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Topics - DocWurly

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Hi all!  I just linked two of my extra "placeholder" domain names to specific useful pages on my site, for easy reference. now redirects to the page about finding the production dates of your Wurlitzer Electric Piano. redirects to the page describing every single model of Wurly, in an annoying, difficult-to-use, oversized-for-wordpress spreadsheet format.  (Yes, as some point I will figure out what to do about that.)

Both pages are updated frequently, as new data emerges.

Steve Espinola
Flatbush, Brooklyn

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / My New Wurlitzer Website
« on: June 19, 2018, 02:13:18 PM »
Hi all.  I hope it is not inappropriate to toot my horn here.

I have launched a new website:

It has the Wurlitzer content that was on my old website, but gradually I am uploading blog pages on every Wurlitzer Electric Piano every produced.  Plus, fun vintage ads and other esoterica.  I would love any photos or scans from YOU that can make the site even better.

I repair and tune Wurlitzer Electric Pianos in the greater NYC area.  I make house calls.

An apology:  In my haste to get as much of a resource going as possible, I have sometimes uploaded random Wurly photos from my collection.  Sometimes (often?) I have lost track of my older sources, or my contact info for those sources.  Some of those sources might be YOU or your ebay auctions, from a time before I thought I might be creating a reference site.  So DO NOT HESITATE to call me so that I can either take uncleared material off a page, or (I'd prefer) credit my sources.  While the site functions as my shingle, I also hope it will be a useful resource and reference for all.  I am also always open for corrections to the data I am putting up there.  Assembling these pages has been a Herculean effort, and at times I had to leave some i's undotted and t's uncrossed just to get _something_ up, imperfectly.  Again, Mea Culpas on this.

Resettable fuses are being sold to replace the 1.5 amp glass ones in Wurlitzer amps.  They are spec'd to trip at minimum 1 amp current.  Apparently they can take a max of 4 seconds to trip (according to spec sheet, if I am understanding it correctly).

The glass ones are a pain, as we know.  At the very least, one replaces such blown fuses with an inline fuses setup for easier switching.

But what of these Polyfuse resettable PTC fuses?  I've heard arguments that if your amp is blowing fuses, we don't want the thing reset, because that's a sign of a problem.

That makes sense.  What I am wondering though:  Are these fuses basically safe, assuming you don't keep endlessly resetting them?  Or do they take too long to trip, compared to the glass fast-blowing fuses?

I already have one opinion that I tend to trust, but I'd like to get a roundtable on this one.

I'd long suspected this.  Other examples clearly show a 200-style amp.  And the design isn't THAT modern.

Evidence on Facebook, from

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / The formula for lengths of Wurly reeds.
« on: October 02, 2017, 01:31:29 AM »
So, check this out.

We all know that over the period that Wurlitzers were made, the reeds went through a lot of changes in their grinds, thicknessness, metal formulas used, and overall widths and shapes.

What never changed, to any significant degree, was the lengths of the individual numbered tone-producing reeds.

When you look at ANY Wurli reed bar, there seems to be a very specific and linear scaling to the lengths of reeds 1 through 20, and then a different scaling to reeds 21 through 64.

I wondered if there was any math to it, and tonight I figured it out.

Reed #64, the shortest, highest treble note, is 1 inch long.

Reed #20, the shortest bass note, is 2 inches long.

Reed #1, the longest bass note, is a not terribly convenient 2 and 15/16 inches long.  Why did they pick that?

Here's why: It had to do with the subdivisions they wanted to use. 

They started with a theoretical reed 0, which would have been an Ab.  If that reed is 3 inches long, we then subtract exactly 1/20 of an inch from each following reed.  So reed # 1 is actually 2 19/20 of an inch (that's pretty darn close to 2 15/16).  When we get to #20, we are at 2 inches.

Then, from reed #21 to reed #64, we take off exactly 1/44 of an inch on each successive higher toned reed.  Reed 21 is 1 43/44 inch, reed 22 is 1 42/44, and so on.

