Author Topic: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function  (Read 5515 times)

Offline juniornoodle

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Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« on: July 30, 2016, 01:35:27 PM »
I have a 1978 Mark I stage piano Seventy Three. The sustain pedal fulcrum rod is missing and, prior to my owning the piano, someone replaced it with a small allen wrench. As you might expect, this is an imperfect solution and the pedal sits unevenly in its housing. I'm wondering if anyone has a solution for this missing piece. Any ideas? I don't see a replacement for sale anywhere. I've attached an image below of the inside parts of the sustain pedal from another thread on this forum for reference.

Additionally, I am having issues with the action when using the sustain pedal. Not sure yet how much, if any, it is related to this piece being missing, but the action feels good when not using the sustain pedal. The issue with the action is that when the sustain pedal is engaged, when depressing a key twice in a row, the hammer often does not strike the tine the second time. It feels like you have to hit the key really hard to make good contact with the time on both the first and second blow. I just went through and did a near-full restoration of the piano, including dimensional adjustments. The exception is that I didn't adjust the dampers after making all the other adjustments, such as key dip and escapement. Is it likely that I just need to make damper adjustments per the manual and this issue will get ironed out?


Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2016, 06:59:48 PM »
So, you're looking for the pin that passes through the shaft of the pedal? The hinge pin?
If so, it's a 3/16" x 1-1/4" steel slotted spring pin.

I happen to have just picked up a large quantity of those - more than I would expect to ever be able to use. If you'd like one, PM me an address and I'll drop it in the mail.
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2016, 10:25:13 PM »
Thanks David! PM sent.

In terms of the rest of the problem with my sustain mechanism, if it helps understand what I'm experiencing, check out the below YouTube video I recorded today. As you can see, the hammer has trouble connecting with the tines on repeated notes when the sustain pedal is engaged.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkRbNBycw80

I haven't yet had time to troubleshoot this a ton, but will be able to look into it more this week. Thanks for any advice in advance!

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 07:49:41 AM »
I think the hammers are hitting the tines just fine and you're just experiencing an inherent shortcoming of the Rhodes - the tendency for hammer strikes to cancel energy that may have been present from previous strikes. When the hammer hits a tine that is already vibrating, odds are it's going to catch the tine at a moment when the hammer's force counters the tine's movement rather than complements it.

There are a few things you may be able to look at to minimize the effect but mostly, there's nothing you can do about it.
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=7323.0
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2016, 10:54:24 PM »
Your thought makes a ton of sense David. I read through the thread you linked to, and an even longer one linked to in that thread. Sounds like people haven't had a lot of luck trying to fix this problem on their Rhodes pianos. Also, like I said, I have done a lot of work to regulate the dimensional standards of this piano and played around with shimming the harp in various ways and played around with strike line already.

I'm starting to think this is a limitation of the piano itself, which is disapointing, but maybe partially explains all the washy non-aggressive playing you hear from Rhodes pianos in old recordings. Though I'm perplexed listening to, for example, Chick Corea, play so quickly and percussively on Return to Forever tracks. I'm certainly no Chick Corea but it's hard to imagine my piano being played so wonderfully under any circumstances. Maybe there's a lot of variance in Rhodes piano quality, eh?

One other thought: I was wondering if the continued bounce in the hammer after an initial strike could factor into the 2nd-strike issue. Ever experiment with trying to reduce the amount of post-strike bounce found in hammers?

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2016, 08:05:57 AM »
I was planning on mailing out your pins today but now I'm a little concerned. They look short.  I really just got these and haven't even tried using one yet and now I'm worried that I didn't measure correctly.

Can anyone confirm the length of the damper pedal hinge pin? Is it really only 1-1/4" long? Looks longer in the picture. I can double-check tonight but it would save a day if anyone happens to know.

Regarding bouncing hammers: Some people install a Rhodes version of back checks. Vintage Vibe sells a kit. Here's an old discussion about it.
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=7608.0
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2016, 10:12:16 AM »
Yeah, I'm not sure about the dimensions of that pin. I don't even have one to my name to compare against. Appreciate the trouble though!

And I will look into the benefits of a back check. Thanks for that tip.


Offline dnarkosis

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 11:20:37 AM »
1-3/4"
1979 Suitcase 73
1980 Stage 54

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 11:24:46 AM »
1-3/4"

Bummer.

I just got a call from a helpful soul who thinks the pins may not pass completely through the shaft but rather two pins are installed - one on each side.

Whatever the situation is, I'll definitely be acquiring a batch of the correct part at some point soon because I have a pedal that's in need. juniornoodle, whenever that happens, I'll be happy to forward a few if they're still needed.
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2016, 12:19:15 PM »
Yes, please do keep me updated on the pins. I'd love to get my hands on them as I am trying to get this pedal fixed, the sooner the better. If you have a source for these, I'm also curious about that. I'm more than happy to try to acquire them on my own.

Again, your assistance has been much appreciated thus far!

