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Messages - james

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The grooved felts always looked like extracted molars to me. I think they were too tall.

Who is responsible for this new product?

The chart with the list of measurements and spring colors was never on the Super Site. I'm glad you were able to share the photo of yours!

Right, that's the visual chart that came with the replacement tine kits. I was talking about the chart in the photo, which gives the specific measurements and mounting spring colors.

Where did the original chart come from?

So in my quest to fix B above middle C, I succeeded in re-gluing the felt to the hammer with contact cement, which seems to have done the job. But the hammer is still hanging way too low!  After swapping parts around to determine the cause, I discovered that the pedestal block for that particular key is 1/16" shorter than the others.  Has anybody else run across this?  I'm 99% sure the keybed is 100% original, so this would have been a manufacturing defect.

The basic problem is that the replacement caps I bought have a 2" L head, as opposed to 1-7/8". I was looking at other options here:

Since Vintage Vibe isn't selling them anymore, I went looking for replacement key caps on my own. I bought a set of white ones that theoretically fit any acoustic piano, but they're off by as much as 1/8" in certain places that you can't easily resize. Does anybody have a reliable source where I can get ones that fit better?

So I decided not to remove the felts from the hammers on my '77 Stage, considering that the felts are very clean along with everything else inside this piano. There's one note, however, where the felt had peeled halfway off and I needed to remove it. The question is, what kind of glue is the best choice for gluing it back on?

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Rhodes one piece key caps
« on: March 26, 2015, 12:55:23 PM »
On a related note, does anybody know a good way to polish the white keys?  I have a handful in the midrange that are slightly cracked but really just need to be recolored.

Does anybody have a remedy for this one aside from removing the harp bracket?

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Re: Phase 90 distortion
« on: January 09, 2015, 11:44:20 AM »
Is the R28 mod the one I want?

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Phase 90 distortion
« on: January 08, 2015, 07:10:50 PM »
Is it normal to get distortion from the MXR Phase 90 when you're playing harmonically complex chords? This is the first time I've ever had the chance to use one, and the results seem pretty dirty...

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / key pedestal lube
« on: December 29, 2014, 03:55:45 PM »
What are the best choices for lubricating the key pedestal felts these days?  I have a 12-year-old can of ACE Hardware silicon spray that's being retired.

So 35 years later, is there a less flammable alternative to naphtha?

I need to take the key pedestal felts off of the hammers in this early '77 Rhodes.  How are people removing them without leaving the sticky residue on the hammer?

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: dead key diagnostics
« on: December 17, 2014, 06:40:39 PM »
A closer look at the key in question...

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: dead key diagnostics
« on: December 01, 2014, 12:27:50 PM »
Thanks, I will try adjusting the damper next.  The bridal strap is OK, the pickup isn't dead and adjusting the escapement didn't help the situation.  It's looking like there are many tines throughout the harp that were replaced along the way and cut too long, all of which have the tuning spring in the middle to compensate.  I will snipping those to a more proper length as I go, but the clang of this one note seems to be the death toll for the tine.  I've got the full Vintage Vibe restoration kit on the way, so we'll see what the new grommets do for it.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / dead key diagnostics
« on: November 28, 2014, 06:39:25 PM »
I've got a B above middle C that is clunking like it needs a new tine, but I'm not really convinced that's the problem.  The symptoms:

* tuning spring is adjusted to be in the center of the tine as opposed to the end (this is also the case with some of its neighbors)
* the note sustains at a low to medium volume but clangs or just goes dead when played harder
* the hammer is resting 1/4" below the other hammers in the piano

This is an early '77 piano with the felts on the underside of the plastic hammers.  Any ideas?

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: removing tines from tonebars
« on: November 07, 2014, 02:18:39 PM »
5/16" is what I use. Maybe I need to get a better socket for my wrench.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: removing tines from tonebars
« on: November 07, 2014, 12:58:33 PM »
So what size socket do you use?  I've been wondering if I'm off by 1/32" or something...

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / removing tines from tonebars
« on: November 07, 2014, 12:26:55 PM »
Does anybody have a reliable method of removing the tine from the tonebar without completely stripping the head of the machine screw, which was machined on tight at the factory?

What's everybody's favorite way to get a dead tine off of the tonebar?  We're talking about the original that was machined on at the factory.  I usually put it in a vise and do my best to crank it off with a 5/16" wrench, but sometimes that ends up stripping the head of the hex screw...

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / 1974 Suitcase 88 pickup rail
« on: July 19, 2014, 05:45:00 PM »
Can anybody explain what the extra wiring is at the end of the pickup rail?

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Staining or Dyeing Tolex
« on: June 21, 2010, 06:45:24 PM »
Before I attempt this myself, has anybody succeed in using a dye or stain on good tolex that is already glued on the piano cabinet?  The dye solution would need to be something that doesn't cause the glue to peel off or the vinyl to melt in the process, so I'm guessing a water-based stain is about the only thing that would work.  I'm sure I'll be spending a while at the art store looking for this, but there are a lot of other crazies on here, so I thought I'd ask around...   :shock:

The quick answer is that the plastic keys have modular plastic guide pins that are too big to fit the wood keys. So no, you can't just get a set of wood keys and swap them in there.

It's in the issue that just showed up in the mail this week.  I don't know when it will be on sale to the public, and since their website is still showing the May cover there are no links yet.  It'll be interesting to see what sort of online content they have to offer for the Alicia Keys article.

Check it. A photo of Alicia Keys' uncomfortable-looking producer surrounded by the "vintage collection". The sparkletop Piano Bass has the harp cover on wrong...must've got it on Ebay...

Plus it's on top of the "rare ARP Electr[on]ic Piano", a.k.a. the infamous and hated Rhodes Electronic Piano Model 3363.  If that thing is the future sound of R&B, maybe we should stop hating it so much and buy them cheap on Ebay! :twisted:

FAQ / How Many Fender Rhodes Pianos Were Built?
« on: May 15, 2010, 01:44:41 AM »
Harold Rhodes estimated that 250,000 pianos (a quarter of a million) were built during the lifetime of production at CBS from 1965 to 1984.  Regarding specific models and eras, all that can be said is that as popularity grew throughout the 1970's, so did demand for the pianos.  We have a better idea of how many of the more obscure models were made, such as the Rhodes Mark IV (one prototype) or the Fender Rhodes Executone (Kenneth Manning states that his is one of 11 total).  As we build the Serial Number Registry here at the Rhodes Super Site, we hope to gain more insight into how many pianos still exist today, which is perhaps the better question to be asking.

For Sale / Flat-Top & Round-Top Harp Covers (73-Key)
« on: March 19, 2010, 01:36:57 AM »
I have 2 harp covers for 73-key pianos standing in the corner of my apartment, currently not in use and in need of homes:

* a Speakeasy Flat-Top (no longer in production) that fits both Mark I's and Mark II's, in which I have already punched holes for the "Seventy-Three" logo

* a Mark I Round-Top that is in the middle of a red sparkle customization (paint necessary to complete the project is included, of course)

At this point I am simply taking offers from anybody willing to pickup in Santa Cruz, CA.  Email me at if you're interested.

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