The Electric Piano Forum

General => The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano => Topic started by: Pbean on July 25, 2020, 05:16:54 PM

Title: Escapement
Post by: Pbean on July 25, 2020, 05:16:54 PM
I am trying to figure out why some Rhodes pianos need shims added or cut to achieve the correct escapement.
I have a bit of background with a regular piano action so pardon my ignorance when it comes to the Rhodes action.

Were hammer tips changed over the years of manufacture to different shapes?
This would account for different blow distance which in turn should change the escapement if you are installing new hammer tips.

Were hammers always installed with different zones of various sizes to accommodate escapement?

Were harp supports all manufactured to tight specifications?
The quality of the lumber on the keys and machining of the key bushing holes makes me think things were not always done with great care in the factory.

So if key height is set (1/8 below key slip) and the rear pedestal felt is correct thickness then key depth should be good (3/8").
If tone bars are regulated to 3/8" height then hammer blow distance should be consistent.
I would assume that now escapement should be close to factory specs.

Needing more or less escapement than what the tone bar adjustment allows would mean needing to cut or add shims. What's so wonky that shim adjustment is necessary if all parts are set to factory spec?
Title: Re: Escapement
Post by: pianotuner steveo on July 25, 2020, 08:49:45 PM
From what I understand, the workers in the Rhodes factory were not trained piano techs, and tolerances were sloppy at times. A lot of times you will find the paper shims on top of the felt punchings on the balance rail. I was told they did this to save time, but to me that's just lazy.

There were several types ( felt, rubber, Square, angled)  and shapes of hammer tips, but I'm not an expert on the different types. The tips are different hardnesses throughout the keyboard- softer in the bass and harder (sometimes rubber wrapped wood) in the treble.