How to Date a Rhodes

How to Date a Rhodes
February 11, 2013 Max Brink
In Rhodes

How can you find the year your Rhodes was manufactured?

How old is my Rhodes? This is one of the more frequently asked questions of our workshop when pianos are brought in for restoration or repair. Luckily, dating a Rhodes is extremely simple and can usually be determined within the precise week that it was ‘born.’ Here’s how you find out:

If you lift up the vinyl lid of your Rhodes you will find that there is a four digit stamp (red, blue, or black depending on the year) that will tell you what week of what year your Rhodes is from. The four digits will read as follows: WWYY (Week, Year).

Here are some examples from our workshop:

40th week of 1972

4072 = 40th week of 1972

0475 = 4th Week of 1975

0475 = 4th Week of 1975

1780 = 17th week of 1980

1780 = 17th week of 1980

2584 = 25th Week of 1984

2584 = 25th Week of 1984

As you can see, the numbering scheme was consistent from the first Mark I in 1969, through the Mark II’s of the early ’80’s and on to the Mark V of 1984. For more information about what makes each year different, check out our previous post, The Ultimate Rhodes Timeline, for more information about the characteristics of each era of production.

Side note: there are some typos from 1975 that will read as 1985. We have seen this a small handful of times and it seems that there was a week or two in 1975 where they were accidentally stamping them as 1985.

 

Comments (54)

  1. Adriana Santos 10 years ago

    Hey. I have a Rhodes Stage piano Mark 1. I want to date it but i am a little confused. Mine has 2377 in the same place as your pics shows, near the box with the serial number which is K610905.
    But on the other wood board it shows 2475.
    So i dont know if it is a 77′ or 75′. Have you seen some like mine?

    Thank you for the attention

    • mbrink 10 years ago

      It’s likely a ’77. There is a slightly different numbering scheme for the front rail that I do not recall off the top of my head and was likely stamped when the harp bracket was assembled before completion of the Rhodes.

      If you take a look at our previous post “The Ultimate Fender Rhodes Timeline” you may also find some clues that will narrow it down such as whether or not it has wood/plastic hybrid or all plastic hammer arms. (Wood=’75, plastic is more than likely ’77).

      Hope this helps!

      MB

      • Adriana Santos 10 years ago

        Thanks.

    • Rob 7 years ago

      The large number on the upper part of the “harp” is the piano build start date…the date that they started that particular piano. The number on the bottom part of the “harp” is the finish date…and it’s read a little different. The star date is the week and year ex: 2377, means started the 23rd week of 1977 The lower number is the finish date ex; 2475 is read; first two numbers are the week of the year, third number is the year, and the last number is the day of the week. SO, your piano was finished on the 24th week of 1977, on a Friday (5)
      finished the

  2. Chris Lee 10 years ago

    Thanks so much for this simple little guide! I spent a good while going over my Rhodes with a magnifying glass looking for some kind of traditional “dd/mm/yyyy” date printed on there and reading about all the differences between the models so I could ID it and meanwhile RIGHT THERE IN HUGE PRINT (hidden in plain sight) was all the info I needed: 2580! Now I know she was made with love and care sometime between June 16th to 22nd, 1980.
    I wish this page was the first result when you googled “dating a Rhodes” cuz it’s perplexing hard to find that info. Thanks again! =D

  3. Peter Kadar 10 years ago

    Hi, the 4 digit number in my Rhodes is 6076. Since there are only 52 weeks in a year, all of the date matching that I have read about seems to not apply to me. I have a Mark I 73. Can you help me?

    • mbrink 10 years ago

      It wouldn’t be the first time that we have seen a typo above 52 but usually the year is accurate. If your Rhodes is a “Rhodes” model and has aluminum supports that hold up the harp then it would be consistent with ’76 production.

  4. Billy Claire 9 years ago

    My Rhodes has CTS p[ots that date to 9th week of 1975 but the stamped date code has six numbers rather than than four: 010459

    Any idea to date? Maybe April 1, 1975? or…??? thanks, Billy

  5. Alvin Florentino 9 years ago

    Hi. My 73-key Rhodes Suitcase was made in the 29th week of 1980 and it has the same printed alphanumeric digits as was in your last 2 photos of pianos made from 1980-84 above: 017249-TBJ. Any idea what those digits represent?

