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Topics - theseacowexists

For Sale / Hohner Pianet Version II
November 23, 2022, 09:41:17 AM
Seems that any issue I've ever come across with Pianet T pads is that they aren't sticky enough to do the job. I've finally encountered a Pianet with pads that are so sticky that they have trouble leaving the reed! At least in the first octave. They appear to be the pads. They do eventually release, but not as immediately as they should. Repeated key strikes bring it back to normal, but let the key sit for anything more than a few seconds, and the pad will stick on the next strike. Even swapping pads from upper octaves does not change this. I've done the usual procedure of cleaning the reeds with alcohol and the pads with soapy water, and still no difference. They feel extremely sticky to the touch even after washing. The reeds do have a light amount of rust on them, and it doesn't seem to make a difference if the pad rests on a 'clean' or rusty part of the reed. Full disclosure: this Pianet is actually part of a Pianet/Clavinet duo - not that that should make a difference.
This is a new one for me. Been searching the internet to see if anyone else has had this issue, to no avail. Maybe someone here has had this happen to them?

I just fully rebuilt a 200 for a friend of mine. Fresh caps, resistors, new reed bar shield. It sounded great here when he came to pick it up. Clean signal, low noise floor. Until he took it home to his studio and it became a radio. Radio signals coming through as strong as the piano signal. I suggested moving it to a different spot to see if that helps, and it seems that there were some spots in the house that were a little better, but not by much. I took a look at it in person today, and it really was pretty bad. Re-tightening all the ground screws seemed to help, but it also seemed that dang near anything I touched would have a different effect on the noise. Even how close we stood to the piano seemed to affect it. He asked if I could line the lid with copper tape, so we did that and connected it to a ground screw, and that helped a little bit more. So it's more acceptable now, but still noticeable. When he got this thing, it didn't work at all until I rebuilt the amp, so we have no idea if it had this issue before, and the only other place we've heard it working properly without any radio interference was at my place. I did point out that he unfortunately lives less than a quarter mile from some massive radio towers.
The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / 200 Series Transistors
January 24, 2021, 07:36:51 PM
Does anyone know what the original transistors in the 200 amp are? The schematics only give "Wurlitzer Part Numbers" and I can't seem to find the actual specs on the originals or equivalents.
The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / 140B Vibrato Noise
January 09, 2021, 04:15:59 PM
Anyone ever encounter a thumping or clicking noise from the vibrato on a 140B? The noise starts as a clicking noise, and turns into more of a thump when the pot is at 3/4, which is when the vibrato also kicks in. The one I'm working on has both that won't seem to go away. Amp rebuilt, new preamp transistors, grounded socket added, volume and vibrato pots replaced, vibrato bulb replaced with LED/resistor mod from a Vintage Vibe video. The original incandescent lamp was shot when I got the piano (a lug had snapped off from the base of the bulb). I didn't discover that until after I had rebuilt the amp - then I did the LED/resistor mod. Same thing happened before and after that. The only thing that seems to kinda work is grounding lug 3 of the vibrato pot, but that only stops the noise when the pot is fully off.

VV video:
The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / 146b Hot Resistors
January 04, 2021, 09:17:05 AM
Is it normal for the large wattage resistors to get really hot? Specifically #s 13 an 16, 220ohm. I mean like smells-like-a-hot-glue-gun and yikes-ouch-to-the-touch hot. The amp was just rebuilt, so these are brand new resistors, and the voltages on all the transistors check out.
Just wanted to see if anyone else had the same issue and how they solved it. An intact model 206 was brought to me to fix the low volume and have the vibrato knob added. Replacing all the electrolytics did not solve the volume issue and the new vibrato knob did nothing. Seems like the preamp is not getting the voltage that it should - only 8.4V is coming from the emitter and 9V from the base of TR6, almost half less than the 15.5V and 16.5V I should be getting. There's 22V at the collector, which is in the ballpark of 24V, so everything upstream of TR6 should be fine. However, this is causing lower readings at TR1 and TR3 also, which I figure might be affecting the vibrato as well.

