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Messages - sean

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Pickup Wiring
« on: June 08, 2019, 08:31:16 PM »

This little diagram clearly shows the pickups wired in groups-of-threes:

(On a 73-key piano, the leftmost group is a group-of-four, the rest are groups-of-threes.)


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Pickup Wiring
« on: June 08, 2019, 08:22:14 PM »

The wiring on both pianos is fine.  The top pickup is grounded, well, tied to the tape on each rail, and then connected to the squiggly black wire that runs over to the ground tab of the RCA jack.

A single good pickup will measure about 180Ω when not connected to anything else.

In the piano, the parallel nature of the pickup wiring shows up on the ohm-meter.

I would expect you to put your meter between the front and back terminals on the same pickup.

In a group-of-three, you should get about 60Ω if all three pickups are working,
In a group-of-three, you should get about 90Ω if two pickups are working,
In a group-of-three, you should get about 180Ω if only one pickup is working.
If your meter says OL, infinity, or just blinks at you, then all three pickups are dead.

Use the alligator clip and screwdriver method to determine exactly which pickups in the group are working.  Basically, you bridge across the dead pickups with an alligator clip, so that you can hear the remaining good pickups work.  See or, and, of course, see

Text above copied from


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 200A potentiometer taper
« on: June 04, 2019, 01:07:39 PM »

Why would you think that RetroLinear would sell the wrong pot?  They know their stuff.  Get it from them, then you are done.

Furthermore, they have a telephone number and email - contact them directly.  They will get you the right parts.



I know exactly what you mean.  I have an old Yamaha P-80 (that I still adore).  It has some great voices, and some real dogs.

I am most upset about the harpsichords and the pipe organs.

You sit in front of the instrument, and think wow, they really did a great job with the weighted-graded hammer-like action, and they really did a great job with the multi-sampled grand piano sound, and you can change the soundboard resonance, and it supports half-pedalling on the damper, and four different types of reverb, and all these great expensive features... and then what's with these unuseable voices?  The piano voice is awesome, but really who wants a dull lifeless harpsichord?  Or the merry-go-round calliope organ?  Wait that's supposed to be a pipe organ?

And to move up a model to get better voices is a big jump in price, and that model has a few new good voices - but it still has a bunch of crappy voices added in taking up space.  And then you notice that Yamaha sells crap-quality consumer keyboards with dozens of good voices and the whole General Midi soundset for a quarter of the price of the P45, but they pair the great voices with a toy keyboard action.  ARRRRRGH!!

I think the blame can be pinned on one man:  J.S. Bach.   

I think the harpsichord and the pipe organ appeal to the grandparents of present day musicians.
"Someday, you will be a great musician, like Bach, so your practice keyboard must have a harpsichord and a pipe organ with all the stops pulled out."

Having those two voices might make the instrument useful for a small church, I guess.  And there are probably university music programs all over Japan (and the rest of the world) that require the use of a harpsichord.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase to Stage Conversion
« on: April 30, 2019, 10:00:10 AM »


The CU-473-G boxes are just painted gray at the factory.  The gray finish will probably get pretty scratched up during the process of cutting holes and construction.  I didn't find a durable spray paint that I liked for the top coat, and I expect the box to get scratched over the years of use.  But I bet a spray paint finish would work fine, it survives fine for guitar effects pedals.  Let it dry for days, not just overnight.

I started with the bare metal box, CU-473, and polished and polished and polished it with blue buffing compound, as explained here:

First, you have to clean up the edges of the bottom of the box, and round the corners so they line up with the corners of the box sides.  Then, sand away the major surface imperfections.  If you want a subtle straight grain under the shined surface, you can start with an abrasive wheel in your drill press.  I wasn't able to get a uniform grain pattern using a belt sander, so I stuck with the abrasive wheel.  The polished surface finish takes more time than you can believe, expect it to take days, not hours.  I find that I get sick and tired of the buffing wheel after two hours, so I did my finishes over the course of a week.  I would look at the workpiece, and think "That's good enough, I am done."  Then I would go inside and wash all the buffing wax off, and look at it, and say "Oh crap, it needs more work tomorrow."  Then I would go shower to get all the buffing wax and grit out of my hair.  If you relax and take your time, you will be happy with the outcome. 

The final result isn't perfect, but it is pretty.  It will get scratched, but the scratches don't look too bad.  It will get oxidized and a little bit dull over a few months, but it still looks good.

