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Messages - jam88

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I believe it's aluminum, I wouldnt waste the time,effort and money trying to chrome it...especially since nobody will ever see it except you..
It's actually zinc plated steel. There really isn't a way to restore the look of the existing zinc plate, because it would remove the thin 'clear chromate' conversion coating that protects the active zinc plate from corroding in atmosphere. 

In the 1970's, one could find a job-shop plater that could strip and rack-plate one piece for a reasonable cost, but that ship sailed a long time ago. Thank the EPA, OSHA, China and powder coating.

Of course you want the rail to look good. Now days, we own these pianos out of passion. We want them to be perfect, in and out, right? An alternative to replating the rail: Eastwood offers spray paints that replicate different plated finishes. This might be a solution. (Be sure to remove the new coating at grounding points, obviously.)

Finish the rail with a new foil warning label printed on your printer

Decades ago, I bought a 200 from a notable player in New Orleans. The rail was victimized by the NOLA humidity (pictured). I didn't bother restoring it then, but if I owned it now, I'd refinish it.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Parts. Are they available?
« on: September 30, 2021, 06:34:57 PM »
You probably dealt with Schaff Piano Supply every day as a working technician. If you still have standing with Schaff as a professional technician, they can supply all the standard punchings, rail pins, damper felt, bushing felt, key tops etc that are found in Wurlitzers, also tools you may need like capstan wrenches and the famous ‘Schaff 4102 Let-Off  Screwdriver’. 

If you no longer have ‘professional status' with Schaff:  Affleck and Vanda King are distributors for the entire Schaff catalog, and can make everything available at good prices.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Hi I'm New Here!
« on: September 28, 2021, 09:40:11 AM »
If I knew what kind of steel they're made of, I'd give it a shot at making my own.
I understand your comment about wanting to make reeds. I'm a retired mechanical engineer/metallurgist and have owned a number of Wurlitzers, continuously since the 1960's. Before the resurgence of interest in these pianos, I decided to make my own reeds. Identified Wurlitzer's original steel supplier and alloy, plotted the geometries, and pursued the process to shape the reeds that would prevent stress-raising/decarbing/annealing. Wound up making hundreds of reeds of all styles. I considered selling reeds as a cottage industry in my retirement, but decided against complicating my leisure.

I had the advantage of being employed for decades by defense contractors, with access to CMM, solid modeling, FEA, FFT harmonic analysis, metallurgical laboratory, etc. Also, my position gave me enough weight with vendors to source small quantities of the alloy steel from the European steel producer. (I needed pounds, they like to ship TONS.)

So now I have hundreds of reed blanks, sitting on the shelf, both 120-style and 140/200-style. The unit cost was fairly negligible.

Where I'm going with this:
Reed steel is VERY hard. Not easy to effectively shape without serious capital equipment. Unless you have access to industrial processes, I'd advise against trying to make your own, just for a few reeds.

When you take this deep a dive into reeds, you begin to discover many, many things that Wurlitzer got wrong WRT reed longevity :'(.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Hi I'm New Here!
« on: September 28, 2021, 08:14:37 AM »
Yep VV reeds are expensive, but there when you need 'em.

Check Ebay. Someone usually has NOS reeds ror less. Right now, someone has NOS reeds for $7.50 + $3.25 shipping.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Hi I'm New Here!
« on: September 27, 2021, 01:47:20 PM »
Or, if you have a spare #21-#41 reed, it can be used for #42 by shortening it to fit (diagonal cutters, bench grinder or whatever) then adding or removing solder and shaping the solder until it is in tune.

It would be slightly shorter than your installed #41 reed. As described here, the #42 should be about 1/20" shorter than the #41.

You'll find that Steve Espinola ('paleophone' & 'Doc Wurly') and Jon Borducci ('Tropical Fish') are great resources.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Just bought a 120...
« on: June 14, 2021, 01:48:47 PM »
Here's another original black 120.

Serial number 8755 is in the first 5% of Model 120 serial numbers--aligns with Steve's 'first year'  observation.

As the mahogany models have a brown pebble-grained film on the aluminum cover, this has a black pebble-grained film on the cover.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Identify this Wurlitzer
« on: January 25, 2021, 04:18:35 PM »
It's a 720 or 726(?)--

Hey Alan Lenhoff, that's Joey Dosik, from Ann Arbor's own Vulfpeck and My Dear Disco!!

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 2 Questions about Wurlitzer 206
« on: December 07, 2020, 10:37:20 AM »
The pedal connection on a 206 is just like on a 200. Once you remove the the speaker cabinet and 206 pedal linkage, the threaded damper rod (identical to the 200) remains. A standard (or aftermarket) cable-type pedal can be used.

I'd opt for satin. The gloss looks unrealistically shiny.

Be careful sanding so that you don't remove too much of the texture in areas. Yeah, speaking from experience here :(

The plastic tops are ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), vacuum formed from Royalite brand sheet. ABS accepts solvent-borne paint very well, unlike polyethylene and polypropylene that paint won't stick to, or PMMA & polycarbonate that are crazed by some solvents. There is a ton of misinformation and generalizations about painting 'plastic' out there...

There's a lot of low end...I mean that complex harmonic content,
Fact is, with Wurlitzers, there really ISN'T complex harmonic content, particularly in the middle registers.

The 200A series(including 206A) uses thicker reeds than the 140s and non A 200s.

Is this just more mythology? Or can someone actually document dimensional differences between 200 and 200A reeds?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 120 Line Out
« on: August 11, 2020, 07:02:42 AM »
I mic'ed the speaker...

Heck yeah. It works for this guy--

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 120 Line Out
« on: August 09, 2020, 12:56:43 PM »
Least obtrusive... Headphone jack to ART ZDirect DI box to Danelectro Tuna Melt Tremolo to amp or board. About 70 bucks total, no soldering haha

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
« on: August 08, 2020, 09:10:15 AM »
... late '59 120...

Reed bar spacer mystery--
Our pianos were made about the same time. Does your piano have wooden spacers at each end under the reed bar?

Mine does. I've shown this picture before, the spacers are about 1/4" thick, which is the same as the damper spacers on 39-54. My spacers are loose, not glued to the reed bar mounting blocks that are part of the piano case, and not coated with black shielding paint.

Has anyone else seen spacers like this?

I believe these spacers are standard from the factory, because
   --This extra elevation is necessary to locate the reeds relative to the hammers and dampers
   --I doubt that the piano had been modified before I bought it in 1967.
   --The spacers look 'manufactured', not like something a tech would make
   --The spacers are made of blockboard, not plywood or solid wood. Unusual material, but common to Wurlitzer. The keybed of the 120's case is made from 1/2" blockboard.

Speaking of blockboard, a little off-topic, but the construction of the 120 cases is really solid. They're NOT 'particle board'. If you've never seen one stripped: they are cold-molded plywood on the blockboard base, screwed together with tons of c'sunk #10 wood screws, filled and sanded before the application of the awesome ;) Zolatone.


The foam idea is neat, but how do you regulate the dip? Do you have standard paper/ cardboard punchings under the foam?
Steveo is right, the first most important tool to have with a 120 is the letoff tool. There is a guy on ebay that has the perfect tool at a good price ;-) This tool can be hard to find, otherwise.

As far as the key dip: the thickness of the compressed foam is negligible. It doesn't really affect the key dip. The keys COULD be shimmed in the traditional manner, but in the 53 years I've owned this piano, none of the white keys were ever shimmed for key dip. If there were a fraction of a millimeter difference from one key to another, I'd never know!

The foam definitely removes the 'hard as a piece of wood' feel from the action. (This isn't as necessary on the black keys, because the player has significantly less mechanical advantage due to the shorter lever arm length of the black keys.)


Just to add a little to what Steveo said...
The black keys don't have front rail punchings either; they have little felt blocks ("Sharp Stop Felt") on the underside of each sharp key. (See illustration)  Over time, this felt can get pretty compressed from smacking the small area of the flathead screw. I took strips of soft felt and laid them over the screw heads, located by the front rail pins. That felt much better.

On the subject, the action of the 120 was very light and abrupt, like riding a bicycle over a curb. So, rather than trying to weight the keys, I tried putting light foam blocks under the white-keys, over the front rail pins, to provide progressive key resistance. Using these foam blocks, the touchweight of the white keys is now just a little over 50g. Pretty easy to set up--if the weight is too high, just trim a little foam off. If you trim too much off, use another block. 


200A ...a slightly thicker reed on these...   

Does anyone have the details on the change in reed thickness between the 200 and 200A?
     --Which reed numbers were changed?
     --What were the thicknesses before and after the change?

The OP posted this (upper) picture...

For those that might have missed it, sadly, Annie Glenn passed away last week from Covid 19 at the age of 100.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Is this a Wurlitzer?
« on: May 24, 2020, 11:15:12 AM »
In the intro to Aretha Franklin's 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters', is that a tube Wurlitzer, maybe a 120? Or is it a Pianet or something? My ears aren't that good anymore.

I think she used a 120 much earlier, in 'Soul Serenade', right? But it was mostly buried in the mix.

and then... what does it mean if a serial number has a "P" on the end?  I've only seen this on two 112A's, #7006P and #7200.
Yeah, another mystery. I thought it meant 'Pratt-Read' action, maybe not.

In my database:
     --NO 112's have a 'P' in the serial number,
     --ALL 112A's have a 'P' in the serial number.
     --Highest 112 s/n I have is 6540.
     --Lowest 112A s/n is 4954P

So there were at least ~1500 numbers that overlapped with or without 'P'.

I've got that 7200P in my collection, too! It' the highest 112A I have, before the 120's start at ~8000.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Dating a Wurlitzer
« on: December 10, 2019, 08:07:24 AM »
Are you sure it's 813 and not 831?

Oops, it's '831'. The '939' lines up with the 1959 date on the rectfier tube. Thanks again, DocWurly!

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Dating a Wurlitzer
« on: November 26, 2019, 08:42:02 PM »
...The most surefire way to date this thing, given all the other mysteries, is by looking on the tubes in the amp.  If any of them are the originals, the years and weeks of year will be on those tubes.  The transformer might have a date code on it, too...

You’re right! PAYDIRT! Thanks, DocWurly. The (original?) Wurlitzer-labeled GE rectifier tube is dated 43rd week of 1959.

So between (1) the rectifier tube’s date code, (2) the assumption of a serial number around 20700, and (3) an optimistic interpretation of the ink stamps on the keys, maybe the piano is early to mid 1960? 

The output transformer has two row of numbers neatly pressed into the metal:
Any idea what these numbers mean?

 (FWIW, the RCA 6V6’s are date code ‘AT’ [Sept 65], so guess these are replacement tubes installed around 1965-66.)   

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Dating a Wurlitzer
« on: November 16, 2019, 10:33:19 AM »
Threads on this topic:
  ...With the 120 and 700, the most consistent dating I've found is a piece of handwritten masking tape hidden on the back of the reed bar.  There may be other stamps on the wood or electronics (esp speakers) in certain cases...

Hi Guys, can you help?

I’m trying to date my Model 120, and approximate the serial number.  I’ve owned my 120 for 52 years. Many years ago, the serial number plate went AWOL.

There are some numbers stamped here and there. (See pictures)—

Key #1 has a faint stamp that appears to be “2  560  20”, but could be “2  569  20”—Thoughts?

Key #3 is stamped “[C]OMPO”, anybody know what this means?

Key #57 has a stamp on the underside. Using some imagination, it LOOKS like a 1960 date stamp. The stamp style is like the date stamp in the attached 112 picture. Thoughts?

(Key #4 has a Pratt-Read [not Wurlitzer] patent number; this number also stamped on the action rail. The patent was issued Dec 30, 1958, so I guess the action was shipped from Pratt-Read no earlier than January 1959.)

Ink stamp on back of the speaker “600141”—does that mean anything?

Here’s what I DO know about my piano: it is a ‘later’ 120, that had the...
  --Painted lid, not textured film
  --Simple (not the ornate) Wurlitzer decal
  --Incandescent (not neon) lamp
  --Two-hole (not four-hole) nameplate--Does anybody know the highest serial number that used the four-hole plate, or the lowest S/N with the two-hole plate?
  --Amplifier S/N 18628. I seem to remember that the amp serial number about 2000 higher or lower than the S/N on the piano’s nameplate. Do any of you know this spread on YOUR 120’s or 700’s?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurli sustain pedal issue
« on: October 18, 2019, 09:11:36 AM »
Alan, totally off topic-- Thanks, belatedly, for all your great work with the Michigan Daily. It was an interesting time to be in Ann Arbor. Great music!

(From Bob, retired in Traverse City)

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 700 help
« on: October 18, 2019, 08:17:56 AM »
I'm pretty sure that some were made without those wood spacers, I've seen a few without them...
Here are some damper observations from my 120.

My 120 has the damper spacers only on keys #39 and above. I assume it never had spacers on #1 thru #38. These spacers are about .250” x 250” x damper arm width.

The reed bar is spaced up with a wooden shim on each end. I presume this was from the factory. These shims are made from 6mm blockboard (NOT plywood). Have any of you seen these shims on 120’s or 700’s?

I bought this piano, S/N ~16500, in 1967, and assume it was original and unmolested when I bought it. It was like new, in the home of a pastor. It had the green foam dampers in it then.

Over the years, I’ve replaced the dampers a few times, always using regular piano damper felt from Schaff. Last time, on the 1-20 keys I used the vee-type single-string felts that are about 9/16” high overall (Schaff #1535).

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: My $20 Wurlitzer bench
« on: December 01, 2018, 07:43:51 AM »
Great bench! Hey, by any chance are the legs stamped 'DECAR PLASTIC CORPORATION'?

If so, that would be a fun connection to Wurlies, since Decar made the legs for the first 200's. They were primarily a manufacturer of laminated "plastic school furniture tops". (1212 N. Central Park Avenue, Chicago 51, Illinois)


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 206a - To chop or not to chop?
« on: November 03, 2018, 10:25:31 AM »
...I'd love to have it more portable to take out...

This begs the question: How many of us actually take our Wurlitzers out to gig?  (This might be heresy, but) I'm happy to just take the Nord Electro. I don't think anybody in the audience cares.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 206a - To chop or not to chop?
« on: November 03, 2018, 10:17:45 AM »
I agree with cinnanon, chop but keep the parts.

I don't have the speaker cabinet for my 206, but I stashed the original "Student Electronic Piano" faceplate.

I bought my 206 from Chris Tuttle, who was Jewel's keyboard player at the time. Another 'brush with fame' haha,

Without the speaker attached, the 206 is easy to store.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: My New Wurlitzer Website
« on: June 29, 2018, 09:26:40 PM »
I agree with you guys, for nearly fifty years I assumed that it was a 120 on 'I Can't Seem to Make You Mine' and 'Pushin' Too Hard'. But thru the wonders of the internet, we see Daryl Hooper with a Wurly with the 140-type case, as you note.

Does a 145 with a tube amp sound more like a 120?

Jason M

Here's our problem. It's never good enough... When I was a kid playing in a band, if the keyboard worked at all, that was good enough. An old Wurli or Hammond? If it plays, good enough... Sometimes good is better than best.

Having said that, I'm not going to stop reading and asking for help here.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Signal too hot for pedals
« on: April 16, 2018, 05:17:46 PM »
Neither my 120 or my 206 chop have an aux out. I play them out of the piano amp into a DI box, either a ProCo CB-1 or ART ZDirect 1 ($29 of brilliance!) Knocks the signal down for pedals/amp or directly into the board.

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