Up for sale, a 1980 Rhodes Suitcase 73 Mk II electric piano in excellent condition and perfect working order. An early Mk II example, this piano has the all-black cosmetics and flat harp cover of the Mk II, while retaining the wooden keys and more desirable action assembly of the Mk I pianos that preceded it, along with the Mk I's more reliable pickups wound with copper-colored wire.
The tone and feel of this piano is exceptional, and it has been well cared for over the past 40+ years. Professionally tuned and voiced, the piano takes full advantage of the power and clarity of the Janus preamp to deliver smooth transitions from the lower, growly bass octaves to the bell-like notes in the highest registers. The middle octaves are voiced slightly favoring the harmonic overtones, which keeps complex chord voicings clear and balanced. The low end ranges from mellow, round bass notes with a soft touch to the famous Rhodes growl when you really dig in.
The Janus preamp works as intended with Bass/Treble sliders, a Volume knob, and Speed/Intensity controls for the famed stereo vibrato. The effect is lush and smooth, with a wide range of depths and speeds that fully take advantage of the stereo field. More percussive and punchy than earlier Rhodes vibratos, the Janus vibrato can go from slow and swampy to machine gun fast with the turn of a knob. The power amp has a strong and even response from both sides of the stereo unit, and the original Schumacher power transformer is intact, dating to the 42nd week of '79. Both the preamp and power supply have been serviced, with electrolytic caps replaced as needed. This Rhodes also has a low noise floor, ideal for studio situations, and while originally sold in Japan as evidenced by the small badge adjacent to the on/off switch, the regulated power supply is designed for 120V USA use. The cabinet retains a quad of original 12" speakers (two facing the performer and two facing the audience). The speakers were manufactured by Pyle, with date stamps from the 12th week of '80.
The action is smooth, consistent and springy, with a fast attack that isn't sloppy at all and original key bushings that are in excellent shape. The original hammer tips and damper felts show limited wear. The flat key caps that replaced the rounded caps in '74 also have a feel that is much more akin to an acoustic piano, and it's one of the smaller tweaks made by Rhodes that's virtually universally praised by players.
The harp itself is quite clean overall, with original pickups, tines, and tonebars and only modest oxidation on the components. The Rhodes stamp on the harp is nice and bold, and the date stamp from the 12th week of '80 is on the harp's upper right corner. The original knobs are intact on the preamp, and the small "Rhodes" logo on the namerail and two large "Rhodes" badges on the back are intact.
The original smooth black tolex and matching black grillcloth are intact and present well, with modest scuffing and minor marks on the edges of the cabinets. The hardware shows varying degrees of surface patina. The original latching lid is also present.