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Messages - sean

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Wow.  That's awesome.  The whole row of rewound pickups looks so pretty!

Was the turn counting device something as simple as the $15 counters from Amazon?

Like ??

I never noticed them before, now I wanna buy one!  I wonder if I saved all my dead pickups downstairs.  Hmmm... anyway -

Congrats.  Piano looks great.



OH!  I just noticed

That explains the jumper.

Since you installed an IC socket for A2 (the op amp in the oscillator), why not try a new LM1458?

Also, have you been able to test the LDRs?



No tremolo. 

The transistor is missing and the connections for emitter and collector are jumpered together.   And also no R26.  Hmmm...   Why?  Are the LDRs healthy?

Or has this been resolved since January?


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: How good is the Bump Mod?
« on: April 01, 2021, 04:56:02 PM »

This is very cool!

When you get the bugs worked out for the full range of the piano,  I think I will want to buy a few sets of 73! 

There may have to be a minor adjustment for later key pedestals that have a factory "bump" implemented as a raised lip on the front of the pedestal.  But that would be a quick change to the drawing.

Hmmm... if the STL file were available online, this would easily justify the purchase cost of a 3D printer.



I always jump up and down about YOU MUST move the balance rail to the FRONT position.  I am surprised that you don't like it better than the back slot.

In my 1983 Rhodes (Suitcase top), the action was mushy and yucky with the balance rail in the back slot.  I am pissed that the factory chose to put it there. 

If you move the balance rail to the front position, the keysticks pivot in a location more like the wooden-key Rhodes pianos.  It made a world of difference in the playability and lovability of my plastic-keyed Rhodes.

Now, let's be clear here:  the plastic-key action still sucks in comparison to well-adjusted wooden-keyed Rhodes actions.  The plastic-key key bounce is hilarious, the clickety-clackety noise is impressive.  The action is still mushy.  It is like each key is a little too lazy to throw the hammers up with authority. 

It takes a few nights of introspection and 12-step acceptance, but you can eventually get comfortable with the plastic-key Rhodes.  Yes, it has a very unique action.  Yes, it has hateful damper felts installed by the factory.  But it has that cool all-black name rail!  AND IT SOUNDS LIKE A RHODES!!

So I love my 1983 Plastic-Key Rhodes.


Dear Lydia,

You can move the harp any way you want, but it won't change the relationship between the key pedestal and the hammer cam... you mean that you want to move the action rail.  This won't be fun.  You can pull the keyframe and action out of the piano, and then you can get to the screws that hold the action rail from the underside.  There might be some slop in the holes, but probably not.  To make a real correction, you can either enlarge the holes in the keyframe, or re-drill new holes an inch to either side.  This is not too hard to do because the 1973 piano has a wooden action rail.  Finding the right position is the hard part.  If there are shims between the keyframe and the action rail, mark their position before you remove them.

It should be obvious that moving the action rail forward or backward will affect the feel of the action.

Don't push your keys into "aftertouch" - all you are doing is trying to break the flanges on the hammer comb that hold the hammers in place, or break the bumps off the hammer that hold it into the hammer flange.

Now, to be honest, I don't think I understand what you are trying to describe.

On my dear departed 1973 Fender Rhodes, the hammer cams did not come close to the front edge of the key pedestals.  They didn't touch the bevelled front edge of the key pedestal.  I always wanted to move the action rail, so that the keysticks would have a bit more leverage on the hammers, and lighten the action, but I stupidly sold the piano.  I still regret it.  Anyway, it is not obvious which direction would result in lighter action:  move the action rail forward, and the keysticks have more mechanical advantage; but the contact place on the hammer cam is closer to the pivot.  Maybe moving the rail way back, so that the pedestals contact the hammer cams further from the pivot would work.   Alas... I never got to test this out.

Service Manual:
See chapter 2, 3, and 4:

It is especially painful that nowhere in the manual does it tell us any method for precisely locating the action rail in relation to the balance rail, nor any spec for the front-to-back alignment of the hammer cams with the key pedestals.



I specifically held back judgement, because I agree - the Rhodes sounds good.



Oh, I should add that the hole in the bottom of my suitcase piano for the sustain rod may be in a different place than on the stage piano.  I got sick of the dust and spiderwebs in the basement, so I did not double check this.  However, I will soon.  I think the suitcase sustain rod hole is even closer to the back edge of the piano, and maybe a half inch closer to the right side of the piano.


Steve's Idea of just making a dummy box to support the Rhodes would save a ton of money.

Anyway, here is where the leg mounts are on the bottom of my 1979 Mark I Stage 73.

I measured the locations of the sphinx glides on my 1983 Mark II suitcase top, but they seem to be in haphazard locations.  I can't believe they are correct.  Please tell us where the shpinx glides are on your suitcase top.

The pdf attached prints out better, and looks better if you zoom in on the drawing (you can see the LibreOffice pdf export error specks and also the Phillips screws).



Does this noise also show up when you depress the sustain pedal?

Is the sustain bar grounded?  On Mark I pianos with wooden harp supports it needs a little ground wire.

