The electric piano as we know it today grew out of a partnership between Harold Rhodes and Leo Fender who released a 32-note version of the instrument. But it is not until 1965, after the takeover of Fender by CBS, that the instrument really came to life when a 73-note model was released. From then different models were introduced including the Mark series as well as the two 88-note Suitcase and Stage models until 1984 when production ceased.
Harold Rhodes was not the only one to work on the electric piano. In the thirties, the inventor Ben Meissner had developed an electrostatic pickup design he used to amplify a conventional upright piano. The Wurlitzer company became interested in this idea but replaced the piano strings by metal reeds. In 1955, the EP-100 piano was released and followed by many other models until 1984.
The electric piano, with its distinctive sound, has marked the history or rock and jazz in the sixties and seventies. It has been popularised in thousands of songs by legendary musicians and bands such as Ray Charles, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Supertramp and many others. In the recent years, the electric piano has enjoyed a resurgence through its extensive use in rock, jazz, fusion, hip hop, R&B, and house.