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Thread: Fender Rhodes Preamp Substitute

  1. #1
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    Fender Rhodes Preamp Substitute

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    Our band got its hands on an old Fender Rhodes Suitcase model on the cheap. The amp is fine, the keyboard is missing the preamp. There is just a big hole on the left side where it once must have been. The previous owner wired a 1/4 inch cable out of the guts of the thing.

    If you plug this cable into the amp direct you can hear it but just barely. On our first jam I used a Dano Daddy-O pedal as the middle man and the volume was there, but of course as I cranked up the volume on the pedal, so I cranked up the distortion. Interesting sound, but not for every day use.

    What might I have lying around that could be used as a proper preamp to boost the signal going into the suitcase amp? Should I skip the suitcase amp altogether and plug the thing direct into an available guitar amp?

    What does Yaz Think?

    JonnyM
    JonnyM

    [i]remember the life you save may be my own[/i]

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    There are a few places on the net that have parts for old rhodes, try and get the correct pre for this thing. you can run it direct, but the classic rhodes sound is best acchieved using the stock pre and suitcase amp. Plus, you wont have the tremelo without it.

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    Pre amp for Fender Rhodes piano

    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyM View Post
    Our band got its hands on an old Fender Rhodes Suitcase model on the cheap. The amp is fine, the keyboard is missing the preamp. There is just a big hole on the left side where it once must have been. The previous owner wired a 1/4 inch cable out of the guts of the thing.

    If you plug this cable into the amp direct you can hear it but just barely. On our first jam I used a Dano Daddy-O pedal as the middle man and the volume was there, but of course as I cranked up the volume on the pedal, so I cranked up the distortion. Interesting sound, but not for every day use.

    What might I have lying around that could be used as a proper preamp to boost the signal going into the suitcase amp? Should I skip the suitcase amp altogether and plug the thing direct into an available guitar amp?

    What does Yaz Think?

    JonnyM

    There is a new kid on the block the RETROFLYER look it up. Best preamp ever. State of the art design. Got one and its superb.

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    I have found "a" pre amp schematic.

    The firsr two transistors give about 18dB of gain. This feeds a weirdly complicated Baxandal tone circuit then the tremelo circuit. That all seems to be just emitter followers so unity gain and the whole thing is probably less than 20dB.

    A couple of NE5532s could do the gain and tone circuits. A TL072 could be used as an oscillator for trem' its FET inputs mean the tuning caps could be foil and not too big.

    That just leaves some form of "modulator"? I understand LDRs can still be got even though outlawed in production gear? Or use a FET as in compressors?

    Dave.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fender-rds-pre-png  

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    The Rhodes turns out basically a guitar level signal, what with coils and all.
    So about any guitar rig will work.

    The problem is that the suitcase amp requires a fairly hot signal to work, being a matched amp/pre and all.

    SO...
    If you wanna just play it, hook it up to a guitar-like rig and forget the suitcase amp. If you want tremolo, use the guitar amp trem.

    If you wanna play the suitcase amp, you'll need a replacement suited to the input requirements of the box.

    Or hey, pull the whole signal chain and replace it with stuff that's more standardized, easier to get, and better performing. Certainly wouldn't be the first time. People did that kinda stuff all the time before the DX7 came out and tanked the Rhodes market.

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