What ever finish you decide to apply, try it out on the bottom of the box first.  You can even try it on the inside surface of the bottom cover.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase to Stage Conversion
« on: April 29, 2019, 05:58:22 PM »

In the Bud CU-473 box, you won't have any room to put the additional stereo jack.   Plus, a stereo jack will NOT be convenient for recording.  All recording devices will have separate inputs.  On a mixer, you will just use two channels and pan one left, pan the other right.  On a computer interface, same deal.

Your parts list looks fine.  You are paying too much for the 1/4" jacks.  I don't know why, but the stereo jacks are cheaper.  I buy a bunch of them, and when I only want a mono jack, I break off the solder lug and ring contact spring.  They break off cleanly enough.  Get the Switchcraft 12B jacks from Digikey for only $1.99 each.  Digikey SKU SC1094-ND,  (Of course, you could simply leave the ring terminal and spring intact, and just ignore them.  They aren't hurting anyone if not connected.)   

Oh hey!  Mouser sells the mono jack for $1.86, and the stereo jack for $1.95!

I don't like the perfboard that you found, because it has plating on the back side.  I would use a completely bare perfboard.  Remember, you will have 120V AC current on two terminals on the back side of this board!

Looks like Digikey doesn't carry the two perfboard products in my writeup, but they have a vendor called Twin Industries that has a 4" x 5" board made of FR4 that is only $4.50, Twin P/N 7100-45.    Mouser sells this too.

I can't find a board that you don't have to cut to size.

Because of the really awkward pin spacing that the Delta power supply has, you will have to drill.  Only a custom-made board would fit exactly.  Drilling new holes (some only have to be slightly expanded) will take you six seconds.  Okay, maybe a few more, but it is a simple operation.

I like the switch you found.  Looks sweet.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase to Stage Conversion
« on: April 29, 2019, 11:58:35 AM »

I would recommend leaving the separate left and right outputs available.  But if you want a stereo output on a single jack, you could install a third jack (like Switchcraft 12B) with left and right connected to tip and sleeve. 

I think if I did this, I would be worried that someone would plug in a mono cable to the stereo output, and short the output of the right channel of the preamp.  The output ICs in the preamp might survive without a fuss, but I would probably put the 680Ω resistors on the audio outputs just in case.  (These 680Ω resistors are omitted from my power supply designs, but they do appear in Harry&Co's designs.)

I cannot figure out why you would only want a stereo output on a single jack.  Stereo inputs on a single jack would be odd to find on an amp or mixer.  Do you have an amp that has one?

If what you really want is a single output, you can just use one channel from the preamp.  The tremolo would obviously be mono, but oh well, it still sounds musical.  If you mix down the left and right channels into one signal, the tremolo is somewhat less enjoyable anyway.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Suitcase to Stage Conversion
« on: April 28, 2019, 04:44:27 PM »

Here is the process:
1.  Leave the suitcase bottom at home.  Take the piano top with you.  :-)
1a.  Get a sturdy keyboard stand to put the Rhodes on.  Z-fold type is solid and not bouncy.

2.  Get through the gig with no sustain pedal, or get a sustain pedal and pushrod.
Build one of these:

See to build a sustain rod.

Put a wooden dowel on the top end of the rod.
See for the suitcase adapter.

3:  Get a power supply so that you can use the Janus preamp that is in your suitcase piano namerail.
3.a:  If you don't want to buy or build a power supply, just use the "accessory 1" jack as an output, and ignore the preamp.

Build your own power supply: 
Smallest unit:
Battery-powered, or other designs:



Well, it sounds like someone made the main jack be straight from the harp, and the jack where the bass boost knob should be has the volume control inserted.

You could take a few minutes to trace the wires and make a drawing for us, and snap a few photos.

Mark I namerail circuitry should look like this:


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: my rhodes lack legs :(
« on: April 26, 2019, 01:35:50 AM »


NICE!  Looks much better than the ones I made from 3/4-10 threaded rod.

Now I have to try to build a set too.


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: my rhodes lack legs :(
« on: April 09, 2019, 01:59:08 PM »


Vintage vibe has the legs for $175, but is out of stock on the crossbars.  Hmmm...

You can make cheap and nastly legs (emphasis on nasty) using 3/4" threaded rod, total cost $50.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: April 04, 2019, 10:28:40 PM »

pno- do you mean like Kapton tape?


