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Messages - sean

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Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: my rhodes lack legs :(
« on: April 09, 2019, 01:59:08 PM »


Vintage vibe has the legs for $175, but is out of stock on the crossbars.  Hmmm...

You can make cheap and nastly legs (emphasis on nasty) using 3/4" threaded rod, total cost $50.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: April 04, 2019, 10:28:40 PM »

pno- do you mean like Kapton tape?


I would drag my Wurly speaker to the local car stereo shops.  But they might not be cheaper than $140 for a pair.

Online, there are lots of cheap 4" x 6" speakers available, a few 4" x 8" too.  Some of them have mounting flanges that look like Swiss cheese, so at least some of the mounting holes should line up.  I would probably just clip the leads to the tweeter on the 2-way and 3-way speakers, and just use the main cone.

Maybe you can't get too fancy, because modern speakers will have a huge magnet assembly that might be a difficult fit.  There is space behind the speaker, but the big magnet might not let the speaker tilt back.  I dunno.  Some 200A pianos have the speaker mounting screws exposed, right?  (My non-A 200 and 206 don't.)  That's why screw location can be important.  You could probably mount a simple circular 4" speaker, and use two existing screw holes and then some precarious bracket to hold the other side of the speaker.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: March 29, 2019, 03:24:37 PM »

BTW, if I were winding my own pickups, I would not install any tape around the windings.  The pickups don't need protection when they are installed in the piano - the top cover keeps the dust off.  The enamelled wire doesn't need protection.  The tape just attracts dust, and slowly turns to a sticky mess. 

If the pickups were going to sit around in a factory environment with sawdust, soot, grit, and dust; then the layer of tape makes sense.

The tape doesn't protect the windings from solder blobs or much of anything anyway.


Buying / Re: WTB: Hohner Pianet-t
« on: March 28, 2019, 04:45:40 PM »

I have a Pianet T.  It plays fine... as best as a Pianet T can, it is not lovable like a Rhodes.

I am just north of DC.

Send me a PM with your contact info.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: March 28, 2019, 02:07:55 AM »

I am so sorry.  I couldn't resist. 


Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 21, 2019, 06:02:11 PM »
I am horrified to learn that you are going to miss out on the 1972 piano.

Tell the guy that you will be back for it, or tell us where it is.


This is where it is on my Wurly 200:


Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Re: CP-70 Power supply
« on: March 21, 2019, 01:44:01 AM »

Twenty years ago, I would have said you must have a linear power supply for any audio gear.  Clearly, that was based on prejudice, bad information, and primitive switching designs. 

However, modern switching power supplies are quiet, clean, light, and efficient.  They are used in all kinds of audio gear today.  Modern switching power supplies don't switch in the audio frequency range, they have effective output filters, and their efficiency is unbeatable.  Get one that is spec'ed correctly for your project, and you will be happy.

Linear power supplies are comparatively bulky, heavy, and electrically inefficient (so they create a lot of waste heat).  But they work, and they aren't ugly expensive.

Make sure you buy the plug adapter with that Mean Well power supply!  The Wisconcin-specific plug adapter is sold separately! 
The MeanWell GE12I18 units are indeed switching power supplies (the only hint on the spec sheet is the hiccup-mode overload protection).

There are cheaper and smaller power supplies (like Triad WSU180-0450 or WSU180-0450-R), but Tim's right - new power supplies have wimpy cables.

If this were my piano, I think I might get rid of the 2-pin XLR connector and replace it with something else.  Three-pin XLR would be cheap and easy, but might cause confusion and mishaps on stage.  Maybe I would leave the original 2-pin XLR, but add a 2.1mmID/5.5mmOD connector nearby (like Switchcraft  721AFMS, or 721A, or one of the similar locking jacks).


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Torn out wood around t-nuts
« on: March 15, 2019, 07:49:43 PM »

Chapter three of the service manual is called Instructions for Disassembly:

It is posted on the Super Site:


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Torn out wood around t-nuts
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:53:32 AM »

Take the action out of the piano.  It is easier than you think.  1973 Rhodes has cheek blocks connected to the keybed, with screws from underneath, right?

I like the idea of routing out a square and gluing in a large block of wood.  Easy to say, might be a pain to do.  But it is easier than replacing the whole bottom of the piano and re-tolexing.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Ultrasonic cleaning of reeds
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:46:58 AM »

The ultrasound won't knock your socks off.  It won't hurt a chemically-plated finish on reeds, tines, tonebar blocks, nor tonebars. 

Ultrasonic cleaners do a very good job of removing grit and loose crud from fine-detail crevices.
The soapy solution used in the tank will remove grease and oil (and any rust-preventative oil as well).