Is the RCA jack at the back left of the harp excessively corroded?  If it has a layer of insulating oxide, you could be starting to get "my Rhodes is an antenna" noise.

Are all the grounds on the harp frame clean and tight?  Check the lock-washer solder terminals, the tape folded over to the underside of the pickup rail, etc.

Are your 1/4" jacks on the front of the piano clean?  Does the noise go away when you use a guitar cable to short between accessory 1 and accessory 2?

Does the noise persist when you bypass the preamp by plugging an RCA-to-amp cable directly into the RCA jack on the harp?

If you stick your fingers in your ears, can you still hear the noise?

One of these will probably work.



He wants the whole rail -

They show out of stock at VV, but you should pick up the phone and call vintagevibe, retrolinear, avionkeys, CAE, Ken Rich, and everyone else who might have parts.



Very cool idea.  Much more expensive than a keyboard stand.

VintageVibe wants $289 for legs and crossbars, $80 for four leg mounts, and $42 dollars for the crossbar mounting plate!  Ouch!

I believe that the leg mounts and leg brace mounting plate are separated by the exact same distances as they are on a 73-key piano - because the cross braces have to fit.  (I've got a two 73's downstars that I can measure for you - stay tuned.)  See the attached image (I love the distortion that makes the piano look curved).  The body of the 88 sticks out about 6.5" more on each side than it does on the a 73.

You will also need the suitcase adapter for the sustain pushrod -

Years ago, I was in a similar situation - I have two legless Rhodes.  On the one that has leg mounts, I made cheapo legs using 3/4"-10TPI threaded rod without crossbars.  They look okay, with an industrial flavor.  Not living room quality, but fine for the basement.

The other Rhodes got a stand made from a drywall installer's platform, like  I removed the rubber feet, then extended the legs with oak 1x2, and re-installed the rubber feet on the wood extensions.  You need a piece of carpet or wood on the top to keep the platform from scratching up the underside of the Rhodes.  It is rock solid, very portable, and quick to set up.  This keyboard stand is definitely not living-room-appropriate.

Need a power supply for your new Rhodes?  See and
Sustain pedal and rod?  See
5-pin XLR cable?  See



I wouldn't give you any discount at all for living far away from me.  The price is the price at my front door.

Higher resolution and better-focused photos would help.  You can hear either piano play through space-age technology - the telephone.  You could probably also arrange a facetime or zoom connection with the seller.  Anyway...

The first Rhodes, the 1976 Mark 1, has the wrong name rail logo for the year stamped on the harp, and it is missing the control panel. 
I hate the knobs that are on it.  New control panel:

The legs being disassembled is very worrysome to me.  The rubber feet are not the right ones.  They might be missing the couplers:  Are the leg mounts on the underside of the piano secure and undamaged?

You should ask exactly what work was performed five years ago.  The damper felts look new, and that is great.  I assume the grommets were replaced as well.  Were the hammer tips replaced too?  Where is the leg brace knob?  It looks clean inside, but the tolex looks worn.  I wonder if there are more scars that are not shown.  Are the felts on the hammer cams or on the pedestals?  Hopefully they were moved to the key pedestals five years ago.  Where is the top lid?  Does it have the top lid? 
Is that a crack or a shadow on the tip of the G and A keys just to the right of the volume knob?

If the felts are on the key pedestals, the hammer tips are new(ish), it has the top lid, and there are no unfortunate problems with the tolex, this Rhodes is probably worth more than $2000 - but the seller sets the price.  It is complete and ready to play.  It looks worth owning.

The Mark II needs some love and repair.  It obviously needs new grommets.  You will not be able to easily repair the damage that the plant pots have made in the lid.  Thats a shame.  I love the tape on the side of the harp brackets.  See instead.  The damper felts look good.

The numbering on the tone bars doesn't look right to me, and the scribbled serial number makes me think that the tonebar rail is a replacement.  The Mark II tonebars should be stamped from 8 to 80, and include note names.  So the tonebars are from a much older Mark I piano.  Maybe the whole harp is a donor.  Maybe this was a white-taped pickup piano originally, and someone swapped the harp for that reason.  The tolex looks rough, so I would fear other blemishes.

Is that a camera problem or are the E and F keyfronts melted (an 11th above middle C)?

The keys don't appear to be level; that is a hint of heavy play (as is all the crud in the piano).  The balance rail felts and punchings might need to be replaced.  On heavily-played pianos, I worry about the hammer flanges.

I assume that the keysticks are wood, but I cannot see them in any of the photos.  Again, the wooden top to the case is not shown.  This piano excites me a lot less than the Mark I noted above.

Anybody agree with me?  Anybody have other strong feelings worth posting?




The brand new wire will be insulated with a thin layer of polyurethane.  You can scrape off the coating with a razor blade or pocket knife if you want to test or play with it.  However, when you want to solder it to the pickup terminals, just wrap it around the terminals, and the solder will melt through the polyurethane to make the connection.




