Red Rhodes

Orville J. Rhodes, better known as Red Rhodes or O. J. Rhodes(December 30, 1930 – August 20, 1995), was an American pedal steel guitarist. His mother taught him to play the Dobro at the age of five, but at the age of fifteen he switched to the steel guitar. He was a boxer and an oil company engineer before he settled into music.He moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and became a session musician.

Rhodes played pedal steel on many country rock, pop and rockalbums with The Monkees, Michael Nesmith, James Taylor, The Beach Boys, Seals and Crofts, The Byrds, The Carpenters, Spanky and Our Gang, and many other groups, as part of the Wrecking Crewstudio musicians. He is most often remembered for his work with former Monkee Michael Nesmith on Nesmith’s solo albums in the early 1970s. Rhodes is also credited with the “other-worldly” effects he created with pedal steel on The Ventures futuristic album The Ventures in Space in 1964.

In the late 1970s Rhodes shifted his focus from performing to guitar electronics at his Royal Amplifier Service shop in Hollywood, California. There Rhodes modified amplifiers and created his custom Velvet Hammer guitar pickupsfor James Burton, Clarence White, Gerald Ray and other influential guitarists. His shop staff included future instrument makers David Schecter, Michael Tobias and Bill Chapin.

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