“Un-freakin-believable” Vintage Vibe Custom ‘Walnut’ Rhodes 88 Restoration

A thing of beauty. How else to describe this? Vintage Vibe has recently revealed a crowning achievement in custom restoration: a Rhodes 88-key stage piano with a completely custom natural wood walnut case, white top, and unique accents for a mid-century modern look.

Vintage Vibe, based in New Jersey, is the premiere restoration and repair company for Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet electro-mechanical pianos, and the world’s leading manufacturer of after market parts for these classic and sought-after keyboards.

The company also designs and manufactures its own instruments, the Vintage Vibe Piano(tm) and the Vibanet(tm) – modern takes on Rhodes and Clavinet pianos with improved performance, reduced weight, and sleek new looks.

The ‘Walnut Rhodes 88’ was restored for Dr. Len, a New York based musician, who said after seeing and playing the instrument, “The job that Chris Carroll and the team at Vintage Vibe did for me on 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. They topped my expectation.”

After discussions about the room that the Rhodes would reside in; a modern, minimalistic design furnished with mid-century pieces, Vintage Vibe jumped at the chance to create something so refined that it might someday be displayed at an institution such as the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.

“We were very excited to work on this project for Dr. Len,” said Chris Carroll, Vintage Vibe’s Founder and one of the company’s master technicians. “It gave us the opportunity to fulfill a customer’s dream and show what our team’s combined decades of experience can do for an instrument; for the playability, the sound and aesthetics never before achieved by anyone in a restoration.”

Crafted from hand-selected walnut slabs, the front, back and sides of the Rhodes 88 restoration were grain and book-matched in sequence, and assembled using dovetail joints for a true furniture-quality appearance.

The legs were lathe-turned from solid walnut and feature nickel-plated feet. The name rail and standalone preamplifier case were finished with matching burled walnut veneer for a luxurious flourish.

To complete the look, the lid and sustain pedal were refinished in antique ivory white.

More importantly, Vintage Vibe restored the functionality and improved the performance of the instrument. “Beyond the aesthetics,” says Dr. Len, “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.”

For more information or to check out some truly beautiful pieces of work, head on over to the Vintage Vibe website.

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