Vintage Vibe reveals the history behind its flagship Electric Piano

Vintage Vibe has published the inside story behind the creation of the unique Vintage Vibe Electric Piano.

The company has been repairing and restoring classic Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet keyboards since the late 1990s. In 2008, the founder Chris Carroll, along with master technician Fred DiLeone, embarked on a quest to build their own electro-mechanical keyboard in the style of the Rhodes, infusing it with their own ideas of improved performance, reduced weight, and customisable, sleek new looks.

Today, Vintage Vibe has published the inside story of their adventure.

“It was a combination of ideas we had that was the impetus for the Vintage Vibe piano. I had been amassing a catalog of aftermarket parts for the vintage Rhodes renaissance that was starting to bloom,” explained Carroll.

“Fred DiLeone on the other hand had already started chopping Rhodes pianos and making smaller versions like his custom 32-note suitcase model. We would work in the shop together by day, and by night drink Coronas while working and talking about everything having to do with electric pianos.”

DiLeone added: “The original idea in my mind at the time was to modify vintage instruments. Chris began to throw around the idea of building an entirely new piano. I originally thought it was a bit optimistic, but soon realized that was the path to go down!”

At the time, Vintage Vibe was restoring Donald Fagen’s three Rhodes 88 pianos and digging even deeper into what really made the instrument play and sound its best. They even began video taping performances using each restoration and listening back to the sound, then tweaking the pianos to fix anomalous notes that stood out, “We started demanding more from ourselves and we really began learning to go deep and understand reasons. All in all, it was a very optimistic time with the good economy in early 2008 and we also had the excess energy of youth,” Carroll said.

One of the biggest goals was to create a lighter instrument than the classic behemoth Rhodes. “We had a lot of parts already made and in stock, ironically, we would come to find out that we didn’t have the most important or hardest parts to manufacture, including the tines, the lid, the sustain mechanism, and the chassis.” Carroll continued, “Redesigning the structural integrity without using a big plywood box to house the piano was super-important to shed the bulk of the weight.” The company was very successful in its redesign and today’s 73-note Vintage Vibe Electric Piano weighs in at only 60 pounds, less than half of a 1970s Rhodes.

The Vintage Vibe blog delves into the making of their electric piano, covers more than 10 years and the many details of the process, and collects historic photos and videos.

Read the complete epic tale at


About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.