Before I go hunting down some replacement transistors, is there anything obvious I'm missing? I might check the resistors around TR6 to see if they're OK, since I did find the two right before the vibrato pot (52 and 34) had almost doubled in resistance.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Another 120 Oddity
August 29, 2020, 01:53:54 PM
The amp in my 120 was potted in wax when I got it. All along the base of it and around the edges. Had to chip it all out to even get the amp out! Even after cleaning, the amp has a nice waxy residue to it - ick. Was that something original to the piano? I'm asking because I'm trying to chase down some hum, and because there's still some wax that remains on the case, I don't think the amp chassis makes perfect contact with the electrostatic paint, which I would think it would need to.
The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Wurlitzer 120 Line Out
August 09, 2020, 12:16:32 PM
Has anyone ever installed one on this model? Recommend for best sound/least obtrusive mod? I was thinking there might be a way to pad down the existing headphone jack, no?
That's not normal, is it?
I just bought brand new parts for a note that was missing from from a Rhodes (#73, the high E). Screws, springs, grommets, tine, tonebar, tuning spring. Put it all together and it produces nothing but a fast PLINK with only a vague sense of any pitch to it. It does this even when the assembly is out of the piano - holding it by the screws and tapping the tine. Did the same test with #72 assembly, that sounds just as good as it does in the piano. I know the high notes can have trouble with sustain but this seems like something else is amiss. Anyone else experience this? Could the tine just be a dud?
Anyone got a Korg Poly 61? We got one a few months ago, and everything works fine except the pitch bend up - it doesn't change the pitch at all. Pitch bend down works and so do the DCO and VCF bends (which are on the Y axis of the joystick. The joystick pots have been cleaned and are connected to the board. We read somewhere on another forum that adjusting the bend up adjustment pot on the board could fix this, but it doesn't work on this one. In fact that trimpot seemed to be busted. Swapped it out for a different one we had laying around of a different value, no luck either.
I'm working on a Wurlitzer 206 for a friend. A previous owner had already chopped it and modded it for an aux output and tremolo control, and those all appear to have been installed and are work correctly. The amp is quite noisy, so I replaced all the e-caps, and that helped a bit, but I've noticed something after looking at the diagrams. Is it possible that the original caps could have been installed backwards? I'm certain the three large filter caps are correct, but it's the small ones I am wondering about. There are three diagrams in the service manual, one undated, one dated June 1971, one dated June 1973. The polarity of all the small caps does not seem to match between all three diagrams. The actual board I'm working on is stamped Jan 4 1973, so it would make sense to me that the June 1971 diagram is the one I should be going off - although the actual caps don't seem to match that diagram, either!

I'm also going to replace some of the more brittle looking resistors, as I know that's helped on my Pianets. Also, C-12 (not an e-cap) appears to have been clipped out at some point - might as well put a new one in.
We finally scored a Rhodes! It's a 1973 Stage 73 model with the Major Key Harmonic Clarifier preamp. It came with everything but the legs. I've spent the last month getting it up to snuff, with new hammer tips and damper felts and the miracle mod. Overall, it plays much nicer than when we got it! I've been learning all about the mechanics of the piano and how to voice it properly, but I've run into a couple things that are either problems, or things I don't full understand yet:

The sustain pedal: Initially, it seemed to me that the pedal took quite a bit of effort to depress in order to get the piano to sustain properly. Through some threads on here, I learned about lubing the pins that the sustain bar hinges on and the shaft that the dowel sits in (did that while I was doing all the other mods). I believe I also read somewhere that the spring that's hooked onto the sustain bar could be taken off so relieve some of that resistance (haven't done that yet). What I've noticed is that after setting up the sustain pedal, after playing it for a few minutes, the rod would start to slip inside of itself, even though the wingnut was tightened all the way. The result is that when the pedal was at it's resting position, the top of the rod was not touching the dowel inside the piano - the pedal had a bit of travel before it engaged the rod. Is that normal? It seems to me that the rod should always be maintaining contact with the dowel. Also, when I do have the rod set up so that it's touching the dowel, the entire piano has a tendency to lift off of the stand that it's on! Again, is that normal? I haven't played many Rhodes, so I don't really have a point of reference.

Tonebar #53 (aka G#5, the final 'twisted' tonebar): The horizontal part tonebar seems to be rubbing against the aluminum bracket that sits between #53 and #54. Can this bracket be removed, or even moved between #54 and #55, where there seems to be a wide enough gap? The gap between #53 and #54 is wide enough, it's just that it is set too close to #53. Is this something that can be solved with new grommets and screws?

Sharp attack on a couple of middle register notes: Middle C and C#, to be exact. Almost a metallic 'clang' when the tines are struck. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the pickup, you can hear it even when the piano is unplugged. I believe they were like this before the new hammer tips.

Hope y'all might be able to help! Thanks!
My Cembalet N has been in storage since April, and when I pulled it out earlier this week, it was noisy as all heck. Specifically a squealing/oscillating sound, accompanied by some random clicks and pops. It's loud enough to be noticeable while playing. I had noticed the squealing noise a couple times before it went into storage, but it was never anywhere near as loud and constant as it is now. Any idea what might cause this? All of the components on the board are new, except for the transistors, rectifier, and Beyer transformer. Also, this happens in any room in the house and with any amp, so it's unlikely that it's interference.
Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Cembalet CF
October 23, 2018, 07:38:09 PM
Hey gang, just got a Hohner Cembalet CF! Not a C, but a CF. Of course, I'm having some issues with the electronics right out of the box (as expected).

It powers up and does nothing but hum - no keyboard signal. Replaced the e-caps and resistors, same deal. The original volume pot had been removed and jumped together. Installing a replacement 250K pot did not make a difference, and does not affect the hum level when turned.

The vibrato bulb is burned out. I have a Cembalet N which does not have a working vibrato bulb, this does not stop the keyboard from working, it just means that I don't have a vibrato option, so I am assuming this one must work the same, and that the dead bulb is not my problem.

There is no voltage at the pickup. My DMM shows continuity between the pickup and the reeds. Even with the preamp unhooked from the pickup and reeds, their hookups on the board still show continuity, so it's not anything with the harp itself. I've never seen any of the other non-Pianet T Hohners behave this way. But this model has a strange coil thing in parallel with the reeds and pickup, which if I'm understanding the schematic correctly, would explain the continuity.

Anyone have experience with these? The Pianet CH is apparently the same design. What's the next thing I should look at here? I'll look closer at them, but the transistors seem to have appropriate voltage readings.

For all six or seven Cembalet owners out there...

I've noticed that my Cembalet produces that annoying static discharge "click" that also plagues the electrostatic Pianets fitted with silicone sticky pads.  It used to be that if I did a gliss of the full keyboard every so often, it would get rid of the clicks while I was playing.  But it was getting to the point where this didn't really help anymore, and my playing was continually accompanied by those annoying clicks.

I already had the keyshafts grounded with copper tape a la Pianet, and while this does reduce the overall noise, it did not eliminate the clicking.  The solution?  The copper brackets which hold the foam (or in my case, felt) dampers need to be grounded as well.  To do this, I simply ran another piece of copper tape along the brackets, and connected it to the shielding of the case.  Problem solved!  Make sure you leave enough tape between each copper bracket, otherwise activating one key might activate it's neighbor as well. 

I want to mention that I did this in preparation for recording samples of the Cembalet with my engineer buddy.  My goal at the moment is to get samples for my Nord so the Cembalet doesn't have to leave the house for gigs.  If there's any interest, I'd be happy to share the samples!
Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Dead Pianet N
July 23, 2018, 03:24:12 PM
Since it had worked wonders on removing the remaining background noise on my Cembalet N, I decided to replace all the resistors on my Pianet N (version II).  I recapped the Pianet when I got it a few months back, but it seemed that the hiss and static was increasing a bit, so I thought I'd be able to take care of it by replacing the reistors.  Well, I plugged it after replacing the resistors to be greeted with a loud hum.  Shut it off, removed the lid, and smelled a distinct burning smell...but no sign of anything burnt.  The only problem seemed to be that the ground pin on the volume pedal socket broke off.  Reconnected that again, turned it on again, this time with the lid off.  Everything working fine.  Replaced the lid.  The hum was back, so I figured that the lid must be shorting something out.  The only thing that looked like it would be touching the lid was the metal case of one of the transistors.  Moved that out of the way, replaced the lid, everything worked fine again.

...Except the vibrato depth was weak.  So I went back in to tweak the vibrato depth level, and as I adjusted it one way, the bulb started to slowly dim out, and the power for the entire Pianet shut off too.  The fuse blew - easily replaced, as I had a direct replacement lying around.  Turned it on again, played well for about 10 seconds, and the bulb began to dim out as the sound faded out to be replaced by a hum.  Shut it off and turned it back on again two more times, same thing.  Although the third time I took the bulb out to see if that would change anything - it didn't.  The fourth time I powered it back up, I got nothing at all. 

After letting it sit for a few minutes, I tried it again.  This time it worked for about a minute before fading out, fading back in, and ultimately fading completely out again.  The unit is still getting power, because the mains light stays on even after the sound disappears.

Any ideas what I should be looking for to bring it back to life?  I guess the moral of today's story is to just deal with the hiss... :-[
I really should stop poking around in these things...

The amp tech who initially replaced all the e-caps when I bought the Pianet L added a small film cap between the zener diode and ground (I think), since he thought it might help with the noise. It didn't really, so at one point I disconnected it by just disconnecting one of the leads from the board.

Well that came back to bite me today when I was poking around trying to see something, the clipped lead of the film cap came into contact with where it had been clipped off, made a tiny spark, and no more sound.  Now, in the past when I've done work on the preamp, sometimes it doesn't work when I turn it back on.  The solution to this has been clipping a lead from the pickup itself to the tip of the output jack.  This was a suggestion from the same amp tech who worked on it, and it worked every time.  But not this time.  Tried it several times, and no sound ever came back to either the speakers or the output. 

The Pianet is definitely getting power, since the transformer buzzes like it always does, and the pickup is getting 140 volts as usual.  But there doesn't seem to be any voltage going to the preamp section.  The irony of this is that the reason I was in there was to draw a diagram of the preamp so that I can try to have a better understanding of how it works!
My new Cembalet N is finally in playable condition!  The only major problem now is the vibrato.  When it's switched on, there's almost no intensity to it - instead there is a light clicking sound (which is more noticeable with the tone switch on 'high'), and the overall volume of the instrument drops just a bit.  The tremolo lightbulb works and the entire board has been recapped with the appropriate caps.  The rate trim pot changes the rate of the clicking, but the intensity trim pot seems to have no effect on the clicking.  This Cembalet seems to have the older version preamp with the germanium transistors.  Has anyone else ever experienced this?  So far I haven't found anything on the boards about a clicking vibrato.
Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Cembalet N Switch
January 30, 2018, 08:34:27 PM
I just got a Cembalet N that I am working on restoring.  It was super noisy when I got it, so I recapped the board and now I'm waiting for new pluckers and dampers to arrive in the mail.  It's a bit less noisy now that it's been recapped, but the switch on the left cheek block is a mystery.  It seems like it should be a tone switch, but the up and down positions are still super noisy and crackly.  Only the middle position sounds pretty clean (the entire instrument seems to have a bit of hum to it).  I can't quite determine where it fits in the schematic either.  I am using the 100mV output and the Cembalet has the original swell pedal.  Anyone have any idea what that switch is for or why those two positions sound like crap?  Thanks!
Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Cembalet Pluckers?
December 07, 2017, 02:04:06 PM
Out of curiosity, who makes and sells replacement Cembalet pluckers?  I've heard that replacements are available, but obviously not through or Ken Rich.
Has anyone else ever had issues with their 'sandwich' style Pianet replacement pads?  I'm having trouble with a brand new set where the foam itself is tearing apart.  Could they be too sticky?  Keyshafts sitting too low?  Just wanted to see if anyone else has had these issues, since I have not read about anything like this happening with brand new pads. 

On a slightly related note, what methods are there to adjust the height of the keyshafts, short of buying the tool?
So I just got a Pianet L.  It wasn't working when I got it, so I got new sticky pads, then had a local amp tech (who just worked on an N) replace some caps, add a 3-prong power cord, replace the dead volume pot, and add the copper shielding tape.  The thing is, the Pianet is still quite noisy - a combination of white noise and mains hum.  It's nowhere near as bad as before the tech worked on it, but it's still quite noticeable, especially when plugging direct into a mixing board or PA (it's better through my Fender Deluxe).  I found that putting a AC ground lift adapter on the 3-prong cord actually reduces some of the lower frequency hum.  Mechanically, everything works perfectly.  Reeds all vibrate as they should, and Ken Rich's sticky pads work fantastic!

My question is this - is this amount of noise typical or acceptable for an older Pianet?  The only other kind I've ever played is a T, so I have no point of reference.  The instrument itself produces an audible buzz from the general area of the keyboard's electronics, and I wonder if this has something to do with the noise in the output.  I can upload some recordings of the noise if that would help.  Thanks!
Can anyone provide insight on what the different model names of the Hohner Pianet were supposed to mean?  Somewhere way back, I was under the impression that N referred to the Natural finish and that T referred to the Tolex finish.  This despite the fact that they were never produced at the same time.  Then I learned of the existence of the original unnamed model, the C, CH, L, LB, and Combo.  The first and last ones are seem self explanatory enough to me.  But what about the others?  It seems unlikely to me that N stands for natural, since all of the other early models have natural wood finishes, and from what I understand, all the models except the Combo came before the N.  I wonder if perhaps the letters stand for German words that are obvious descriptive words for the models, but get lost in the translation.

What are even the differences between the unnamed, C, and CH?  They all seem cosmetically identical to me.  Is it something different internally?  Isn't the N basically the same instrument, only in a slightly smaller case?

The only model name I can make an educated guess on is the LB, with B standing for Battery, since the LB is the battery-powered version of the L.  But of course, what does L stand for?  My guess on that one would be that it stands for Louie, since the L was the one used by the Kingsmen  :P

But seriously, any answers or guesses to these answers would be great to know!

Oh, and I almost forgot about the M - which a suppose stands for Modulator, Hohner's name for the phaser circuit built into the unit.