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Messages - Bassics101

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Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Rhodes Stage 72' Restoration
« on: October 06, 2018, 05:19:40 PM »
The ‘72 should have hammers that are plastic and wood, and there should be no felt on them.  If I understand what your saying, you took the felts off the key pedestals.  That’s fine as you need to do that for the mod.  Glue the plastic bit onto the key pedestal and then apply new felts.  This will change the key dip quite a lot, so you probably want to do this mod first.  The felt on the key pedestals must be glued down to the key, not the hammer.  Over the plastic mod piece.

I guess I don’t understand why you want to replace the harp supports.  Are they too tall, too short, holes stripped out? They can be shimmed if needed and often were.  We’re there black shims on top of them?  It’s not clear to me what you are trying to show in the pics. 

Best of luck, and have fun. I really enjoyed restoring my ‘74, which I think is similar to your ‘72.

Checked on mine with calipers, 4 mm or 5/32 depending on location...

Thanks MM. Proves I’m not totally crazy ( some might argue). I checked and mine has 74 in faint green, and it looks like there are two numbers before that, but too faint for me to read with the light in its current location.  I’ll have to look into finding out what they are. Mine has Fender Rhodes on the gold foil sticker. Definitely a transition time. I’ve not found a source for 7/16 tips, but have used a few from VV and just glued a 1/16 wood spaced under them. The wood covered tips are also 7/16 I think. 
Thanks again.

Hi MM.  I also have an MKI about this age, and am wondering about another characteristic of this timeframe.  Many of the mid-region hammer tips on my instrument are 7/16" tall, while the bass are 3/8", and I am curious as to how pervasive that was back then. It seems that 3/8" was commonly used in most instruments, but I have read a few posts on this forum where similar age Rhodes also have 7/16" tips in the middle region. I was wondering if you could check the height of yours.  I believe my instrument is a 74 (possibly 73 I'd have to look closer and am not there now); it has the Fender Rhodes label. Thanks in advance.

I was referring to the release noise.  That buzz when the key is released.  Am I hearing the wrong thing. When the key is released, the damper pad comes back into contact with the tine.  It sounds to me like when that happens, there is a buzzing sound, and that could be that the felt is not dampening the tine.  You should be able to see that by watching the tine as you release the note.  Hope I’m answering the right question.

One other thought, could the damper arm tension be low? Not sure why that would be on all lower keys, but just another suggestion.

It seems that this noise only occurs on release of the key.  The replacements damper felts are thinner, as you say, and I’ve seen that too when I got replacements for my 73. I never put them on.   Betting those replacements are not doing there job,  Since you have the originals, take one or two and put the old thicker felts back on and see if the sound  goes away.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mk1 Case Lid
« on: October 09, 2017, 07:23:04 PM »
Hi Dave, I can’t help directly, but as I was curious to know how they were built, I did a general google search with words “fender rhodes no tolex  wood”, no quotes, and then selected images.  I think you’ll find a few of images of lids with tolex stripped that may help you out. It looks to me like they are just glued and screwed together, but I didn’t look all that closely.  Hope some of the images help. Sounds like a fun project. 

Are  the height of the neoprene tips on the affected and normal hammers the same?

Yes. Only when depressed I can see that the affected keys are lower than the rest of the others.

OK, I was referring only to the black neoprene rubber hammer tips.  Just the black neoprene part.  They are usually 3/8 inch, but some are longer, 7/16.

If the actual keys (white and black keys) are all level and there are no broken hammers etc, then it should just be a matter of adjusting the voicing after setting the escapement.  That would be the inner of the two screws and maybe the pickup position. There are YouTube videos that show how to do this.


I mean that the keys that I have modified by adjusting the escapement have more bark.

Then you need to adjust where the tine is in relation to the pickup.  Standard voicing procedure as the tine moves when the escapement is changed.

Not to mention that this part of the keyboard has now more growl than the rest.
Not sure what you mean. Adjusting individual screws should only affect that note, not a section of the keyboard.

That the escapement was double on the affected keys indicates that is the problem.  However, after you adjust the escapement, you need to revoice those notes.  Adjusting the escapement screws changes the position of the tine to the pickup, and so will affect the voicing.  Just watch the tine tip as you adjust the escapement screw.  You will see that the tine moves in relation to the pickup, and that will alter the voicing.  You need to adjust the other screw, the one beside the escapement screw, to change the voicing back to where you like it. 

A question is why these notes are different escapement than most others. Had they been adjusted like that for a reason?  Are  the height of the neoprene tips on the affected and normal hammers the same?

Edited as I see you already know the tip is not hitting the tine on soft touch, so the pickup issue I mention below is not likely the cause. 

Escapement is the distance between the hammer tip and the tine when the key is depressed.  If the separation is too large, you have to press harder to get hammer to move sufficiently to hit the tine.  Light touch and the hammer won’t hit or will hit weakly.  Easy to check.  Tighten the escapement screw on those that are weak.  Then reset the position of the tine relative to the pickup and see if it plays more to your liking.

What is the thickness of the hammmer tips? Not sure about 78’s, but some 73-74 era fender rhodes had 7/16 tips above the bass section.  If those were replaced with 3/8, you may need to add a 1/16” shim.

