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Messages - vortmaxx

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Playing at "home" levels and recording are kind of two separate beasts. For example, everything I've recorded over the last 10 years I've gone direct from my Rhodes along with whatever pedals I'm incorporating through a mixer (Yamaha MG 8/2fx) to an audio interface. However, I have a Vintage Vibe Stereo preamp that goes a long way towards dialing in my desired tone, which is usually pretty clean.

Playing at home/at lower volumes can be a different situation, especially if you are incorporating pedals/effects which, presumably you might be. I've tried a lot of smaller tube amps over the last several years, including hot rods, a deluxe reverb, and blues jr's.  They all tend to get too dirty for me. I have a Concert 2x10 that I used to use when I was playing out more often. It is 60 watts and stays pretty clean for me. I had a Twin for a minute and would agree that it's really overkill for playing at home. I run all my boards through my mixer and usually use headphones, but when I need to I can run a line out of the mixer to a couple of powered speakers (QSC K10.2).

If you're looking for an all-in-one box-on-a-budget with effects and EQ, I might have suggested something like one of the Roland Cubes, or maybe the Boss Katana. But if you're not getting on with the tube pre-amp/Champion combo, perhaps you might be happier with a smaller tube amp and some pedals. I would just warn that if you decide to get a tube amp, ~50 watts seems to be my cutoff. Everything I've tried that's smaller than that just breaks up to quickly for me.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: What's Wrong With My Rhodes?
« on: August 31, 2020, 04:05:49 PM »
First thing I'd probably do is get an rca -> 1/4" cable and go direct off the harp, just to rule out the pre-amp.

Next step would probably be check the ground wire going from the pick-ups to the rca.

The sliders are resistors, along with a capacitor on the "tone", and they are probably about 40 years old at this point. By taking the signal directly from the rca off of the harp, you will get a cleaner signal, and can determine whether or not they are part of your volume problems- assuming the amp you're using is working properly.

It seems okay to me but again, and I cannot stress this enough, I'm no expert.

My advice would be to make sure all of the pickups are good, add the "jumpers", then check the resistance across the groups of 3 as you go. You should get somewhere around 60-65 ohm. It's very easy to damage the pickup when soldering the wire to the leads if you're not careful.

I still recommend getting yourself an rca -> 1/4" cable and bypassing the "tone" and "volume" controls. It'd be good to rule that out and they really don't add anything to the tone anyway.

BTW, the date stamp on my 54 is 1280. We're practically 2nd cousins.  ;)

180-185 ohm is a good pickup. That multi-meter will jump around on you if you aren't really steady with the leads.

A group of 3 soldered together in parallel should get you around 60 ohm across the group.

Maybe you could post some pics of your 54.

That's a real mess you've got there.  :)

I am certainly no expert, but I've used the same multi-meter to assess pickups. Clips would probably work better.

I would reiterate that you're better off going parallel/series so that you don't lose the whole piano when one pickup goes out.

Just looking at the pics, it looks like it has not had the best life in recent years. As such, I'd probably replace the rca off the harp as well.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase to Stage Conversion
« on: April 30, 2019, 04:32:01 PM »
Re: the push-rod...

Sean, I still have both of the rods I made following the model you discussed here:

Of course, having the spare means I will probably never lose the one I regularly use. But it does give me some small peace of mind knowing that if I do, I'm covered. Thanks again.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Range of pickups not working
« on: November 19, 2018, 01:15:21 PM »
Was this a recent purchase, or have you had this piano for awhile? Did the pickups all recently go out? I mean, were they working one day and then suddenly all stopped?

I'm not sure what is being measuring between the breaks, but on mine I get around 120 ohm across the rail. I get 60 ohm across the groups of 3. Have you measured the resistance of any of the "Dead" pickups?

I have a lot of love for my Korg R3.

Out of curiosity have you tried by passing the preamp and instead taken the signal straight from the RCA jack on the harp to see if the problem persists?

I would definitely try this 1st. The volume and "tone" sliders are passive and don't really do anything but suck your tone anyway.

The pick-ups on a 54 are wired in series, so if 1 goes out, you lose everything. When I got my 54 I wanted to put a VV pre-amp in it. After reading here:
and here:
and here:
I decided to add some "jumpers" and reconfigure the wiring across the pick-ups to the "series-parallel" to accommodate the pre-amp, and to eliminate the problem of losing the whole piano when 1 pick-up goes out.

