My journey with a Fender Rhodes

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stage73-RhodesYes, I went to Berklee College of Music. And I studied Music Production and Engineering. Does that give me any credibility about my opinion of music? You decide. (and actually let me know because I am still wondering)

All that I know for sure, is that I was exposed to some of the most amazing musicians and musical minds I will ever meet. One very underrated musician at that school was Jesse Parmet. A great friend of mine and all around amazing guy. He was soft spoken but the passion he had for making great music is unsurpassed in my eyes. If Motown ever came back around and needed a session guitarist, Jesse would be the creamy white center of the Oreo guitar section Berry Gordy assembled. (put ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’ on your Netflix list if you missed that reference)

Now you’re wondering “What the hell does this have to do with a Fender Rhodes??” Keep your panties on, I’ll explain. Jesse lived a few doors down from me and we experimented with recording his group ‘Mo County’ doing many many apartment recording sessions the old fashioned way, setting up everyone in the same room and having them play live recording onto analog tape. What a a concept! He was old fashioned in the way he made and listened to music and had an analog 8-track sitting in his closet that was apparently busted. (turns out it was far from busted and worked like a dream) He also was the proud owner of a Fender Rhodes. After a long session that we all didn’t feel like breaking down from, that Rhodes sat in my apartment for a few weeks. When the time to return it came around I was devastated. So imagine having this amazing piece of equipment that can make the most beautiful sounds you’ve ever heard yanked out of your hands. Well, that day I decided I needed my own. And that turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

The Fender Rhodes has to be one of the most versatile intruments ever created. Basically, combine an electric guitar (ever heard of one of those?) with a piano (heard of that one either?) You get the best of both worlds with this instrument. You can play it like a piano, yet instead of hammers hitting strings like a piano, the hammers hit pieces of metal that can then be amplified in the same way an electric guitar is. So what you get is an instrument that plays like a piano but can plugged into a guitar amp and run through all the same fun pedals and toys an electric guitar can. Herbie Hancock can be noted for bringing this instrument to the forefront but listen close and you will probably hear this on at least half of the albums you own and love. Sade took it to the smooth level. Herbie made it funk. We made it whatever it could be. So Jesse, I love and hate you for bringing the Rhodes into my life.

One Response to “My journey with a Fender Rhodes”

  1. Mr. Russell says:

    I’ve made love to my roommate’s Fender Rhodes on several occasions. He doesn’t know.

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