Fourteen years ago, Chris Carroll and Fred DiLeone set out to design and build an improved Fender Rhodes piano that would be the lightest and sleekest Rhodes™️-type piano ever made. At the time, we had no idea what it would take to manufacture a new piano; however, we had optimism in spades which luckily overshadowed any roadblocks and reality checks along the way. The Vintage Vibe Tine Piano debuted at NAMM in 2011 and has continuously evolved with each passing year.
The Team Past and Present
When it comes to Fender Rhodes pianos, Vintage Vibe has impressive repair and restoration expertise, and our extensive parts catalog is equally remarkable. But what sets us apart is our worldwide support from loyal customers who we consider family. Our small team of exceptionally dedicated technicians takes pride in their work, each with their hand involved in the crafting and assembly of every piano. Masters Work - Adam Kaniper Each piano has a master's final touch before it can be signed off and considered a Vintage Vibe Piano. What's even more impressive is that there's no corporate hierarchy at Vintage Vibe. We don't have a CEO or CFO or any of that corporate nonsense. We’re all musicians building pianos for other musicians. None of this would be at all possible without our special team. It's refreshing to know our company values their craft and our customers above all else.
Our Piano Shop
Our shop is located in Rockaway, New Jersey, USA. It's a pretty large facility, spanning about 7,500 square feet. We have different areas within the shop, including parts warehousing, a fabrication shop, a piano building floor and some very large workbenches. There is also a 12,000 square foot woodshop upstairs where all of our wood parts are made. We take pride in what we do and that includes the environment we work in. We don't refer to our place as a factory because it doesn't fit our ethos. Our piano shop is more of a custom shop, where we take our time to ensure that every piece is crafted with care and precision. It's all about slow and methodical work.
From day one, our company has always strived to create the absolute best pianos possible. Quality has always been our top priority. Over time, we have honed our abilities, knowledge, and experience, and today we are proud to be crafting some of the finest electric pianos ever made. We have completely reinvented the Rhodes™️ style piano, making it much lighter and smaller in size. Furthermore, our cutting-edge patented technologies, such as the Variable Voice Control and the Dual Capstan Action, have revolutionized the way that electric pianos can be regulated and voiced on a global scale.
Photos From Prototyping
Our First Piano
Testing The Prototype Damper Sustain Rail On 01
Chris Carroll explains, after much effort and ingenuity, we were able to achieve further weight and dimensional reduction by removing the heavy Rhodes keyframe. Taking inspiration from Wurlitzer pianos, we constructed the keybed directly onto the piano chassis, trimming and fastening the front and balance rails as separate pieces while using the chassis itself as the back rail. This low-profile construction, along with a removable shell, greatly reduced weight and allowed for unparalleled access during setup and maintenance. Once this prototype was nearly complete, we needed to test the results. We hooked up a pedal and sustained our first chord, only to watch the whole piano lift off the floor! Fred came up with a new damper rail fulcrum point, correcting the issue and resulting in the smoothest, most effortless pedal ever experienced on a tine piano. Our master team, led by Fred DiLeone and Chris Carroll with the help of Adam Kaniper, designed the entire original piano in-house, from the weight and size reduction to the elegant cosmetic contours. As we are students of design and had our vision, we never hired or needed outside designers - we just let ideas and inspiration flow naturally through us. It was truly groundbreaking territory we were exploring, and the result was a piano that pushed boundaries and exceeded expectations.
Annual Piano Builds
It may come as a surprise to some that we have only produced a little over 600 pianos in the past 12 years. However, at Vintage Vibe, we prioritize quality over quantity. Our team of skilled craftsmen meticulously hand-craft each piano, taking countless hours to perfect every detail. This slow and deliberate process ensures that every instrument we produce meets our high standards of excellence. While other companies may boast about questionable production numbers, we take pride in our commitment to delivering unparalleled quality to our valued customers.
Vintage Vibe Piano Build Time Lapse
The Landmark 600th Piano
We are proud to announce that after fourteen years since our prototype and twelve years after our 2011 debut, we have successfully built our 600th piano. And it's no ordinary piano. We had the pleasure of working with a customer who wanted an instrument with significant artistic expression in sound and style. The result is a stunning walnut Seventy-Three Concert Stereo Console with black and gold sequence thread cloth, Variable Voice Control, Dual Capstan Action, and QRS MIDI. This masterpiece was hand-crafted by our expert piano designer and builder, Fred DiLeone. Fred is a world-renowned electric piano master, whose talents for craftsmanship, innovation, and design are unparalleled. Our Concert Series pianos employ Abel grand piano hammers as part of the unique sound and feel, with their naturally graduated weight offering a similar experience to playing a grand piano. The hammers, as part of their unique quality, also excite the tines in ways only acoustic hammers can, which translates to a most even attack across the compass and a noticeable increase in dynamic response. The Vintage Vibe Concert is somewhere between an early 1960s Raymac Rhodes piano and a fully articulated early Rhodes MK1A, or somewhere between Heaven and Utopia
Our 600th Piano in Action; Vintage Vibe 600th Piano in Asen Doykin's Composition 'Magnetar'
Vintage Vibe's 600th Piano, in Sean Wayland's Composition 'Arc Is Not Enough'
The Future in Sight -
Beyond our current patents and innovation, we truly believe that there lies a deep well of inspiration and design beyond our current offerings. Our design team has been consistently busy improving our flagship piano designs, and we are currently developing groundbreaking ideas that further push the boundaries of what can be done in a Rhodes-style electric piano. Our team is light years ahead of the competition, and the future holds endless possibilities!
It's been an incredible journey reaching our 600th piano, filled with memorable moments of deep satisfaction and reward. Our climb, impressive as it has been, was an uphill battle for genuine recognition in the shadow of the legendary name and piano Harold Rhodes introduced to the world. After all, we did not have the luxury to buy our history or reputation. Nevertheless, we are honored to have had the chance to advance these magnificent instruments even further. Harold would be more than proud, as his son, Dave Rhodes confirmed when he visited our shop. We too are proud of our name, reputation, and history, which again was never bought; Vintage Vibe has earned our place one piano at a time over the last twelve years of production as well as in the previous 25 years of service to the Rhodes community. It's no easy feat to establish a new household name, but our passion and purpose are contagious. We firmly believe our name, innovation, and piano will become synonymous with the best if they aren't already. It seems like the world is already starting to take notice! Now that's what we call an overnight twelve-year success story.
With love and gratitude,