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Down the Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story (Book/Blu Ray) Hardcover – December 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GERALD MCCAULEY has an extensive production career, working with many popular artists, songwriters, producers, and arrangers in the music industry. He worked as A and R director for Monster Music as well as for Grammy Award-winning George Benson and Al Jarreau's Givin' It Up and George Benson Songs and Stories. His debut release, The McCauley Sessions, and Gerald McCauley's West Coast All-Stars Live Sessions have become favourites among music lovers worldwide. BENJAMIN BOVE is a pianist and TV composer. Exposed to the Rhodes at the age of 14, Bove became an expert at restoring and custom building Fender Rhodes pianos while studying piano performance at the University of New York at Buffalo. Bove is being lauded as a young force in a new generation of up and coming Rhodes pianists.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard; Hardcover with Blu Ray edition (December 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480342424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480342422
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Musicians of my generation grew up with the sound of a Rhodes piano and for many of us it holds a special place in our heart.
S. Gariepy
If you grew up as a music lover in the '60s and '70s like I did, that Rhodes sound is part of your DNA, and these guys are the ones who put it there.
K. Swanson
Everybody that is a musician and those of us that are not blessed to be a musician boy are mere lovers of music will enjoy this offering.
Steve Buckley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By McD on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The majority of the book is seemingly a collection of letters and contributions from musicians, composers and producers regarding their introduction to, and use of the Rhodes piano. There are some marvelous photos, and the finish of the book is National Geographic caliber. Personally I was more interested in the history and technology of the piano, and the first 1/3 went into some detail, but sort of glossed over the seeming contention between Rhodes and Fender, and was devoid of any photographs of the inner workings of any version of the piano. There was mention of the production difficulties and divergent design ambitions of Rhodes and CBS, but it never really got into the details of the period. I felt like the history was secondary to the commentary by others. The bulk of the book is the collection of letters from musicians, producers, and others. I was hoping for a technical history with details of variations in production by model and chronology, which sadly is missing from this book. If you are interested in who has played the Rhodes piano, then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If you are looking for a technical guide and detailed historical design analysis, then I suggest you look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are reading this because you are even remotely interested in the sound, music and/or musicians of the Fender Rhodes era, I can simply say: buy this book! You will not regret it, guaranteed. It is a treasure trove of marvelous memories from a decade that is increasingly seen as the highpoint of recorded sound.

The Rhodes was the mid-point between pure analog keyboards and synthesizers, with very touch-sensitive keys and tines that remain unmatched by any synth to this day. That direct interface between musician and music is what made and makes its sound so special, and this book and blu-ray shows why that is and how it came to be.

The blu-ray film has many sweet moments, such as Manzarek playing Riders On The Storm while explaining why The Doors didn't need a bassist, Hancock rocking Headhunters riffs, Corea doing his thing on one of the best sounding Rhodes in the film---they all sound different, a key to their charm (or maddening variability, some techs would say), Duke being Duke in all his good-natured glory, and so many other keyboard masters sitting in their home studio with their beloved Rhodes and explaining why it's still one of a kind.

My only issue with the BD is the minimal extras (surely there was tons of footage on the floor of the boys playing their favorite riffs), and that the doc is only two hours. But the interviews are great, and there is a panoply of legendary musicians here.

The core of this project, however, are the lengthy interviews in the book. There is a LOT of fabulous info here, everything you could want to know about the history of the Rhodes, pretty much. Harold Rhodes was a very cool dude, and his tales and those of his Fender compatriots are fascinating and a real time capsule of what the industry was like.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Musicians of my generation grew up with the sound of a Rhodes piano and for many of us it holds a special place in our heart. This book offers something for both the veterans as it will bring back memories through the interviews of such legends as Chick Corea,Ramsey Lewis and many more as well as introducing the Rhodes legacy to the the newer generation of musicians.
The accompanying dvd has not only interviews with some the people aforementioned but they also delight us with a performance on the Rhodes of some of their greatest hits.
Some reviewers of this book have complained about the fact that the more technical aspect of the construction of the Rhodes is not sufficiently covered and indeed if you're expecting an essay on the engineering of the instrument, this is not the book you are looking for. The manufacturing side of things is discussed through the interviews of the managing people of CBS Instrument and bits and pieces of the more technical aspect of the production of the piano is revealed here and there but you will not find an in depth discussion about how the pick-ups were invented for instance.
This book is about how this new invention called the Fender-Rhodes influenced the people interviewed in their music and how this musical instrument has shaped the music landscape of a whole generation and is still influential today.
Ultimately, I personally hope that after watching the dvd and reading the book and if you have a Rhodes at home, your fingers will be tickling and you will rediscover this great instrument.
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