Over the years the Fender Rhodes has gained a loyal and enthusiastic following, and these devotees have come to develop several modifications to improve the playability and sound of their beloved instrument. Most modifications are done on a mechanical level, but there have been some more exotic customizations such as adding capacitors to the circuitry or experimenting with different insulations.
The most renowned modification is the “Dyno-My-Piano”. Following several previous modifications in the 70s, the “Dyno-My Midification” made it possible to control the Rhodes’ keyboard via MIDI. Even more successful was the “Dyno-My Pro-Piano”. It gave the Rhodes a pre-amp with integrated equalizer, which transformed the rather flat sound of the original Rhodes into a much greater sparkling sound. In the 70s and 80s, the golden era of the Rhodes, artists like Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Rick James and Earth, Wind & Fire immortalized this sound making the “Dyno-Sound” THE Rhodes sound for many fans.
Upkeep of a classic
Today many modifications are counted as maintenance of the mechanical parts. It’s true that a little maintenance goes a long way in an instrument in use for several decades and not even a premium product in the first place. And quite apart from keeping the instrument functioning, these procedures can also improve overall playability and sound. Or they can tailor the sound and feel specifically to the tastes of the individual musician.
Guides, kits and parts for every modification
Modifications to the Rhodes have included changing the felt, adding weights to the keys or adjusting the dampening. Renewing the felt at the end of keys and under the keys, for example, results in more dampening and can therefore “cure” notoriously loud keys. The website www.fenderrhodes.com has many useful tips and tutorials on how to achieve these modifications. Because the Fender Rhodes comes in many versions you have to be careful which exact model you have and which modifications exist for it. You can find complete kits online which contain everything you need for a certain modification. Thanks to the great community around the Fender Rhodes you even find specialized shops featuring parts and kits of all kinds.
Most artists who have switched to a modified Rhodes will never go back, finding in comparison the original is much harder to play.