The Electric Piano Forum

General => The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano => Topic started by: Abraham on November 29, 2011, 08:39:00 PM

Title: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on November 29, 2011, 08:39:00 PM
I have noticed whenever I strike any key that's already sounding, it needs to be pressed harder to make it sound right and consistent, otherwise it would sound dull and "muted" with close to no attack.

I know this isn't new for any of us but I found this issue to be over exagerated on my keyboard. Action is OK but this 2nd strike issue makes this piano unconfortable to play. Some notes doesn't trigger as expected and that's something that you can get used to and just accomodate your playing accordingly, but definitely it's not what it's supposed to work like.

My question is, what should I look for to get this fixed??

Would the "miracle mod" make any improvement? I dont think action is that bad so I never really considered that option...

Maybe hammer tips are grooved or over-stiff due to age? I don't find those much worn but I don't really know...

Could I just adjust the "strike line" to a better spot? if this is the case, any directions would be really appreciated. It's been raised a little for voicing and escapement adjustments. It sounds great that way but I don't know how this could affect to the consistence of the strike. It was already set up that way when i got it.

My rhodes is a 1976 peterson suitcase with all plastic hammers. Setup is factory default with little work on it besides a poorly engineered backcheck system.

Thank you guys for the time to read!
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: David Aubke on November 30, 2011, 07:46:40 AM
I don't know but I'd at least check the strike line. The manual (http://www.fenderrhodes.com/org/manual/ch4.html#4-5) says to remove all harp mounting screws (including the hinge bracket) from the bass side, remove the rear harp screw and loosen the forward screw on the treble side then slide the bass side back and forth to find the sweet spot.

This makes me wonder: is the sweet spot at a node on the tine or an.. antinode? anode? what's the term? Anyway, maybe this plays a part in the issue you're having. Maybe the hammer is hitting at the wrong point in the wave on the second strike.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on November 30, 2011, 12:07:41 PM
Thanks for the reply!

I just tried this, just to find out the strike line was already set to optimal spot. I have to say tweaking this really made a noticeable change... to even worst, so I put this back to default. I mean this have someting to do with my problem but definitely there's got to be anything else I can do to improve 2nd strike... I would try the "miracle mod" in a few days, I don't really think it's going to solve this but hey, it will improve action anyway... so why not trying?
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Ben Bove on November 30, 2011, 02:15:24 PM
Where does this happen on the piano?  Upper range, lower notes, all notes, only a couple here and there?

Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on November 30, 2011, 06:06:44 PM
mid & upper mid range mostly...

I have raised the left harp support increasing the bass escapement by 1/8" and this made some improvement, but not enough yet
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Ben Bove on December 02, 2011, 12:57:10 PM
I specifically remember a few Mark IIs that the strikeline was off in the upper register, not the lower.  If you did test the strikeline in the upper register ignore this, but otherwise unscrew your big phillips harp screws on the right side, leave one screw only on the left, and rotate the harp and see if that improves.  Ideally, it's probably right before your highest key's hammer gets stuck on the tine.

Otherwise, it might also be hammertips that are too tall, I remember a modification that Chuck Monte did I believe where he cut all the hammer tips on the bottom so they were level all the way up and down, and I think around '75 '76 some of them were taller than others.  Just a thought.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 02, 2011, 03:22:06 PM
I have cut down one on the bass section already, it was causing escapement issues. There is a serious inconsistence between hammer tip sizes all the way, ill have a look at this...
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Ben Bove on December 02, 2011, 03:26:40 PM
Well, before you start cutting all of them - try to lift the harp etc. which will show you if the tip is too tall, by increasing the escapement lifting the harp.  If you lift the harp temporarily and it still makes the double hits, then it might not be hammer tip height.

Just that it's irreversible
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: David Aubke on December 02, 2011, 04:42:31 PM
Quote from: bjammerz on December 02, 2011, 03:26:40 PMIf you lift the harp temporarily and it still makes the double hits, then it might not be hammer tip height.

I don't think this is a double-striking-hammer thing. The second of two intentional key strikes is canceling the tine's vibrations instead of producing a clean second note.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 03, 2011, 07:05:55 AM
thats it, I couldnt have explained better, thank you shadetree!
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 03, 2011, 07:46:44 AM
thank you Ben, I have made some testing, strike like seems to be properly adjusted on the treble side also. Someone got the harp raised by 1/16 inch on both sides placing steel washers in between the harp and the supports. I removed them because they made no effect aparently, also they made action harder on the treble side. As I got them removed I lost some overtones so I have put them back on the bass side only, I mean all 4 of them. This improved the sound and also I got a noticeable improvement to the 2nd strikes, but just not enough.

I wonder how new hammer tips would affect to this issue. I don't understand wether I need softer or harder tips to get this fixed as I dont know how hardness reacts to triggering a sustained note, but I guess aged rubber becomes harder. Also I think the "monopoly-house-shaped" ones have a reduced contact area touching the tine, making it theoretically more difficult to stop an already vibrating tine. Doesn't this make sense?
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 03, 2011, 08:36:17 AM
I honestly think that you have done everything you can. It sounds to me like your complaint is more due to the simplified Rhodes action. There is no jack in the Rhodes. It is very difficult to hit a key, then hit it again quickly without the damper silencing the tine. Does this problem happen when the sustain pedal is depressed? Either way, I think it is because of the action design if you have eliminated strike line and escapement issues.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 03, 2011, 09:55:55 AM
so, its just the way it was supposed to be?

btw I have noticed I have my tips colourized by sections in the middle range, yellow the taller ones, red the middle and the black ones are the smallest. Ill try swapping hammers and check out to see whats happening before cutting them all to the same size.

(http://db.tt/STH4H1vZ)

In this picture you can see how inconsistent they are, also wether they are grooved enough for being replaced or not.

Did anyone ever try putting grooved tips backwards so that the damaged part would not touch the tine? as they only seem to get grooved on the front side.

thank you guys!
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Alan Lenhoff on December 03, 2011, 12:24:51 PM
Quote from: pianotuner steveo on December 03, 2011, 08:36:17 AM
I honestly think that you have done everything you can. It sounds to me like your complaint is more due to the simplified Rhodes action. There is no jack in the Rhodes. It is very difficult to hit a key, then hit it again quickly without the damper silencing the tine. Does this problem happen when the sustain pedal is depressed? Either way, I think it is because of the action design if you have eliminated strike line and escapement issues.

This is interesting to me.  When I had a 1973 student model, no amount of tweaking/adjusting (at least that I was capable of doing) could prevent what you describe happening when a key was struck twice quickly.

But on my 1979 Stage, I can play the same note repeatedly -- quite rapidly -- without any "choking."  So, what's the difference?  Could the factory pedestal bump on the '79 help out?  (The action on my 1979 is very light and fluid for a Rhodes.)   If so, maybe the Miracle Mod *would* make a difference.

Or might my '79 simply be better adjusted for strikeline, escapement, damper position, etc.?

Or none of the above?

Alan
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 03, 2011, 12:44:31 PM
Ok to this point I'm asking for you to listen to this two examples. First one is my Rhodes, this clip perfectly shows what I mean by "over-exagerated 2nd strike issues", this may be "normal" to someone but I seriously doubt there's nothing I could do to make some improvement. Second is my Wurlitzer, for you to make sure it's not my bad playing causing this mess.

So here we go...
Rhodes clip: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5156835/Easy_rhodes.mp3 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5156835/Easy_rhodes.mp3)
Wurlitzer clip: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5156835/Easy_wurlitzer.mp3 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5156835/Easy_wurlitzer.mp3)
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: David Aubke on December 03, 2011, 02:50:46 PM
Doesn't sound right to me.

That's an interesting problem. I look forward to someone figuring it out and explaining it.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 03, 2011, 04:41:30 PM
thanks shadetree your help is really appreciated, let's hope someone knows how to fix it

Hey Steve, Ben, what do you guys think? I know I owe you a few beers already...
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 03, 2011, 05:58:57 PM
Hearing it makes a world of difference.... I really think you were on the right track with the hammer height/ escapement. ( escapement too low and/or hammer tips too tall) This sound is different from what I was thinking, but still related.

Miracle mod may possibly help , but try the cheapest, easiest solution first.

The different color hammer tips are the different hardnesses of the tips

It also sounds a little like the strike line is too far towards the back of the piano.

Nothing wrong with your playing,btw



Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 04, 2011, 04:26:39 AM
I've moving the harp around for a while and I got no improvement at all. That was supossed to be the cheap solution I guess. What about turning tips backwards?.

Also, I've noticed this problem to be pronounced on the red/yellow tips sections. If I raise the harp any further I could hardly hit the tines. If I move this back to make the strike any line closer to the tonebar screws, then the treble hammers gets stuck. So there isn't much left for me to do.

If I cut the tips down I may mess it up and I'm scared to make this even worst. So I don't really know what to do.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Cormac Long on December 04, 2011, 05:42:45 AM
If you have a fine-scale ruler, see if you can measure the actual tip to tine escapement.

Press one of the problem keys, keeping it pressed in the raised position (without over pressing the key into its aftertouch range) and slide the ruler down from the side of  the tine so that it makes contact with the hammer tip in its raised position. This will help measure the distance from tine to tip. The service manual will show the min/max distances for this. This is an awkward thing to measure as the hammer tip will move easily when touched.. but do your best in getting a measurement and see if you can verify if things are out of whack.

Placing thin coins as shims under the harp also provides a quick way of testing overall increased escapement.

Having listened to your clips.. it seems to me like a general choking as opposed to double-strike.. even after the first Ab chord, we heard problems.. not typical of double-strike.. its usually faster repetitive playing of a single note that causes that.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 04, 2011, 05:51:08 AM
Yeah it's not double-striking, but 2nd intentional striking on a sustained note. Thank you, I'll take some measures and post results later.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 04, 2011, 07:57:37 AM
Have you checked your key dip? It should be in the 3/4" - 7/8" range. If it is too deep, it may cause this.


Pay no attention to the above sentence! Correction below ......

1/2 asleep when I typed it
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 04, 2011, 11:40:21 AM
...according to the manual, key dip must be around 3/8, mine seems to be "ok" more or less... a little high so I'll be shimming those...

Escapament is a mess because of a great inconsistence between tip heights... I'll be cutting them all to match manual specs. Also I've noticed raising the harp on the back side only, improved 2nd strikes. I mean not raising the whole harp but shimming under the rear screws only. Anyway it was needed to raise almost half an inch and this caused serious damper problems. I'm thinking the whole crate could be crooked. Ill make a complete disassembly to check everything step by step...
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 04, 2011, 02:48:39 PM
 Oops, typo on my part.yes 3/8"- 7/16" is what meant to type I only got 4 hours sleep last night and my brain is fried....


Escapement should be around 3/8" also from the bottom of the tone bar to the wood on the harp. Set this by the tone bar mounting screw closest to the keyboard. The other screw is a fine adjustment for voicing.

What do you mean by a little high? too deep? Too deep can add to your problem, too shallow is not this problem.


If you need to raise the harp but then the dampers do not work, that tells me the hammer tips are likely too tall.....


Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 05, 2011, 08:48:43 AM
Ok I spent the morning adjusting key dip and I have to say this made a great improvement. It seems it was set too deep, now I find this piano more comfortable to play. Still not that great on 2nd strikes anyway but this made hammers to stop earlier, increasing escapement and making unnecesary to raise the harp. In the process I removed almost every shim that I found on the rear pins, placing those where they were required only. Also I have shimmmed the front pins on the middle section and this really made the trick, now I need to buy some more shims for the whole keyboard. A little shimming for a BIG difference in touch... I still need to play for a few days to check how the tone was affected though... meanwhile I like a touch that's closer to my wurlitzer.

Next is turning the tips backwards to take aproach of the undamaged rear face... I need some directions on how to remove them from the hammers, Im plaining to use a cutter, is it ok?

thank you!
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 05, 2011, 10:42:48 PM
Yes, very carefully slice the tips from the hammers. i wear a heavy glove to avoid accidents.

You shouldn't have to add punchings to the front rail pins in a Rhodes. Key dip is adjusted differently.

I do not agree with the Rhodes method, but dip is adjusted by changing the thickness of the back rail cloth.

Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on December 06, 2011, 07:25:34 PM
Ok I just put it all back toghether. I have inspected everything and now it seems the whole keyboard is factory defaults, everything measures in bounds as recommended in the manual, I have even reset the whole escapement trough the harp, so all the tonebar heights matches.

All this work didn't fixed my problem, and I prefered the tone from my older harp setup. So I'm voicing this thing again.

I have found serious inconsistences between hammer tips size, shape and placement, so I'm planning to change them all to new ones. Also I suspect the shape of new ones would improve key retriggering as they have less surface to contact the tine, meaning less chances for vibration to be cancelled.

Once I have all new tips matching a consistent strike line I'll be voicing again.

I have learnt a lot in this process, but mainly I have discovered lower quality standards than I expected. This wasn't crafted so carefully, maybe it didn't ever work properly not even leaving the factory...

btw I tried sanding the checkblocks by the "steelwool method" (as described on the wurlitzer forum) and I manage to fix SERIOUSLY deep scratches, I just regret I didn't take any pictures before for you to check.

Title: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Marc-Etienne HUNEAU on December 13, 2011, 05:09:30 PM
My two cents, but since you're striking a moving part, you have roughly a chance out of two to oppose its movement. In fact probably way more, but you got the idea. If the hammer reaches the tine at any other point than when it's upmost in its vibration, they will fight.

Long story short, second strike is never as good as first one. Almost.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: pianotuner steveo on December 14, 2011, 07:20:05 AM
I agree, but if you listen to the posted clip, it is not normal sounding.

Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: benzeene on January 28, 2012, 05:29:59 PM
Hey All,

I've read with great interest, because I'm having 2nd strike issues - where the hammer is striking the tine out of phase and that "damps out" the already vibrating tine.

Is there anything that can be done to improve this?  What typically are the contributing issues? 

FYI, I am using the sustain pedal during this, and so I'm doubtful that the damper has any affect.  Does the strike line factor play into this?

All problems are on the low end - which - not accidentally - may allow more opportunity due to the out of phase strike time (more).

Let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Ben

PS:  1978 Mark 1 Stage
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: David Aubke on January 28, 2012, 05:41:07 PM
I still believe this to be a strike line issue. I think the "sweet spot" is at a node in the tine's vibrational frequency. Hitting the tines at a node keeps the hammer from canceling any existing energy. I think these hammers are close enough to get a decent tone on the first strike, but not close enough to prevent killing the note on subsequent hits.

Pure conjecture...
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: learjeff on January 30, 2012, 10:15:44 AM
The point above about the strike line makes sense, but I'm not convinced that we want to strike the tines on a node.  (I haven't experimented with strike line on my piano yet, but will after I finish the first round of voicing after a refurb.)

I believe the problem is the hammer tips.  From the factory, the tips on my 1977 Stage 73 had a crown.  These tips are all flat and strike the tine nearly face-on.  I suspect they've all been clipped, and clipped incorrectly.

Replacing the hammer tips will probably fix the issue, and is probably worthwhile doing anyway.  Neoprene doesn't last forever.  Even if the piano wasn't played much, the tips aren't "like new" any more.

Replacing the tips on my piano made it sound like it did when I bought it new back in 1978.  Significant difference.  I had lost the chime, below C5 or so, and it's back.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: David Aubke on January 30, 2012, 10:34:05 AM
The square tips were original equipment in earlier years. Even though they're square, because of the angle when the hammer is raised, contact is made primarily at the leading edge, not across the entire face.

I agree that worn tips would be a likely culprit here though.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on August 16, 2012, 02:21:10 AM
After a whole lot of work on this I still not quite convinced of my progress... second strike still stops the already vibrating tine and it seems there isn't much I can do about it... any hints on the subject? Measures already matches manual specs.
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Dote on August 16, 2012, 02:35:40 AM
Have you checked if your hammers have excessive side-play? The guide pins on your hammers could be worn out so the hammer will wobble and bounce around sideways too much. This could dampen your tine in fast repeating strikes.

I think I had this problem on a couple of hammers in my piano.

Cheers,

Dominik
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Abraham on August 16, 2012, 09:19:58 AM
hammers are ok, thank you
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: Dote on August 24, 2012, 08:21:31 AM
Did you check whether your hammers are straight?

See this thread:

http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=5531.msg27386#msg27386
Title: Re: 2nd strike quality
Post by: CJW78 on June 02, 2022, 01:02:17 AM
Quote from: Abraham on November 29, 2011, 08:39:00 PMI have noticed whenever I strike any key that's already sounding, it needs to be pressed harder to make it sound right and consistent, otherwise it would sound dull and "muted" with close to no attack.

I know this isn't new for any of us but I found this issue to be over exagerated on my keyboard. Action is OK but this 2nd strike issue makes this piano unconfortable to play. Some notes doesn't trigger as expected and that's something that you can get used to and just accomodate your playing accordingly, but definitely it's not what it's supposed to work like.

My question is, what should I look for to get this fixed??

Would the "miracle mod" make any improvement? I dont think action is that bad so I never really considered that option...

Maybe hammer tips are grooved or over-stiff due to age? I don't find those much worn but I don't really know...

Could I just adjust the "strike line" to a better spot? if this is the case, any directions would be really appreciated. It's been raised a little for voicing and escapement adjustments. It sounds great that way but I don't know how this could affect to the consistence of the strike. It was already set up that way when i got it.

My rhodes is a 1976 peterson suitcase with all plastic hammers. Setup is factory default with little work on it besides a poorly engineered backcheck system.

Thank you guys for the time to read!

Hi Abraham, this is a long time ago now, but did you ever gain any real improvements to your issue? I'm having the same problem and have been doing all the same things as you have.