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.

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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.

Vistalite is Vista-Live

Forgive the photo quality; I played in the poorly-lit garage out of deference to our neighbors.

We don’t have a Dark Satellites show booked, but when we do, EDIT: The next Dark Satellites show is Thursday, July 20, in KC at minibar and I’ll be bringing this guy – a three-piece Ludwig Vistalite in smoke – and I’ll be a lot louder.

The snare is a stand-in Slingerland marching snare (not the one I’ve been using live.  I did use this one recording Ventura); Matt’s working on some custom hardware that will let me use the middle Vistalite tom as a snare.

The garage is reflective as all get-out of course, so while it sounds good I want to play it out before I make decisions about a resonant kick head, second cymbal stand, and heads generally.

It sits higher than the other kit (which, you may remember, is a tiny jazz kit) due to both the rack tom mounted on the much larger kick, and the enormous snare.  Felt good, though.

I plan to loan Cory the gold sparkle Slingerland kit for a while to see if it’s of use to him.