said that it jumped at the chance to “create something so refined that it might someday be displayed at an institution such as the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum”.

Chris Carroll, Vintage Vibe’s founder and one of the company’s master technicians, explained: “We were very excited to work on this project for Dr. Len. It gave us the opportunity to fulfil a customer’s dream and show what our team’s combined decades of experience can do for an instrument; for the playability, the sound and aesthetics never before achieved by anyone in a restoration.”

Crafted from hand-selected walnut slabs, the front, back and sides of the Rhodes 88 restoration were grain and book-matched in sequence, and assembled using dovetail joints for a true furniture-quality appearance. The legs were lathe-turned from solid walnut and feature nickel-plated feet. The name rail and standalone preamplifier case were finished with matching burled walnut veneer for a luxurious flourish. And to complete the look, the lid and sustain pedal were refinished in antique ivory white.

More importantly, Vintage Vibe restored the functionality and improved the performance of the instrument. “Beyond the aesthetics,” said Dr. Len. “The sound is truly better than it was in 1979! Warm and strong, crisp and mellow. I have never heard anything so amazing! These guys left no detail unturned. I couldn’t be happier or more excited.”

The New Jersey restoration and repair company for Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet electro-mechanical pianos, is a world leading manufacturer of after-market parts for these classic and sought-after keyboards.

The company also designs and manufactures its own instruments, the Vintage Vibe Piano and the Vibanet – modern takes on Rhodes and Clavinet pianos with improved performance, reduced weight, and sleek new looks.

About Laura Barnes 231 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.