How to Value a Fender Rhodes

How to Value a Fender Rhodes
April 18, 2013 Max Brink
In Rhodes

How to Value a Rhodes Piano

Ira Rhodes With Logo

Part 1: How much is a Fender Rhodes Piano Worth?

Determining the value of a rare vintage instrument is a difficult task. There are many factors to consider which may seem trivial to certain players while being crucial to others. Some of the most significant factors that will always affect the value include the geographic location or market, the rarity or demand for the specific model, and perhaps most importantly its playing condition. Unfortunately, from our first hand observations of Rhodes sold in the near Chicago market the playing condition of the instrument is not commonly reflected in the asking price of the piano. We have observed nearly identical instrument models going for between $300-1,000 in relatively the same unserviced condition. Other instruments get listed at prices higher than that range but seem to have a much harder time selling. Given this range of prices it is absolutely critical to know what to look for when determining the fair value of an instrument if you are going to purchase an instrument that is not professionally serviced or restored.

In the past decade the price of Rhodes pianos has increased fairly steadily but this has not always been the case. Up until the late 1990’s, Rhodes pianos were regularly sold for less than they are today and far less than their original retail price–even without adjusting for inflation. For instance, in 1973 a Fender Rhodes 73 key Stage piano sold for a retail price of approximately $720 (which in 2013 would have the same purchasing power of $3,764 according to the Consumer Price Index–which speaks to the craftsmanship that went into a Rhodes, which in still holds today–) and Suitcase models retailed for more than $1,000 ($5,228 today adjusted by the CPI). Unlike vintage Fender or Gibson guitars from the same era that have appreciated in price by leaps and bounds, Rhodes pianos have not kept up with the times as well until the past decade.

The drop in prices for Rhodes throughout the 80’s and 90’s was mainly due to the rising trend of players turning to synthesizers and digital keyboards as well as the lack of proper maintenance for Rhodes pianos throughout those decades. But even as the technology has advanced, no digital emulation to this day comes close to the feel and the sound of a real Rhodes (or Wurlitzer) piano. Players that have played both side by side often complain that they have a hard time relating to a digital keyboard the way that they find a natural connection with the real electro-mechanical instrument.

The trend over the past decade for digital keyboards, on the other hand, has been that they have not held their value, even over short periods of time. This is largely due to newer digital pianos constantly being introduced with advancing technologies and additional features, making many of the former models less desirable and often impossible to re-sell. Once a digital keyboard gets to be more than five years old the advanced technologies of newer models render the former relatively obsolete. Comparatively, digital keyboards are disposable instruments.

Although most stories of clients of finding their Rhodes or Wurlitzer dumpster-side happened in the 1990’s, these rare scores are still happening today. Many Rhodes owners are simply unaware that the instruments’ have value in today’s musical landscape. Most Rhodes that we follow on the Chicago area craigslist sell within a single one or two weeks when listed between $300-1,000 in average unserviced condition. And almost all Rhodes owners the we speak with have sold their Rhodes for the same amount that they purchased it for or more. The instrument has grown to have more than a cult following and are still continually heard on new recordings released every year. It seems that the electro-mechanical design of the Rhodes piano has stood the test of time.

Side Note: Just as another example of how skewed this market currently is near Chicago, any Rhodes purchased for $500-600 with $500-600 of service from our shop will be in a completely different league than any Rhodes for sale at $1,000-1,200! In most cases, that budget will be enough to cover a complete restoration of the voice and basic setup of the instrument if the action is at a desirable level. Aside from the Hammond M3, we believe that Rhodes pianos may be THE most undervalued vintage instrument that you will come across!

Know Your Rhodes Models

When it comes to getting great tone from a Rhodes a little setup goes a long way – but the instrument will always be limited by the parameters of the components within the Rhodes’ production era. Small design changes were made to the Rhodes piano practically every year which gives each era of production its own unique action and voicing characteristics. In our previous post we discuss some of the basic changes that are observed throughout the eras based on ideal setup conditions, and why certain eras are more desirable to some players.

Aside from those variations year by year, the Mark I and Mark II were offered in four common models throughout the years: the Stage and Suitcase, each offered with either 73 or 88 keys. In addition to these main four models, there was also a 54 key version of the Mark II and a Super Satellite (dual speaker cabinet for stereo tremolo offered as an alternative to the Suitcase) Rhodes that are more rare.

The Rhodes Suitcase models all have a 4×12″ cabinet with two speakers facing both directions resulting in a very unique sound when the stereo tremolo circuitry is activated (–as long as it isn’t pushed up against a wall!). In addition to this classic tremolo sound, the built in amplification is a huge bonus for players that do not have a competent amplifier to pair with their Rhodes (click here for our previous post on Rhodes amplification). Because of their bulkier size due to their speaker cabinet, Suitcase Rhodes are often in better cosmetic and playing condition since they are less likely to have seen time on the road.

