wurlitzer or rhodes?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bestest_bassist, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. well, i didnt know exactly if i should post this in the misc. or off topic board, i dont even think i know the real difference between the two :)...but misc. at least seems like it stays more music related, so here goes.

    for those of you that know them and play them or play with someone who plays them, the subject is electric pianos. which do you think is better? which do you prefer? a nice, fat-soundin, rockin Wurlitzer 200/200A or a smooth, bell-soundin, jazzy Fender Rhodes?

    i bought myself a wurlitzer two years ago and i love it. i currently even find ways to use it in my indie/noise/experimental-rock band. i think i like the sound of a really nice rhodes more than a wurly, but the wurly is more diverse...it sounds good in both rock and jazz, whereas the rhodes which sounds built for jazz, can sound out of place in rock, IMO at least. after i bought my wurly, a friend of mine tracked down a nice rhodes, so i have access to both, muahaha! i used it in a jazz audition tape for myself on bass: i played "recorda-me" by joe henderson with the head and solo on my MIA fender jazz deluxe V and the comping on the rhodes and no drums...man it's so slick, the definition of smooth (not necessarily my playing, just the tones :)).

    anybody else have preferences to one or the other?

  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Isn't the Wurlitzer an organ?

    It really depends. I'm more of a Rhodes guy myself, but the only thing they have in common is the fact they're keyboard instruments.
  3. nope, the wurlitzer is another electric piano. i've heard that the battle for best electric piano has always been between the rhodes and wurly, which is why i started the thread, just out of fun. if you want to know the sound difference between the two, the wurlitzer is what pink floyd always used, check out pretty much anything off "dark side of the moon," but especially "time" or "money." beck also used a wurly in "where it's at"...man, such a catchy hook. the trip-hop band Portishead also uses a wurly pretty extensively, check out the song "only you." popular uses of the rhodes include herbie hancock's playing: check out "headhunters" and radiohead also opts towards the rhodes, listen to "talk show host," or some of the songs on OK Computer.

  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I use the EVP88 for Logic or the EVP73 for Cubase occasionally. It sounds very good for a software emulation, and you can use both sounds (Rhodes and Wurlitzer) - and more.

    Most of the time I use the Rhodes mode though.
  5. If you back me into a corner, I'll say Wurlitzer. It has a more percussive sound to me.

    Mike J.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Yeah, bring back those memories-

    My bud in High School played a blonde Wurlitzer electric piano(he wanted a Rhodes...the Wurlitzer was all he could afford). That instrument fit well with out set list(AWB to Edgar Winter).
    When I hear the "Wurlitzer sound" now...it's cool & very retro. ;)

    A few years later, I bought a Rhodes & luckily unloaded it just prior to the synth boom(when a lightweight synth could be a Rhodes, a Wurlitzer, a grand piano, a pipe organ, etc). ;)

    Anyway, as mentioned, both are entirely different animals...the Rhodes has more of a weighted key feel(like a 'real' piano) + that quasi-vibraphone ring(very Jazzy...in fact, there are albums I own with vibes that I swore were Rhodes pianos. Check out Dave Holland's recent 5-tet albums; Steve Nelson is a happenin' vibist & he comps a lot like a guy playing a Fender Rhodes).
  7. JimK, i know exactly whachya mean about the rhodes being more percussive...and that's exactly what makes me love it so much, and hate it so much. that percussive, bell-like rhodes tone is so unique and cool, and it sounds so sweet in the right jazz setting...but it also makes it practically unusable in rock songs, because it just stands out too much!

    but that dave hollands recording sounds pretty interesting, i'll have to check it out. thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    I definitely prefer the sound of the Rhodes. In fact, I dig the sound so much that I went and bought one even though I'm pretty useless when it comes to piano.
  9. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    I disagree about the rhodes being unusable in rock. Perfect example is John Paul Jones' use of the rhodes. Check out on the video of Song Remains the Same the songs "No Quarter" and "Since I've Been Loving You." He made the rhodes sound pretty heavy on those tunes.
  10. sounds interesting electricdemon, i'll definitely give it a listen! thanks for the tip...

  11. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    No problem, but be sure to check out the video because the album doesn't include the song "Since I've Been Loving You." I don't understand why they left it out because it is definitely my favorite moment of the concert.
  12. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    About a year ago a friend of mine was selling his studio. He had all kinds of vitage Keys for sale. I played a Wurlitzer 200A and a 73 Rhodes suitcase back to back. Both of them in 100% working condition. I ended up buying the rhodes. For me it just sounded fuller, bigger. You can't beat that stereo tremlo on the rhodes. I'm glad I went with the rhodes. It's also worth about 4 times what I paid for it!! Can't beat that either.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    How 'bout Chick Corea bangin' on a Rhodes whilst in Miles' electric bands? Rock-Jazz?
    Check out It's About That Time or any of the other live things from that band's particular era.

    Also, I think(?), the Wurlitzer got an almost clavinet sound when banged upon in the lower register.
    Remember the Hohner clavinet?