Mk 1 Suitcase ‘79 key dip issue

Started by djo, June 03, 2022, 03:21:27 PM

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Hello! First time posting here but long time reader. I just swapped my stage mk1 for a suitcase mk1 79. At first I was pretty happy with the action but the more I played the more it felt a bit sluggish.

After watching many vids and reading many posts I deducted that key dip had be addressed first. I then realized that it is wayyyy too deep in comparison to what is recommended by VV or the og user manual. A pressed key will go down to almost touch the tolex case (before after touch).

So I took out the action out of the case and I don't see hints of shimming, it looks pretty flat and the felt doesn't seem too thick.

With all of that in mind what can be done to fix this deep dip? All I find online if videos of how to fix too shallow dips.

Thanka very much!


Hi, I had the same issue with my '79. It turned out I had put it back together wrongly. I did this post elsewhere:

Fortunately, I tried the latter and checked the action rail was properly screwed down without any shims. The key dip is perfect: 3/8 with an extra or minus 1/32 here and there.

This is the 5th time I've taken the Rhodes apart (done in 10 minutes) and I am feeling fairly confident about how I move around the Rhodes now. Enough that I've realised that ALL THE SCREWS on a Rhodes are important. How you set them and how tight they sit is as important for the harp support as it is for the grommets. It's easy to think of a rhodes as a wooden case that contains a keyboard. More attention should be given to how every component is set as there is the right way; all the rest is the wrong way. Let me explain about this particular example:

I had tightened each screw that holds the action rail to the key bed frame. However, if you look underneath, the lip of the action rail sits lower than the key bed frame. If both parts are sitting on a workbench, then resistance in tightening the screws will arrive earlier as you are effectively lifting the key bed frame up off the workbench. I assume this is what I had done which meant that the action rail sat higher than it should. Increasing the height of the action rail increases key dip.
I should also mention that special attention should be given to checking that all the hammers sit as central as they can more or less. My first attempt had them sitting all slightly to one side of the key felt. A tiny shift meant they sat perfectly.
I am starting to think that this piano was made exceptionally well but was put together poorly.

pianotuner steveo

Although the Rhodes dip was originally changed by changing the thickness of the back rail cloth, you can make it shallower by adding paper shims under the front rail felts, just like in acoustic pianos. ( If you make the dip too shallow, it will make the action feel heavier/harder to play. I personally like 7/16" key dip.
These shims come in different thicknesses, the color of the shim indicates the different thicknesses, I would recommend buy green or pink shims if you are new to doing this. If I remember correctly, pink is thicker than green. It may take a few shims per key. Make sure the fronts of the black keys do not get buried below the white keys when the black keys are depressed and the white keys are not depressed,
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...