After the iconic “Jetsons” pianos of the late 60’s, Rhodes introduced a new education series. These pianos were housed in a more subtle walnut veneered cabinet and featured an on board metronome and connections to a teacher module. The student can monitor with headphones or a built in 10 inch speaker. Under the hood, the tone producing components are the same as a 73 key stage piano. Sometimes referred to as the KMC 1 (Keyboard Music Center), there were also variations of this model designed for home use that had an on board cassette recorder.
The electronic circuitry carried over from the earlier Jetsons design, and is rather primitive by today’s standard. The amplifier is under powered and distorts relatively easily. It is essentially a single power module, just like the ones found in a Peterson era suitcase piano. However, with a proper setup, the piano still sounds and plays wonderfully.
This particular instrument came to us for a “Works” level of service. Our restoration includes a fresh set of tonebar isolation grommets and screws/washer, hammer tip rotation, and a comprehensive strikeline and escapement setup. After voicing and tuning the piano, we modified the 1/4″ output at the bottom of the amplifier to serve as a line out straight from the harp, bypassing all the other electronic circuitry. This jack is switched and cuts the on board speaker when engaged.
Please enjoy a couple videos of this piano in action! Performance by Matt Blocher at the Chicago Electric Piano Co.
Too High – Stevie Wonder
Spain – Chick Corea (feat. on board metronome!)