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Rhodes 88 Walnut Stage Piano
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Rhodes 88 Walnut Stage Piano

Posted by Vintage Vibe Oct 10, 2016

—A museum-worthy Rhodes 88 Stage Piano restoration that looks as amazing as it sounds.

When Dr. Len, a NYC-based musician, asked us to turn his Rhodes 88 Stage Piano into a mid-century modern conversation piece for his recently designed apartment we didn't think twice. We've long believed vintage pianos deserve a spot at Cooper-Hewitt next to Eames chairs and Saarinen tables. The stylish curves and just-right proportions of mid-century modernism represent the best of American design. A project like this represents our highest aspirations to bridge the best of past and present.

The front, back and sides are crafted from hand-selected raw walnut slabs that were grain and book-matched in sequence.

The top and bottom were book-matched and cut from walnut veneered Grade-A furniture plywood.

Dovetail joints provide structural integrity as well as a classic look.

The solid walnut legs are turned by lathe and fitted with polished nickel end-caps.

Solid walnut cheek blocks were crafted and matched.

No handles or corners were installed for a clean, modernist aesthetic.

The stock Rhodes name rail was not quite right for this piece. The 70's anodized aluminium would have clashed with the mid-century look. To address this, we took inspiration from the interior of luxury automobiles like the Jaguar. The name rail has been sanded and highly polished for a chrome-like finish. Rare burled walnut veneer was book-matched and set onto the rail. Finally, it was then gloss coated.

We polished an original set of Rhodes stage knobs to remove the anodizing and match the new shine of the name rail. As a final accent, we used brown name rail felt. We think it looks stunning to say the least.

The original lid just wasn't going to cut it for this project. Applying a coat of paint would not work. We cut no corners and used professional bodywork to smooth out the divots and scratches. Both the lid and sustain pedal were painted matching white.

Dr. Len also wanted a Stereo Vibe preamplifier to be part of his project. To maintain that classy, mid-century minimalist feel we did not want to drill any additional holes into the rail, cheek block or case. We crafted a matching external box for the pre-amp and veneered it with the same burled walnut as the name rail!

Our two decades of dedication to piano building and restoration shine through in this one-of-a-kind piece.

Feedback from the Client

This is no ordinary blog entry. Because of the job that Chris and the team at Vintage Vibe did for me, my Rhodes is extraordinary! They took my beat up, hardcore Rhodes and gave it a new life.  They breathed something wonderful back into this old rig.

I started going back and forth with Chris about an idea for changing the body to a mid-century modern concept. He came up with a walnut body and legs that completely matched the description of our conversation and fulfilled the vision.  An antique white top completed the picture. They then came up with an effects box to match the keyboard. Stunning walnut stand-alone piece. Un-freakin’ believable! There really no words to describe this baby! But beyond the aesthetics, the sound is truly better than it was in 1979! Warm and strong, crisp and mellow. I have never heard anything so amazing!

These guys left no detail unturned. I couldn’t be happier or more excited.

They topped my expectation. Hats off, no, everything off to this amazing crew!

Heartfelt thanks to Chris and his team.

Dr. Len

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