In general the 73 key and 88 key models are valued around the same price (because of the tradeoffs in weight associated with the additional keys) but some cases may cause the 88 key model to draw a higher price or lower price. Since the 88 key model requires more service it may justify a higher asking price if it is recently serviced or a lower price if it is in need of service. Still, there are certain players who cannot perform without 88 keys.

Even though there are few official production numbers the most common Rhodes models seem to be Mark I Stage 73 models from ’76-79. Earlier Fender Rhodes models, suitcase models, and 88 key models are harder to come by. In the end, regardless of the rarity of the model, some Rhodes will be more sought after by players that are looking for a particular sound.


Once you have determined the model Rhodes that is right for you, the next step is to determine the Rhodes’ overall condition… Here is our detailed post with pictures that walks you through everything that you need to look and listen to in order to determine the value of a Rhodes piano.

Comments (46)

  1. Frederik "Freddan" Adlers 11 years ago

    Hey you forgot to mention that the Satellites were sold as a kit with the preamp, and can’t be used without one. Also you forgot the Janus-cabinets that came out together with the 54 the year after MkII. Here are some more facts and accurate years :
    Great stuff about how undervalued they are!
    Freddan from the Supersite

    • mbrink 11 years ago

      Good call, Freddan! We have only seen the Janus cabinets once in the shop and they are definitely a rare find!

      • whai 7 years ago

        ive got two 78 model powered satellites and pre amp with a 78 mk1 stage 73 i live in australia what are they worth ???

  2. Tomas 11 years ago

    I’m thinking about selling my old Rhodes Mark 2, seventy-three , from 1982.
    can someone tell me, what the price should be ?
    Please help !


  3. Heather 11 years ago

    “What is a Fender Rhodes Worth? How to Value a Rhodes Piano” really got myself simply addicted
    with your web-site! I personallywill certainly wind up being back significantly more frequently.

    Many thanks -Luis

  4. Sue Miller 10 years ago

    I have a Rhodes 73 with case, missing its amp, and its legs if it’s supposed to have them, and pedal. Ithas treble and bass sliders, and intensity and speed of vibrato. Although I can’t hear it, all the notes work and are in tune. Can you tell me its worth? Thanks!

    • mbrink 10 years ago

      It’s impossible to say without seeing the Rhodes and playing it but if it’s an unserviced Rhodes with a missing amplifier I would say that it’s probably worth $300-600 around the Chicagoland area.

    • I have one like yours 8 years ago

      I have one like yours. It is a Suitcase model, and while it it supposed to sound THROUGH its amp, it also has a “patch” couple jacks on the front panel. One of those can be fed into any amp or mixing board to drive out sound. Also, the 5-pin XLR connector can serve as a line out feed, you only have to wire two of its pins to a normal 1/4″ plug, so you can use it along with other keyboards

  5. RAY 10 years ago




    • mbrink 10 years ago

      Who knows. If it’s an unserviced Rhodes it’s probably only worth about $500-1,200 alone and the bill of sale may or may not be worth something to a potential buyer. If it’s signed by Dolly that would be pretty cool but if it’s just a receipt I’m not sure if it’s worth much unless you can link it directly to a hit song.

  6. Dunbar Custom Sound 9 years ago

    I have a Fender Rhodes Stage 73 Mark I (not sure the year, it looks like all the models between 69-73). The electronics are in tact, the case is in fair condition (has two tears in the “Rolex”), additional tines and hardware, the original booklet and other accessories. It has one damaged leg (damaged “knurl”) but the foot pedal and other hardware are great. It plays well after having been in the garage for 15 years but has 2 keys that stick and has not been serviced in ___ years.

    I’ve had multiple people inquire about buying it but I don’t know how much it’s worth? What say ye?

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      It’s impossible to say. It sounds like there may be swelling of the keys, perhaps due to the storage in your garage. Too much or too little humidity can reek havoc on instruments made of wood. If it hasn’t been serviced in 15 or more years and is showing a lot of signs of issues we would probably value it at $300-800 around the local Chicago area but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone willing to pay more than that… It’s an odd market and it can very greatly from region to region.

  7. Charles Khumalo 9 years ago

    I have recently come into possesion of a 73 Fender Rhodes Mark 3 EK10 which needd to be serviced. How much would be worth once fully serviced? And how much would a full service generally cost?

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      It is hard to say. It is an incredibly rare piano but it is also not one of the most desirable models for most players. For the right collector it is probably very valuable but in most situations the features of the EK10 are going to be useless to the modern player.

  8. Diane Mouser 9 years ago

    I have a Rhodes Mark 1 88 stage piano with case. It has been in its case for the passed 25 plus years. What could it be worth? I don’t have the right amp but when we hooked it up last week, it sounded great to me. It has the pedal.

