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Messages - Max Brink

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My apologies for using the wrong terminology. I'm no expert when it comes to pickup design/theory but I'm very fascinated by it and would love to here what kind of alternate tones you could produce by altering magnet type, wire diameter, pole piece shape/diameter...

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tweeters for a Suitcase
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:12:35 PM »
I agree with you big time. Cabinet design can make a huge difference. I wish there was "no need to wait," but at the moment it's pretty far down the list of experimental jobs... It's on the list somewhere but it'd be a while before I was able to get to it... Seems like it could be really amazing if pulled off right but also could be a dangerously time consuming rabbit hole to start going down...

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tines...
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:07:26 PM »
Strange with the bent screws... I think I've only come across a small number in the thousands and thousands that I've ordered. I have so far fewer oscillating tines, especially in the bass, than any other grommet I've ever tried.

I like their legs a lot but he's still working out some cosmetic improvements on his sustain pedal. If you're not concerned about the cosmetics it functions fine. Custom Vintage Keyboards' legs are also very well built. The brushed aluminum is cool because you don't have to worry about plating and it looks sharp.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tines...
« on: April 13, 2017, 08:05:16 AM »
I'm surprised to hear that. Did you use their screws as well? There's definitely a difference in the density and the fit is the best I've dealt with hands-down. Did you adjust your strike line as well?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tines...
« on: April 13, 2017, 12:10:00 AM »
In my shop I often pessimistically estimate that there are more dead tines than there actually are after a grommet replacement. I have first hand experience with every grommet supplier out there and I will say that the Retro Linear grommets are the best and definitely make a difference. Even in modern manufactured tine pianos they have proven to make a difference in my shop, especially in bass response and removing the somewhat nasal sound of other parts. Replace your grommets with RL parts before analyzing the tines because the suspension grommets are in many ways the lifeblood of the instrument.

Does anyone know who Avion studios is? Because those generic grommets are definitely not worthy of putting into a piano. There is a sweet spot in the density and sizing for the grommet and in my personal opinion Retro Linear easily comes out on top as producing the best -- I've heard them all first person and I promise you won't be disappointed!

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tweeters for a Suitcase
« on: April 12, 2017, 11:52:55 PM »
I'm glad this is on someone else's mind, too. I think that if I was going to design a Rhodes suitcase cabinet from scratch with no expenses considered it would definitely have a crossover network tailored to the instrument... The speakers themselves make a huge difference and I wonder what kind of difference could be made by calculating a crossover/tweeter network for the Rhodes... Would probably develop some new recording and live mic'd performance issues for sure... But in it's own room could sound amazing!

Very cool! I enjoy the funky colors! These days you hear of people worried about automation taking jobs but I'm very optimistic what 3D printing and automation can bring to small businesses and creative endeavors. I don't mean to get into a political discussion but on one hand you can employ a lot of people hand wiring guitar pickups in the 1950's but today we can 3D print parts for automated pickup wing! That's amazing!

--You can probably 3D print whatever you call the plastic between the mounting for the bobbin and windings as well. I think that experimenting with changes between the wirings could be an interesting thing to study! What happens when we overwind and underwind rhodes pickups??? I'd love to experiment as a full set!

Very cool to find one in the original packaging!!!

Has anyone back engineered this "rhodie preamp"? Or are there schematics somewhere? All the components are painted black.

I'm not an electrical engineer, so I can't explain that is going on at a theoretical level, but my understanding of the circuit is that it is a very basic IC preamp. I'm pretty sure with a little reverse engineering the whole thing could be "photocopied" for under $10-15 of parts...

What does it need?

Very ambitious project--It looks like it's going to need a lot of love! Personally I would recommend saving up for a better piano because this is going to be a huge project that is going to take up a LOT of time. This is usually the point where something reaches "organ donor" state. Good luck with this one if you decide to take it on!

If you need parts I have two to four 120 organ donors that were in similar shape to this one so if you need any parts just shoot me an email at I should have anything you need and would be willing to part with it for a very reasonable price. I think I have a better looking body available too, but I understand if you're into the whole elegant decay thing, because instruments that look beat up but play great are definitely cool in my book...

The keys and key bed were cut and aligned by hand and you'll probably want to swap the black key tops onto the current wooden key. They are rarely directly transferable from one to the next as a whole key or whole key set.

As for the whips, I have plenty available if you need a complete drop in piece. These should drop in easily.

It is a good idea to make sure that your 6V6 tubes are a matched pair rather than using a single tube. The amp is more than likely going to need more work than just a single tube.

