The Electric Piano Forum

Buying & Selling => Buying => Topic started by: blahblah on March 26, 2007, 08:49:21 PM

Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 26, 2007, 08:49:21 PM
I'm trying to buy a Mark I and want to know what questions I should ask to sound competent.  

Here's what I've got so far:

1.  How many owners?
2.  Has it been used on the road?
3.  Any past upgrades or work done on it?
4.  How is the condition of the tines, hammers, felts... etc?

I'm going to check it out and need any advice on what I should look for.  I know that I should see if there is any water damage because that is the only unfixable thing.  I'm assuming this will manifest itself by rust or mildew.  Also, regarding 4 there, what should I look for?

I know buying online is bad news, but the only person that I found close to me is two states away.  I was thinking about buying one from speakeasyvintagemusic, until I found out that 3,250 was the starting price.  Holy f.

Anyway, I hope the person I'm buying it from doesn't visit this forum and my cover is blown.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on March 27, 2007, 01:50:26 AM
well, to be honest, these are great things to check yourself, most people don't know a lot about them - they're guitar players, or just use them sparingly.

Things like how many owners and has it been used on the road they might be able to answer, otherwise the tolex can usually show you how it's been cared for.

Tines and pickups can often have just light corrosion from age and air moisture over 20-35 years.  As long as they're not absolutely rusted out, you should be ok.

Definitely smell for mold / mildew.  They usually aren't bad, and have sort of a metal odor to them. but mildew is very distinct as you know.

other than that, broken tines are your only worry.  anything else like pickups, hammers etc, are cheap to get.  best of luck.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 27, 2007, 04:15:56 PM
thanks a lot, bjammerz.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 28, 2007, 09:27:01 AM
Hey, here are some pictures the guy sent me.  It looks a little shoddy, particularly in that first picture... but I don't really know what to make of these.
(http://img363.imageshack.us/img363/2386/0da11rm3.jpg)

(http://img54.imageshack.us/img54/7059/0de21dg1.jpg)

(http://img54.imageshack.us/img54/251/0e1f1wo1.jpg)
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on March 28, 2007, 01:15:14 PM
well you can use that as a bargaining tool lol...

but it's just a little normal wear on the plating on the tonebars - doesn't have much bearing at all on the tone, they were just plated with that yellow color you see to prevent corrosion.  But it should be fine, really.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on March 28, 2007, 01:51:58 PM
The first impression I get when i see these pics is that there is at least consistency throughout the tonebars and pickups(this is positive, mind you !)They seem levelled and are straight.
The usual corrosion doesn't seem to be too bad. Can you get some pics of the wood of the keys ? I bet this guy doesn't know how to put up the harp (or doesn't want to?)
Already got a production year ? I'd say give it a shot and try to see,feel and hear the piano for yourself. Can he mail a mp3 maybe ?

Good luck !!
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 28, 2007, 02:11:16 PM
Quote from: "kitchen"
I bet this guy doesn't know how to put up the harp (or doesn't want to?)

That's my suspicion.  I asked him about warping and he said "on the part of the keys( ivory ) no warping, I don't see any warping on the inside either, " but then he didn't take pictures of it.  I'm on it though.  I'm being pretty obnoxious and asking him a bunch of questions.

Its production year is '78
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 30, 2007, 11:38:14 AM
Here's option #2.  I feel like this one is in better condition.  Tell me if anything jumps out at you.

(http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/6007/2eda3gw7.th.jpg)  (http://img71.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2eda3gw7.jpg)(http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/132/2efe3zh1.th.jpg) (http://img67.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2efe3zh1.jpg)

(http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/6332/2f243za2.th.jpg) (http://img67.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2f243za2.jpg) (http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/8370/2f583me7.th.jpg) (http://img71.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2f583me7.jpg)