I would drag my Wurly speaker to the local car stereo shops.  But they might not be cheaper than $140 for a pair.

Online, there are lots of cheap 4" x 6" speakers available, a few 4" x 8" too.  Some of them have mounting flanges that look like Swiss cheese, so at least some of the mounting holes should line up.  I would probably just clip the leads to the tweeter on the 2-way and 3-way speakers, and just use the main cone.

Maybe you can't get too fancy, because modern speakers will have a huge magnet assembly that might be a difficult fit.  There is space behind the speaker, but the big magnet might not let the speaker tilt back.  I dunno.  Some 200A pianos have the speaker mounting screws exposed, right?  (My non-A 200 and 206 don't.)  That's why screw location can be important.  You could probably mount a simple circular 4" speaker, and use two existing screw holes and then some precarious bracket to hold the other side of the speaker.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: March 29, 2019, 03:24:37 PM »

BTW, if I were winding my own pickups, I would not install any tape around the windings.  The pickups don't need protection when they are installed in the piano - the top cover keeps the dust off.  The enamelled wire doesn't need protection.  The tape just attracts dust, and slowly turns to a sticky mess. 

If the pickups were going to sit around in a factory environment with sawdust, soot, grit, and dust; then the layer of tape makes sense.

The tape doesn't protect the windings from solder blobs or much of anything anyway.


Buying / Re: WTB: Hohner Pianet-t
« on: March 28, 2019, 04:45:40 PM »

I have a Pianet T.  It plays fine... as best as a Pianet T can, it is not lovable like a Rhodes.

I am just north of DC.

Send me a PM with your contact info.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: March 28, 2019, 02:07:55 AM »

I am so sorry.  I couldn't resist. 


Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 21, 2019, 06:02:11 PM »
I am horrified to learn that you are going to miss out on the 1972 piano.

Tell the guy that you will be back for it, or tell us where it is.


This is where it is on my Wurly 200:


Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Re: CP-70 Power supply
« on: March 21, 2019, 01:44:01 AM »

Twenty years ago, I would have said you must have a linear power supply for any audio gear.  Clearly, that was based on prejudice, bad information, and primitive switching designs. 

However, modern switching power supplies are quiet, clean, light, and efficient.  They are used in all kinds of audio gear today.  Modern switching power supplies don't switch in the audio frequency range, they have effective output filters, and their efficiency is unbeatable.  Get one that is spec'ed correctly for your project, and you will be happy.

Linear power supplies are comparatively bulky, heavy, and electrically inefficient (so they create a lot of waste heat).  But they work, and they aren't ugly expensive.

Make sure you buy the plug adapter with that Mean Well power supply!  The Wisconcin-specific plug adapter is sold separately! 
The MeanWell GE12I18 units are indeed switching power supplies (the only hint on the spec sheet is the hiccup-mode overload protection).

There are cheaper and smaller power supplies (like Triad WSU180-0450 or WSU180-0450-R), but Tim's right - new power supplies have wimpy cables.

If this were my piano, I think I might get rid of the 2-pin XLR connector and replace it with something else.  Three-pin XLR would be cheap and easy, but might cause confusion and mishaps on stage.  Maybe I would leave the original 2-pin XLR, but add a 2.1mmID/5.5mmOD connector nearby (like Switchcraft  721AFMS, or 721A, or one of the similar locking jacks).


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Torn out wood around t-nuts
« on: March 15, 2019, 07:49:43 PM »

Chapter three of the service manual is called Instructions for Disassembly:

It is posted on the Super Site:


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Torn out wood around t-nuts
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:53:32 AM »

Take the action out of the piano.  It is easier than you think.  1973 Rhodes has cheek blocks connected to the keybed, with screws from underneath, right?

I like the idea of routing out a square and gluing in a large block of wood.  Easy to say, might be a pain to do.  But it is easier than replacing the whole bottom of the piano and re-tolexing.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Ultrasonic cleaning of reeds
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:46:58 AM »

The ultrasound won't knock your socks off.  It won't hurt a chemically-plated finish on reeds, tines, tonebar blocks, nor tonebars. 

Ultrasonic cleaners do a very good job of removing grit and loose crud from fine-detail crevices.
The soapy solution used in the tank will remove grease and oil (and any rust-preventative oil as well).