Another possibility might be bad pickups? The neighboring pickup could be responding when the tine is hit  hard, so sound only when hit hard.  Touch the pickup poles with a screwdriver to make sure each clicks.

How’s the escapement? If set to far, that could be the cause.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark I hammer tip heights
« on: September 17, 2017, 09:30:09 AM »
A little more detail would be helpful:  What did you use for the shims?  And can you share your technique for trimming and applying the shim material?

I got this idea from the repair manual, page 9-3 has a diagram, where they describe replacing felt teardrop hammers with hammers that have neoprene tips, except I used 1/16" material instead of 1/8".

I'm not sure where the material I used came from or what type of wood it was. It was just something I had in the shop. I did this initially as a test to see how it would work, and it has worked quite well. I only needed two or three replaced.  If you have access to a table saw, you could cut some thin strips off of any wood you choose, and I might do that with maple for additional repairs. You may also find something suitable at a hardware or woodworking shop, maybe even at hobby/craft stores. What I used was not quite 1/16" but close enough for my test. 

I rough cut the shim with a box cutter blade and attached it using a very small drop of super glue so that I could remove it easier if needed down the road. Being thin, there was no trouble trimming the shim to the size of the hammer head.   I then attached the tip to the shim but used a bit more glue.  In my case I had used tips, so I had to scrape the old glue off. 

This was simple and quick enough that I would have no reluctance to doing it on all the hammers if I wanted to replace all the 7/16" tips.  How it will age, only time will tell.  But it is working well for now.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark I hammer tip heights
« on: September 16, 2017, 10:36:03 AM »
It makes me wonder what I might do if I ever wanted to replace my bass hammer tips and not disturb the bass escapement.  (I love the feel of the piano now.) So far, I've avoided the need to replace any tips by rotating a few grooved ones by 180 degrees to present a flat surface to the tine. 

I think the problem would arise replacing the middle tips.  3/8 square bass tips are available form VV, but 7/16 middle range tips are not available anywhere that I can find.  I think VV also sells 7/16 wood-center tips, so the treble end would be fine.  One solution is to add a 1/16th inch shim and use 3/8 tips.  Another is to remove any sims present on e harp supports.  Finally, you can cut a bit off the bottom of the harp supports or make new ones if you want to keep the originals. 

I, like you, have rotated some tips, but I've had to replace a few, and since it was a few, I opted to add a the shim under the 3/8" replacement tips.  Works great.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark I hammer tip heights
« on: September 15, 2017, 06:44:49 AM »
Just looked at the old original tips I saved from my '74 stage. The bass are 11/32 and the rest are 7/16 in height. Again the yellows are the only ones colour coded.

Thanks squarebubble.  I'm curious, when you changed them, did you use available 3/8", and if so, did you have to change the escapement beyond using the tone bar screws.  Cutting the blocks or removing shims?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark I hammer tip heights
« on: September 14, 2017, 06:25:00 PM »
I should have added my theory.  Back in '73 a shipment of yellow hardness tips arrived cut too long so Fender just shimmed up the supports and put them all in the mid section knowing that tapered tips were about to go in the next years models.  ;)

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark I hammer tip heights
« on: September 14, 2017, 06:11:55 PM »
Well, I was about to post concerning this exact topic, and I did bring it another thread on escapement.  I'm rebuilding a '74, and all the tips are 7/16 except the bass which are 3/8.  As far as I can tell, this only happened with 74s. I bet you have three shims on both harp supports, and all middle tips are yellow (paint).

I'd appreciate any more info anyone has about this,

What you have are broken hammers. One is obvious, but when pin on  side is broken the hammer swings on angle.  That is likely why someone put the felt there.  I'd recommend that you check all the hammers for sideways wiggle at the flangesas more might be broken or about to break. There may be several places to get hammers. I got replacements from VintageVibe when I needed some. No affiliation.

Not a problem to fix at all.  In my case, removing shims is faster, easier and not permanent vs firing up the table saw.  Just requires hair dryer and putty knife.  I'm more curious as to whether anyone else has seen 7/16 hammer tips in mid range keys.  Maybe I should post that as a general question to the Rhodes forum. 

Resurrecting a thread already pulled up once before, but this may be of interest to those reading this thread.  Also my first post.  I've read above where several people have this issue with '72 era Rhodes. The harp is sitting a little too high.  The one I'm working on has the same problem noted in this thread that a soft touch  often doesn't cause the hammer to hit the tine. 

An interesting aspect of mine is that the hammer tips after the bass section are 7/16" tall, a 1/16th taller than most original and all replacements I can find.  These appear to be original, but perhaps not.  They are all painted yellow on one face. Note, I haven't checked the wood-wrapped tips, but I think they are the same.  I'm wondering if during this time Fender played with the height of the harp and used taller tips to compensate. 

Any thoughts?  If so, then reshimming or cutting the support would work, as would shimming each hammer tip if replacing.  In my case, I think I'll just shim the few tips that have to be replaced.

The bass tips are 3/8", so perhaps this is why problems show up in the bass section of these.

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