Why are so many people using contact cement on the pedestal felts? PVC-E Glue is fume free and it doesn't matter if you get it on your hands. It seems like the obvious choice for felts on a piano key, no?

If you want a spare reed bar I have a handful of them around and would sell them for a fair price. Just shoot me an email.

In all eras of Wurlitzer production sometimes there is lost motion on certain dampers or certain sections of dampers to varying degrees. In order to get it more uniform you can shim the felt that rests on the rod in order to make sure that there is not lost motion on certain notes. Just shim it until they are within a functioning range. Balance rail shims work well.

I have successfully installed the VV hum killer kit into my 200. In the back of my mind the whole time I was installing it I thought it probably won't fix this problem, [because it still hums when the wurli is off, and is unaffected by the volume knob. I was right.]

Wurli 200a on the headphone output with power on or off hums like crazy through certain amps.

...If the Wurlitzer is off and you still have noise it is definitely because of a ground loop between the Wurlitzer and the amplification circuitry. Wurli's are incredibly prone to electromagnetic interference and ground loops just due to their design. Where to address this symptom within the instrument is going to be hard to diagnose over the internet and if you're uncertain I would take it to a Wurli expert or EE.

I imagine you could also solve the problem with a guitar cable that is tip only on one end, not having the ground connected on one end of the sheild.

^^^I would be very surprised if this ever works. Respectfully, to the person who wrote this years ago, I wouldn't try this ever.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Harp voltage
« on: June 15, 2016, 10:25:13 PM »
I think we're going down a rabbit hole here... I don't think searching for mV measurements are going to be the easiest way to resolve this situation...

The very first question that I have reading the top post is: What components did your friend replace in the preamplifier and why did he decide replace them? (What issues was he encountering initially with the preamplifier that led him to decide to use new components, since many of the vintage components should still be healthy in many cases?)

I'm going to suggest going back to Mike's post above, which is the best advice so far. It's a broad check list but these are the things to look for in most electronics repairs. It's likely just a bad cap or transistor and it's a matter of finding the culprit(s). If you're not sure about what you're looking for off Mike's list I'd take it to an expert and have it done right. Respectfully, your friend may or may not be the best for the repair if he's not already working on the ideas that are listed in Mike's post.

As long as you or your friend are comfortable with Mike's list, here's one more thing that I would add to narrow things down a little more:

Is the Distortion coming from both channels of the power amplifiers or is it in one side? If it's in just one side then you can narrow it down to that power amplifier channel. If it's in both then you can likely start narrowing your search to the preamplifier. (But it may also be the power supply leading to the preamplifier...) The quick way to check this by ear is by turning the intensity of the vibrato all the way up and the speed all the way down and then listening to the two channels as the vibrato flips back and forth between them.

The differences are detailed in the PDF version of the manual that I have in figures 11-12 through 11-14... If it's not in yours then feel free to shoot me an email and I can send it over.

Easily done if you're comfortable with those three schematics. If you're iffy, I'd advice having someone else work on it. Definitely don't work on it if you do not know how to discharge the circuit and the dangers that there are related to working on electronics--it is an understatement that you could have a very bad time working on electronics if you do not know what what you need to do to stay safe.

If you're modding the circuit from slave to master just please make sure you take the time to do it in a professional manner that is robust and gig-worthy.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase speaker switch
« on: June 07, 2016, 06:15:41 PM »
The headphone jack should cut the speakers if you put a 1/4" cable in it.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 270 - the butterfly
« on: June 07, 2016, 05:59:25 PM »
The speakers sound pretty nice but in the end it's just a big, fancy 200A.

I'm with you on the Ampeg Gemini! I love the Gemini II with Wurlitzer and another of my personal favorites is a vintage Supro Thunderbolt.

No need for the original pieces as templates. Just measure out the places you need and add a couple inches of slack. After you place the pieces you can easily cut away the slack and rub away any glue residue that is left behind.

For the instructions you posted I would recommend doing step 4 in the order (A & C), (B & D), E, F, G.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Square Hammer Tips
« on: March 02, 2016, 10:55:16 AM »
I keep buckets of sorted vintage tips so if you're looking for a few vintage ones let me know.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« on: February 19, 2016, 12:32:07 PM »
I would reach out to Retro Linear if you are looking for the cubed tips. To my ears they are the best for the Fender Rhodes cubed tip tone and will fit best with the factory escapement and strike line of the pianos through mid 1976.

