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#3155635 09/12/21 09:36 AM
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Hey y’all, don’t know if this has been discussed or if this is even the right spot in the forum, but I was wondering if anyone either A). Knows where to find a company that manufactures the Rmi electra sustain pedal, or B). Has one they’d like to sell, or C). If anyone knows an alternative way to get sustain out of that keyboard. Thanks everyone

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Any standard sustain pedal with switchable polarity should work.


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Ahh Ok, I wasn’t sure because I don’t actually have one yet, but I’m in talks for buying one that doesn’t come with a pedal

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I wouldn't recommend buying a 1970s vintage instrument without any knowledge and without means to repair/overhaul/restore it. Electronic stuff that old doesn't simply work out of the box. A missing pedal set will be your least problem.


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Joe is right. It's risky buying old equipment. And ... can't you get something new that will produce similar sound? Are there any virtual instruments that will serve?

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Jeffrey:

Wow. Are you talking about a sustain pedal for a vintage RMI electra-piano with piano, harpsichord and organ sounds?

I had one of those back in the day.

It had 3 sounds: piano, harpsichord and organ.

The "harpsichord" was what I found most attractive about it. The "piano" is rather curious sounding. The "organ" was the most realistic of the sounds and my recollection is it was really quite nice.

I left mine at my brother's house when I moved up to Massachusetts. He subsequently gave it away, so it could possibly still be floating around somewhere in the Pittsburgh, PA area.

Good luck with the instrument. You should be able to pick it up for a song, cost-wise.

Jeanne W


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Originally Posted by JefferyLebowski
Hey y’all, don’t know if this has been discussed or if this is even the right spot in the forum, but I was wondering if anyone either A). Knows where to find a company that manufactures the Rmi electra sustain pedal, or B). Has one they’d like to sell, or C). If anyone knows an alternative way to get sustain out of that keyboard. Thanks everyone

My apologies for the somewhat off-topic reply, however are you familiar with the tonal character of the RMI Electra?

It's quite a distinctive sound, but the technology of that period was not capable of reproducing an acoustic piano sound with a great deal of realism.

There is an RMI Electra sound pack available for Nord instruments, which I have used on a couple of funk tunes in the past...it's pretty cool if you're trying to match the sound of a particular 60s/70s song.

Cheers,
James
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Rocky Mountain Instruments (RMI) was owned by Allen Organs. Macungie, PA.

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Originally Posted by Kawai James
There is an RMI Electra sound pack available for Nord instruments, which I have used on a couple of funk tunes in the past...it's pretty cool if you're trying to match the sound of a particular 60s/70s song.
Just listened to it. What a hideous sound!


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
What a hideous sound!

Yeah, I wouldn't use it for regular piano playing!

However if you're seeking a particular sound that was used on a famous recording/album by a 60s/70s artist, there could be a good reason for purchasing a second-hand RMI Electra.

Cheers,
James
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Per Cybergene, referring, I assume, to the RMI's "piano" sound:

"Just listened to it. What a hideous sound!"


Yes, well, you said it more plainly than I did.

laugh

Jeanne W


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I’m into some vintage funk too but can’t recognize that sound. Maybe on records it’s going through some effects. The raw sound is reminiscent of the sounds produced by cheap toys.


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@CG: Spoiled much? By the availability of fine pianos? (Me too.)

I was around for the 60s-era electro-gizmo sounds. I don't find them attractive anymore. The sounds are no longer appealing. The old boys' toys just make noise.

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No, no, I don’t mean acoustic piano substitutes. In the 60s there were Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond and Clavinet, all of which are still my favorite sounds after the piano. And in the 70s we had the wonderful Moog, ARP, Prophet, Oberheim and other analog synths. But this thing is just awful 😀


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Yes, I liked the Wurly I had back in the '70s. I sold it after I bought a "real" piano - a Kimbel spinet, heh, heh, heh. The Wurly had a certain appeal. I later regretted having parted with it. It certainly served its purpose. I taught myself how to play piano on it.

I only realized much later in life - after finding PianoWorld and embarking on PIANO QUEST - that my spinet was somewhat less than stupendous. But it was still truly acoustic - and sounded thusly acoustical - had not one ounce of that fake give-away sound we so wish could be 100% eradicated from digital and VST pianos.

My Wurly, like my RMI Electra-Piano, is hopefully still somewhere out there alive and kicking in the Pittsburgh area. Maybe even in that Bog Somewhere North of Pittsburgh/Pgh, MacMacMac.

