Custom Shop Mark 7 ?!

Custom Shop Mark 7 ?!
November 20, 2023 Max Brink
In Custom Shop, Rhodes

Here’s to another one of a kind!

The Rhodes Mark 7 is a really rare bird that was only produced for a few years around 2007. It was a rocky re-introduction of the classic instrument that was marred in lawsuits with the Rhodes family, companies using the Rhodes name on their samples, and suing suing fan/forum sites like The Fender Rhodes Supersite. These lawsuits likely alienated the brand more than it helped because of the challenges they created in reaching the target demographic of fan communities by suing the online spaces that brought them together. Welp, you didn’t see Fender suing the Supersite for using the name Fender in a URL, but somehow a site dedicated to Rhodes fans was being sued by the new Rhodes trademark holder… The timing of reviving the manufacturing during the great recession also wasn’t great and the brand went dormant around 2010 (But it’s coming back!).

Under the hinged hood of the Mark 7 piano the instrument is a familiar take on the classic Rhodes design. For the most part the instrument is the same functionally as the classics, and the action was based off of the Mark V key bed and hammers. Most of the differences are in the details, and unfortunately most of the differences come down to parts that aren’t as robust as the parts of the 1970’s. For one thing, the damper arms are very flimsy and these ones likely could have been replaced on this visit. The rubber grommets and hammer tips were also of poor quality and were replaced with parts from Retro Linear and Vintage Vibe, which helped stabilize the tine sustain and gave the attack a nice balance. For an instrument that’s only about decade old the level of service was on par or deeper than something that was made 50 years ago, but what matters most is that it’s playing great today!

This Rhodes was custom painted for our friend Nigel Hall and inspired by vintage MLB jerseys. You can see it on the road performing with Lettuce or perhaps with upcoming performances of Nigel Hall Trio. Have a look, listen to a brief CEPCo house performance, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Aaaand somewhere on the road Nigel lost his power supply, so we had to rig a cute little hand-wired power supply for him…

Have a listen:

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