Ultrasonic cleaners will NOT do any serious rust or corrosion removal.  Just the loose stuff will fall off.  It is a great way to get the remaining dusty crud off after wire-brushing or sanding a metal workpiece.



Dang, it!  I was just about to say...                    ...that I was stumped.

Two-dollar part, and the thing comes back to life! 

Great luck finding the fault quickly!


Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Mr. Clean (Groove Holmes)
« on: March 07, 2019, 01:21:59 PM »


Pretty amazing. 


Compare your circuitry to the diagrams and photos at


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Volume in Rhodes 72'
« on: March 03, 2019, 09:03:17 PM »

Move the pickups back away from the tines in the bass and midrange, and get all the octaves producing an even volume.

I have tried to fight that octave with EQ, but I can't make it sound right.  Moving the pickups to set musically consistent volume is what you need to do.


Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 03, 2019, 08:51:09 PM »

I don't think the sound of these two pianos will be the big deal between them. 

These two pianos will feel so different under your fingers.

The 1972 piano will have rounded-top white keys, and sharp-cornered black keys.  The 1972 piano will have half-wood hammers and square hammer tips.  The 1972 piano action will probably feel heavy or sluggish compared to the 1978 (miracle mod will fix that). 

The 1978 piano will have nice flat white keys and more rounded black keys.  It might have a lighter-feeling action.

I always paste in this list of features when I see a pre-1973 Rhodes:

These are the major differences that this 1972 piano has from later years:
It will have half-wood hammers with square hammer tips.  Nice.
It will have rounded-top Pratt-Reed fully-skirted white keys.
The black keys will have more angular front edges, rather than more nicely-rounded edges.
It will have the split damper felts that look like tooth roots.
The action will quite likely be heavy or sluggish, so the miracle mod pedestal bump will help.
The key pedestals have their front edge beveled, but this portion does not contact the hammer cam.  Yours might have the marcel curve.
The black rounded lid will be thicker than later years, and feel more like vinyl than styrene.  It is taller than later years.
It still has the old-style small hinges on the back, doesn't it? 
The sustain pedal is the nice old non-painted style with the original shape.  Sweet.
The sustain rod might have Rogers USA molded into the wing nut.
The control plate on the name rail is mounted about two centimeters to the left, so the output jack is about one key lower (it sits over the A instead of Bb)
The piano logos still have Fender branding.
The sides of the case and the lid are not sawed straight, they have the birds-mouth notch so the sides of the piano dip below the cheek blocks before they get to the front of the piano.

However, none of that matters, because you have already been given the correct advice by mvanmanen:  BUY BOTH!

And if you pass on the 1972 piano, you will regret it.  Do not lose out on that one.  The action might turn you off initially, but you will eventually love it.  The 1972 will probably be easier to get that "honk" from hard strikes (and I think that the honk is desirable - nice to have that different tone color, texture, and variety in sound).

If you get both, you can have the 1978 piano to play now, while you do the work on the 1972.  When you are done with the 1972 restoration, you can use it as your main piano while you tear apart the 1978.  If you decide that two pianos are too much for you, you can eventually sell the 1978.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Preamp beat
« on: February 27, 2019, 02:41:14 PM »


You report your problem occurs when the tremolo is ON, so I assume that is the turn-on click from the lamp driver transistors.

The only clear solution to CLICKING that I have seen posted is from 2008, where user Jordan attributed this solution to Sir Steve Woodyard:  Install a 50uf capacitor between the base of the lamp driver 2N3053 transistors and ground.  Positive leg of the cap to the transistor base, and negative leg to ground.  See

I am surprised about the value of the capacitor being so large, and I have never seen anybody post information about implementing this fix.  In fact, I haven't seen any mention of this fix since 2008.  I would expect that adding these capacitors would delay the turn-on of the lamp driver transistors, and possibly change the precious waveform of the ping-pong tremolo.  It might also slightly delay the turn-off of the lamp driver when the tremolo is turned off, as the capacitor has to discharge through the nearby diode to bring the base voltage down to equal the emitter voltage.
I wish I had a Peterson preamp to test with.  Oh well.

In 2006, Fred D posted a comment about bad cable connections contributing to thump:


You have the Super Satellite speakers, not Janus speakers? Right?

Super Satellite would mean you have the Peterson preamp (4-pin) with lamps.  And your power amp is FR-7054 (not FR-7710)? Right?  Your preamp has concentric knobs and is like


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: How to save a bad tine?
« on: February 25, 2019, 03:31:02 PM »

One other thought... could the square tine block on that note be contacting the wooden harp frame?  If the tine is slanted drastically downward, maybe the tine block is rubbing against the wood?  I think that is less likely than the hammer tip being blocked against the tine.

Oh, I guess I didn't ask... is the bridal strap broken?  Does the damper work on that note?