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      Not off hand. You may want to post the question to http://www.ep-forum.com/

    • Prismtone Studios 6 years ago

      That’s the factory part number, I believe for the harp assembly. Which also explain the prior comment regarding the 6 numerals, however a different part number.

  6. Max 9 years ago

    Excellent post! The first time I tried to date the Rhodes sitting at my school she said she just wanted to be friends. Now I know she’s a 4082 and i’m not really interested anymore.

  7. Jax 8 years ago

    On the left side of the gold foil sticker on my 1975 Rhodes Seventy-Three, the serial number lists “016.” I can’t make out if there are more numbers, as the finish is really worn.

    Does a 3-digit serial number mean anything to anyone? If you think it’s an incomplete number, how would one go about procuring the original serial number? Thanks for any advice.

  8. Bax 8 years ago

    Mine is stamped 4373 on the pickup rail and 5079 on the tone bar rail, but it has wood/plastic hybrid hammer arms

    • Bax 8 years ago

      What year would that make mine???

    • mbrink 8 years ago

      1973 makes the most sense. The alternate 5079 stamp sometimes means that it was made in 1977, based on the third digit, but that does not seem consistent with the hybrid hammers. As long as it is a “Fender Rhodes” rather than “Rhodes” I think it’s fair to say that it is a 1973 piano. If you want to send me pictures I can verify further.

  9. Danny 7 years ago

    I picked up a Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73, serial # 55346 that had been sitting a garage for decades. The 4 digit # stamped inside is 0954.
    Really confused about the date!
    Danny

    • mbrink 7 years ago

      More than likely it is from 1975. Does it have cubed hammer tips and a logo that says “Rhodes?”

  10. Adam connelly 7 years ago

    G’day I have a ’69-74 Mk 1 Stage 88 serial no 49052. The date stamp is illegible, but it does have the hybrid hammers you mention in the ultimate dater page. Is there another way to specifically date it? Photos available. Cheers!

    • mbrink 7 years ago

      If you can email me some photos I may be able to help get closer.

  11. Zorik 7 years ago

    Great info on the date. I’ve heard people mention lots #s. I’m fortunate to have a red little sticker on mine that says “Lot No. FF0007 202 classic MOV & STGE”. Anyone know what means and if there are significantly desirable lot #s?

  12. DBan 7 years ago

    Awesome post!

    Similar to Danny above, I’m trying to figure this one out – 4-digit stamp reads “0353”. Here’s a pic: http://cl.ly/3R0V2Q0s1r1D

    Any guess on year? Thanks!

    • DBan 7 years ago

      Think I found the answer to my own question (hadn’t seen the actual instrument, just photos provided by a seller). Seller found another stamp – 5174.

      Based on what I’ve read above and on some other boards, I can hazard a guess that they started work on this piano in the last 2 weeks of ’74, and potentially completed it in the first few weeks of ’75. Any other opinions appreciated!

    • mbrink 7 years ago

      That’s a finishing stamp of 1975.

  13. mmurray 7 years ago

    The only stamp on my harp is 4092 which I’m 100% certain how to read. Chris over at Vintage Vibe says 4092 doesn’t sound like a date code and doesn’t tell him anything but fenderrhodes.com says “sometime in 1974, the code was switched to week/year/day, where 1581 is interpreted as 15th week, 1978, 1st day of the work week.” 40th week of 79, 2nd day of the work week would be 9 Oct ’79 if I’m not mistaken. Does this sound right? Is there any other way to confirm?

  14. mmurray 7 years ago

    which I’m NOT 100% how to read*

  15. akeller 7 years ago

    Hey ‘yall…haven’t seen a Rhodes with this configuration yet…0605?

    Also have a few other stamps on it…G7249-TBJ as well as 508. Lots of numbers!

    Any ideas?

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      Is it a Mark II (from 1980)?

  16. ryan castillo 6 years ago

    serial number 34036 the other numbers are faded

    its a fender Rhodes mark 1 stage 73

    between 69 and 74 just not sure what to think about exact dating

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      If you send us pictures we can probably narrow it down to the year of production.

  17. max 6 years ago

    I just got a mark 2 rhodes with a stamp 1732. Does anyone know what year is it? Thanks

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      Most likely 1983.

