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General => The Wurlitzer Electric Piano => Topic started by: jmal999 on August 21, 2019, 09:34:59 PM

Title: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: jmal999 on August 21, 2019, 09:34:59 PM

Brand new member here, so thanks in advance for the help and for tolerating any faux pas I may make. I received a Wurlitzer 700 for free from a neighbor down the street and I would like to get it into some type of playable shape. I am not a keyboardist, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but it definitely has some room for improvement.

The issue I am facing right now is a considerable gap between the majority of the dampers to the reeds. I have attached a not very great picture to better illustrate what the problem is. I removed the completely deteriorated green foam looking dampers that were on the arms and replaced them with dampers from Vintage Vibe. Admittedly, the Vintage Vibe dampers did not really come with instructions, so I may not have installed them correctly. They appear to be very slightly rectangular, and I installed them where the width of the damper matched up with the damper arm. Had I installed it the other way, there is a chance I could have gotten a little more length out of the damper, but they just seemed to fit right the way I installed them. I am just not sure.

After installing the dampers, I twisted the damper level lift dowel to try and drop the damper arms, but I am having to turn it so much that the keys are dropping in the key bed. That coupled with the fact that most of the dampers are more than an 1/8th of an inch off of the reeds makes me think maybe there is another problem going on here.

I did search the Wurlitzer part of the forum before I decided to post this and read all of the 120 and 700 posts I could find. One user discovered that the damper rod was not pulled up all the way and that was causing all of his dampers to not touch the reeds. I did try to pull back on the damper rod assembly and cannot get the rod to lift anymore than it already is, so I am thinking that is likely not the problem. I also wondered if the rubber washers under the harp have degraded over time and have caused the harp to drop. I did wedge some guitar picks under the harp to lift it a bit and that may have helped somewhat, but I would need to lift it even further to get things where they need to be. I may try that next.

Any thoughts on where to go next, or what I am doing wrong? I don't think I can really work on the action until I get the dampers working. Honestly, most of the keys work well enough that I can tolerate them - just a dozen or so need tweaking - and the amp works, so I will have a fairly useable piano if I can get this part sorted out.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: pianotuner steveo on August 27, 2019, 08:23:38 AM
Do The dampers drop down to the reed if you remove the corresponding keys?

You need to read the service manual and regulate the action in the order that the manual tells you- you may not just be able to regulate the dampers and be done with it. The capstans on the backs of the keys may not be set correctly. (possibly set too high)  The sustain pedal may not be adjusted properly. Things need to be checked in the right order, if one step is off, it can throw other things out of whack. A quick test would be to choose one key that has this issue, remove that key, and lower the capstan on the back to see if that helps.

Do the dampers lift higher if the sustain pedal is pushed down? Do they lift higher if you play the piano?

 If most or all of the dampers are having your issue, it is likely one step that adjusts all at once is incorrect, such as sustain pedal adjustment may be too tight.

Also, unrelated to this issue, Letoff is the most critical regulation step in a Wurlitzer- you can find the tool for that on EBay. No other tool fits this adjustment.

Do not turn the key dip screws under the front of the sharps unless you get to that step and determine they need adjustment.

I doubt it has to do with the rubber reed bar washers. Do not remove them and replace with something else, and don't mess around with the reed bar if the piano is plugged in. Shock hazard.

Also, unrelated to your problem, but be sure the " death cap" has been removed. This is the cap that goes between the AC power socket and the chassis ground. But that's another story...
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: DocWurly on August 31, 2019, 06:47:02 PM
I think the reed bar height is a possible culprit.  And I think it's possible that you've installed the damper pads wrong.  It would be great to see more pix that give more context.  Did VV give you different treble and bass dampers?

There are usually wooden spacers above the felts on the damper arms of a 120 or 700.  If those are missing, the VV dampers might not be long enough.  It's possible that the wooden spacers were only on some instruments -- I'm not sure about this, but I have seen instances were the wood spacers were missing.

