The Rhodes Piano is a crazy cool piano that is starting to become popular again due to its unique sound. If you look at modern keyboard workstations and digital pianos, you will notice they will definitely have a good selection of electric pianos available. I want to get into some of my favorite electric piano VST’s as I find them super fun to play.
I am going to mention five of my favorites below, but if you are in a rush, here is one of my favorites that I mention.
The beauty of the VST is that you can use a nice MIDI controller to control the Rhodes. The knock on Rhodes pianos now is that it’s hard to find ones that are in good condition and they can be difficult to play because of this.
To play these VST’s, you will need a MIDI controller of some sort. Above you will find my favorites.
It is my opinion that electric pianos are once again relevant and that they have a prominent place in modern music production. There are some great emulations when it comes to Rhodes electric pianos and I have had the pleasure of trying out a good amount of VST’s.
Best Electric Piano VST’S
Arturia Stage-73 V
Arturia really stepped up their game with the Stage-73 in my opinion. One of the features I really like is that you can switch between the tone knob of the 1973 Rhodes and the bass knob of their 1974 version.
I like the overdrive effect with this specific VST, as it adds some nice grit that sounds pretty realistic.
The layout is extremely easy to navigate and it is nicely put together. There is an effect chain that Arturia really put a lot of effort with. It’s located on the bottom right in the VST and you can dive deep into the sounds here.
There is also a twin amp that gives you that realistic Rhodes tone that is so popular.
Overall, I believe the sound on point. Being able to switch through so many different effect chains is key here.
The Arturia Stage-73 V delivers some great sounds with some great customizability. I definitely recommend checking this VST out if you are able to.
Waves Electric 88 VST
The Waves Electric 88 VST is basically the swiss army knife of VST’s. You can get super into detail with this and it just sounds good. One thing that I like is that it is actually quite affordable. It’s on the cheaper end for price but is right there with the heavy hitters.
They sampled the Mark 1 88 and when you hear this play, it sounds incredibly real. The velocity is perfect and that is hard to find with a VST.
The sounds are very realistic and dialed in nicely. You don’t get as many effects on this as you do with the Arturia Stage-73 V, but it sounds great.
If you are looking for something on the cheaper end that sounds nice, but isn’t going to have a ton of effects, this is a good choice. I really enjoy this VST, and I use it from time to time.
Applied Acoustics Lounge Lizard
People swear by the Lounge Lizard electric piano and for good reason, it’s great. This truly sounds like a Rhodes piano and it is incredibly dynamic in its tone. It came out in 2002 and it immediately surfaced to the top as the most popular electric piano VST.
The Lounge Lizard is one of the most realistic sounding electric piano VST’s currently on the market. If you watch the above video, you will be surprised by how realistic it sounds. I’ve used this on a bunch of different songs and it always comes through nicely.
Overall, I believe this is a great electric piano VST. The only downside to it is that it is extremely expensive. If you can afford it, it’s worth it. If not, I recommend checking out the Waves plugin, as it is very affordable.
Native Instruments Scarbee Mark I
The Scarbee Mark I has some great velocity control. If you play it softly, it really sounds just like an electric piano. When you dig in, you get a little bit more grit in the sound and I really love it. As far as the effects go, you can run a ton of different effects with this that sound extremely realistic.
The sound is incredible on this electric piano. I was blown away when playing it as something about the way it feels overall is just great. The playability is spot on as well. When you strike the keys and hear the sound, it just feels right.
Native Instruments has some great plugins because they just nail the way the samples sound. Aside from that, they truly know how to make it play like a real electric piano and that is what sets this VST apart from the rest.
Spectrasonics Keyscape did a great job recreating the electric piano. I have been speaking highly of all of the VST’s mentioned, but these are the ones that I truly do like. You get a lot of great presets with this VST and you also get some great effects.
It sounds very realistic and also plays nicely as well. The nice thing with this plugin is that there are a lot of presets that you can navigate between in order to find a style that you’re looking for.
As you can see from the demo, this thing sounds great. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have such a phenomenal player on it, but it sounds legit, trust me.
What Is A Rhodes Piano?
The Rhodes electric piano was created in 1970 by Harold Rhodes and it became popular shortly after. You will sometimes hear this referred to as the Fender Rhodes piano as it was created by Fender.
Just like the piano, it generates its sounds from hammers hitting metal tines. This gives it an extremely unique sound that is very recognizable. The key-beds on traditional Rhodes pianos are quite rough. They are very funky to play in my opinion, but very fun as well. When you play electric pianos you instantly feel nostalgic as they were used heavily by bands in the 1970s. The Doors were notorious for using them and in a lot of ways helped to make them popular.
What To Look For In A Rhodes Piano VST
Sound: With an electric piano VST, you want to focus on how close it emulates a real electric piano. Obviously, the closer the better. With this, you also want to focus on the features that each VST gives you. Some of the VST’s will give you amp simulators and hundreds of fun effects you can use to tweak the sounds.
Presets: The more presets, the better. Sometimes the presets are really cool and they inspire you.
Effects: Like the presets, the more effects the better in my opinion. I really love to get my hands dirty when it comes to effecting electric pianos. You can create some crazy cool tones by going into detail.
There’s a lot to consider when finding the best electric piano VST. Do you have any that you like that I mentioned or maybe didn’t mention? Let me know in the comment section below! If you are a fan of VST’s, check out my post on the best organ VST’s here.