Fender Rhodes


The Fender Rhodes is an electric piano used by Prince and his band members throughout his career. It was popular with jazz fusion and R&B artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Prince played one on For You and Dr Fink used one live around this time. Prince stopped using classic keyboards like the Fender Rhodes in the 1980s in favour of newer synthesizers, but Dr Fink continued to use one up until the Controversy tour.

In the 1990s, Prince began to revisit older sounds in his music. Tommy Barbarella toured with one around the Gold Experience and it appears in the Gold and Endorphinmachine videos. It appears prominently on The Rainbow Children and N.E.W.S., which drew on the funk and jazz fusion of the 1970s. Ken Rich Sound Services rehoused the Fender Rhodes in a plexi-glass case (like the plexi-glass Hammond B3 and Leslie cabinet). Prince played this Rhodes on the One Nite Alone tour. This instrument still sits in the control room at Paisley Park.

Renato Neto and Chance Howard also used a Fender Rhodes live in the 2000s. They discussed this in the August 2004 issue of Keyboard magazine.

By the time I joined him, my personal setup was just a Minimoog, a Rhodes, a Farfisa VIP 345 with a Leslie speaker cabinet, and a Freeman string synthesizer. At that same time, he had all this gear he bought with money from his record deal, so I integrated what I had with what he had. I got rid of the Freeman and went to an ARP String Ensemble, and the old Oberheim Four-Voices and S.E.M. modules. I kept the Minimoog, and added a [Hohner] Clavinet and an ARP Pro-Soloist... a lot of stuff! It was a Rick Wakeman kind of setup. Then, as time went on, I pared things down, and every year kept updating as things changed.