Otherwise it's your call between the VV or CAE tips. One of my favorite Rhodes Mark II pianos was restored with CAE tips through the mids and VV tips from the hardest treble and wood core on up... The CAE tips have a little more depth with a darker "Fender Rhodes" era thump in the bass and the VV tapered tips have a little more crisp attack. VV recently came out with a whole bunch of other hammer tip options but they only sent me a couple sample sizes of each so I don't have an opinion on the complete set of any of their alternate options yet.

First, make sure all your speakers are hooked up right and they are healthy. Next, check to make sure that the preamplifier outputs are the same level.

The offset adjustment should be set so that the DC voltage on the speakers is as close to 0 as possible. The bias adjustment is for the bias of the power transistors, which takes a little mathematics to dial in correctly...

In the end the two channels are going to sound a little different from one another. Tim Warneck could speak more about it in greater depth than I can but in short having the speaker cabinet ported on one side changes the EQ output of the two channels. This should not have a dramatic impact on the output of the two channels, though, just the EQ compared from one to another.

Or just get a pedal that can step down.

^^^Nooooo... Don't give in to temptation! Let's stay purely analog and encourage this wild experiment!

Never mind. I just opeoened it up to check and I was completely wrong. The balance rail is offset for all of the black keys, so the sequence does matter. I recalled all of the balance rail pins as being parallel for some reason.

^^^Check out the "Low A" Rhodes Piano Bass key bed modification we did last year. We weren't the first to do it but there are some helpful hints on how to accomplish a shifted key bed modification. If you have a scrap key bed around you can probably make it work... It's a lot of work but I'm curious to see how it would turn out! The angle in the Wurlitzer keys might take a even more time to work around, though...

I'm mostly curious how a mod going to affect the "sweet spot" for the strike line across the reed bar... And overall how it is going to sound tonally... And let's be realistic, it's going to be a lot of work re-soldering keys if you're going to bring everything down by a fourth... You won't just be able to shift the reeds down five slots--I promise!

I'll be modeling the reedbars pretty soon (need to take one apart first). If someone had the resources to make a casting up and machine it on a CNC, I could modify the reedbar model for longer reeds. I honestly don't think the original reedbar would be deep enough (front to back distance) to accommodate the reeds that would be needed.  They seem to get exponentially longer in the bass section. One whole octave shift and you could leave the keybed the same.  That upper octave of the wurlitzer is pretty useless I think anyway. Always sounds softer and less consistent from note to note.

^^^If you were to do a lower registered Wurlitzer, in an ideal world, you may want to consider having the consumer shift the reeds up and introducing a new five bass reeds. This would require new pickups and a new reedbar that accounts for the strike line of the new reed range but it seems like a pretty damn good way to do it.

...I love the concept of this but if anyone accomplishes a lower ranged Wurlitzer I would be floored. I don't know where some people get the time for all this hyper specialized DIY!

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Reedbar stickers
« on: February 09, 2016, 09:53:13 PM »
They should match if they are original. Otherwise one reed bar was likely replaced.

Not sure if there is any coding scheme.

There are some subtle differences in the casting over the years but I'm not sure I'd say if it has a great impact on the tone.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Whip offset on key felt
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:39:43 PM »
If the whip/fly action centers are in good shape then there is nothing to worry about in regards to their function. If the adjacent key is not interfering with its capstan then there is nothing to worry about.

It does look like poor craftsmenship in this particular picture because the let off capstans also look to be mounted very far forward. Is this a later model or Musitronic model?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 206A Cabinet Amp mod
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:35:58 PM »
A Twin circuit is going to be crazy loud under a 206A. I have fought feedback issues with a 214A amplifier system and would assume that the vibrations will be too great. I'd scale back for a smaller kit like a Princeton clone at most.

On our showroom floor we have a 214A with Jenson P8R's that I love and they might be an easier upgrade than routing 12" speakers in the base. I'm very pleased with the tone.

I have a handful of these for way less than what it is worth to DIY it... An original shield is a way better option than DIY bent sheet metal... Just shoot me an email.

Right now I have about a half dozen of each mounting footprint.

My guess is that it is a damper issue rather than a double strike issue. I'd look into both. Should be easy to tell by observing the action of the hammer and damper.

Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Re: Questions about restoring a D6
« on: January 03, 2016, 12:19:38 PM »
1) Cosmetically it is in bad shape with torn tolex and the right cheekblock has been replaced with an unoriginal piece, which is the wrong type of wood. Further, it seems it spend its life first, in a smoking environment, and later a barn or a garage, so the inside is covered in a sticky residue (probably nicotine) and loads of dirt... Eeeww...

