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Snarky Puppy keyboard player Bill Laurance gets his hands on the new Rhodes MK8: “It’s beautiful… a really serious instrument”

Bill Laurance Rhodes MK8
(Image credit: Rhodes Music Group)

We’ve learned a fair bit about the forthcoming Rhodes MK8 electric piano over the past few weeks, and we’ve even seen a few renders, but only now has the team behind it given us our first proper view of what it looks like.

It transpires that Snarky Puppy keyboard player Bill Laurance recently paid a visit to Rhodes HQ and got a chance to play the new piano, and the photo above gives us a pretty good look at it.

Laurance is pictured with Rhodes’ Chief Product Officer Dan Goldman, but with all due respect to the pair of them, most people’s eyes are going to be drawn to what they’re leaning on.

Rhodes MK8

(Image credit: Rhodes Music Group)

If this is indeed the finished MK8 design, it’s fair to say that it has the classic Rhodes look, while also offering its own distinct identity. We can see the Preamp, EQ and Vari-Pan sections to the left, but there are no effects, confirming that these won’t come as standard. Presumably, those who do choose to spec the compressor, delay and chorus will find them to the right.

Asked for his verdict on the MK8, Bill Laurance called it “inspiring,” adding that “that’s what you want when you play an instrument.”

He continued: “Making it a kind of Rhodes synthesizer while still maintaining the heritage of the traditional MKI and MKII. It's beautiful. This is a really serious instrument.”

The price and release date for the Rhodes MK8 are still to be confirmed, but we do know that the new Rhodes website - which will enable you to explore it in greater detail - will be launched on 1 November. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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