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 12:24:18 PM »
I order this sort of stuff from Fastenal. Your local hardware store probably has them as well. They're a pretty common item.
Dave Aubke
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2016, 04:42:45 PM »
Well, doggone it, dnarkosis is right. 1-1/4" does actually reach far enough, but only barely. 1-3/4" would be much better. At least I got the 3/16" diameter correct.

So, I just placed an order for the correct pins. juniornoodle, it's no problem at all to drop a few in the mail but if you can't wait possibly up to a week, I'll bet you can get them locally.
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 03:40:48 PM »
Thanks for the update! If you don't mind, it would be great if you could still drop a couple in the mail. My local hardware stores are pretty difficult about little items like these.

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2016, 05:21:12 PM »
This isn't going well.

juniornoodle, I sent you a few pins... again, before using them myself. 3/16" isn't right either.

I opened up the hole in the pedal shaft with a 3/16" drill bit and the pin fit fine. The cradle in the pedal housing is large enough to accommodate the pin so I think I'm set. I'm probably not going to buy any more until I have another need.
Dave Aubke
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Offline dnarkosis

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2016, 08:13:53 PM »
David, do I understand your post correctly: you opened up the hole in the pedal shaft with a 3/16" bit and the 3/16" pin [singular] fit fine, i.e., it is a single pin rather than two? I just checked on mine again and would be surprised if I could even get the pin (or pins?) out without some significant effort. A hammer tap has no effect (though I admittedly did not tap hard), nor can I manipulate the pin with pliers. It is seated very tight indeed. - doug
1979 Suitcase 73
1980 Stage 54

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2016, 07:29:25 AM »
Yes. The soft aluminum drills easily and a 3/16" bit only had to take a small amount of material to allow the new pin (singular) to fit.

I also struggled to remove the broken-off old pin. At first, I tried driving it through with the new pin but quickly figured out the new one was too large. I also tried drilling it out but even in a drill press, the bit wanted to wander off the hard pin and into the soft aluminum. I eventually just whaled on it with the new pin and a hammer. The new pin kind of pushed its way into the aluminum (it's close, just a little too large) and pushed the stump out just enough for me to grab it with a Vice-Grip pliers at which point it was fairly easy to pull the rest of the way.

So yeah, coulda' been an easier job. The exact right new pin would have likely made it all go more smoothly. Perhaps a 5/32" or a 3mm?
Dave Aubke
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2016, 09:26:07 AM »
Vandaking sells actual piano pedal pins, but they have a minimum order of $30. The pins cost .89ea.

They are 2" long, .156 diameter, and are fluted in the center to grip better in the middle. (If the pedal or trap work isn't hollow, like in most acoustic pianos)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 07:28:41 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2016, 06:52:32 PM »
David, I received your pins in the mail today. Thanks for sending them. It was very generous of you. Since we're still not totally sure of the dimensions and I have these pins, I think I will try to replace my pin the same way you did. Sounds like I'll have to drill to make a little space for the new pin, but I'll have the benefit of not having to extract an existing one.

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2016, 07:27:56 AM »
There's also the slim chance that 3/16" actually was correct for the pedal I originally measured and that the pin size has varied over the years. But yes, drilling it out was easy and I can't think of any ill effects.
Dave Aubke
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2016, 11:46:06 AM »
The pedal pivot was one of the areas in which Fender used a marginal design to save money.  A spring pin can hardly be considered even a remotely precise pivot, and the split in it further reduces its usefulness.  The metal plates used to form the pivot are pretty bogus, and require feathering the screw tightness to trim the pivot tightness, and, by not being fully tightened, the screws can loosen up over time.  One of these days I'm going to replace this whole mess with something more legit.

Offline cinnanon

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2016, 12:04:28 PM »

One of these days I'm going to replace this whole mess with something more legit.
Like this!??

Offline pnoboy

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2016, 02:50:49 PM »

One of these days I'm going to replace this whole mess with something more legit.
Like this!??

No, I was thinking of 1/4" rod, not a spring pin, pivoted in brass or bronze bushings.

Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2016, 10:24:05 PM »
This is a late reply, but just wanted to confirm for all posterity that the diameter is, indeed, 5/16. 1-3/4 length would be good, but I found 5/16 diameter with 1-1/4 length at a local place and it at least passes through the pedal with a fair amount of shaft left on either side once stuck through the pedal.

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2016, 07:04:25 AM »
Now wait a minute... 5/16"? That's awfully thick. By the end of the trial-and-error documented in this thread, I had settled on 5/32" as the appropriate diameter.
Dave Aubke
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Offline juniornoodle

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2016, 07:03:31 PM »
Sorry! Yes, you're right David. 5/32" is the diameter. Not sure what state of mind I was in last night when I posted that, but 5/16" is way too big. Trying to be helpful, but that one backfired on me. Thanks for catching that!

Did you find that 1-3/4" was the optimal length?

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Rhodes Sustain Pedal Parts and Function
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2016, 07:09:58 AM »
Yes, I think 1-3/4" is the correct length.
Dave Aubke
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