      • max 6 years ago

        Thanks

      • max 6 years ago

        but my mark 2 rhodes with the stamp date 1732 has a mark 1 top…Do you know why that would be?

  18. Dan 6 years ago

    Hey folks, I believe I have one of the Fender Rhodes – Rhodes transition models. It’s a Rhodes Mark 1 Stage piano. Upper harp appears to read 74 in blue ink but it is very faded. And all I can make out on the lower tone bar is “??52” which leads me to believe it was started in 74 and completed in 75? It has wood hammers with rectangular plastic tips. Serial reads 40333. Is there any other way to date these?any light anyone could shed on this would be greatly appreciated. I’ve learned a ton reading through these articles and comments, thanks guys.

  19. Kenny Bradley 6 years ago

    Bought my mark V in 1985. Played in jazz bands, clubs and love the warm sound and action. Am never parting with it. It plays as well as the day I bought it.

  20. nov shemesh 6 years ago

    Hi, is there any chance to date the keybored by serial No.?
    I want to buy a seconed hand Mk ii and I dont have the four No.
    This is the serial:
    K777469

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      The Mark II would have been made between very late 1979 through 1983. If it has the Mark I era clear tape pickups it is from 1979 or 1980. If it has white tape on the pickups it is from 1980-1983. If there is a brushed aluminum rail it should be from 1979-1982. If it has an all black rail then it is from 1982-1983. Hope this helps!

  21. Michael 6 years ago

    I recently acquired a sparkle top 73 key Fender Rhodes with the serial number 73P-1654… When could this model be from? 1965?

    • Michael 6 years ago

      *Suitcase model

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      65 is a possibility. If so it should have the earlier style damper system that was used through circa ’67/68… If you send pictures we may be able to help determine more.

  22. Hampus 6 years ago

    Hi, There are no numbers at all on my Mark 1 besides the golden sticker with the serial number. Is it still possible to determine the production year?

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      We can probably narrow it down within a few years. Just shoot Max an email at max@electricpiano.xyz with some pictures under the hood.

  23. Norm 5 years ago

    I have a Rhoads dated 0278 88key suitcase for sale. norm@norkris.com if interested. I have pictures. works/sounds great. excellent condition for its age, with the exception of the tolex. That needs to be redone.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/291858544035?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

    • mbrink 5 years ago

      With all respect, that is a very high list price for an instrument that is in that condition. I do not recommend purchasing an unserviced Rhodes for over $1,000 that has not been very well cared for or partially restored. If you need to use the red and blue cables for that instrument to make sound then it means that your preamp output jack switches are corroded and will need replacement.

  24. Vincent 2 years ago

    Hello there,

    Just wanted to add a point on how I dated the 1974 Fender Rhodes I just acquired and started
    to refurbish. The date on the harp has vanished and I was quite disappointed until I started to disassembly
    the piano and found a date on the lower E key.

    Bests,

    Vincent Kessler

  25. Monty Hogan 1 year ago

    How about a date on this Sparkle Top Fender Rhodes Suitcase?IMG_0859.jpeg

    • Author
      Max Brink 1 year ago

      The image is not available in the comments. Please email us at info@chicagoelectricpiano.com and we can probably help you determine the most likely year of production.

  26. Graham 12 months ago

    The Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Stage piano I have has 0964 (in black)… so this would be pre-CBS, 1964?

    • Author
      Max Brink 12 months ago

      It’s more likely that it’s from 1976. One of the two date stamps is WWYD (week, year, day of week), so that would most likely be 9th week of 1976 on Thursday of that week.

  27. Dann 2 months ago

    We have a Rhodes 88 Suitcase with 0164. Would this be a Mark 1 from week 1 of 1976 on a Thursday?

    • Author
      Max Brink 2 months ago

      Checks out. 1976 Suitcases should be Peterson style with “Rhodes” logos and aluminum harp supports in the instrument.

  28. Ron 2 months ago

    I have what clearly looks like a MK I suitcase with the treble and bass sliders, accessory inputs. the Stamp is ‘4183’ — based on above comment, looks like 41`1st week of 1978, 3rd day?

    • Author
      Max Brink 2 months ago

      Sound about right!

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