By electro-mechanical I mean that the instrument electronically amplifies the signal from some mechanically vibrating (or rotating) component, i.e. any of the

  • tone-wheels from a Hammond organ,
  • tuning forks (tines) in the Fender Rhodes electric piano,
  • strings in the Hohner Clavinet or Yamaha CP-70,
  • reeds in Wurlitzer electric piano or Hohner Pianet

Is anybody still manufacturing new units that operate on these kinds of principles?

  • All the places I have seen with Hammond spares have them from buying old stock - I don't know of anyone manufacturing tone wheels (although I'm sure you could get them custom made)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 19:07
  • @Dr Mayhem, I noted various companies that refurbish/repair these older types of keyboards, and it made me wonder if any new ones are being produced.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 20:44
  • 1
    No one has made a new tone-wheel organ mechanism since the last Hammond manufacturing plant was dismantled in 1973. It is not possible to get a new tone-wheel mechanism custom made. All real tone-wheel organs are therefore at least 40 years old.
    – user1044
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Yes, there is an American company named Rhodes making brand-new Rhodes pianos, with the real and original electro-acoustic tine design. They have been selling them for about the past five years. I played one briefly at a Winter NAMM convention.

Pipe organs:

The modern pipe organ is certainly an electro-mechanical instrument, and there are plenty of pipe organ builders out there in 2012. The difference, though, is that with the pipe organ, the electronic and mechanical elements produce the sound but they don't amplify it; that part of the sound is acoustic! The keyboard mechanism, stops, the on-off valves for each pipe*, and the air compressors are all electronic or electrical.

-- *unless it's a "tracker" organ, in which the keyboard, stops and valves are all purely mechanical and not controlled by servo-motors or circuit boards. But even tracker organs use electric compressors to blow the air through the pipes.

The Yamaha CP Pianos

As a footnote, the Yamaha CP-70 and CP-80, produced from 1976 to 1985, were the last popular electro-mechanical keyboard instruments to be produced, as far as I know. They were real baby-grand pianos, with an ordinary piano keyboard mechanism and hammers, but they lacked a wooden soundboard, and therefore made virtually no sound acoustically. They had pickups over each string and were designed to be amplified.


The company Vintage Vibe manufactures Rhodes clones and a Clavinet clone called the Vibanet.

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