Welcome to Vintage Key Studios

Vintage Key Studios specialise in the recording of quality vintage keyboards. Situated in Auckland, New Zealand, we can either record you on one of our instruments here in the studio, or we can record the session for you, using our house keys player Dr. Mark Baynes. Please read about each of the keyboard instruments we have on offer by clicking on the links above.

Tired of the thinness of plugin keyboard instruments? Want a real keyboard sound in your mix?
Then maybe this service is for you. Previous clients include Tiny Ruins, Anika Moa, Tim Finn, King Kapisi, Kora, Henrique Morales and Seth Haapu. We use high end Apogee digital converters, top shelf microphones (Neuman U87, AKG C414s, and an Earthworks PM-40), and Avalon, Vintage Ampex and Universal Audio preamps. Your sound can be recorded clean or subject to a variety of tube/vintage stages, adding as much warmth as required. Our tracking booth is also available for vocal/instrumental tracking. Even our studio furnishing was built using parts from an old upright piano!


Files can be transferred and payment made online, so you can order your recordings from anywhere around the world. This is a boutique business that only survives through our passion for preserving quality instruments, as we believe that no other solution is really good enough!

Please drop us a line if you wan’t to find out more; thanks for stopping by.

Mark @ Vintage Key Studios.


The Classic! We currently have three Fender Rhodes pianos to offer you: (1) a Mark 1 original Fender Rhodes circa late 1970s, loads of bark, loads of sparkle, with wooden keys, (2) a Mark 1 suitcase model, very clean sounding and (3), a Fender Rhodes Bass.

The Rhodes piano (also known as the Fender Rhodes piano) is an electric piano invented by Harold Rhodes, which became particularly popular throughout the 1970s. It generates sound using keys and hammers in the same manner as an acoustic piano, but the hammers strike thin metal rods of varied length, connected to tonebars, which are then amplified via an electromagnetic pickup. Used extensively through the decade, particularly in jazz, pop and soul music.


The Wurlitzer electric piano, trademarked the ‘Electronic Piano’ and referred to by musicians as the ‘Wurly’, was one of a series of electromechanical stringless pianos manufactured and marketed by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company of Mississippi and New York between 1954 and 1984. Since then the Wurlitzer electric piano sound has been recreated on digital keyboards, and the vintage models are sought out by musicians and collectors. Compared with its rival, the (Fender) Rhodes electric piano, the Wurlitzer has a less harmonically-complex, darker sound, while the Rhodes is more bell-like, containing high harmonics not as present in the Wurlitzer. This is seen by some as an advantage in a dense arrangement as the Wurlitzer can clearly be heard, occupying its own space without dominating. When played gently the sound can be quite sweet and vibraphone-like, sounding very similar to the Rhodes; while becoming more aggressive with harder playing, producing a characteristic slightly overdriven tone usually described as a “bark”.

Our Wurlitzer 200 series was carefully restored in 2012.


Our grand piano is Bösendorfer Parlour Grand, built in 1923 and meticulously restored in 2013. The restoration features a rescaling by Stephen Paulello, bass strings by Patrice Carrere, and new hammers supplied by the Würzen Felt Company. Voicing and tuning has been carried out by Kevin Bennett and Paul Downie. During this restoration, the frame had to be removed and resprayed to match the original deep red colour. It is a beautiful looking and sounding instrument, with a crisp sharp treble and surprisingly deep bass for its size (5ft10in).

The Bösendorfer is considered by many as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of pianos. The rim of a Bösendorfer grand piano is built quite differently from that of all other grands. Instead of veneers bent around a form, the rim is made in solid sections of spruce and jointed together. Spruce is better at transmitting sound than reflecting it. This is perhaps why Bösendorfers tend to have a more delicate treble and a bass that features the fundamental tone more than the higher harmonics. There are also two other features of Bösendorfers, that are shared with only a few other piano brands. One is a removable capo d’astro bar in the treble, which facilitates rebuilding of the instrument and, Bösendorfer says, provides greater acoustic separation from the plate, decreasing tonal absorption. The other is single-stringing, providing each string its own individual hitch pin on the plate instead of connecting it to a neighbouring string. This design may slightly improve tuning stability and is an advantage in case of string breakage.

Our Bosendorfer piano will almost certainly require a tune prior to recording so booking is essential.


Clavinet Duo

Ours is a Clavinet / Pianet Duo model. The Clavinet is an electrically amplified clavichord that was manufactured by the Hohner company of Trossingen, West Germany from 1964 to the early 1980s. Hohner produced seven models over the years, designated I, II, L, C, D6, E7 and Duo. Its distinctive bright staccato sound has appeared particularly in funk, jazz-funk, rock, and soul songs.

Originally, Hohner intended the instrument for home use and early European classical and folk music. The Clavinet L, introduced in 1968 was a domestic model with a wood-veneered triangular body and wooden legs. It had reverse-colour keys and an acrylic glass music stand. The final E7 and Clavinet Duo models reflected the culmination of several engineering improvements to make the instrument more suitable for live amplified rock music, where it had become commonplace. The Clavinet Duo model combined a Clavinet with the Hohner Pianet T in one compact (albeit heavy) instrument.


Built in the 1990s, our Hubbard large Flemish single-manual harpsichord is patterned on an instrument built in Antwerp in 1584 by Hans Moermans. The sound of this form is full and bright.