If your piano is still wired in series, I would try measuring the resistance across the whole pick-up rail. It should be around 10K ohms. If it is significantly lower, you probably have some dead or dying pick-ups. If not, then the problem probably lies somewhere else.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Fender Super 210
« on: July 08, 2017, 07:33:07 PM »
Anyone using/used one of these? 50 watt with the red knobs?

I found one at a local guitar shop and they let me "borrow" it for the weekend. First impression is I like it. Not sure if I love it. Pretty loud, pretty clean, might hold up on stage against a guitar without breaking up too much, but obviously not as clean as my QSC K12, which is just a little too clean.

On the floor next to it they also had a Concert 50- same watts with 1 12" speaker. I haven't "borrowed" that one yet...but something told me I'd get better results with 2 10s vs the 1 12.

For starters, I have a 54 Stage with a VV stereo pre-amp. I was using a Mesa Boogie 50-caliber plus borrowed from a friend and was getting nice clean tones with lots of head room. The lead channel, set right, would cut glass without the bleeding ears...but I'm not really in a position to continue borrowing it without some serious soul sacrificing.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Want a better Rhodes stand...
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:38:06 PM »
Rhodes Stage leg braces pdf:

I made some braces for my 54 because the piano had just a little too much sway for me. I used 3/16" steel flat stock which has worked well for me.

Pictures here (very bottom of p. 14):

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Want a better Rhodes stand...
« on: December 31, 2016, 11:18:39 AM »
FWIW, I was a bit lazy the other day and didn't feel like putting the legs on my 54, so I pulled out my On Stage Z stand. (Same as the ones pictured above).

Seems really solid and stable, as it should. The stand is rated at 375 lbs and my 54 weighs EXACTLY 100.  ;)

I like that the footprint is a bit smaller than with the legs. Only downside is that it's my primary gig stand so I might just have to pick up another one.

I got this from fellow forum member Sean awhile back and thought that others would probably find it useful. For pictures, please refer to this thread:



For Sale / Re: FREE Hammond M3
« on: April 19, 2014, 08:04:53 PM »
PM sent.

Thanks Steveo. I picked up a small bottle of that weldwood contact cement and went at it last night. No problems pulling the keys out. I followed the instructions per light sanding, cleaning and prepping both pieces, glued the tops back on, and set them with a couple of small clamps while I had a pint. After about an hour, I put everything back together and played a little just to make sure everything was okay. So far, so good. Thanks again!

I guess I'll start with contact cement?

I apologize in advance, as this is not related to an ep.

I was playing an older upright last night which had just been acquired by a local bar. Towards the end of the night, I managed to break 2 of the black key tops off. They are plastic and hollow. I've been doing a lot of poking around the web today, and have found a lot of various opinions about what I could use to re-glue them.

I know there are some professional techs around here, and was just wondering what some of you would recommend that I might be able to pick up at a local hardware store.

Thanks in advance for any help.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: 2 keyboards above the Rhodes
« on: November 20, 2013, 02:12:50 PM »
very cheap and easy:

i put velcro on it, and on the bottom of a small synth, and it's ok.

Would that be the stand in this video: 

I looked at a couple of laptop stands. I was pretty close to trying something like this:

I'd probably ditch the "tray", use some 1x2" pieces of wood to extend the legs, and thought maybe I could use the clamps to keep it from sliding around. Interesting that the rated weight capacity is "over 10 lbs". So does that mean it won't work for a little 5 lb Korg?

The thing about all of the laptop stands is that they would put the keyboard directly over my Nord. In a perfect world, I would prefer to have the keyboard sit lower, and a little further back. Ergonomically, I think it would be more comfortable reaching "out" as opposed to "up", but I'll give you the Occam's Razor Award for simplicity.

dnarkosis- that is a nice one. Definitely overkill for what I need, but then I tend to lean towards overkill when I'm constructing anything. There do appear to be some bits and pieces available around the ebay, particularly the all important arms, with or without the crossbar, which could probably be had for le$$ at the local hardware chain.

Aside from feeling wholly uncomfortable with the idea of drilling into the legs on my Rhodes, I also don't see how likely it would be that the holes would line up just right every time I set it up, but I do like the idea of using all 4 legs as opposed to just 2 for the base. I've built enough stuff to know that if you don't have a good foundation, the rest is basically moot. Perhaps one way around that might be to use something similar to the clamp I already had in mind.

Now that I think about it, there was a pair of Ultimate Speaker stands on my local CL not that long ago- I think they wanted something like $50. Indeed, there are a few postings on there now for pairs ~$50 or less that would probably supply all of the tubing I would need, and maybe some of the hardware too....