(http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/2334/78af3lf9.th.jpg) (http://img66.imageshack.us/my.php?image=78af3lf9.jpg) (http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/4391/79203ya4.th.jpg) (http://img66.imageshack.us/my.php?image=79203ya4.jpg)
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: tnelson on March 30, 2007, 12:43:07 PM
There are quite a few hammers that are near-white compared to rest of the (yellowed) hammers.  Are they replacement hammers?  Seems like quite a few to me, and maybe indication of more than average wear. Perhaps someone with more experience than I have can comment? Not necessarily a concern, and maybe even good to see the apparent replacements, but I don't think I've seen one before with so many newer hammers  (10 or 12).
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on March 30, 2007, 02:30:24 PM
It certainly looks better than your 1st option. There's less corrosion, wood looks ok and the tonebars and pickups look consistent. It's an early 70-ies right ? Can't tell for sure, but is it 73 ?
Damperfelts are pretty grooved but that could be intentional. They're pretty easy to replace if it would be necessary.
Actionwise I think there will be quite a difference since it's an early 70-ies compared to the '78 piano but then again, maybe this one has a actionmod on it ? On the whole, strictly based on these pics and the information you gave us I'd say option 2 is the better piano of the two, but that's purely the technical state. That doesn't mean that this piano also plays and sounds better !
As for the hammers, the whiter ones could have been replaced, but I've seen piano's with different hammercolors that were never serviced nor replaced before.

The agony of choice !!

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on March 30, 2007, 04:08:22 PM
The person said that it "looks to have been used for home use only."  Fishy wording.

Here's the badge... I thought the last number was an 8... but it's difficult to tell.
(http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/5894/79903vt2.th.jpg) (http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=79903vt2.jpg)

This is really stressful.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on March 30, 2007, 05:12:54 PM
Has it got half wood/half plastic hammers ? Can't tell for sure from the pics.
Looking at that code I think the last number is a 2 !! Which makes this piano a late '72 piano. It's a pre '75 piano, that's for sure.
It's a FenderRhodes (not just Rhodes), no nameplate behind the knobs and FenderRhodes namerail logo and sticker inside.
These pictures can only say so much, I guess you have to go and take a look in person to make a good decision. Looks can be deceiving ! Let your ears and fingers decide as well. The 1st one looks shoddy(?) under the hood but could play and sound like a dream, where as the second one might look pretty decent and clean but could have terrible action and worn out parts. All of that could be fixed relatively easy but adds to the costs as well.

I'm getting the feeling that I'm not making it any easier, right ? :wink:
Don't get stressed, it's supposed to be fun !! :D

Good luck

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: O.Lahoz on March 30, 2007, 05:24:45 PM
It seems that its a '72 piano. It means that his tines are of the Torrington type (fussion era, bark sound) whereas those of the '78 piano are Schaller type (mellower sound).

I think that the election of a musical instrument depends on the sound that your prefer. Everything else can fix up easily.

Good luck
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: hrees on March 31, 2007, 04:48:45 AM
Once again, the later pianos are more than capable of getting as much bark as you want. The earlier pianos can be made to sound as smooth as you want. There is a subtle difference in tone but we should put aside the mythology that they are different instruments.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on March 31, 2007, 12:53:55 PM
well unfortunately the mythology is there because that's generally how they're set up.  Yes you can make a mark 1 / II bark.  however when you buy one it's about a 98% chance that it's a docile, bell-like instrument.  You have to have the knowledge to change this, but the myth is there because 9/10 times sitting at one or the other unlatered, the ealy Fender Mark 1 will be "harder."
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on March 31, 2007, 02:19:25 PM
I think that a lot of times people hear Rhodes' barking on different albums and expect their piano to sound the same just because it is the same instrument; although this is possible, what they most of the time don't realize that the piano's on these recordings are heavily EQ'd and customized / very well setup piano's.
Although there are tonal differences between the vintages, I agree with hrees and bjammerz, I believe any Rhodes can bark or sound mellow or bell-like or whatever...regardless the type of tines, hammers (plastic/half wood-plastic) and so on....it's just how it's been setup (and by who?)

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on March 31, 2007, 10:59:21 PM
Yes, I have a '79 stage piano that was dynoed, and the thing barks more than any fender year I've ever played.  The tone is slightly different and has all the characteristics of the late model, but as far as "when I jam on it, it barks at me..."  yeah it's got that.

Also, I just picked up a suitcase 88 from 1978, and to play around with it I slid the pickups just about as far as I could upto the tines without any hitting universally, and it's got much more "bark" than when I brought it home originally sounding like a "smooth jazzy" rhodes.  

I really encourage a lot of people with late model rhodes (77-83) to really play around with the pickups, and bringing more overtones in the tonebar adjustments.  About 19/20 Rhodes I've played from this era just aren't set up properly, and strangely it seems like everyone has a Rhodes from this period, so they're also the most common.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: O.Lahoz on April 01, 2007, 07:44:17 AM
A friend has a '74 Fender Rhodes. His action is hard but the sound is incredible. I have put his harp in my piano ('79) and can assure you that the sound of the tines (Torrington tines) is different from that of my harp (Schaller tines). Its indifferent as fit the tines with regard to pickups. Torrintong tines has his own flavor.

Also, they have a softly different shape and because of it I think that the harmonic content is different.

Also it is possible that the alloy of steel is not the same. I remember that MajorKey started by making new tines and nevertheless his sound was the worst of all (I bought them several and I have not used them because his poor sound)

Can someone corroborate this? :?:
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 01, 2007, 09:03:29 AM
Quote
and can assure you that the sound of the tines (Torrington tines) is different from that of my harp (Schaller tines).


I never suggested there were no differences, there are ! But they're just minor differences if you compare them to the ways you can make a Rhodes sound just by setting it up properly/differently. The types of tines don't play a key role in bark of a Rhodes. It's all about setting up.

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on April 01, 2007, 12:33:21 PM
Quote from: "bjammerz"
The tone is slightly different and has all the characteristics of the late model,


They have different sound, but can still "bark" meaning when you play hard it gets raspy not just louder.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: O.Lahoz on April 01, 2007, 01:22:07 PM
In agreement, any piano can sound bark or mellow depending on the adjustments. Its like to compare a Steinway vs Bosendorfer. The two can sound brilliant or soft but still there are sonorous subtleties that help to estimate them of different form.

Under this point of view I prefer the barky sound of the Torrington tines (vs Schaller). For my its a different raspy, more evocative! 8) .

In short: what I want to say is that I really estimate these minor differences of sound.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 01, 2007, 02:43:54 PM
O.Lahoz wrote:
Quote
In agreement, any piano can sound bark or mellow depending on the adjustments

That's what I'm trying to make clear !!
In your earlier post you suggested that a difference in tine type is responsible for bark or no bark in a piano :
O.Lahoz wrote:
Quote
It means that his tines are of the Torrington type (fussion era, bark sound) whereas those of the '78 piano are Schaller type (mellower sound).

What you are saying now, is that you prefer the bark of Torrington's more than the bark of Schaller's. That's a different ballgame.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: O.Lahoz on April 01, 2007, 03:29:39 PM
Sorry kitchen,

"bark" is an abstract word that I have learned lately (I do not speak english very well ), but for my defines this special Rhodes sound of the earlys 70's (not another sound).

Its difficult to speak about the angels sex !! :roll: .
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 02, 2007, 10:03:30 AM
No problem, O. Lahoz.

 :)

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 02, 2007, 08:27:59 PM
I think I'm too paranoid to purchase this off the internet.  Also not knowing enough to make a truly educated purchase adds to it.  After some self doubt, I've decided to indulge myself because I've only got like 58.5 years left alive.  Unfortunately ebay is such a tease with all of the last minute bids.

Question:  What is the difference between a late 70's Mark I and a Mark II made in '80.  Is it just the different top?
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: paulb on April 02, 2007, 09:05:21 PM
If it's a 1980 Mark II, I would say the difference was the flat top, the new Mark II name rail, and the factory installed 'bump' action.  Certainly around this time they switched from the bare, flat pedestals with the felt on the hammers, to the felt and bump being on the pedestals and the hammers being bare?  I think the plastic keys came later.  That's all I can think of at the moment.  Paul
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on April 02, 2007, 11:25:56 PM
I believe there are some 1980 models with plastic action, maybe not but look for the black keybed.  the 1980s with wood keys are identical to the very late Mark 1s, only cosmetic upgrades - as stated above, flat top, black namerail, plastic music stand, and the pickups were white opposed to the red appearance.  If this was a functionality difference or just different colored tape, don't know off hand.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 04, 2007, 09:03:11 AM
The latest tease (mark II):

(http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/4803/85843yv2.th.jpg) (http://img520.imageshack.us/my.php?image=85843yv2.jpg)
(http://img115.imageshack.us/img115/4232/img0095rc1.th.jpg) (http://img115.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0095rc1.jpg)
(http://img78.imageshack.us/img78/8509/img0090lh7.th.jpg) (http://img78.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0090lh7.jpg)

What is that rusty looking stuff in the 2nd picture?
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: tnelson on April 04, 2007, 11:19:48 AM
That's rust on the pole pieces (magnets) of the pickups.  Was probably stored in a damp place at some time.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 04, 2007, 11:52:57 AM
Overall appearance is allright if you ask me. The corrosion on the pickups shouldn't be too much of a problem. It should come of quite easily. Worst case scenario you have to replace a few pickups. Those are cheap and with some soldering skills you should be able to do this yourself.

But still I'd go for the '72 Mk1 you had your eye on earlier.....but maybe that's because I like the Mk1's better !! :D

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 04, 2007, 03:20:22 PM
Quote from: "kitchen"
But still I'd go for the '72 Mk1 you had your eye on earlier.....but maybe that's because I like the Mk1's better !! :D


If I'm going to get a Mk1, I want it to be a later model.  

Sigh... so I just need some rust remover and this will be fine?
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on April 04, 2007, 10:57:32 PM
in most cases you don't really have to worry about it.  You really could just leave it as is, keep it in a dryer place (not in your garage) and the rust wont affect the sound or the volume.  

Don't fret too much
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 05, 2007, 11:31:42 AM
Quote
If I'm going to get a Mk1, I want it to be a later model


Just curious, but why ?
As for the rust remover.....a small brush (toothbrush medium/hard?) should probably do the trick as well.

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: tnelson on April 05, 2007, 02:21:59 PM
You may want to protect the other pickups from the free metal particles, or to plan on a clean-up with sticky tape.  At least some of what you loosen will be attracted by the magnets of the pickups, and will not just brush away.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 06, 2007, 11:38:26 AM
kitchen, I am under the impression that the early Mark I's have really stiff action.

tnelson, do you think using some sort of rust removing solution would be the best?
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on April 06, 2007, 02:28:09 PM
blah - on the Mk1s, early or late, action can be improved it's not a difficult job.  I would just listen again to the models page, the audio clips there on the early and later mark1s.  Pick what sound you like, and action etc can be adjusted even by a beginner.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 06, 2007, 03:12:44 PM
Quote from: "kitchen"
But still I'd go for the '72 Mk1 you had your eye on earlier.....but maybe that's because I like the Mk1's better !! :D

Kitchen

What's your beef with the Mark II's?
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 06, 2007, 03:56:22 PM
I'm not too fond of the sound and the looks. The looks shouldn't be important off course, but hey....
It's hard to explain in words what I do not like about the MKII's soundwise, most of the time they're too clean and sweet for my taste. When I hear a MkI, I hear the wood and the dust through the tone, more edgy, more body and definition and that's something I like personally. It's all about taste you know, but I prefer a mid/early 70's MkI sound over a 80's MkII sound. Maybe it has something to do with different pickups or tines or maybe it's only psychological, I don't know. If I were you I'd try to listen to as much Rhodes piano's as possible and find out which sound you like best. Things like heavy action or other shortcomings are relatively easy fixable, so don't judge a vintage on it's action only for instance. It's all about the sound in the end.....
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 06, 2007, 04:54:20 PM
On the examples on this website, the fender rhodes sounds a lot better to me, but I think that it has to do more with me liking the performance.  I've heard so much variety from similar models that I feel like the difference lies in the EQing.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 07, 2007, 11:34:02 AM
http://www.student.foi.hr/~rlogozar/mbsn1/AnalogSynthsRhodesMarkIversII.html
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 07, 2007, 03:52:45 PM
Well,...I got my piano back from my tech and one thing he told me is that the sound of a well set-up piano depends on EQ-ing for about 70 %.

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Dan Belcher on April 07, 2007, 09:34:45 PM
The late-era Mark I and Mark II pianos definately have a different tone from the older Rhodes and even the early Mark I era pianos.  The tines on the newer models have more highs while the earlier tines had more mids.  A well-adjusted late-era Mark I/Mark II however can still sound aggressive, or you can make it nice and bright and bell-ish, depending on how your EQ is.  Plus, the harder you play, the more aggressive the tone gets.

Both of these clips were played just minutes apart on the same exact 1978 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73, run through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (the brown special run with different tubes, warmer sound than the stock tubes).  No other effects, etc.

http://www.motorsportmediamulti.com/danbelcher/20070307-Rhodes.mp3
This clip is done with the midrange up all the way, treble down all the way, and bass at about 50% (though I ended up reducing the bass slightly after the recording from about the 200hz range on down to get rid of muddiness).

http://www.motorsportmediamulti.com/danbelcher/20070307-Angela.mp3  This take on the hook from Bob James - Angela (yes, the theme song from the TV show Taxi) was done with the mid and treble all the way up and the bass at about 50%.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 08, 2007, 04:42:54 PM
I'm having a very hard time deciding between that '80 Mark II with the rusty pickups and this '78 Mark I:

(http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/8718/58a03it4.th.jpg) (http://img255.imageshack.us/my.php?image=58a03it4.jpg)
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Dan Belcher on April 08, 2007, 05:35:06 PM
That '78 looks to be in good shape from that picture.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 08, 2007, 07:55:10 PM
I was outbid.  This is so depressing.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: theelpajero on April 10, 2007, 12:24:32 PM
Quote from: "blahblah"
I was outbid.  This is so depressing.


I feel your pain, man. This has happened to me a few times as well. It sure makes you depressed. But hey, one day we'll have our Rhodes'sss and have a ball.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Ben Bove on April 10, 2007, 12:41:45 PM
Great point Dan.

Sorry blah - try looking on craigslist for a local rhodes.  often you have a better chance of going and talking to the guy and sitting down with the piano over getting outbid at the last second on an ebay rhodes you haven't even seen.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: blahblah on April 16, 2007, 12:42:03 AM
ugh, so there's one that is finally close to me and it's a complete wreck.  torture.

(http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/5931/545d1bdv8.th.jpg) (http://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=545d1bdv8.jpg)
(http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/4800/55ce1ml1.th.jpg) (http://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=55ce1ml1.jpg)
(http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/8314/56621pb5.th.jpg) (http://img403.imageshack.us/my.php?image=56621pb5.jpg)
(http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/9033/57091he5.th.jpg) (http://img403.imageshack.us/my.php?image=57091he5.jpg)
(http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/401/554e1xo8.th.jpg) (http://img267.imageshack.us/my.php?image=554e1xo8.jpg)
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: kitchen on April 16, 2007, 10:35:08 AM
What's the specs on this one ? Have you seen or played it ?
Maybe the looks of this piano can work to your advantage price technically speaking if you don't mind working a bit on your piano yourself. Theoretically speaking nothing is unfixable on Rhodes piano's....the only serious obstacle people come across is most of the time a financial one....  :(

Kitchen
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: picassoface on May 30, 2007, 06:50:42 PM
Dude, just get a Kawai synth with weighted keys before you have a coronary.

 :twisted:  :twisted:

Seriously, I had to bid on at least 10 Rhodes until I got mine.  Ebay's weird; sometimes you just get lucky.  People stop bidding on pianos that have a part missing that is easy to locate.
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Nevets306 on June 12, 2007, 08:47:57 AM
Well I am in the hunt of the great fender rhodes. I'm currently looking to buy a Mark II suitcase from this guy. This is what I noticed when i played it, mind you no tines are broken and he is going to have a tech come in and even everything out.
The middle of the keyboard feels great and sounds great too. The high and lower parts of hte keyboard are weeker than the middle which might be a pickup distance thing or not i dunno. When i turned up the treble the high was almost as equal as the middle but you shouldn't have to do that. Also the keyboard just feels really uneven in general and it doesn't feel comfortable to play YET. but maybe that's all going to change once the tech looks at it hopefully. Should I wait it out if the middle feels good than the rest will feel good in the end too? I'm looking to spend almost top dollar for a really good conditioned one so should i stick out this one or also search elseware? OH and it has a pretty bad smell of maybe mildew or mustard kind of smell coming from it when the top is off and the tolex on the back has some wear in tear but all the speakers work really great.

-Steve
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: BJT3 on June 12, 2007, 04:25:07 PM
I'd be more worried about the mildew smell than anything else. Is there any visable mold/rot? Not sure what you mean when you say the action isn't comfortable, but certain years have harder action than others, but this can be fixed. If your willing to pay top dollar why not get one that has been reconditioned by a well know tech like this one at VintageVibe?
http://www.vintagevibe.com/pc-347-9-fender-rhodes-piano-stage-88-key.aspx
Title: Important Considerations for Purchasing
Post by: Nevets306 on June 12, 2007, 11:48:49 PM
Not that much of top dollar, more like a little over $1000. I dunno about the smell but it is defintnly coming from inside the keyboard and i dunno what could be causing it. If the action is good in the middle, does that mean the rest of it can be tweaked to be like that?