    • mbrink 9 years ago

      It’s hard to say without sitting down with it in person to evaluate its condition. On average with the legs and sustain pedal in very good cosmetic condition they will go for $600-1,000 around Chicago. If it is in rougher cosmetic shape or missing the legs, sustain pedal, or amplifier then it will likely be at or a little lower than that range… But other markets outside of Chicago often have higher price ranges.

  9. Kevin Johnson 9 years ago

    I have a Mark 1-A stage, Fender Rhodes-73 piano.
    It was built in 1971 and completely serviced in 1982 and
    still in good condition but has 5 tines broken.
    the rest is in good condition and I was wondering if these
    earlier models are more desirable and what it may be worth.
    (note: I live in the S.F. area and had Dyno-my piano fully service it for 550.00 in 1982. Fortunately, I did not have them modify it with their new, equalized, sound)

  10. Everett 8 years ago

    I have an original 1946 – 1948 Rhodes pre piano. Worth?

  11. Kenny Bradley 8 years ago

    I have a 1975 73 suitcase in excellent condition. I am the original owner, have played in clubs, jazz bands and rock bands. Kept all the actions and upkeep. What would this instrument be worth?

  12. Fernando Baez 7 years ago

    I Bought a late model Suitcase Eighty Eight Rhodes, the bad thing is that the former owner changed the plug in and out for a regular plug 1/4, so I would like to know if I replace for the original plug connectors I´ll hear the original Rhodes sound? And what kind of plug do I need, 4pins or 5 pins

    • mbrink 7 years ago

      The late Rhodes used a 5 pin connector (after around early 1978). You will need to make sure that you have the right amplifier and preamplifier that correspond to the cable.

  13. Matthew 7 years ago

    I have Fender Rhodes Mark I Stage 88 1975 that I am currently restoring. I have replaced grommets, felts,hammers tips, cleaned all tines,installed a miracle mod kit, replaced kit pin felts sanded and painted all wood and metal frame parts, also replaced a few bad pick-ups. The outer case has all new hardware. the tolex covering isn’t in to bad of shape.Lastly I a new Key-bed Cover. I’m having alittle trouble with setting correct key volume but almost done. Would love any suggestions on help setting it up and what it could sell for.

  14. Jason Menting 7 years ago

    I just recently acquired a 1969 classroom model Rhodes. Jetsons model. It is in great shape. What do you think it might be worth?

    • mbrink 7 years ago

      It’s really hard to say without sitting down with it in person. The ’60’s models usually require a lot of work to get them into professional shape. They hadn’t worked out a lot of the kinks by then and most of them didn’t lave the factory in great playing shape… With rare models like this the price can really vary depending on what the potential buyer perceives of its value.

  15. Art Weiss 6 years ago

    I have a Rhodes Chroma module (analog/digital synth) with Cooper MIDI adapter. What’s it worth?

    • Robert 6 years ago

      I’ve been looking for a Rhodes chroma and would be interested in it if you still have it!

  16. Sue 6 years ago

    We have a Rhodes 73 Model FR7710 ‘Suitcase Piano’ (estimated 1977.) It’s in great shape. Know of anyone interested in purchasing?

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      We may be interested if you are near Chicago? Otherwise I would suggest listing it on Craigslist or

  17. Becky 6 years ago

    I have a Mark I 73, 1976. Only one owner before me, music teacher wanted it at home, saw no stage/road time. Original everything, including vintage road cover, extra tines and owner’s manual. Recently tuned and serviced, not mint but really good shape and great sound and action according to our professional. How much would you ask if you were selling it?

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      It’s really hard to say without evaluating the instrument in person. We see a lot of Rhodes listed at a wide variety of prices without much correlation to the quality of the instrument.

  18. Jon Pruitt 6 years ago

    I am looking to sell a 1973 Rhodes 73 stage piano with the satellite speakers and the preamp with vibrato, etc. The speakers need new amps (1 hums and produces sound, one is silent) but the speakers inside are original. I wanted to get it refurbished by the east coast guru, but I’mn not getting to it so I am thinking of selling it as is. Ay ideas?

    I have been told that this is the holy grail of Fender Rhodes models )(along with the 1973 suitcase). the rhodes itself is in good shape, all notes play, but it needs some love.

    • mbrink 6 years ago

      Tough to say without sitting down with it in person what it may be worth. If you’re trying to sell it in a week it might only fetch $500-1,000, but if you are patient enough to wait for a higher price then it might be worth much more than that to the right buyer.

      We see great pianos from every era of Rhodes production so I’m not ready to say that any particular mark or model is necessarily a “holy grail.” The condition is a much more important factor than the model and year. There are excellent pianos from every year of Rhodes production and while we do consider the make and year it is not the most important factor when we evaluate Rhodes pianos.

      • Jon Pruitt 6 years ago

        thank you!

  19. Alan Kaplan 4 years ago

    I have a Fender Rhodes 88 Stage model from the early 70’s. It was serviced and tuned recently. The legs, pedal, and case are in good condition. I am in Los And would like to sell it locally. I would love just a ballpark idea of what to ask for it. I bought it in the late 79’s for a few hundred dollars.

    • Author
      Max Brink 4 years ago

      It’s hard to say. If you’re trying to sell it in a few days you might have to accept an offer of $500-1,000. If you’re patient enough to connect with the right person then you may be able to get more than that. That’s about all I can say without knowing anything else about its condition or what services were provided.

  20. Rick Olson 3 years ago

    Hi, I’ve got THE jazz Rhodes. It’s a 73 Suitcase, recently serviced, I got it from Cedar Walton 20 years ago who I studied with in Los Angeles, he got it from Bill Evans!!!!`I am now interested in selling it. It’s still sounding and playing great technically, and it truly has magic to it. My question is, not including the Jazz legacy factor which will be an add on, what is the piano itself worth. # is 3669. Thanks!

    • Author
      Max Brink 3 years ago

      It sounds like a fun instrument, but I think it’s a little ambitious to think that it’s going to be worth much more just because of the previous owner. After 50 years it’s much more important to factor the condition of the instrument rather than whose fingers touched the keys…

  21. Jeff Hazard 3 years ago

    I have a 1979, 73 key…
    I guess, Mark I with the big cabinet speaker. I played it years ago and left it in storage in my shop. It needs a full restoration. I had all intentions of having it done and using it again in my studio but…never got around to doing it. Keys need some work, lots of cosmetic work. I live in the Nashville TN area. I don’t know anyone who restores them. I’m thinking of selling it as is. Could you give me a guess at what it might be worth or would I be better off paying yo have it restored and keep it?

    • Author
      Max Brink 3 years ago

      It’s impossible to know what condition an instrument is in without sitting down with it in person. We have friends of the shop that are regularly traveling between Nashville and Chicago and can transport it for a reasonable price (Probably $$$ = Gas + A Good Date w/ Their Gal). Just let us know and we can help you get it up here.

  22. Darrell Earwood 2 years ago

    Hello all, I have been reading all of the comments and learning so much about the Rhodes piano. Mine is a 76 Mark 1 73 key. It has all hardware including pedal and leg supports. My only dilemma is keeping it for recording in the studio or possibly trade for new digital recording equipment. Of course i would be willing to sell to the right buyer. At least I have a good idea of its worth. Thanks so much to everybody for sharing their Rhodes stories.

  23. Eveshka Ghost 2 years ago

    Interesting. I have a rhodes 88 MK1, but the leg screws are very rusted. in tune, works well, couple of notes buzz, haven’t got around to fixing it yet.

  24. Rocky 2 years ago

    I have a Rhodes Mark I stage 73 . #0377 it’s been setting in storage so its gonna need some TLC . I have pictures of it and videos of it working . My Dad passed away and just trying to help my Mom out some . I have a few amps . A cascade green Kustom . Lab series L9 . Gibson Thor . And a very old Masco amp in the original cabinet. Looking for some values and looking to sell. For my Mom , someone make me a reasonable offer on one of them or all of them . For sale in Missouri close to STL . And I’ll deliver them within a reasonable distance. Or I’m willing to meet with someone. So neither person has to drive the entire way

  25. Rick 6 months ago

    I have a Fender Rhodes mark ii stage 73 piano. original owner. I bought it on 1/1983 new but the stamp inside says 1580. Never gigged out. Just used in house. excellent condition. No cig burns, no stains on tolex. Pedal works. All notes work. Has all hardware including legs, leg supports and pedal. Without seeing it in person could you give me a range of prices . It is heavy so shipping cost would be separate depending on location.

    • Author
      Max Brink 6 months ago

      Hard to give it an accurate evaluation without sitting down with it in person. With these instruments sometimes luck and/or patience is the main thing that determines the price. If you’re looking to sell it really fast I’m sure you can sell it in many cases under a week at $500-1,000. $1,000-2,000 might take several weeks or months. Holding out for top dollar sometimes may take a year or more to find the right buyer.

  26. Don 6 months ago

    I have a Fender Rhodes suitcase model, silver sparkle top, but no base cabinet. It was rewired to be played through any amp back in the 60’s. So, no effects – volume control only. In excellent condition, 1968. Used for about 4 years with a Hammond B3, then put in the practice room. It has been used in practice within the last 2 years, great sound, not out of tune, no rust. I am interested in selling but am not certain of the value. Any help?

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