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Per CyberGene:

"I’m into some vintage funk too but can’t recognize that (RMI) sound. Maybe on records it’s going through some effects. The raw sound is reminiscent of the sounds produced by cheap toys."

That's an interesting observation. I recognize the sound of the electric-mechanical Wurlitzer now and again in old pop and rock songs playing on the radio. I also occasionally hear the Wurly sound in current music, but I don't ever recall hearing the sound of an RMI electra-piano in a pop or rock song.

Wikipedia, however, states various incarnations of the RMI were used by The Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful, Sun Ra, Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, Ron Mael, Nicky Hopkins (loved his lp/gone too soon/RIP), Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Stevie Winwood, and Dr. John.

So, maybe we hear the RMI but, as CyberGene points out, we just don't recognize it?

Wikipedia states Stevie Winwood played an RMI electra-piano on "Empty Pages" from the "John Barleycorn" lp.

Traffic - Empty Pages (1970)


Hmmm…A piano sound in the "Empty Pages" video above does come in @ 1:50 min - but if that's the RMI, it sounds better than I remember the one I used to play having sounded.


This next video below...

RMI electra-piano 368X demo [organ69]


… seems closer to how I remember my RMI sounding. This guy's playing in a style that makes it sound better than I remember. So the RMI is likely more favorably suited to certain style of music; is useful as Kawai James said/intimated, for certain types of sounds/playing/eras you want to create/recreate. Just not the best, obviously, if your goal is to have as truly authentic sounding acoustic piano as possible.

Jeffery: The RMI I had, in addition to the "piano", "harpsichord" and "organ" settings I mentioned previously, also had a "Lute" setting I had forgotten about. I wonder if the one you are thinking of buying has all these sounds?

Jeanne W

P.S. For anyone interested in the Wurly sound, the Alesis keyboard I tried out years ago at a piano shop, as the shop employee pointed out had, "a great Wurly". I agreed. It sounded very authentic to the real thing.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by Kawai James
There is an RMI Electra sound pack available for Nord instruments, which I have used on a couple of funk tunes in the past...it's pretty cool if you're trying to match the sound of a particular 60s/70s song.
Just listened to it. What a hideous sound!

+1

When I went to Berklee in 1977, they had some pianos in the ensemble rooms that were either RMI or some sort of knockoff. Truly hideous.


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I had of those. Bought it right after I saw Steve Winwood with Blind Faith in 1969 and he was playing it. It was the rage, everyone had one.

I hated it with that goofy farfisa organ type action. But it was an even sound and in tune, plus you didn't have to mess with reeds like with the wurlitzer. Those were a nightmare.

It was slim pickings back then, not many options. Eventually I moved on from the RMI to another beast-- the Baldwin Electropiano.


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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
Eventually I moved on from the RMI to another beast-- the Baldwin Electropiano.
Ah, I had one of those... loved it. I had the multi-string one (there was also a one-string-per-key version). Too bad they didn't market it toward gigging musicians, I think it could have been quite a success there. Yamaha later came out with the CP70/CP80 that were huge hits, but the Baldwin was already there with something whose sound, action, and travel weight were already as good or better, and nobody knew it.

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Originally Posted by Jeanne W
... but I don't ever recall hearing the sound of an RMI electra-piano in a pop or rock song.......various incarnations of the RMI were used by The Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful, Sun Ra, Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, Ron Mael, Nicky Hopkins (loved his lp/gone too soon/RIP), Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Stevie Winwood, and Dr. John....


Jeanne W

As i recall the era of some of those performers you mentioned, i also remember being fascinated by the way some of them, in concert, literally surrounded themselves with a nearly enclosed wall of keyboards equipment to have all the desired sounds for this that the other piece extended or long, short or snippet riff ....the first time i saw YES and the tall long blonde man in cape with outstretched arms alternating and or straddling & playing multiple keyboards within his bunker of gear, that included Siberian Khatru, the middle section which includes a brief albeit noticeably distinct & pleasing to my ears harpsi - like riff as just one example .... those guys .... Banks .... Emerson ..... Winwood .... Livgren ....and many more, were dedicated to the nth degree in playing with / from a palette of acoustic & electric keyboards sounds even when one in particular may have just been a brief snippet within a large rock orchestra ..... is that where you are headed OP? 🙂

Last edited by drewr; 09/13/21 12:34 PM.

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