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / 2 keyboards above the Rhodes
« on: November 19, 2013, 03:34:18 PM »
I'm looking for a way to incorporate a second keyboard, a small-ish synth, into my gig rig without increasing my footprint on stage. The most recent thread I could find here was, however was a bit more relevant.

I started looking into the Jens Lüpke solution, but there are a few things about this that I do not like. My Nord already sits pretty comfortably on top of my Rhodes, I don't think I want it sitting any higher. Furthermore, I'm definitely not in love with the idea of adding more weight and stress to the harp cover.

I read somewhere else about folks who have modified or found creative ways to augment a typical 2nd tier for a standard keyboard stand. Part of this solution usually seems to involve using some 1" pipe to act as the "top" of the traditional stand, and then going up from there. Again, this would translate into more weight imparted onto the harp cover.

I've considered getting a new stand, something like the ws650, but I have legs (and braces) and would like to keep using them as I just don't think another stand will give me the stability that I already have.

The other day I started looking at drum hardware and found this:

I was thinking I could clamp one end to the top of the back legs and go out/up from there with a standard 2nd tier (On Stage, Quik-Lok, etc). I like the idea that this would not add any weight to the top of the Rhodes, but realize that this may put a stress on the legs that they were not really intended to handle. Still, I think the legs are pretty darn sturdy, and aside from possibly (probably) marring the chrome a bit, I think this could work.

I'm just curious what some of you around here think about it. Alternatively, if anyone has found some other way of doing this, I would greatly appreciate your ideas.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Post your Rhodes pics and its story
« on: November 19, 2013, 02:34:07 PM »
If you re-tolex you should match or compliment the Nord.

Hmmm.....more food for thought. I like it. I'll add that after re-stumbling across pics of your MIDI rig the other day  ???  :o  I've given your thoughts on the matter a little more credence.

Part of the reason I've put off making a decision whether or not to re-tolex is this: making the decision to do it leads to having to make another decision of whether or not to go with a traditional look or something more unique.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Post your Rhodes pics and its story
« on: November 10, 2013, 05:05:14 PM »
Didn't know Fifty Fours ever had leg braces.

I made the braces out of 3/16" steel flat stock. I felt that the piano had a little too much sway, especially when playing palm smears on the Nord. I'm pretty sure there is some improved stability overall.

Peter: that is a beauty, for sure. I've been wrestling with whether or not to re-tolex my Rhodes. I'm still on the fence about it, but seeing that really kind of makes me think about doing it.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Post your Rhodes pics and its story
« on: November 09, 2013, 02:19:59 PM »
Well, I firmly believe it's what's on the inside that counts...

I've put a few "scratches" on it myself in the last year. It happens.

It looks a little better from this angle:

I found it on CL and bought it off of a guitar player last summer who acquired it from a former bandmate. That was all he could tell me about it, so I can't speak too much about it's history, but I can say that it's destiny now lies somewhere along the same path as my own.

It appears to have been completed around the 12th week of 1980 and was not in too terrible shape, all things considered. Aside from some minor cosmetic blemishes, it was minus a pedal along with one of the hinges and one of the latches on the lid. 

After some consideration, and a bit of guidance from some good folks around here, I opted to pursue the "cleanest" tone possible, figuring that there are myriad ways to color the tone, with or without tubes along the signal path. I already had a nice QSC K12 that I was using for my other keyboards, and really liked what I was getting out of it for the Rhodes. I had a Twin for about a week, and while I really like that too, I felt in the end that it was a lot more than I needed, and more than I wanted to have to deal with as well. I took a chance and went with a VV Stereo Vibe preamp. Much thanks and appreciation to Dave Aubke (a.k.a. Shadetree Keys) for helping me figure out how to rewire the pickups to accommodate the Stereo Vibe, among other things.

I was lucky enough to find a good deal on a second K12, and the end result I think is a bit like having a more portable Suitcase, though on most gigs I only use 1 speaker.

Along with replacing screws and grommets (gromlets?) and a couple of pickups that died in the last year, I also extended the softer shore tips from the mid section up into the mid/upper register in an attempt to get a bit more mellow attack through this range. However, I wanted someone with more experience to give it a proper tuning and voicing (I think that every Rhodes should probably see a proper tech at least once every 30 years or so), and at this point will shamelessly plug Max at the Chicago Electric Piano Company.  If you are lucky enough to be near the City of the Big Shoulders, and can arrange a visit to his shop, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I simply cannot speak highly enough of him.

I've had quite a few keyboardists and piano players sit in at gigs in the last year, some who were/are quite good- better than me anyways. The verdict so far has been unanimous; it is an absolutely wonderful instrument to play. I love being able to get out front and hear it through a large house P.A. where it sounds fat, and warm, and punchy and just plain huge.

Anyone traveling through lower SW Wisconsin is invited to stop by and sit in if you like. We can generally be found playing out just about every Sunday, most Thursdays, random Saturdays, the last Monday of the month, and the occasional Friday night as well.

For Sale / MK I Stage 73
« on: June 28, 2013, 06:47:28 PM »
Not mine, but I thought I would pass this along for anyone around the Midwest.

I came across an MK I at a pawn store near La Crosse, WI yesterday. I couldn't find any date stamp on the top of the harp (looks like it was rubbed out), but there was a very small stamp on the underside of "211".

Harp supports are wooden and the hammers are wood/plastic. The tips are all square except for the upper register where they are the wood wrapped type. All of the tips and felts appeared to be in good shape, but it could definitely use new grommets and screws.

It has legs, braces and sustain pedal, all of which look to be in pretty good shape, along with the tolex. Asking price is $600, but it's been sitting around there for about 6 months now.

Buying / Re: Rhodes
« on: May 16, 2013, 12:17:05 PM »
If you are in Portugal, you might want to try Vintage Music Parts.

Good Luck!

Sean, Dave, et al.

Just wanted to say thanks again, and let all y'all know how it went. I made some braces out of 1 x 3/16" steel flat stock and I think there is definitely some added stability.

My first attempts at making the braces using conduit were educational to say the least. I think the "slit" is to allow some relief in the metal where it is getting squashed/bent. I tried making the slit where I though the bend should begin, and that sort of worked. In the end, I think that using anything round will require some spot/tack weld in the vicinity of the bend, especially if there is any cutting going on.

The saving grace was that I was able to mount the brace plate last, so I had some room for error. After making the first 2 bends, I realized that I had lost about 3/8" in the length between the bends, and this ultimately pushed the brace plate back about an inch. Law of Cosines, or something like that....

Sean- the pdf you sent is fantastic- it deserves to be pinned up on the forum somewhere. I am keeping it handy for when I get some time to bounce this little project between a couple of friends- one of them has a dad who was a t.v. repair man. He's got this awesome set of tools, and he can fix anything.....

Great! Thanks Dave.

I have the standard issue legs, with the gap that screws tight about 4" up from the bottom of the legs. I ordered a plate which comes with some hardware, but I am counting on at least 1 trip to the store. Either way, it appears that there will be some T-nuts along with a 1/4"-20 bolt of some sort in my future.

Another thing I am unsure of is how the plate is mounted. There are 2 other holes in the plate for mounting. I'm guessing either more T-nuts and some bolts, or just some fat 3/4" wood screws.

A rough measurement from bend-to-bend looks like about 29" which is a couple inches shorter than the original braces, as it should be. I will get a more accurate number when I get the plate, but I am planning on aiming a little shorter as opposed to longer. This would keep it closer towards the back, to avoid the balance rail, but it looks like I will be okay if I center it.

I will still try to make some sort of prototype with the conduit I have laying around. Who knows, if it seems rigid enough then that just may be the end of it. I will let you know how it all shakes out, along with any lessons learned.

Sources For Generic Parts & Maintenance Materials / stage leg braces
« on: March 24, 2013, 01:37:39 PM »
Greetings brothers and sisters.

I am on the hunt for some leg braces for my 54. I realize that these were not part of the original design, but I have got it in my head that there is just too much sway in the piano when I put a second keyboard on top and play with any kind of enthusiasm.

I've considered just going with a table style stand, but I really think that legs, properly braced, would provide better support. Entry level for these stands seems to be around $100, double that for the heavier duty models, so I would like to keep it to around $100 or less.

I'm either looking for anyone who might be able to manufacture something, or some guidance in making my own. Vintage Music in Portugal is the only supplier I've found so far that would try and make them, but I am a bit leery about spending around $100 on custom hardware from so far away.

From the handful of threads on the subject I've found around here, I think I have most of the info I would need to try and make something myself. I have some 3/4" conduit laying around that I could use to make some templates, but I think I would ultimately want to use something with a thicker wall. The only number I am not sure of is the distance along the upper flange (brace plate end) from the center line of the notch to the bend. There seemed to be some discrepancy about whether it was/is 1 1/8" or 1 1/2".

If anyone can confirm this, or point me in the direction of someone in the U.S. who might be able to make a set of custom braces, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

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