This week on ‘Once Upon a Tine’:
In this week’s episode of ‘Once Upon A Tine’, we look at the fascinating story behind Dyno-My-Piano.
Chuck Monte, founder and creator of Dyno My Piano, decided that electric pianos were cool, but they weren’t exactly good enough for professional use. So Chuck took stock Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hohner and Yamaha pianos and customised them extensively, giving them a better sound both in the studio and on stage.
The ‘Dyno Rhodes’ grew in popularity with recording artists in the 1970s. By the 1980s, its punchy, bell-like sound had practically taken over the top 40 and R&B airwaves. The list of Dyno clients included Joe Zawinul, George Duke, Tom Coster (Santana), Rick James, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) and Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind & Fire).
Dyno-My-Piano started in 1974, with Chuck being the sole proprietor. What began as a method of fine-tuning the piano’s tone and action evolved into a much larger operation by the late 70s, involving custom electronics, new hardware and other performance-oriented improvements. Eventually, Chuck could not do all the work himself (his clients numbered in the thousands), so he began training Dyno service technicians in seminars across the US. These seminars focused more on understanding the inner workings of the Rhodes than installing hardware: the first step toward producing the Dyno sound was to optimise the harp setup. This process involved moving the pickups as close to the tines as possible, along with adjusting the position of the tines to emphasise the overtones more than the fundamentals.
A lesser-talked-about feature on the new Rhodes MK8 is the ability to reproduce the Dyno tone when dialled in on the preamp correctly.
For an in-depth look into the Dyno Piano, visit the Fender Rhodes Supersite: