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Messages - beginnersluke

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This is a good point about getting a more "real" or "organic" sound by not being too neurotic about being right on.

I thought about doing a bit of a stretch tuning thing too.


Thanks. I have a strobe tuner. My question was about how hard people try to get things perfect vs. no one on earth would ever notice anyway.

Tuning question. (I'm retuning basically every reed on a Wurlitzer for the first time.)

How closely or accurately do you tune your Wurly?

Do you try (and succeed) in getting it exactly in tune (say less than a cent off), or do you find something like +/- 3 cents totally acceptable?

(I'm tend to be a perfectionist, even when unnecessary, but getting it right on is really time consuming. between 0 and -3 cents has been not too difficult.)

I do know that you should be able to go +/-4 or 5 cents by sliding the reed forward or back, but perhaps because of inexperience this just doesn't work for me. I'm able to get movement of about 15 cents, but absolutely no precision by trying to move it. (If anyone has advice on this, I'm all eyes/ears.)

Anyway, I was just curious what the consensus goal is when tackling this job. (The Boss TU-2 that your guitar player is using is no more accurate than +/-3 cents anyway, right?)



Buying / Kustom 88
« on: December 11, 2019, 02:18:40 PM »
I'm trying to buy a Kustom (or Baldwin) 88.

They pop up now and then on Craigslist, but it's rare.

Does anyone have any insight into where these old beast might be hiding out?

(I think I'll post a WANTED ad on Craigslist. Maybe that will draw someone out.)


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: First Steps
« on: November 09, 2019, 04:41:33 PM »
Any way you could point me in the right direction for this?

A new amp or vibrato?

Vintage Vibe, Retrolinear, and Borish electronics all make replacement amps. (You can find the Borish one on Reverb, the others from their webpages.)

Also some of the keys are still sticking in the low end I think due to the key bushings, what should I do?

You can ease the key bushings with easing pliers (this is what the service manual recommends). You can also buy key bushing tools. To quote the service manual though "caution should be exercised so keys are not over eased". (With keys that are likely 40-50 years old, I'd also be worried about breaking them. You should totally do it, just carefully.)

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: First Steps
« on: November 07, 2019, 11:27:03 AM »
Vibratio is definitely nice.

Many people upgrade the amp to a new one (which would solve that problem).

If you've lubed the action, you should go through the whole regulation procedure (lost motion, let off) if you haven't already.

I'm not sure if this is still an issue or if you got it resolved, but one thing that can help with troubleshooting is seeing if you've got the oscillator working correctly. You should be able to test this by measuring the the two non-ground posts of the vibrato potentiometer with an ohmmeter. If you have an analog ohmmeter, you'll see the needle bounce. (You can still tell with a digital ohmmeter, since the reading won't be steady.)

Also, make sure that the wires coming back to the pre-amp are correct. The NON-ground wire actually connects right next to where it says "GND" on the pre-amp (referring to the screw connection to the harp), so it's not the hardest thing to mix up. (And if you did, I think you'd get sound, but no vibrato. Also, I'm legally obligated to mention that it's actually tremolo, not vibrato, but whatever... He he.)

Good luck buddy!

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 206a - no sound
« on: October 28, 2019, 08:28:21 AM »
I see that this is a week old. Were you able to resolve this issue?

Check the pre-amp and how it's mounted and connected to harp and make sure it's not shorting the pickup to ground.

If you take an ohm meter, you should have no continuity between the reeds and the pickup (the flat metal piece that surrounds the tip of the reed). The way the "REED BAR" end of the pre-amp mounts, it's not terribly difficult to short it to ground.

If you did this, I think you'd get symptoms just like what you're seeing. (Especially since the sustain pedal moves things around a bit and could be connecting and disconnecting your short.)

Anyway, worth looking at. Good luck.

For Sale / Re: Wurlitzer Model 200 For Sale $1,500 SOLD
« on: October 24, 2019, 02:13:35 PM »
I mean this as an honest question. Is $1,500 really below the market price these days?

I see a lot of postings with what I assume are inflated prices, but maybe the market has just changed that much...

(Not at all trying to say this piano isn't worth $1,500! I am saying there were days not that long ago when it definitely wasn't. I bought a Wurly in the last 5 years for $600, and a friend bought one last year for $750. It does seem prices on Craigslist just keep climbing though.)

I am not familiar with that kit, but I'll say a couple of things.

1. To turn a 206A amp into a 200A amp requires not just adding things, but removing them. Did you remove components as well?
2. Do you have a schematic? The schematic in the original service manual does a really nice job of laying out what's in the 200A vs 206A. You could/should go through and make sure you've made the necessary changes.
3. The schematic calls for the two sets of wires going to the Vibrato pot to be shielded. This wouldn't be at the top of my list, but I would check that the cables are shielded and that the pot is properly grounded. (I think the factory 200A install runs a wire from the ground lug to the body of the pot (which then connects mechanically to the amp rail).
4. If everything else is right, one easy place for it to go wrong is if the LDR is mounted improperly. This could easily result in sound, but no vibrato.
5. If I remember correctly, there's a trimmer pot for vibrato depth as well. Did you try changing that?

(The key here really is the schematic probably. #5 is a good place to start. Sorry, I was typing and thinking out-loud, or I might have put it #1.)

p.s. Since you put in all this work on an old amp, did you replace all the electrolytic caps? I'd recommend it.

I have this, but am traveling and won't be home for another week or two. I'll see if I can post it by next Thursday or Friday. I'll have a few days at home between trips.

Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Re: Weltmeister Claviset 200
« on: June 25, 2019, 02:17:40 AM »
2 more

Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Weltmeister Claviset 200
« on: June 25, 2019, 02:15:04 AM »
I recently acquired two Weltmeister Claviset 200 electric pianos. It's an East German (communist Germany) electric piano made in the late 60s and 70s.

Both are in good condition, though probably need some work before they can go out gigging or recording. Tuning of a few reeds is definitely in order

I've never seen one of these pianos in person, but they're pretty cool little pianos. I've heard of them as simplified Wurlitzers, but I'd say it's something between a Wurly and a Clavinet.

Does anyone have any service info on these? They seem pretty simple (compared to a Wurly anyway), but if there's some info out there, it's always nice to not reinvent the wheel.

Some interesting notes:

These (at least the version I have) ran on batteries. (If you look at the photo of the inside, you'll see two disconnected wires and 8 screw holes -- these are for 2 battery packs. The other piano has them.)

The case is made of solid wood, which surprised me, but is probably nice for refinishing.

The pedal has a mechanical sustain which lifts the dampers (the long metal pieces you see are the dampers), but also an electrical piece that connects to the piano through a DIN connection. I'll have to investigate what this does.

Anyway, on to some photos:

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 200A potentiometer taper
« on: June 07, 2019, 11:51:55 AM »

That's awesome. Yeah, that seems like a hard part to source. It's great that you have it! (Eventually I'm going to get one of your amps for this thing anyway! A friend of mine just got one installed in his 200A and it sounds great!)


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 200A potentiometer taper
« on: June 04, 2019, 01:54:29 PM »

Why would you think that RetroLinear would sell the wrong pot?

Sorry, that's certainly not what I meant to imply.  I personally wouldn't call it wrong anyway (that's what I meant by "The taper is just a matter of touch: either works just fine").

The reason I asked the question was because if it is a log (and I sort of suspect it is, tbh), I wonder how they got them. (A custom order directly from CTS perhaps?) That's just an interesting question to me. That's really all I was getting at.



The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurly 112 Opinons.
« on: June 04, 2019, 08:06:54 AM »
It definitely sounds like you should make an effort to get the reeds. (Especially since they're possible to get.)

I mean, if yours is in above average condition, you can be patient and wait for something that is not good for much except parts and use that to fix up yours.

It definitely doesn't make sense to me to turn a generally nice example into a parts piano.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 200A potentiometer taper
« on: June 04, 2019, 07:27:11 AM »
I measured the volume pot, and it definitely appears to be an audio/log taper.

That's been a really difficult pot to find with a good switch and in the proper size. As in, I basically haven't been able to find it.

I see that Retrolinear sells one, but I am genuinely curious if what they sell is the audio taper. Does anyone here know (or have one to measure)?

It says they use CTS pots (which are very good, and widely used on quality guitars), but it no one seems to have to correct pot with the audio taper. (The linear taper is easy to find.) (The CTS website has a very handy tool where you can look for even partial part numbers across their suppliers.)

The taper is just a matter of touch: either works just fine, it just affects how touchy the knob is.

(I already have a linear taper pot that would work for the vibrato, so I may as well try it and see how it feels. I'll have to measure a friends to see what the original is.)


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Noise in the amplifier.
« on: June 03, 2019, 08:50:45 AM »
Hi Argi,

I'd say two things. It's an old amplifier, meaning old components and an old design, so I don't think anyone can really say that it will be noise free if you replace all of the components.

Here's what I would say:

1. In any old piece of electronics, it's a good idea to replace the electrolytic capacitors (the ones that look like metal cans). This often helps on a number of fronts (though safety and reliability are probably #1).
2. You can also replace other components like resistors in the signal path, other capacitors, transistors (especially output).
3. The 200 does not have reed bar shield; it is recommended that you install them to limit noise, especially hum.
4. Many people replace the amplifier with a modern design with new components. (There are three options that I know of, incl Vintage Vibe, Retrolinear, and Borish electronics.)

If you want to rework your amp, I'd start with the electrolytics and the hum shields and see how much that helps.

If you have a service manual, you can figure out the values and order from an electronics warehouse. (You can also just read them off the old components.) You can also get rebuild kits and transistors from Vintage Vibe. (You'd probably need them for the output transformers.)

Good luck!

(PS Electrolytic capacitors have a + side and a - side, unlike resistors. Your PCB should have a marking on where the + lead goes.)

Oh, I should add this for the original poster. /If/ you do use a pot, make sure you also have a resistor in-line with the pot on the signal path.

I looked up a 145 schematic and it looks like when you connect headphones you connect a 8ohm resistor (again to mimic the speaker load) between signal and ground.

The reason for adding a resistor in line with the pot is to protect the amp from shorting if the cable gets shorted. It's not that difficult to short the tip and sleeve on a 1/4 instrument cable. So if you have a resistor in series on the signal, even if the cable is shorted you still have more resistance than the 8 ohm resistor already in your circuit.

In the real world, your pot probably won't go down to 0ohms, but an extra 500ohm resistor won't attenuate the signal much, and it will help protect your amp so it's definitely worth it.

(Also, I think I meant to say 5000 ohm potentiometer in the original post, not 500. (You may not need to attenuate much, but that will give you a good range to get the signal you need.)

pianotuner steveo knows more than me, and like I said early on, take what I say with a grain of salt because I don't claim expertise, but the above seemed worth mentioning if you build a circuit. (I actually just learned this and why you see this resistor in these circuits through thinking about and researching your question here.)

"You are not adding resistors in parallel across the + and -, this will short out the amp."

Can you explain a bit more about this?

If you look at the schematic of the headphone jack on the 200A, for example, when you plug in the headphones, you're activating an 8ohm resistor (5W) between the signal and ground. My understanding was that this replaces the load of the speakers that the amp is "looking for".

A line-in has a much higher impedance than a headphone, so you may need to provide a load to the amp with a similar resistor between the signal and ground to mimic the load of the headphones.

I guess you're saying that's wrong, but can you say more about why.

By the way, you may be right that 500 ohms is not enough attenuation., though I do see value in a separate control here (esp since we're unsure of a proper value), but it's definitely a thing where YMMV.

The thump may be related to the impedance of the line-in (high) and the "missing" load. I'd be curious if it goes away once he gets a good line-out circuit. If it's not present on the speaks or headphones, I'd hope that's the case. (That said, you may well be right that it's something separate.)



By the way, if you used a potentiometer like that, you'd need something that can handle more power than like 1/2W. Looking at a 200A schematic, it looks like the resistor they have on the headphone out is a 5W. You can get a 5W CTS pot for like $4 or $5. (You could measure and calculate what you'd need, but 5W is a standard value that will cover it, unless the 145 is more of beast than I thought!)


I'm not an expert on the 145, or much of anything in this life, really.

That said, since no one has responded, I'll share some of my non-expert ideas (so you know, listen to me at your own risk).

You could try something like a 500 ohm pot across the signal wire to adjust the level to what you really need.

You may need a resistor around 100 ohms (and a small capacitor like .1uF) bridging the signal and ground. (This would change the impedance of the signal.)

(I can draw a schematic tomorrow if you'd like me to.)

If I were doing this, I'd be tempted to insert a diode to not accidentally send voltage back to the piano accidentally.

I hope that helps.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / 200A potentiometer taper
« on: May 27, 2019, 08:13:30 AM »
This seems like a thing that would be in the service manual, but I can't find it. I also couldn't find the answer on previous forum topic here.

What's the taper on the volume pot (linear or logarithmic/audio)?
What's the taper on the vibrato pot (linear or logarithmic/audio)?

I feel comfortable with my hypothesis that the volume uses an audio taper, but I'm less sure about the vibrato pot.

Thanks as always!


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Old 200A amplifiers
« on: May 14, 2019, 10:13:41 AM »
It seems the business of replacement amplifiers for the Wurlitzer does pretty well, so my question is:

What do people do with their old amps?

I never see them come up on ebay or craigslist.

I am still working on rebuilding my 206A, but as these projects go, it's cost more than I wanted, and my wife (wisely) insists we should spend money wisely and not spend everything on music equipment (so the kids can go to college in a few years or something).

I'll slowly save and get a Warneck amp in the next few years, but for now would just like to add Vibrato to my current amp. (It sounded okay before really. I'll probably replace the caps and be happy.)

The kit from VV is like $110, which may be a fair price (the LDR alone is $25, even if I got all the other parts from Mouser or Digikey), but that's a lot to invest in an old amp when a new VV amp is $275.

But these old amps that get replaced have to be around somewhere right?



The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Location of output jacks on a 200/200A
« on: March 20, 2019, 10:21:32 AM »
I have a quick question for which I couldn't find an answer in other threads, or (surprisingly) an image search on google.

I was curious about the position/placement of the output jacks for the line-out (aux) and headphones. On the retrolinear website, for their amp output board, there's a photo of what seems like an original output plate -- with AUX and PHONES labels.

Where is this on the piano? Is it the bottom left corner (if looking from the top)? That's where my 206A had the headphone jack (photo included for fun). It's both just tight to add a second jack (but could be done, I think), plus I'd like to make it more faithful to original Wurlitzer ideas.

Bottom line: if someone would be kind enough to snap a photo of the inside of a 200A showing the output jacks, I'd be much obliged.



That certainly makes sense and I agree with the principle for sure. Part of the reason I asked is just that I don't have enough experience to know "this is good, but could be much better". In other words, it's fine, but what could I be missing out on. (I was also influenced by the fact that VV sells the whole set.)

To be honest, I've been surprised how good things have looked once taking the thing apart. It's been great fun too (so far, since I haven't broken anything yet. He he!)

I replaced one jack spring (key 64) to see how much more tension the new spring would have compared to the old one. There's a bit of a difference, but it's minimal. I really can't see a wholesale replacement being worth it, because it would be a huge pain as you've said. It does seem like just shrinking/lubricating those action parts is the way to go unless there's a big issue.

Thanks very much for the advice!

My new base is slowly taking shape. I need to cut some holes and slots (for the sustain cable, for example), then I'll be ready to glue it up and paint and cover.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Ultrasonic cleaning of reeds
« on: March 14, 2019, 02:44:55 PM »
Let us know if you try it. You could try it on a spare reed and then expose it to a high concentration of oxygen and see what happens. Are any reeds that spare though? Maybe for science...

This is just my opinion (obviously), but as long as the wires into and out of the transformer are in good shape -- and it's good to check -- I don't see much risk at all in leaving it plugged in while switched off. (Though a transformer without load does consume some power, so if you don't come back to it often, unplugging may be a good idea anyway.) I play mine most days and leave it plugged in.


Hey all,

I just began a 206A rebuilding project, which will include some (somewhat common) alterations.

I wanted to ask some questions to get some more experienced views/opinions before I get too far.

First a few words about what I’m doing:

I have a 206A in generally good mechanical shape, but the base had been damaged in a flood (and the piano is not nice enough to try to keep original cosmetically). After giving up on refurbing the base, I’m building a new one out of MDF. I’m putting the speakers on the rear panel (audience facing). I also want to make the piano removable from the base (i.e. convertible).

Here are some questions:

1.   What’s a good paint to use for the bottom of the piano itself (not the base, but the bottom/keybed? (I’ve seen good info about using vinyl dye for the top, but haven’t seen much about the bottom.)

2.   While the thing is totally apart, I was thinking of replacing all of the jack springs and damper grommets. Any reason to not just go ahead and do this on all the keys?

3.   Should I remove all the reeds and polish that rail? (I know it’s generally recommended to not sand/polish the contact point on the reed itself.) I would be doing this to just make the thing as good as I can, not in order to solve some problem I'm faced with.

4.   Take a look at the attached photo of the damper felts. They’re not exactly lined up nicely. The spacing between the damper arms is also a bit uneven. Is this a problem for any reason (is this just how they came out of the factory, or is this some owner’s handiwork on the felts?) Most of the felts themselves look fine (some are a bit off center as they rest on the reed), but I never really experienced any issues with muting when playing. I’m thinking this isn’t something to worry about, but am I wrong?

5.   Any general tips on the convertible base/removable piano setup? I was definitely going to use threaded inserts and some thumb screws for the bottom. I’ll have to see how things look as the base gets built, but I was curious if anyone has some big thing to be on the lookout for.
Thanks a lot,

I'll post some photos soon as this gets going. (I have kids and a job, but I hope to get this done over the next couple of months.)


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