Tolexing a Clavinet is not much fun (especially the lid). The biggest drawback is that you will either loose the original Hohner logo or you will need to make a stencil or screen print the logo... I would first clean it up and glue any pealing tolex to keep it from getting worse. In the end it's probably more important to address the other sonic issues before hitting the cosmetics.

2) The previous owner re-capped the amp. I still find it somewhat noisy, though. Even when I try to keep it away from other equipment. If I fire up my Nord C1, which it is sitting on top of, the noise is unbearable.

The interference is either being picked up by something within the amp or wiring acting as an antenna or interference with the pickup. Sometimes it's as simple as a broken ground connection for something that is supposed to shield the signal or in some cases you may need to add shielding.

3) It seems quite "dull" in the upper 2/3 of the keyboard range.

It sounds like it is dull within the range of the smallest gauge strings. This could be because the pickup needs to be lowered on that side of the strings or it may be that your hammer tips are not articulate enough. For lowering the pickup you want to do so in a way that is balanced across the keyboard and also balanced between switching between the upper and lower pickup. For hammer tips I've found the KRSS set to be the most durable and the most articulate for packing the percussive attack most people are seeking from a Clavinet.

4) Since the right cheekblock was replaced, there is no mute/damper fader. The assembly to dampen the strings is there, but the fade and the rail that connects the fader to the damper assembly is missing.

There are a number of ways you could rig the damper assembly to work. I would suggest cutting a rail out of sheet metal that will act like the original. I've accomplished this a few times by copying the form of the original cutting the form out of a thin piece of metal with a dremel tool.

The other key is getting the tension on the damper rail to the right sweet spot. If it's too tight or too loose it's not going to sound right.

My plan was to try to throw the preamp in an alu casing and see how far that would get me in terms of noise, but I'm not sure if I should go directly for replacing the preamp with one of the replacement preamps? How does the sound compare to the original?

There is no need for the preamplifier. The original amps sound excellent once you dial them in and I would never replace a D6 amplifier entirely because it is such an essential part of the D6 tone.

I believe you'll find the aluminum or copper casing to help prevent noise. Just make sure the case is grounded because I have lost count of the times that people have left DIY shielding ungrounded...

I've also considered getting a set of the humbucker pickups, but I'm not sure how much of the noise is coming from the pickups and how much is coming from the preamp. What are your experiences?

Also, supplies humbucker pickups while vintage vibe have apparently chosen to stick with single coils for the vibanet pickups. Will introducing humbuckers not affect the overall sound quite a bit?

On pickups you really don't need to replace them unless they don't work. I wouldn't suggest the humbucker pickups because split coil humbucking pickups are not going to sound the same as single coil pickups because the pickup pattern is going to be modified which is what gives them the hum cancelling affect. We've tested both the KRSS and VV pickups I'm pleased with both of their pickups if you need to replace them. However, if your original D6 pickups are functioning I think you'll be very satisfied with them and I would keep them original unless you have issues.

Any concerns about replacing the strings? I read a thread about a user who had replaced the strings and found them too bright compared to the vintage ones. Is the difference really that big?

If I choose to replace the strings I would probably go with clavigel instead of yarn. The yarn that's in there now is really disgusting.

If your original strings sound good there is no need to replace them. However, if you're breaking strings or they are not ringing out like a healthy string should then I would recommend replacing them in a complete set. I've tested the, VV and KRSS strings and found the tone of both to be pleasing. The strings are the ones that most people are not pleased with and I would stay away from them based on my experience using them. I use the KRSS strings in a majority of our restorations because they have won the most blind shootouts on our showroom floor. Also, they are manufactured by D'Addario and I have a very strong impression of that brand's quality.

For yarn you can keep the original yarn by feeding new strings through the original yarn or pulling them through by taping them to the original string that you are removing. Or learning the yarning process isn't too terribly complicated but it does take patience and an attention to detail to get the tension just right while weaving the yarn through. I prefer yarning because it works and it is what was used originally so it has been tested for decades. For the extra time that it will take you the yarning will last you until your next re-stringing so it's worth the effort for the reliability in my opinion.

How about the mute fade/damper. I know I can get the fader cap from vintage vibe, but how about the rail underneath. Does anyone now where to get one of those?

