Monday, March 8, 2010

One for the Rhodes

To get the authentic smooth westcoast electric piano sound, there was only one option: the Fender Rhodes. Fortunately, Stefan and brother Peter had bought an old Stage Piano back in the early 90's when these instruments were relatively cheap. Peter did the pickup and tine setup and Stefan stretch-tuned the piano.

We tried hooking the Rhodes to different amps but never got the sound we were looking for so we had to take a few steps back and do some research. Talking to Jay Graydon, Ian Eales and David Foster and reading an interview with Humberto Gatica in an 80's RE/P Magazine we pieced together how they achieved the classic sound.

The Rhodes used on most westcoast records in those days was a Suitcase Piano (active preamp) provided by "Leeds Rentals" called E-Rhodes by its label - "E". The signal was DI'd to the mixing console. We had to compensate for the passive preamp in our Stage model somehow. Finally, we tried a Bass Sansamp with surprisingly good results.

The second part of the story was splitting the Rhodes signal in two and running one through a Boss CE-1 Chorus pedal. The clean signal and the chorus signal was then panned to left and right. Voilá, the westcoast sound!

Taking the concept further we tried running the effect signal through an Ibanez Phasetone pedal. That sweeping stereo sound ended up on the song "Lost in a Mindgame".


  1. OK. I think I just fell in love with you. Hahaha, man, I loved reading this. It's clear that State Cows "get it". You don't get "1978" if you don't do your research. Lookin' forward to more clips! /Viktor

  2. That's right, Victor! Music, songwriting, sound etc. - all is interconnected. More clips to come soon. =)