Following 18th century French tradition, Hubbard extended the 55-note range of the original to 58 notes (GG-e”’ chromatic) and added a French 18th century scaling. Disposed 2 x 8′ with buff stop, the resulting instrument has a crisp, free-speaking tone capable of performing the brilliant solo keyboard works of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as concerti with baroque orchestra. It serves equally well as continuo accompaniment in the chamber music literature of the period. Its most practical feature, however, is its compact size which makes it a portable companion for the touring professional.


Unlike a digital piano, an electric grand has hammers and strings. What makes an electric grand unique is its means of amplification, which is done via pickups under the strings (like an electric guitar). This method of amplification yields a piano that is smaller, lighter (about 300 pounds or 130-140kg) and easier to move. The amplification-via-pickups method also bypasses the difficulty of having to mic a conventional grand piano, and thus makes an electric grand easier to set up with a sound system. However, production of this type of piano ceased in the 1980s with the advent of the digital piano.

The band Keane uses Yamaha’s CP-70 exclusively in its music and The Edge of U2 also uses one. Other notable players include Tony Banks of Genesis, who used a Yamaha CP-70 from 1978 to the late 1980s in solo and band albums and tours, as did his bandmate Phil Collins in his solo career, Genesis’s original lead singer Peter Gabriel in his solo career, and Split Enz keyboard player Eddie Rayner, who played a CP-80 regularly throughout the group’s most successful period in the early-mid 1980s.


The Leslie was a standard component of several notable jazz organists, including Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Shirley Scott. In 1965, Buddy Guy’s guitar amplifier stopped working while he was recording Junior Wells’ album Hoodoo Man Blues. Recording engineer Stu Black rewired the Leslie speaker in the studio to work with Guy’s guitar, which became a significant use of the guitar with the speaker. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys first recorded a Leslie in 1965 during the sessions for the title track for Pet Sounds, released the following year. The Beatles first recorded using a Leslie during the sessions for Revolver in 1966. After John Lennon had asked for his voice to sound ‘as though I’m the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountain top’, Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick rewired the input of the studio’s Leslie so a vocal microphone could be attached to it. Emerick used this setup to record Lennon’s vocal on the track ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and claims the Beatles subsequently wanted to record everything through a Leslie. George Harrison played his guitar through a Leslie on ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’. The Beatles subsequently inspired other guitarists to use the speaker. Eric Clapton used a Leslie on Cream’s song “Badge”, and David Gilmour used a similar setup when recording with Pink Floyd.

Our Leslie is a solid state, dual speed, 760 model, complete with Leslie combo-preamp.


Tiny Ruins

Brightly Painted One 2014
Wurlitzer 200
Straw Into Gold

Tiny Ruins began as an alias for singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook, who had recorded as a solo artist prior to 2009. Fullbrook recorded a collaborative EP with A Singer of Songs in 2010 under the name Tiny Ruins, then recorded a full-length, Some Were Meant for Sea, in 2011. Following the release of Some Were Meant for Sea Tiny Ruins opened for Fleet Foxes and toured internationally with Calexico and Beach House. After adding Cass Basil and Alexander Freer to the lineup, Tiny Ruins recorded a second album, Brightly Painted One, which was released in 2014. Guitarist Tom Healy and violinist Siobhanne Thompson performed on the album and appeared with the group on subsequent tours. Brightly Painted One was awarded Best Alternative Album at the New Zealand Music Awards in November 2014.

Anika Moa

Love In Motion 2010
Love In Motion

Love in Motion is the fourth studio album by New Zealand singer-songwriter Anika Moa. The album’s underlying theme is love. Moa’s civil partner, Azaria Universe, was her biggest influence when writing the album. With Love in Motion, Moa moved from the folk and country pop influences of In Swings the Tide to a pop rock sound. The album was released by EMI Records internationally on 12 March 2010, with releases in Moa’s home country and Australia following on 5 April and 10 September, respectively. Moa toured Westfield malls the week of the album’s release, and a concert tour followed in May and June 2010.


Seth Haapu

Seth-HaapuSeth Haapu 2011

Seth’s debut album is a collection of fully fledged, clever and contagious pop songs that serve as a refreshing input to the current music scene. Born in Wanganui, Seth took to music early, recording layered harmonies over the top of an instrumental track using a Panasonic cassette recorder at the young age of 8. Growing up in Rotorua, he continued to hone is craft, studying classical music at Rotorua Boys High and practicing at any spare moment he had. In 2009, Seth presented demos of Bones and Owe You Nothing which ultimately lead to a direct signing to Sony Music New Zealand and the recording of his debut album. Working alongside musicians such as Godfrey De Grut (Che Fu), Nick Gaffney (Goldenhorse) and Chip Matthews (Opensouls), the resulting album delivered perfectly to the vision Seth set out to achieve. Seth has been active on the live circuit in the past 2 years, playing alongside Crowded House on their summer tour, opening for Train, Adam Lambert at Vector Arena and delivering a spellbinding performance at the Eli Paperboy Read concert.

Kora / Tutahi / Various New Zealand Artists



King Kapisi

Hip Hop Lives Here



Tim Finn

Harpsichord Demo Recording



Call Mark on +64 21 1369390 for more info and prices, or email us below.  Thanks for stopping by.