If the theory is correct, you get certain places where the reed lengths line up with standard quarter subdivisions of inches.  And indeed, it works. I measured these 8 reeds and they were all spot on.

Reed 5: 2 15/20 = 2 3/4 inches
Reed 10: 2 10/20 = 2 1/2
Reed 15: 2 5/20 = 2 1/4
Reed 20: 2 inches
Reed 31: 1 33/44 = 1 3/4
Reed 42: 1 22/44 = 1 1/2
Reed 53: 1 11/44 = 1 1/4
Reed 64: 1 inch

A perfected reed-cutting chart would have two straight diagonal slopes, one for each range.

Of course, if you cut your reed to the nearest 1/64 (or even 1/16 in the bass)  marking on an inch ruler, you get close enough, as you'll be fine tuning the solder blob anyway.

It's striking is that in this dimension, it's not logarithmic at all.  The various changes in other dimensions compensate for that.  It's remarkable that it works so well.

I've had a Clavinet C for a gazillion years.  I love the thing.  Long ago I replaced the gooey orange hammer tips with tips bought from, and it's worked great ever since.

The keys are starting to stick.  I realize the rubber bushings are rotting.

So, I have two questions:

1) Are these bushings the same as those found in D6s?  Can I use the same replacements?
2) On evidence of DIY videos I am finding, it appears that the keys are different than those found on the later Clavinets.  Can they be removed, to access the bushings?  If so, how?

Dear all,

I am continuing my date-stamping project.  I'd really like to zero in on when the 200 series was abandoned and replaced with the 200A series.

The last date-stamp I have for a 200 is our Paul G's:

# 82911, a black 200 from March 25, 1974. (the ket stamp reads 40325302)

Then we have a 200A from the following year from our man Cinnanon.

# 88659, a black 200A from 8/17/1975 (keystamp 50817197).

So that's a data gap of 5748 numbers.
I know of a 200-era wurly, a 206, with serial number 85367.
Another, (a 106P, so not so typical) with serial number 87733.
and a 200A with serial number  88389.  But no date info on any of these.

I suspect that what we are going to find is that there are no 200A's from before 1975.  But I'd love to confirm it, and finding that sweet spot where one ended and the other started would confirm my theory.

Please help!

Dear all,

I was working on a 700 last summer (console version of a 120), and I found a curious thing:  some shims made out of copper or brass, under the sustain bar and brick., above the reed screws.

They seemed to be serving a couple of related functions, notable when I temporarily neglected to reinstall them.  They stopped up any gaps between the sustain bar and the reed screws.  This meant:

1) All notes under the sustain bar rang equally.  You didn't get any dead notes from certain screws failing to make enough contact with the bar and brick.
2) Some "leaky balloon" electronic whistling was eliminated. Although we associate this sound with poor gaps between reeds and pickups, or dust/dirt there, it appeared that some such whistling was happening due to similar gaps between screw head and sustain bar.

So anyway, I am now working on a 112 and a couple treble notes aren't ringing.  I want some of this foil tape.  Anyone know the correct product to use?  I don't know whether this was copper or brass, and which would be preferable.  Copper, obviously, is super-conductive, brass less so.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Wurly or Wurli? (informal poll)
« on: May 28, 2017, 09:06:54 PM »
I wish I could do this as a poll. Which nickname spelling for Wurlitzer do you prefer?

* Wurli
* Wurly
* Both fine
* Both terrible

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Key easing pliers? (for bushings)
« on: January 11, 2017, 12:37:42 AM »
It seems about time I bought a set of key easing pliers, for pushing the bushings away from front pins and balance pins.  I don't like the metal tool that looks like a wedge--I find it can crack the key. and I don't like using conventional pliers because they aren't parallel at the correct width.

Any tool that anyone likes, that doesn't cost a gazillion dollars, and also fits the specific dimensions of a Wurly key?

I just acquired a very early 140, and worked on another one.  I'm gonna share some things I found, though I probably won't post it all right now... too tired.

Given that the schematics start them at 25001, and the serial number here is 25149.... I think we can assume the one I acquired was the 149th one other words, from the first month or two of production.  Early-ish 1962.  Pretty cool.

It's beat to hell.  It's gonna be a project.

I'm finding some weird stuff with this one.

I am noticing some anomalies in the (date?) stamping stuff, on the 1962-era 140s.  I am not sure what to make of what I'm seeing here.

There is a stamp on the high C key.  Shortly after this keyboard, we start seeing an 8 digit code that means YMMDDxxx.  (xxx is a 3-digit code that we have not decoded.)  But this one doesn't follow that form.  It reads 219018.

I am not sure what to make of that.  one possibility is that the first two digits of the standard code didn't print. (similar things happen throughout the run of Wurlies). In which case this would probably be (20)219xxx, or February 19th. 1962.

I doubt it.  I think it's a different format.  Maybe it means "The 19th week of 1962, or the week of May 7th.

The volume and vib pots read 304-6210.... or the 10th week of 1962.  That's the week of March 10.  Given that the pots usually predate the wood stamps, I suspect that the body is indeed stamped May 1962.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Decoding Wurlitzer date stamps
« on: October 27, 2016, 10:05:20 AM »

Maybe I am late to the party on this one, but I think I just cracked a code on decoding some number stamps on Wurlitizers.

Some stamps are obvious.  You might find one on a the keybed of, say, a 1972 106P that looks like this:
NOV 7 1972

Or on a 111 from May 11, 1955 that looks like this:
05 11 '55

But there are weirder and more mysterious ones....

To be continued....

Dear all,

I just installed Vintage Vibe's damper pads kit into my 112.  I have used this same kit on a 120 and it worked beautifully.  Not so much on this 112, and I don't know whether the problem is the shape/size felts ....or my installation of the felts....or an adjustment of the damper raising bar.

In short, when I depress the pedal, the bass felts lift first, then the middle, then the treble.  I fear that these felts are not sized exactly right for the 112, and this is creating a problem whereby the dampers start out at different heights, and this bar that lifts them is connecting with them at different times.  It would make sense:  The bass dampers are set much further in on the damper hinge, so they _shouldn't_ be the same height if the dampers are supposed to be a uniform height.

It also seems possible that the bar needs shimming....or that the reed bar is too high on the right end.

Anyone run into this?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Lubricating a 112-style pedal?
« on: June 18, 2016, 04:23:03 PM »
I'm dealing with a Wurlitzer 112.  It has that ghastly early pedal design.  The cable seems to be sticking a lot, and I don't know what to do.  Maybe it's kinked and I should just replace the thing, but I'm wondering if it needs to be lubed.

Has anyone used a lube on these cables?  and if so, which one?  I seem to recall somebody mentioned a bike brake lube but I can't find the specifics.


I got a call from an owner of a 206A who said that a couple of the reed screws had been replaced with other screws.  Putting the correct reed screws into those holes was fruitless, as the threads had been stripped.  My inclination is to tell them to replace the reed bar altogether, but I wonder if anyone has figured out another workaround?  I would imagine that tapping in a new chunk of metal, and then drilling in a new hole at the correct perpendicular angle, might be a lot more trouble than it is worth (if not impossible or ineffective).  I'd also imagine that without that magic combo of screw and convex washer, the sound of any reed will be wrong.

Any thoughts?

For Sale / Wurlitzer 207 on ebay
« on: June 02, 2016, 10:01:48 AM »

It doesn't power up.  I am posting because, wow!  I have not seen good pix of a teacher's module, and it is interesting....even a beaten up one like this.

D'y'know who designed the Wurly Solid State amp?

Well, I don't know for sure.  But I just talked to a guy who owns a 140, which he bought when it came out, "around 1963." (which is the correct time-frame.)  According to him, the amp in this was designed by a very young, not-yet famous Bob Moog.

This guy knew Bob Moog in the 60s, and claimed that Moog got in his Wurly at some point and fixed the non-headphone output so that it functioned at a more appropriate level for a powered amp.

Debate on this potential fact is welcome.

One of the main causes of resonating buzzing in a Wurly is a partially separated faceplate.  Do people have a preferred glue for attaching this metal piece to the plastic?

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Press photo, Jul 1954. Model 100 or 110?
« on: November 02, 2015, 11:14:43 AM »
I was just tipped off that someone is selling a photo of Mae Munro on eBay, dated July 1954.  Anyone know if that's a 100 or a 110?  Looks a bit like Fred's 110 but there's a long bracket going to the side, either a handle or a music stand. 

I'm a bit flummoxed by an ongoing problem with Vintage Vibe lubricants evaporating.  This is not intended as any sort of diss on VV.  I think it's an inherent problem with the liquids.  I'm just looking for recommendations on good container fixes.

Specifically the Piano Key Post Lube:

and the fast action remedy lube:

In summary, they evaporate out of their provided plastic containers, even when tightly sealed.

I had containers of these items which hadn't been used, and as I watched, over months, they reduced to half of their original volume.

The rep I talked to was VERY understanding, and sent replacements.  I put the new bottles in sealed glass mason jars.  But, I can still smell what I am assuming is naptha, emanating from them.  And I can see the volume reducing.

I think I am having a similar problem, to a lesser extent, with the Protek I buy.
I just don't use the stuff quickly enough.  and I don't like breathing in the fumes.

Can anyone recommend a good source for small glass containers that will keep this stuff from disappearing?  Thomas scientific only sells in bulk.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / 214A...Unusual grounding issue
« on: September 18, 2015, 10:15:45 AM »
This is a problem that I already "solved," but not in a way I felt good about, and I think more should be done.

It was a 214A in generally excellent condition.  (This is the later standalone classroom model).  But when the grounding wires that connect at either end of the hum shield were disconnected, the Wuritzer made a horrible, sustained 60 khz belch.  Not a minor hum, but the obliterating audio-short-circuit sound.

The simple solution was to keep these wires connected to the reed bar while working on it, but usually that is not essential.  When assembled, it sounds great--no hum, as clean as I've heard one of these sound.  But I am assuming that there is something disconnected in there, and that these two ground wires are compensating for a job that is not being done elsewhere, and that eventually there will be consequences.  Any things I should especially check?  What normally grounds the reed bar in the 200A series, when those 2 wires aren't connected?

For Sale / There's a 200B for sale on Ebay
« on: August 27, 2015, 10:29:00 AM »
I suppose this should be in the "for sale" section, but I am posting it simply because we never see these darn things!!!

[mod] moved to for sale section

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Replacing reed screws? How purist are we?
« on: August 17, 2015, 07:05:48 PM »
I'm just wondering how others feel about this.  If you were going to retune all the reeds anyway by removing them from the harp, would you replace early-period wurly reed screws with the more robust late ones? (I don't mean 110 through far as I know, those all use a different, incompatible screw with a loose washer).

I've mentioned in other threads that, prior to the 140B line or so, there is something iffy about the reed screws.  There may have even been a temporary production defect in the 140A line (there's an official memo about buzzing washers), but the 120-era screw+washer assemblies are quite different from the later screws as found from 140B through the 200A line.  You can visually observe the differences right away:  Washers are thinner, the bolt heads look duller, the tops are flat.  And, they act differently.  Tightening them beyond a certain point tends to make the pitch go flat, not sharp.  In the 120 era, at least, the heads are prone to breaking off, which is a nightmare.

These screws are still available, from Morelocks.  But, other than some addiction to an authentic look, is there are argument in favor of using them?  Do they contribute in any major way to the tone, for example?  (I have not found this to be the case.)

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / zap this, please
« on: August 12, 2015, 05:48:10 PM »
(This thread can be zapped or closed now.  About a repair needed by a client, and he took care of it.)

I posted this topic on August 1, and it was lost in the site crash.  Luckily, at least some of it was preserved on Google!  So here it is, again.

I just worked on a 145A, from somewhere around 1964-5.  (Maybe later in this thread people can help me pinpoint the year).

I had encouraged its owner to buy it (super-super cheap), on the theory that it might be a sort of secret gem, worthy of the same classic status as the slightly later B series.  After all, the tube amp is basically the same as that of the 145B (both have a "145 amp"), and the reeds are at least compatible.  What's the diff?

Well.  There are two rather crucial diffs, from a servicing standpoint.  One is that the superlong dampers, covering the reed screws, are enough of a pain that I found it necessary to remove the whole damper mechanism in the interest of time, as I needed to tune most of the reeds.

The other is the reed screws themselves.  I found them to be terrifying.  We know, from an August 1964 memo, that there was a potential problem with buzzing, cracked washers on the screws in this line.  I found some evidence of this (especially in that 10-note "rectangular bracket" range...which maybe was to combat the buzz??).

But the most terrifying thing about these reed screws is that they don't tighten like the later ones.  Even more than on the 120 screws, tightening them in familiar way makes the pitch drop, not raise.  I never got that comfortable feeling that the screw was getting snug, was telling me "Enough."  One hypothesis I can conjure up for this behavior is that tightening the screw is weakening it to the degree that it is becoming less tight.  And of course, the next step might be for the head to snap off. I don't ever want that to happen again.  (I reported on that harrowing experience, in a 120, in another thread.)  A less scary possibility is that the thinner washer just keeps compressing, perhaps even to the point of inverting, and that something in its changing contact point with the reed is increasing the vibrational area of the reed.  Whatever....I didn't like it.  The owner said that it had seemed to go more out of tune after he transported it from the seller. The reeds didn't jiggle into the pickups, so all I can imagine is that the screws are gradually weakening their grip without the reeds moving.

A little data for the community.

I think, with an adequate makeover, this thing will indeed play like a 145B, and sound like one.  But if i get to work on this further, I will remove all of the screws and replace them with 200-style ones.  (The 145B I've worked on seems to have 200-style screws.)

Here, for those who don't have them, are most of the Wurlitzer "Electronic Piano Notes."  I am missing note #1 and note #24.

I hope I am not stepping on any toes by posting these.  I've collected and recompiled them from various sources.  I've used color versions when possible.  The sizes don't all match up, but I hope your printers can handle that.  Bookmarks explain each page.  In a couple cases, I think the dates are suspect.   (Note 8 is almost certainly from January 1957, even though it says 1956. The lack of chronology of some other notes can be explained by them being updated revisions of earlier notes, as in the case of the second #17.)   

Note #20 has a typo in it.  There is no model 746.  They are talking about 726.

I really appreciate the advice all over this board, which helped me do a good job on my first 120. 

Serial number 16217.  The masking tape on the back of the harp seems to indicate it was being manufactured or checked on November 28, 1958, by "BPS."  (other scribbles seem to show checks being done on 11/22, too).

It came to its current owner painted in this bizarre way, but it certainly indicates that there's a story to it, and I think he likes the quirk of it (I kinda do, too).  As I mentioned elsewhere, the texture of the paint job on the keys is awful. I'm hoping he will strip them back.  If it hadn't been my first one, if there weren't a budget, and if I hadn't had my hands full with its other quirks, I would have insisted on stripping it myself.

I was working on a chopped beige 206A yesterday.  It was in decent shape overall, but I noticed a couple of weirdnesses, which might have been a single issue with the amp. 

One is that, as notes die out, they have a faint but noticeable buzz.  (Not the buzz of a dead fuse...I don't think.  More subtle, like audio not dithering well). 

The other thing, especially strange, is that the whole physical body of the keyboard seems more "alive" than typical.  This is to say, as I tapped all over the thing, or played it, I'd hear much more mechanical noise coming through the speaker than usual. MUCH more.  The resonance was being amplified too much.

It was as if a contact mic were installed in the device.

It's my hunch that there was a loose solder joint somewhere in the preamp or amp which was vibrating.  Has anyone had this experience?

But my other thought was.....what is there WAS a microphone installed, and I just didn't find it?  I've never seen a teacher's model of one of these, and I wonder if it is possible that that's what this was, in spite of its labelling?

Wish I'd taken a picture. It had THREE knobs on it:  The regular volume knob, the "Ensemble/Self/Speaker" knob, and a strange little pot drilled in between the other two, with a small black knob on it.  Neither of the two right knobs seemed activated to do anything.

Any thoughts?

It is gradually dawning on me that, in spite of all the changes from the earliest 110s through the 200a's, there were certain tendencies or consistencies, conceptually, from model to model.

One striking one is that the split point between the bass range and the middle range was always the same:  Between E-20 and F-21.

Every model has several notable design demarcations between these notes.  Here are some examples:

1) In the 112 and 120 models, there is a split here, between the lower pickup harp to the middle pickup harp. (for the record, the split between the middle and upper harp on the these models is between D-42 and Eb-43).

2) I'd love some confirmation of this point, but I believe that on every model of Wurlitzer ever produced, the reeds through E-20 were originally placed with the solder pyramid/tip pointing down, while the rest of the reeds pointed up.  (Often, as on the 120 I am working on, someone later flipped the lowest reeds so they could tune them without removing them from the harp.  It may or may not impact the sound....I'd love to know anyone else's experience.  Since I'm retuning all the notes anyway, I'm going to flip them to the "correct" solder-side-down unless anyone gives me a strong argument against this.  I do worry that the change, after so long, could fatigue the metal.)

3) On the 140/145/720 models, only the first 20 reeds are not interchangeable with the prior 120/700 series.

4a) On the 120, and probably on all models, the sweep or angle of the scale is more dramatic on these low notes; you can see it, looking at the harp. To be precise, if the scaling were the same throughout the keyboard, the free-moving part of the lowest note would be roughly .75 of an inch shorter than it is:  1.75 inches instead of 2.5 inches.  30% shorter.

4b) On the 120, the bass notes have a similar-looking taper to the higher reeds, but the tongue is wider:  it's about 5/32's of an inch to the 4/32 (=1/8) inch of the middle range.  So, the above-mentioned difference in scaling probably relates to the different shape of the tongue here.

5a) On my 200a-era Wurly, the 20 lowest reeds do not have the "chip" in one corner near the screw.  (Janice at Morelock's says this chip merely indicates that they came from a particular factory). 

5b) Each of these 200a bass reeds have a dramatically different and more gradual tapered shape to the middle range:  When viewed from above, the lowest reed has a taper that's basically an inch-long triangle.  The E-20 has a 1-cm triangle taper.  Starting with F-21, the reed narrows with a concave taper far more quickly (and looks more like the mid-range 120 reeds to the naked eye).

5c) in the 200a, there is a leap in scaling between E-20 and F-21.  If you look at the pickup gaps going up the scale, each one is a bit shorter than the one before, but there is a leap to a noticeably shorter gap at F-21.   (Note:  This is more pronounced in the pickups than in the actual reeds.  The gap on E-20 is much wider than on either A-1 or F-21; It's almost as if they were anticipating a longer reed scaling than what was eventually produced....or if they wanted to give extra leeway --either for reed motion, or for sliding this bass reed back and forth for tuning purposes.)

6) When I look at the photos of the 112 I worked on, the opposite seems to be happening at this point (sudden bigger pickup gap at F-21), but it may be a matter of positioning, since the reeds are flipped back to front compared to the 200 series.  Certainly, though, the dampers are positioned differently starting at this note.

7) I've noticed in several discussions of the 112, and found this to be true in my own experience, that there is a major problem at F-21 and the notes directly above it.  The strike point seems to have been designed poorly and the notes don't ring well, if the surrounding notes DO ring well.  (it is possible, as well, that these notes tended to break, and everyone's been using 120 reeds that are especially incompatible at this range).

Further observations, explanations, or debate points welcome.  Also, any strong opinions about whether it matters to have the reeds facing tip-down in this lowest range?

Another question inspired by the 120 Wurlitzer electric piano I am repairing.

Three random reeds in this thing look different from the others.  They have one of the corners behind the reed screw chipped off, instead of flat all the way across.  This, of course, is the common look to a 200 reed.

Is this chip unique to the 200 series reeds, or are there later-manufactured replacement reeds for the 120 that also have the chip in the back?

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