Can you turn a Yamaha Reface CP keyboard into a ‘real’ Rhodes electric piano? This furniture designer decided to find out

Yamaha’s Reface CP has long been admired for the quality of its electric piano sounds, but if you want to get the best out of them, you really need to play them on a bigger keyboard. Thanks to the CP’s MIDI In, doing this is easy, but for one studio furniture builder, that wasn’t quite enough.

The craftsman in question is Christopher Elsasser of Munstre Audioracks and Furniture, who’s always liked the idea of owning a Rhodes electric piano but has never bought one. So, his thinking was that he could take the guts of his Reface CP and put them in a much larger enclosure with better speakers and more/larger keys.

Elsasser begins by tearing down his CP to find out exactly what he’s working with. Then it’s time to start building, beginning with the addition of an M-Audio KeyStation 61 MIDI keyboard. Impressively, Elsasser goes to the trouble of adding weight to the keys himself for a more authentic electric piano playing experience.

There’s obviously some construction involved, too. The main piano enclosure is made of MDF, and there’s a control panel with brass knobs. Eminence speakers add audio depth, and there are walnut side panels. There’s also a nice band of green felt across the back of the keys for a pop of colour and, after a bit of wiring, the new instrument is ready to play.

It looks and sounds lovely, too - if you’re interested in recreating this build yourself, drop Munstre a line as there’s a possibility that Elsasser may produce some more detailed plans if the demand is there.

Yamaha ReFace CP real Rhodes

(Image credit: Munstre/YouTube)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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