Ultrasonic cleaners will NOT do any serious rust or corrosion removal.  Just the loose stuff will fall off.  It is a great way to get the remaining dusty crud off after wire-brushing or sanding a metal workpiece.



Dang, it!  I was just about to say...                    ...that I was stumped.

Two-dollar part, and the thing comes back to life! 

Great luck finding the fault quickly!


Classic & Modern Fender Rhodes Artists / Re: Mr. Clean (Groove Holmes)
« on: March 07, 2019, 01:21:59 PM »


Pretty amazing. 


Compare your circuitry to the diagrams and photos at


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Volume in Rhodes 72'
« on: March 03, 2019, 09:03:17 PM »

Move the pickups back away from the tines in the bass and midrange, and get all the octaves producing an even volume.

I have tried to fight that octave with EQ, but I can't make it sound right.  Moving the pickups to set musically consistent volume is what you need to do.


Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 03, 2019, 08:51:09 PM »

I don't think the sound of these two pianos will be the big deal between them. 

These two pianos will feel so different under your fingers.

The 1972 piano will have rounded-top white keys, and sharp-cornered black keys.  The 1972 piano will have half-wood hammers and square hammer tips.  The 1972 piano action will probably feel heavy or sluggish compared to the 1978 (miracle mod will fix that). 

The 1978 piano will have nice flat white keys and more rounded black keys.  It might have a lighter-feeling action.

I always paste in this list of features when I see a pre-1973 Rhodes:

These are the major differences that this 1972 piano has from later years:
It will have half-wood hammers with square hammer tips.  Nice.
It will have rounded-top Pratt-Reed fully-skirted white keys.
The black keys will have more angular front edges, rather than more nicely-rounded edges.
It will have the split damper felts that look like tooth roots.
The action will quite likely be heavy or sluggish, so the miracle mod pedestal bump will help.
The key pedestals have their front edge beveled, but this portion does not contact the hammer cam.  Yours might have the marcel curve.
The black rounded lid will be thicker than later years, and feel more like vinyl than styrene.  It is taller than later years.
It still has the old-style small hinges on the back, doesn't it? 
The sustain pedal is the nice old non-painted style with the original shape.  Sweet.
The sustain rod might have Rogers USA molded into the wing nut.
The control plate on the name rail is mounted about two centimeters to the left, so the output jack is about one key lower (it sits over the A instead of Bb)
The piano logos still have Fender branding.
The sides of the case and the lid are not sawed straight, they have the birds-mouth notch so the sides of the piano dip below the cheek blocks before they get to the front of the piano.

However, none of that matters, because you have already been given the correct advice by mvanmanen:  BUY BOTH!

And if you pass on the 1972 piano, you will regret it.  Do not lose out on that one.  The action might turn you off initially, but you will eventually love it.  The 1972 will probably be easier to get that "honk" from hard strikes (and I think that the honk is desirable - nice to have that different tone color, texture, and variety in sound).

If you get both, you can have the 1978 piano to play now, while you do the work on the 1972.  When you are done with the 1972 restoration, you can use it as your main piano while you tear apart the 1978.  If you decide that two pianos are too much for you, you can eventually sell the 1978.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Preamp beat
« on: February 27, 2019, 02:41:14 PM »


You report your problem occurs when the tremolo is ON, so I assume that is the turn-on click from the lamp driver transistors.

The only clear solution to CLICKING that I have seen posted is from 2008, where user Jordan attributed this solution to Sir Steve Woodyard:  Install a 50uf capacitor between the base of the lamp driver 2N3053 transistors and ground.  Positive leg of the cap to the transistor base, and negative leg to ground.  See

I am surprised about the value of the capacitor being so large, and I have never seen anybody post information about implementing this fix.  In fact, I haven't seen any mention of this fix since 2008.  I would expect that adding these capacitors would delay the turn-on of the lamp driver transistors, and possibly change the precious waveform of the ping-pong tremolo.  It might also slightly delay the turn-off of the lamp driver when the tremolo is turned off, as the capacitor has to discharge through the nearby diode to bring the base voltage down to equal the emitter voltage.
I wish I had a Peterson preamp to test with.  Oh well.

In 2006, Fred D posted a comment about bad cable connections contributing to thump:


You have the Super Satellite speakers, not Janus speakers? Right?

Super Satellite would mean you have the Peterson preamp (4-pin) with lamps.  And your power amp is FR-7054 (not FR-7710)? Right?  Your preamp has concentric knobs and is like


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