MIDI Rhodes: Custom Glam-Sparkletop

MIDI Rhodes: Custom Glam-Sparkletop
November 22, 2017 Max Brink
In Custom Shop, Rhodes

Here’s a custom Rhodes that we’re not going to forget! Inspired by their “Grape Sparkle” Gretsch Penguin guitar, we were tasked with matching the sparkle on their Rhodes–and we were even more thrilled when it was paired with the ivory sparkle tolex. This thing is 1,011% Glam and we’re in love with it!


Grape Sparkle with Gretsch


Along with the complete restoration service of the instrument and amplifier we also upgraded the Rhodes with an optical MIDI system! –This thing is a total spaceship!

The MIDI system that we use is an all-optical sensor system developed by QRS Music Technologies. The system was originally designed for installation inside an acoustic piano, and with a little extra modification to the Rhodes’ key bed it is an amazing upgrade for your instrument. With the MIDI output you can control any variety of synthesizers, or MIDI triggered devices running a 100% independent signal from the Rhodes’ output. This allows the two systems to be used independently, or–better yet–blended together to create all new sounds of your own!

It’s an incredible upgrade for your Rhodes that is sure to inspire a whole new world of creativity from the instrument! Here’s our Reverb.com video featuring the system on another recent MIDI Rhodes restoration:


And do we need to say that this MIDI system works on Wurlitzers too?!

The QRS PNOScan can also be installed on Wurlitzer Electric Pianos–and we love the feel of Wurlitzer action assemblies with the MIDI output! Just like with the Rhodes Suitcase we customize the power supply so that the system fires up as soon as the instrument is switched on.


What were we talking about? ? ?

…Oh, yeah–The GLAM SPARKLETOP! I don’t think I need to say much more… Have a look:









Comments (2)

  1. Jon Reddick 2 years ago

    Hey! Inquiring about your price for adding midi capabilities to 88 keys suitcase.
    Also, wondering if you have a system that can turn my suitcase into a stage.
    Pedal, power supply, legs to hold up an 88key.
    Let me know please.
    Thank you!

    • Author
      Max Brink 2 years ago

      It’s possible! The parts for the MIDI system are around $1,800 not including the installation services, which requires a detailed leveling and servicing of the action and key bed. In the end it’s an expensive upgrade, but it’s practically another instrument of its own (if not 3-in-one with the way you can use them together or separately).

      Please send me an email at max@chicagoelectricpiano.com and I can get you more information.

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