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: How to save a bad tine?
« on: February 25, 2019, 03:24:44 PM »

I personally don't believe that having the tip of the tine be clean and square makes any difference.  My testing reveals no difference.  Jagged haphazard tine ends clipped with dykes sound great.  Sharp square tine ends cut with a diamond mototool blade sound great.

It sounds to me like your note is being damped by the hammer tip.  Raise the tine away from the hammer tip.
I think even the worst of grommets would not damp the tine like that.



"CRAZY noise" like Arnold Shoenberg singing karaoke?

Or do you mean hum? 

If you mean hum or buzz, I would suspect the following source:
1.  Is your cable a shielded instrument cable, or is it an unshielded "speaker" cable.  An unshielded cable will provide crazy hum.  This would provide hum with the piano turned off.  Is the cable good?  Does the sleeve at one end still electrically connect to the sleeve at the other end?

Other things to check:
2.  Is one of the solder tabs of any of the 1/4" jacks involved (on the piano or on your amp) disconnected?  Are the terminals that push against the jack still strong and springy so that they make clean electrical contact?
3.  Is one of the legs from any of the potentiometers in the piano broken or disconnected? 
4.  Bees.  Are there bees?


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 200A volume issue
« on: February 13, 2019, 01:32:59 PM »

When you turn the wurly off, the 170 volts will dissipate slowly through the resistors in the power supply.  If you are foolishly adventurous, you can try to temporarily put a 10KΩ resistor across the reed bar input at the RCA jack.  I don't see any reason to try this.  You could get yourself the shock, or burn your fingers on the hot resistor.  In the tuning videos that I have seen, Chris seems to touch the reeds and pickups just seconds after turning off the piano.

With the wurly turned on, you need the high voltage to make the pickup work while you are testing.  Just don't poke your fingers under the hum sheild, or fiddle with the RCA jack.

I wonder how painful the shock from the 170V supply would be.  I know people have done it and survived.  However, I don't wanna be the guinea pig.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Tine Length Curve
« on: February 11, 2019, 03:17:55 PM »

Interesting little exercise.  But I wouldn't use the formula.  Use the chart. 

Not worth the risk of cutting a tine short. 


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Tine Length Curve
« on: February 11, 2019, 10:21:58 AM »

Oh, holy crap.  It works!

5.331" for tine 13


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Tine Length Curve
« on: February 11, 2019, 10:18:44 AM »

Yeah, same tine, just cut to length.

I still don't understand your formula.   Can you show me the calculation for the length of a tine, say tine #13?

y = 7.573 times ((2.71828 to the negative (.027x)) power?

y = 7.573 times the [.027x]th root of e?


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Tine Length Curve
« on: February 11, 2019, 09:40:30 AM »

I don't understand your formula.  Does the caret indicate an exponent?  Did wordpress garble your formula?
Hmmm... e would normally be 2.71828....

In the four pianos that I have, there are three tuning spring sizes.  The bass notes have the thick springs, then transition at tine #23 (G) to the thin spring with 5 windings per leg, then transition to the small spring with three windings per leg at tine 41(C#), 42(D), or 44 (E).
My springs are shown at

I constructed my own tine cutting chart:
This was transcribed from the tuning chart posted at the end of the Vintage Vibe copy of the Service Manual. 
Vintage Vibe's link to the Rhodes Service Manual:

However, I prefer to cut my tines a little bit longer than the chart indicates, and push the tuning spring a little bit further down the tine.  At one point, I thought I had the energy to compare the tone with the tuning spring very close to the end, and the tone with the tuning spring well away from the pickup.  But I was wrong, I don't have the energy to test and document that.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Damper setup on a 200.
« on: February 09, 2019, 06:42:46 PM »

I am surprised that nobody here spoke up, but I am glad you decided to remove the springs from the damper screws. 

Please post some photos of them before they are lost to history.   I have never seen such a thing, and don't see it in the Wurly docs I have.


Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Rhodes Peterson preamp powering
« on: February 09, 2019, 06:36:24 PM »
I wish I had a Peterson preamp to test with.

Using the circuit at as our reference, I think the circuit will draw much less than 300mA from a 25V supply.  Most of that current is to light the bulbs.  I think the rest of the circuit will draw about 30mA.

A 24V supply will work just fine with this preamp.

Lots of power supplies to choose from.  These two are only ten bucks (plus shipping):  The Mean Well MFM-10-24 or Recom RAC10-24SK/277.

If you don't want to deal with mounting those on veroboard, you could just get the $7.70 Mean Well RS-15-24 with screw terminal strip connections.  That one can be easily adjusted up to 25V if you feel like it.

If you want a wall-wart, try CUI SWI15-24-N-P5 or Triad WSU240-0500.  Both are cheap.


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