As mentioned above you could cut a piece of ~1/16" metal with a dremel tool. I then attached a few plastic washers with a machine screw to the end to lift the damper arm like the originals... If you shoot me an email I can take some measurements for you for the dimensions you'll need.

*****In reference to CC's sound sample videos above*****

In reference to CC's 1980 sound samples above I feel that while the comparison is tough to make because of tremolo on one sample vs. the other the VV tines seem to have a warmer colour. To my ears there are more mids present in the sustain of the tines giving them more warmth. Are they both recorded direct or through the same signal chain (they seem to have different production)?

The 1974 tine comparison I also find the tone of the VV tines pleasing. The attack of the felt tips gives a nice example of the differences that hammer tips can bring to the initial percussive attack of the tine.


RE darkness/warmness etc... : The fundamental note is quite easy to achieve. A good tine displays the longest decay of the harmonics/overtones on top of the fundamental. I wonder if it is these frequencies on top of the fundamental that you consider to be "warm" or "bright".

I agree with you that voicing of the tine can "blend" notes. I'm not describing just the harmonics as warm/dark. What I'm referring to is the overall tone achieved by the tine being more warm or dark than other periods. Blending a tine into a piano of a different era is a setup process which would be best avoided as long as you have access to using the right period tine....


On defining the definition of "blending" a tine I would also like to seek clarification within this discussion to see if we're all talking about the same process. We are talking about altering the setup of tine to be voiced within the piano, right? (adjusting strike line/escapement and voicing the position with the pickup?) If we must "blend" one tone from one period of production to another then doesn't that support my ears' interpretation that they sound different from period to period?

RE metallurgical makeup: Of course it has something to do with how a piece of metal vibrates. My point here is that you are comparing a plethora of string compositions to what we know of as a relatively consistent recipe for tines.

I know you guys probably want to hold onto a "secret formula" for your tines and I completely respect that but I know many of us are very curious just how consistent the tine recipe was over the years? What can you share about the variance in the changes in tine metallurgy based on your tests? Can you share data on how much they varied? Did you test multiple formulas that were outside of the original recipe's formula and what did you find? --I ask all of this because I would love to geek out over this stuff (as I am sure many of the people still reading this thread would)!

RE tine replacements: In reverse engineering the tine, we sampled tines from every era. Those deemed "exceptional" came from every year of production, while of course, there where a lot of examples across the board in terms of vintage that fell short of the mark. In the end, our ears became very accustomed to a particular set of characteristics - long decay, not only in fundamental, but the overtones as well- the pings, the distortion, bark, bell, whatever... all had to have a gradual decay into the fundamental. Since samples of any given era of tine could display these characteristics, those that don't are now simply deemed unacceptable. Most Rhodes pianos where never set up for this type of scrutiny (anal-ness?), but because of that experience I'd now consider myself lucky to restore a piano that doesn't require more than a dozen tines.

^^^Can you please clarify why you tested tines from different eras if you did not hear the differences that I am describing? Do you mean that you specifically tested the different eras or that you tested the healthiest from all eras? On some level I wonder if perhaps we are in agreement that the tines sound different between production periods and that is the purpose of why you selected different periods for testing?

Aural Placebo? I agree that it can be best ( or at least "cost effective") to embrace any given Rhodes for what it is, and replacing parts with those of the same vintage will certainly give you the best shot at achieving a result consistent with a particular piano. I'll also suggest that shape and mass have more to do with tone than changes in metallurgy... and that inconsistencies in all aspects dictate that a good, or a bad tine can come from any time.

A few points in this one....

Let's start out with a soft one: Aural Placebo sounds like a terrible dad rock band name, right???

Onto a more serious note... It would be far more cost effective for me to use any random healthy tine in a piano but I choose to use period-correct tines in order to hold the restoration to the integrity of the vintage of the piano that is possible. Keeping a stocked inventory of six different tines is not as cost effective as treating them all as equal... From a cost/benefit approach I would love to agree that the tines all sound the same. But my ears tell me a different story and knowing that there are manufacturing differences between the periods that also supports my reasoning that it is best to use period correct tines.

I am mostly curious if you could clarify why you state that "the same vintage will certainly give you the best shot at achieving a result consistent with a particular piano." --If the vintage of the tine does not, as you and Chris suggest, have an effect on the tone then why would this give me the best result of consistency?

Finally, If the shape and the mass have an affect on tone as you state then shouldn't the metallurgical makeup have an effect? Metals will have different densities, right? And that would allow multiple shapes of multiple weights since density is a product of mass and volume?

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