The difference in playing rhodes vs piano


As you may have noticed, the Rhodes and piano and very different sounds. Makes make the Rhodes even more different is the fact that it has almost no release. Meaning that as soon as you take you finger of the key, the sound stops. This makes a very big difference in how you need to play the Rhodes. Even a good standard pianist may have trouble getting the correct rhythm from a Rhodes piano if they have never played one before, since the the release timing may not be as noticeable for the normal piano.

When playing the Rhodes piano, you will need to think about the the release timing in relation to the rhythm and tempo. There are many ways the Rhodes can be played.

1. Hold for the duration of the note, but you need to be fast with the finger change to avoid the gaps.

2. Hold for a portion of the note. e.g. around 75%. However this needs to be consistent, non 25% sometimes and then 50%

It is a very different skill from the piano.

Improvising Jazz

Improvising too needs a very different approach from playing the standard piano. Not only are you improvising the notes, but you will also need to think about the timing too. If you can improvise on the piano then you should be able to transfer this to the Rhodes, however the timing will also be a new concept.

The Rhodes Sound

The original Rhodes sound is the Fender Rhodes made in the mid 50’s around the times of the 2nd World War. They may be very difficult and expensive to pick up nowadays. However you can get some very good VST plugins which replicate the Fender Rhodes sound very well.

One I use is below – Lounge Lizard. I think it is one of the best Rhodes plugins I have ever used.



Click here for the link.


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