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Topics - Chi

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Restoration newbie - 1975 MkI Stage
« on: October 17, 2020, 08:11:55 AM »
Hello fellow Rhodes lovers,

Firstly, i'd like to say how glad I am that forums like this exist - a wealth of knowledge and experience here which i'm hoping to draw from.

Long story short - I've had a pretty rough experience sourcing my first Rhodes.  The `professional` tech that I bought from in the UK ended up being a bit of a disaster. It took 4 months longer than he had said and when it turned up it was not in a playable condition  :'(

Despite having been (allegedly) rebuilt from the ground up with new grommets, a miracle mod, playing and sounding beautifully and looking superb with a brand new lid etc. in reality when it arrived the grommets were not replaced, nor was the lid and while I can see the miracle mod has been done there were a dozen or so stuck notes, several keys that double strike, some that cause muting, and a non functioning sustain...along with a buzzing ground hum.

There were many solder splashes and glue globs - in some places causing adjacent keys to rub or be stuck together. It all seemed a bit careless/rushed.  ::)

His response was that I could send it back and find another piano elsewhere or find a tech where I live (Norway) get them to fix it and then sell it for more than I paid (approx $4000) - he would not be paying for the fixes.  ???

I'm really sad that it all happened like this - I had hoped that paying a premium with a pro would go some way to ensuring that I got something in decent condition. At this point and after so long I just want to get this piano into a playable state and forget all about the experience. Sorry about the rant but I kind of needed to let it out a bit.

So, my mission now is to give this piano all the love it needs and deserves - If it's possible, I will do whatever it takes to make her playable. My research so far has led me to believe that the first thing to get right is the keys. Leveling the keys and then setting key-dip being the first steps respectively.

Looking at the keys they do appear to be slightly uneven here and there. The keys in the treble seem to sit slightly lower in the case than the rest.








It looks like the treble keys are about 4mm lower than the bass keys.

The same is true for the key dip with the treble keys being about 4mm more shallow.

I am thinking to shim the treble keys and see if that evens everything out.

More troubling I think will be the sustain. The behavior changes according to the position of the pedal and the length of the rod. When the rod is making good contact with the mechanism inside only some of the dampers are pushed away from the tines. Extending the rod so that the mechanism is floating quite high will let all notes sustain but this also prevents many notes from damping when they should (constant sustain). I have played with this to find a balance but sadly there is always some that will/won't sustain correctly. Looking at the damper combs themselves they appear to be quite uneven so I suspect that they will need fixing/replacing. The tension in each arm varies quite a lot too.






I notice in places that the tines seem quite out of line with the pickups and damper felts. I'm not sure if changing the grommets will help with this.



The double strike chirping and muting problems i'm also not sure about. My initial guess is that the miracle mod may have been done without proper care and might be contributing to this.

Should I begin by removing the miracle mod first and then leveling the keys and setting dip before trying to reinstall the mod again?

Any advice that can be offered would be greatly appreciated. I'm desperately hoping that this instrument can be rescued and made to sing again.










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