Harold B. Rhodes in his early thirties, instructing GI's as a civilian
in 1945

The program, "Make and Play", was the most successful music program the U.S. Government has ever implemented in music. Rhodes (in business suit, in picture) taught over 250,000 GI's during the war, and was commended with a special citation from the Secretary of War. His original manual is still on display in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., entitled "Sit Down and Play"

After the war, Rhodes resumed teaching and continued to experiment with instrument design. In the 50's, he was awarded the first of many patents for his "asymmetric tuning fork."


L
eo Fender
heard about Rhodes and his theories, and the two men entered into a joint venture. The first instrument built was a "piano bass," a 32 note electric instrument.

In 1965, CBS bought out Leo Fender. Rhodes was finally able to introduce the first Fender Rhodes electric piano, the Suitcase 73. This was the start of the musician's love affair with the Rhodes magic.

It is very rare for a musical instrument to redefine the way music is created, but at is precisely what the Rhodes Electric Piano has done. Julian Colbeck, writing the authoritative Keyfax Omnibus, said that more than any other instrument designer, "Rhodes invented a sound, indeed a mood. Now that's fame"

Before the Rhodes, pianists had to be content remaining in the background of jazz and rock ensembles. They simply could not compete with the volume put out by a screaming rhythm section of drums, bass, horns, and electric guitars. Rhodes's elegant solution was to not only amplify the piano, but to completely revolutionize the piano action itself. The result was a totally unique instrument, which, as Ray Charles testified, had the effect of "an atom bomb on the musical landscape. Everything was changed forever."