Recording Rhodes

Scott’s 73-key Rhodes, a Mark I with the Janus amp like to the one below, has been with me in Lawrence for about a year now.  I’ve been recording with it this week; two h&s songs where the Rhodes is the primary pad & rhythm sound (instead of guitar), and one Night Mode piece where the Rhodes plays counterpoint to a main synth track.

Image credit: fenderrhodes.com

I’m taking the stereo headphone output of the Janus direct into my Scarlett interface, with some guitar pedals in the Rhodes’ “Accessory” loop for the Night Mode part.  This has a nice, clean, clear sound.  I’ll probably experiment with analog re-amping and/or digital amp and cabinet simulation, but it isn’t required and I’ll try to keep a light touch with any further processing.  Some amount of compression/saturation will sound good, however it’s achieved, as you’d naturally get playing through the Janus, another amp, or a PA.

The instrument would certainly benefit from a tune-up by an experienced technician (who are harder and harder to find).  I tuned the tines’ pitches pretty well myself, but the action varies widely.  Some keys hardly sound when played, and overall it’s tricky to control volume and play expressively; the range from sort of piano to mezzo-piano is good (below piano there’s not much sound at all), and above mp it’s kind of straight to forte and then nothing further beyond forte.  To some extent this is the nature of the Rhodes, but a tune-up would improve things.

It’s a very cool piece of gear to have in the house.  I’m grateful to Scott for the loan and excited to share the work I’m doing with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *