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Messages - sean

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Im lost restoring mark II 73
« on: March 22, 2020, 02:37:44 PM »

Hey David,

Your piano seems to have a white spacer UNDER your wooden strip on the harp support.  I haven't noticed that before.
Maybe your wooden strip will come off easily.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Im lost restoring mark II 73
« on: March 22, 2020, 02:27:00 PM »


You can remove the wood strip on the bass side and leave it on the treble side if that would fix your escapement problem. 

Try to measure what the exact escapement is on the bass keys.  That means you have to measure from the top of the hammer tip to the bootom of the tine surface when the key is depressed.  This is a really difficult thing to measure, because every part of the piano is in the way.  I use the tail end of my dial calipers to measure from the tip of the hammer to the top of the tine, and then subtract the thickness of the tine.  But it is a fiddly inexact-but-close-enough method:  it is hard to keep from pressing the tine down with the calipers, and hard to know when you are barely touching the hammer tip.  But three-digit accuracy is not required.

Another method is to cut an index card to create a feeler gauge; but instead of using the thickness of the card, use the width of the strip to measure.  Cut a half-inch wide strip of paper, and then either fold it or use a piece of tape as a handle.  Put the half-inch wide strip to extend below the tine, and push down the key.  If the hammer touches the paper, then you can cut the paper thinner and thinner until the hammer barely doesn't touch anymore.  Then measure the width of the paper, and that is your escapment measurement.

Both methods are fine when the tonebar is twisted, but the flat tonebars are inconveniently in the way.  So just measure the escapement at the bass end of the piano, and try to eyeball a guess at the treble end.

If the escapement at the bass end is close to 3/4", then you would almost certainly want to remove that wooden spacer from the top of the harp support.  It will be glued to the aluminum, so sometimes they are a bear to remove.  Some folks have said that it came off easily.  I don't know if anyone has tried using a clothes iron to heat the strip and soften the glue. 

If the escapement is less than 1/2" of an inch, you might remove the wooden strip, and then add cardboard (poster board, or a cut-up file folder) spacers on top of the aluminum harp support to get the escapement into your preferred range, and then fine tune with the screws at the end of the tonebars.

On the treble end, the escapement is remarkably close to zero by eye.  You have said that the treble notes are playable, so you may be able to leave the wood strip alone, or you could remove it, and build that side up with layers of paper as well.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Im lost restoring mark II 73
« on: March 19, 2020, 06:10:33 PM »

It will be easier to understand once you get fiddling with it a little.

Before you mess with the shims, make a few experiments:

Pick a key where you believe that the hammer is striking the end of the damper.  Lower the tine down (tighten the screws so that the tonebar gets closer to the wooden harp) until the hammer can't swing high enough to whack the damper - it should stay clear of the damper the whole time.  If you get lucky, you will only have to lower the tine and tonebar a little bit (removing shims from the harp supports will do this lowering too).  If that works, then move the tonebar back up to where it was, and remove some harp support shims!

Now, occasionally there were Rhodes pianos that come out of the factory with the unlucky situation where you can't get this fixed without clipping off a mm or two off the damper spring arms, but that should be a last resort.  You could also try bending the damper arm so that it has a greater (to effectively shorten it), but this risks ruining your damper setting.  (You might have to re-adjust the dampers if you drastically change the escapement anyway.)

I don't like to bend the damper springs much at all... as soon as I start messing with it, I have trouble getting it back to where I started.
Yes, I agree that there is an overwhealming fiddly balance there, but you won't solve it until you start fiddling with it.

If there are a few shims on the harp supports, it is easy to unscrew the harp, pull out the shims, and try the difference.  Before you unscrew the harp, make marks on the harp and the harp supports so that you can find the exact position that you started from.  You might want to change the strike line, but you might not.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Im lost restoring mark II 73
« on: March 19, 2020, 01:41:06 PM »

How can you be lost when you have come to the exact right place: the ep-fourm!

I will bet a nickel that all of your problems are related to escapement and shims on the harp supports.  It sounds to me that your escapement is set too high.

Take a look at the service manual

Specifically, chapter 4 - Escapement:

There is a technote too:

Your piano probably has wood strips glued to the top of the aluminum harp supports.  There could be black paper shims on top of the wood strips.  You may have to remove the black paper shims or even the wood strip, but first, try to see if you can adjust the escapement sucessfully with the tonebar screws.  Ideally, you want the tonebar to be 3/8' or 9.5mm above the wooden harp surface. 

When you adjust the escapement screw, you also have to re-set the timbre screw, so that the tip of the tine remains in the ideal location near the tip of the pickup.  Read the service manual a few times, and play with a few tines, and you will get the hang of it.

You should also watch Chris Carroll talk about escapement:


Wow!  The Rhodes SuperSite has a new look!

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Lubricating Action on 200
« on: March 05, 2020, 02:10:06 AM »

You are talking about lubricating the action centers, right Cinnanon?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« on: February 29, 2020, 05:05:51 PM »

I can see why you are excited.  It looks adorable.

To work on the action, Steve O has taught us that you want to find a PTG-registered tech that is willing to work on the little Wurlitzer action. 
See - it looks like you can look for tech's within 100 miles of 84322.
Is the action bad enough that it cannot be played?  Did you already fix the broken whip flange?

Are there some notes that are out of tune?  The tuning of the Wurly doesn't drift around with humidity and thermodynamics like an acoustic piano.  The tuning is set by the lump of lead on the end of the tines.  Changing and adjusting the tuning is a bit of tedious work (add or remove solder from the end of the reed, mount it ever so slightly differently, and tighten the screws consistently).  There are experts here on this forum that can help if you are willing to dive in yourself. 


P.S. - You can easily re-size photos in PC Paint - Ctrl-W should bring up the "Resize and Skew" dialog.


There is no reason to steer away from a VV restoration.  It is still a Rhodes will a whole lot of vintage charm and heritage.

I honestly think there is no way to decide until you have a Rhodes under your fingertips.  One may excite you, one may not.


The VV restoration should have hammer tips that are only 12 years old.  They will be nice and soft and sound great.
The original black tolex Rhodes will have hard hammer tips that don't sound like Donald Fagen, but it might still sound pretty good.

The VV restoration will have new damper felts that do a great job.
The original black tolex Rhodes will have ancient damper felts, and may not do a great job stopping the tines.

The VV restoration will have 12-year-old grommets that are probably still fine, but a grommet job is an easy task, and you can do that in an afternoon.

In either case, both piano's can be restored to work exactly how you want them to.

If the gold tolex turns you off, there is little chance that you will get over this.  I would hate to have an instrument in my living room or studio that looks like it tastes bad.  You want to be drawn to the instrument and adore how it looks.

I guess Rhodes pianos are painfully rare in Oz.  They are pretty easy to find in the USA.   I can't fix that.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mrk 1 77 vs Mrk II 82
« on: February 26, 2020, 04:35:04 PM »

Does the Mark II from 1982 have plastic keys? 

The plastic keys came in black or white...  here is a photo of the black plastic keys:

Rhodes purists are legally prohibited from showing any love for these plastic key models.  The action is a little klunky, with a lot of clickety-clackity hammer bounce, but the audio output is 100% Rhodes smoothness.  If you have a plastic-key Rhodes, I highly recommend that you move the action rail to the forward position. 

I wouldn't pay much for a plastic-key Rhodes.  (I already have one.)

So, my recommendation is that you keep both Rhodes pianos.  If you are forced to part with one, you might feel less guilty about getting rid of the 1982.


P.S. - The plastic balance rail pins are easy to break (in shipment or setup - I don't have any worry about them during playing), but since VV sells new key pin sections, I don't worry so much.


Pick your favorite electronics supplier, Mouser, Digikey, Arrow, Allied, Avnet, Farnell, Newark/Element14, whoever...

Take a look at anything like:
NKK   M2022ES1W01

C&K  7201P3HZQE

NCE  8C2012-Z

E-Switch  100DP1T6B11M1QEH

Digikey's website does a good job on the photos of the switches, so it isn't too have to scan through them to find one with a paddle instead of the round baseball-bat.


Buying / Re: I need help choosing a digital piano
« on: February 15, 2020, 10:10:51 PM »
Oh no!  I found a new toy that I want to get my hands on:  StudioLogic Numa Compact 2x.  Not a hammer action, but nine drawbars!!  Loads of built-in sounds, live access to effects changes, super light, very interesting.  It has piano and electric piano sounds, but the drawbar organ must be investigated.  Seven hundred bucks makes it way cheaper than a Nord... I wonder what it plays like in person.

Now I am on a quest to find a StudioLogic dealer....



AAACK!  I got confused and I was focused on the other schematic.  Let me scratch my head and re-think my hunches.  Crud.  I think I have to edit my previous post about how to stop the oscillator.  (Because the switch is on the other side of R26.)

Give me a bit...




The stereo tremolo is not a gradual swell from side to side, it is a surge in volume that switches back and forth (with some subtlety provided by the intensity knob).

I don't know if I can add much except common sense help with fixing the vibrato issues, but if I had this beast on my bench, the first thing I would do is to verify that the power supply portion of the circuit was healthy (by replacing C12, C13, C14, and C15 with fresh new electrolytics). 

I suspect that since you are indeed getting vibrato that the LDRs are fine.  They are expensive to replace, so they should be your last resort.

I feel that if you are still getting tremolo when the vibrato switch is turned off, the circuit must be passing the oscillator output or current load through the power supply.  New C12, C13, C14, and C15 might resolve that. 

Then I would check to see if the oscillator output at pin 7 of the 1458 was a symmetrical and stable squarewave.  Then I would turn on the vibrato switch, set the speed slow and hope to find bad behavior at the LDRs - but I doubt that I could measure the LDR resistance while they are still in circuit.  Maybe it would be easier if we completely stop the oscillator (I would try this by grounding pin 6 of the 1458, or maybe simply switching the vibrato off, and tying the junction of the switch and R26 to the positive or negative supply).  You should be able to tell if each side is working by ear, maybe.  I guess I would feed the preamp with a test tone, and watch the left and right output with a two channel scope (I love my PicoScope 2204A). 

Anyone that has actually had a Janus preamp with sliders on their bench care to speak up?




Yep, the preamp you have on your bench in intended to run on a +/-15V DC supply.  (For testing, this preamp will run just fine on a pair of 9V batteries.)

Preamps with sliders (instead of knobs) are one of these two circuits:
Schematic for Janus preamp with sliders:
Schematic for Janus preamp with sliders, version 2:

I think PC boards marked 015245 became 015244 when stuffed with parts and soldered, and this matches up with the figure 11-1 drawing that is marked 015243. 

In the two schematics above, notice the slight routing difference in the oscillator at the lower left, and the difference in the LDR circuits top right.  You should be able to tell if you have the later design circuit by the presence of capacitors C8 and C20 near the LDRs.

If you want ugly detail on building a new power supply for this preamp, see and



This is pretty awesome.  That means for less than $30 (transistors, resistors, caps, and shipping), you can get a dead amp module working again, right?

You are talking about swapping the pair of "120725" transistors in, and replacing the 2.7Ω resistors with 12Ω resistors.  Did you just use one-watt resistors?

And the MJ15016G is a drop-in replacement for the "020725" transistor in



Buying / Re: I need help choosing a digital piano
« on: February 12, 2020, 11:46:09 PM »
Wow.  Wrong forum for that question, but... <pretending I have no interest in non-electromechanical instruments>

It all depends on what you want and what you NEED.  You are not allowed to buy a digital piano until you march down to the music store and play five or six of them.  Yeah, you will have to go to two or three stores to get a good variety.  Some will turn you off immediately, some will take some time.  For me, it is all about the action, the sounds, and then the layout and convenience.  Do not trust a single online review - go see the instrument in person.

Assuming you are focused more on Piano sounds than Organ sounds...  By all means, go for a weighted-graded hammer action that feels like a real piano.  I love my Yamaha P80 and CP300, but I wish their action were lighter.  Play a few "semi-weighted" actions, and you will quickly know what you don't want.

At a minimum, you will want a bright piano and a mellow piano sound that are top quality and perfect to your ear.  Be very critical.  I am bigoted in favor of Yamaha's Piano samples.  Korg sounds fine too.  I don't like Casio's or Roland's piano samples.  Try them yourself.  Audition your piano sounds with the reverb turned OFF.  My feeling is that the built-in heavy-handed reverb just slurs and muddies the piano sound.  Try them with the built-in speakers and try them with headphones (bring your own).  If you find at least two piano sounds that you really love for use on your favorite songs, then put that DP on your short list. 

You will also want a Rhodes sound.  A real-sounding Rhodes sound that isn't buried in chorus.  Some are good, some are hateful.  Yamaha always includes too many "FM-style" EPs.  Yeah, we know, the DX7 was great.  Get over yourself. 

I wish that good Wurlitzer piano voices were built-in to every DP, but I have never seen such a thing.  My CP300 has a few okay ones, but they definitely are no substitute for the real thing downstairs.  (But they get me through Hoyt Axton's JTTW.)  I wish clavinets were common too, but DPs show up with two lame harpsichord sounds instead.  (Not even hipsters and hip hop can bring harpsichord back into style.)  The next sound that I would want is an acoustic bass, or electric bass.  Then the organ sounds and strings.  I wish each DP had a brass ensemble.

My feeling is that if the DP has a few great acoustic pianos, a good Rhodes, a passable bass, and a jazz organ, then I can excuse the eight useless voices they always include.  (It makes me mad that crappy $100 toy pianos will include the full general MIDI set of 128 voices.  I think the Yamaha CP300 gets it right with a handful of high-quality voices, and then a ton of lower-quality-but-still-usefull voices (sometimes I want a bassoon, sometimes I want a trombone, but mostly I really want more choices for organ sounds.)

Then the next thing of importance is the playing experience - how easy is it to switch voices, turn off reverb and chorus, split or layer voices?  I want a row of buttons to choose voices (my Alesis QS6.1 is the holy grail in this regard).  I want a knob or slider for volume.  I want a split button.  I hate features buried in menus, and "I-can't-tell-if-I-pushed-it" mystery interfaces.  I want to be able to manually change sounds, setup, volume, whatever in the middle of the song.

Oh, and there is always the money.  The hammer action adds a lot to the pricetag, but I really think it is worth it.  For $500 or more, you better be getting an instrument that you really love and will want to keep for ten years.  I personally have had great luck with used instruments.  There are probably used instruments for $200 that will have most of the features that you need.  (But a new instrument might have a USB interface.)   I don't believe that DPs need more than 64-note polyphony.  Greater polyphony would be useful if you planned to layer four voices, but the only layers you are likely to really use are the strings behind a piano on a DP.  (If you were looking for a synth for sequencing your next album, then you would be more likely to use a lot of layers.)
When I was considering buying the CP300 (used), I compared it to a few other instruments in the less-than-$750 range.  There was nothing that beat the daylights out of my P80 for a reasonable price.  I think the Yamaha P45, P115, and P125 are absurdly overpriced, and the NP121 was junk.  So I decided to buy nothing, until two weeks went by and I couldn't get the CP300 out of my head.

Take a quick look into the Kawaii ES100 manual.  The procedure for putting it into split mode and dual layer mode are pretty goofy.  I hate overloaded buttons (that have many different functions depending on the context in which they are pushed).  I want a separate SPLIT button.  The manual for the Kawaii ES110 says "When the Jazz Organ sound is selected, the fast/slow speed of the applied Rotary effect can be changed by pressing the FUNCTION and REC buttons simultaneously."  HA!  I will never remember that during a performance!!  Give me a MOD WHEEL!   Remember that the default effects may sound great in the showroom, but you might want to ditch the effects - you have to go through the same "hold-down-this-while-pressing-that" hassle.  Oops, sorry, I forgot a step, first you have to go find the manual and turn through the pages until you find out which magical key sequence you need.

TL;DR - Go to the music store and try them out live in person.



The Coyote Circle Studio method would not remove the bass boost cap and the 10KΩ volume pot from the circuit - and that was the whole point of starting this mess.

Having a DPDT switch on the volume pot would enable a true bypass of the bass boost and volume, but the pot in the ebay listing is linear taper, not audio taper.


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Crackling noise when playing
« on: February 10, 2020, 03:54:34 PM »

The tonebar near B1 is hanging down and touching the wire or terminal on the pickup rail.


Don't do it.  It will not lead to happiness. 

You will regret drilling into a Mark I namerail.  (On Mark II pianos, you can make a replacement contol plate.)

There is little reason to bypass the namerail controls.  If you have a modern preamp or modern guitar amp, you won't need to.

If you have an old tube amp that suffers when the input is shunted by the Rhodes piano's 10KΩ volume pot, then it is really easy to disconnect the name rail controls, and snake an RCA cable underneath the harp cover.

It is also worth spending an hour doing A/B tests with your amp to prove to yourself that direct-from-the-harp will not change your life.  Or maybe, proving to yourself that it does change your life, and it is worth modifying your 50-year-old Rhodes piano.


White wire might have been used to ground the damper bar.  Some pianos provide mysterious clicks or pops without it.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 200 Speakers - How to silence
« on: February 06, 2020, 02:14:15 PM »

All the schematics that I have for the 200 and 200A show that using the headphone jack will insert an 8Ω 5-watt resistor into the amplifier output circuit.

Looks to me that you could safely jam a kitchen knife into the headphone jack without hurting the amp.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« on: February 04, 2020, 12:16:53 PM »

Collet - Thank you!  Duh.

Oh, so those two notes have extra "ping," right?  This is not unusual at the transition points in hammer tip hardness.


Hey Cormac!  Can you move this thread to the "Health and Beauty" section?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« on: February 03, 2020, 01:47:11 PM »

Metallic clang... hmmm.  In the middle register?  Really?  Hmmm.

Metallic clang upon hammer strike is almost certainly the tine coming in contact with the pickup.  Move the pickups absurdly away from the tine, and test again.

Metallic clang upon damper release?  Sometimes the damper bounce makes the damper arms resonate (sounding a little bit like tin foil).  [Could this resonance be so perfectly tuned to only these two notes?  I don't think so.  You should notice this on all the notes, not just two.] [Oh, maybe these two dampers have come loose.  Conceivable, but unlikely.]

I can't image a tuning spring being so loose that it rattles.

Those are the only things I can think of.

Wait.  One more thing.  Could these two notes have their tine mounting block not securely bolted to the tonebar?  A little far-fetched, but....


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« on: February 03, 2020, 01:35:40 PM »

The tonebars sometimes buzz against the harp brackets. 

If you replace the tonebar grommets and have nice straight screws, you might be lucky enough to have enough clearance to prevent the buzzing.  However, if the holes drilled in the tonebar rail are too close to the harp support bracket, you will still get buzz.

You can cut slots in the harp support brackets.

You can safely remove the harp support brackets.  I had the harp support brackets removed from my pianos for many many years before I slottled them.  Usually this will make no difference.  However, some harps will bow a tiny bit (I have only noticed this in one of my five Rhodes pianos).  If the pickup rail and tonebar rail become out of alignment after you remove the harp support brackets, you can simply adjust the tonebar mounting screws to re-point the tines at the pickups. 


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« on: February 03, 2020, 12:53:46 PM »

Your sustain rod should not slip at all.  Take a close look at the clutch.  Make sure that the screw that tightens it is not somehow too short.  If the screw locks up against the outside of the clutch before it is fully tight, then it can slip.  Make sure that the little fingers inside the clutch are not broken off or twisted in a way that they prevent the screw from forcing them to grab the rod.  If the fingers are broken off and missing, then maybe the screw could be too short to directly contact the rod to lock it up.  If the fingers are gone from the side opposite the screw, then they won't be there to press against when you tighten the screw.  Also there is no reason to have grease in the clutch.

The pedal should not lift the piano.  The sustain rod (wooden dowel) inside the piano may not be working correctly.  It should move freely, and the damper release bar should also move freely.  Make sure there isn't any foreign object (or domestic object) stuck in there.  Also, make sure that your damper push rod (the wooden dowel) is not installed upside down.  (I don't have one handy to look at, but some models are not symmetric.  See

The damper-bar return spring isn't nearly strong enough to make a huge difference in foot feel.  The pedal is strong enough to lift a 140-pound Rhodes.  The spring and the force of 73 damper leaf springs is no match for your foot.  Leave the damper-bar return spring where it is.

Early sustain bars had a T-shaped bolt in the middle, and if this was out of whack, the sustain didn't work evenly.  I don't have a helpful diagram, but see  If the T-screw is broken or out of adjustment, then your damper bar will bend in the middle, and you will notice that the dampers don't work correctly at the far ends of the piano.  Newer damper rails are stiffer and don't need the T-screw in the center.


P.S. - I can't find a better word than "fingers" to describe the crenallated inner piece of the clutch.  It is simply a slotted end of a tube.  Merlons could be used, but I have never heard that word until I looked up "crenallated." 


When you say "end panels" do you mean cheek blocks?  ...and what makes you sure that they used to be glorious?

You can polish the keys and cheek blocks.  Go to your favorite search engine, and type in "plastic polish."  The brands that I have heard of are Meguiars and Novus.  But I bet that your local auto parts store has a bunch of good ones to choose from.



I don't see any specific mention of the black keys here, and some folks have found that sanding or steel wooling the black keys is not a good thing.  See

This should inspire Dave or Voltergeist or Cinnamonrolli to chime in.




You mean the hinged front part of the pedal lever?  Ouch.

I don't see them for sale anyplace, but you should call Vintage Vibe, Retrolinear, Chicago Electric, and everybody else to see if they have one in their junk pile or parts drawer.



OMG.  Thanks Tim.  I skipped right over the obvious strikeline conversation.

Gordon - See the strikeline discussion in chapter four of the service manual:
Precisely -
and the technote about strikeline at the bottom of



Check the harp frame with a carpenter's square to make sure it isn't a non-rectangular parallelogram.
If it is terribly bent, then the tine tips won't line up with the pickups.

If the harp simply needs to move a bit left or right so that the tines line up with the hammers when you lay the harp down on the harp supports, you can  force it into the exact position that you desire, and screw it in securely.  (If the slots in the harp frame are not big enough for your desired placement, you can enlarge the slots in the harp frame.  This is less work than drilling and tapping the harp supports.)

The harp pivot links are usually reasonably loose, but you can add washers on one side, and remove washers from the other side.  The washers are on the top end of the harp pivot links. 


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Extending my sustain pedal chord
« on: January 16, 2020, 10:09:00 PM »

If you go to the local bicycle shop, you can get a gear-shift cable with the housing.  Fancy folks will call this a derailleur cable.  The cables come in ridiculously long lengths, and they take a few tries to cut cleanly.

The gear shift cables are made to work under tension and compression, so they are stronger than brake cables that are built for tension load only.

I bet the push-pull cables in the link that Dave linked below would be even sturdier.


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