What is the serial number of this 700?
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: pianotuner steveo on September 12, 2019, 06:14:07 AM
I'm pretty sure that some were made without those wood spacers, I've seen a few without them.
It is possible that they are turned sideways like Doc mentioned, be sure that the long side is up/down.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: jam88 on October 18, 2019, 08:17:56 AM
I'm pretty sure that some were made without those wood spacers, I've seen a few without them...
Here are some damper observations from my 120.

My 120 has the damper spacers only on keys #39 and above. I assume it never had spacers on #1 thru #38. These spacers are about .250” x 250” x damper arm width.

The reed bar is spaced up with a wooden shim on each end. I presume this was from the factory. These shims are made from 6mm blockboard (NOT plywood). Have any of you seen these shims on 120’s or 700’s?

I bought this piano, S/N ~16500, in 1967, and assume it was original and unmolested when I bought it. It was like new, in the home of a pastor. It had the green foam dampers in it then.

Over the years, I’ve replaced the dampers a few times, always using regular piano damper felt from Schaff. Last time, on the 1-20 keys I used the vee-type single-string felts that are about 9/16” high overall (Schaff #1535).
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: DocWurly on October 18, 2019, 12:36:45 PM

Any insight as to why the spacers would start at that note?  Are they placed differently front to back?  I bet you're right -- it's on purpose.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: theseacowexists on August 06, 2020, 10:10:01 AM
Bumping this old thread...

I ordered the 120 set from VV for my late '59 120 and am having the same issue. Mine has the spacers on 35-54. They appear to be identical to the one on Jam's. The old dampers on the piano correspond to the spacers - i.e. dampers 1-34 are the same height as the dampers+spacers on 35-54. VV's are all the same height as the old 35-54 dampers - perfect for those, but too short for 1-34.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: pianotuner steveo on August 06, 2020, 05:46:03 PM
Using 200 style dampers usually works since they are taller.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: theseacowexists on August 07, 2020, 10:27:13 AM
Instead of dealing with returning the kit in whole or partial, I cut 34 new spacers to make the dampers work with the piano. Worked like a charm.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: pianotuner steveo on August 07, 2020, 07:07:36 PM
Great idea!

Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: jam88 on August 08, 2020, 09:10:15 AM
... late '59 120...

Reed bar spacer mystery--
Our pianos were made about the same time. Does your piano have wooden spacers at each end under the reed bar?

Mine does. I've shown this picture before, the spacers are about 1/4" thick, which is the same as the damper spacers on 39-54. My spacers are loose, not glued to the reed bar mounting blocks that are part of the piano case, and not coated with black shielding paint.

Has anyone else seen spacers like this?

I believe these spacers are standard from the factory, because
   --This extra elevation is necessary to locate the reeds relative to the hammers and dampers
   --I doubt that the piano had been modified before I bought it in 1967.
   --The spacers look 'manufactured', not like something a tech would make
   --The spacers are made of blockboard, not plywood or solid wood. Unusual material, but common to Wurlitzer. The keybed of the 120's case is made from 1/2" blockboard.

Speaking of blockboard, a little off-topic, but the construction of the 120 cases is really solid. They're NOT 'particle board'. If you've never seen one stripped: they are cold-molded plywood on the blockboard base, screwed together with tons of c'sunk #10 wood screws, filled and sanded before the application of the awesome ;) Zolatone.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: theseacowexists on August 08, 2020, 09:40:19 AM
Mine does not have the shims under the harp. I sent the same pictures to VV and to them it looked like the blocks had been removed from 1-34 and that I'd need to make my own spacers (which I had already done at that point).

My money is on inconsistency or experimentation at the Wurlitzer factory as the explanation for the inconsistencies. If the majority were built with spacers and no shims, or shims and no spacers, that would explain the size of the VV set. Heck, even the amp in this thing does not quite match the schematic.
Title: Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
Post by: pianotuner steveo on August 11, 2020, 07:26:48 AM
@ jam88, I think those wooden spacers were added by a previous owner. I've only seen the black rubber insulators/spacers on these early models. The later models have the whiteish plastic spacers.

Can anyone else that has seen /owns these early pianos chime in? Are your spacers black rubber?

Note to any newbies: Never replace these spacers with metal washers or you can short out your reed bar.