I don’t remember the exact year I bought my Rhodes Fifty Four. It spent its first year or two set up in the makeshift recording studio we’d assembled in Chris Burkey‘s basement so it must have been ’88 or ’89. At the time, I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that it had weighted keys and, at $300, was just barely within the budget of a guy working his first summer job.
I played that Fifty Four regularly through the rest of high school and the first half of college. Shortly after school, I began a ten-year sojourn in acoustic bluegrass guitar. Eventually, I came back to piano when I got a chance to play with the folks out at Club Dave. The Fifty Four remained in storage though.
About four months ago, I cleaned out the “basement” of our house and brought the Rhodes back into the light of day. Although it still played well enough, it needed some work to restore its full potential. After placing a few orders from the good folks at Vintage Vibe and spending some hours tweaking and tuning, it’s now in pretty good shape. I’ve had so much fun working on and especially playing the Fifty Four that I decided I’d really like to try a more thorough restoration job.