Tag Archive for Tone City

The Fender Rhodes “Bark”

What is the Fender Rhodes “Bark?”

The Fender Rhodes “bark” is the signature tone of the Rhodes that distinguishes it from other electric pianos. This is the tone that most Rhodes enthusiasts just can’t get enough of! It is described by players as that “punch,” “drive,” “bite,” “growl,” “grit,” or sometimes just “that certain something” that they are seeking from their Rhodes. But how can you get more “bark” from your Rhodes?

When set up properly, with dynamic action, escapement levels, voicing, and pickup placement, all Rhodes can produce this signature “bark.” Unfortunately, most of the Rhodes that have been living decades in the rock and roll lifestyle need to be adjusted and brought back into the proper setup in order to obtain this signature timbre.

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Stretch Tuning vs. Equal Temperament Tuning

Stretch Tuning vs. Equal Temperament Tuning: The Proper Way to Tune Your Rhodes, Wurlitzer or Clavinet.


What is the difference between Stretch Tuning and Equal Temperament Tuning? And why can’t you tune a piano with a guitar tuner?


If you took a high school or university physics class that had a unit on the physics of sound, you may recall learning that notes an octave apart have a frequency ratio of 2:1. These are the place holders for the two ends of a scale. Taking this basic knowledge, it may seem reasonable to take the twelve notes of the scale and divide the octave into even portions. If this were the case, over the course of several octaves as on a piano’s keyboard manual, the harmonies would begin to sound dissonent. But why? In the most simplified terms, this is because as intervals move further apart, the human ear finds the beats generated by the two or more frequencies unpleasant. Luckily, there are alternate methods of tuning that produce more appealing harmonies.

When two intervals are played together, the combination of the two or more frequencies produce beats. The rate of the beats is a function of the differences in frequency of the two pitches, which is one of the components of how the human ear interprets harmonies. In order to produce the most appealing harmonies in a piano or ensemble, a number of tuning philosophies exist that create more pleasant beats, and can even account for inharmonicity within the instrument (more on inharmonicity in a later post). The philosophies typically use more pure major thirds, minor thirds, fourths, fifths—you name itRead more