Video: Chicago Electric Piano Company Talks Restoration and Inventions

Chicago Electric Piano Company is one of few shops exclusively dedicated to electromechanical piano repair in the country, and it’s a renowned one at that. Since 2011, CEP has made a name for itself bringing Rhodes pianos, Wurlitzers, and Hohner Clavinets (along with a smattering of other vintage keyboards) back to pristine, highly playable condition with love and learned precision.

Be sure to check out the videos we shot of some of their restored keyboards in action.

The shop has repaired instruments for Steve Albini, Ray LaMontagne, John McIntire of Tortoise, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone, and John Stirratt.

Bonafides aside, CEP takes an uniquely innovative approach to its role as a restoration shop.

As Max Brink and Mike Novak explain in our video, the pair has developed a system for adding MIDI compatibility to the Rhodes without compromising its tone. Likewise, CEP has developed a unique self–contained stereo cabinet that emulates the Rhodes’s Satellite speakers.

CEP will also refinish pianos in whatever beautiful and elaborate ways that customers request. Be sure to check out the shop’s website to see sparkle finishes, psychedelic paint jobs, and tweed coverings.

You can learn more about two custom builds they've done below and hear them brought to life by Chicago's very own Tyheim Smith.

Fender Rhodes MIDI Upgrade

Chicago Electric Piano Company will install this in a Rhodes for the client who want to take the classic keyboard to outer space by way of a MIDI–connected synth.

Custom 2x12 Stereo Satellite Speaker

This is a self–contained version of the Satellite Cabinet pair that contributed the Fender Rhodes famous swirling sound. It’s a CEP original.

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