You are doing the right thing.  However, this does not mean you are not crazy.   ;)     

GrooveMonkey has a good pickup winding video -

Hey, does anybody have a good source for BRAIDED tinned wire that would be used between the pickups?  The vintage vibe stuff isn't braided, that's fine, but I want some braided wire.  Is the stuff marketed to lamp making the right stuff (if I get 18AWG tinned copper braid, that should be the right stuff, right?)?

This is the closest braid I can find, but I don't want to buy 1000 feet:
Maybe they will sell in smaller lengths.  I also would prefer a round briad.

I wish I could just walk in to RadioShack or Heathkit and find it.

Sean OG


37AWG Magnet Wire?  Bell wire? Pickup wire?  Enamelled wire?

Amazon has three miles of it for thirty bucks:

You can get it from what appears to be the factory's website:

Digikey Sells Remington Wire too.  Get the five pounder!  You're gonna want 24 kilometers of wire!  Do it!  HA!


Buying / Re: Looking for Rhodes Bass Pre-Cbs!
« on: February 18, 2021, 08:32:13 PM »

Pre-CBS means pre-1965.  Hmmm...  Before goldtop before sparkletop...  I cannot imagine how rare this piano bass would be.


Did you recently win the lottery?


Buying / Re: Looking for Rhodes Bass Pre-Cbs!
« on: February 18, 2021, 08:25:46 PM »


Other Keyboards & Software Synths / Re: Homemade electric piano
« on: February 15, 2021, 10:00:41 PM »

Putain de cool!

I like it.


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer picking up radio stations
« on: February 13, 2021, 09:36:54 PM »

The smaller the holes, the more effective.   I mean that the minimum frequency that can penetrate the holes is related to hole size.
Smaller holes provide better sheilding - more low RF gets blocked.  If you want to block very high frequency EM waves, you need tiny holes.

Chicken wire vs. Aluminum foil:

Ungrounded Chicken wire:

and a better discussion:


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: DIY £20 Wurlitzer Pedal
« on: February 13, 2021, 09:06:26 PM »

This is fabulous!  ...and abnormally cool.

Is the PLA pedal lever really stiff enough?  Wow.

Excellent idea.  Excellently executed.

I have always thought that the Wurly pedal sits up too high.  Could you re-do the drawings to get the lever an inch lower?  I mean just delete the bottom inch of the green housing.  Green?  Why Green?



The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer picking up radio stations
« on: February 13, 2021, 08:59:49 PM »
Build a small Faraday cage with chicken wire.

No.  I am being serious.

Basically build a small hut with a wood frame; cover it with chicken wire for walls, floor, and ceiling.  Yes, you need a door.  Ground the chicken wire, and you should be radio isolated.  I have worked inside one for audio diagnostic and repair work, and it works.

If it works, then tear down the drywall, put up chicken wire, and re-hang the wallboard.   Ha.  Not serious about that part.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Power down when vibrato switched on
« on: February 08, 2021, 01:20:45 AM »


Why don't you replace the op amp in the oscillator?


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Tolex question
« on: January 28, 2021, 09:16:14 AM »

Glue sticks to paint.

If you feel like painting the inside and outside, I think you will be fine.


There are two ways I think that thick backrail felt could be done:

Carve a groove in the case for the felt with a router.  (For the plastic-key Rhodes that don't have a keybed.)


Install the thick felt, and sand down the back end of the keysticks to compensate.

I have had the courage to test neither.



The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Mark 2 difficulties
« on: January 19, 2021, 01:15:57 PM »
First, slow down, breathe... take a pause, relax.  (although not in all caps, you sound out of breath)
You have come to the right place.  If we can't help you, there are Rhodes techs in LA that will chime in.

I assume you have a seventy-three key Mark II stage piano.  Is this correct?  It looks like this:

The stage piano does not have a power supply or amplifier beneath it.  Just a piano top on four legs.  The Stage Piano will have only one 1/4" jack on the face panel... oh, I forgot the obvious... It will have the words "Stage Piano" on the name rail.  Ha.

[If your piano has a built-in preamp, then you have either a Rhodes Janus Piano (missing the amp), or you have a Suitcase model Rhodes (also missing the amplifier base).  These two model pianos require a power supply for the internal preamp.]

I will assume you have a STAGE PIANO.

In a perfect world, if you plug a guitar cable from the output of the Rhodes (deceptively marked "Input") to the input of your guitar amp, you will get music.  If you don't, there are a few things that could be wrong, but it is almost always this: some of the pickups in the piano are dead.  If there are three dead pickups in a row (a whole group-of-three is dead), you get no output from the Rhodes.

(There are other things that could be wrong too:  maybe the RCA jack is corroded, maybe the cable from the RCA jack is unplugged or defective, maybe the controls on the name rail are defective, or maybe the 1/4" jack is screwed up, or maybe a ground wire is broken, or ....)

The method of finding all the dead pickups is reasonably well-discussed here: 
           (This post has links to other similar posts at the bottom.)

Take a good look around inside your Rhodes, and send us some pictures if you can.

Of course, you should read the service manual a bunch of times:
See also the technotes at:


By the way, I completely disagree with your assertion that you have search all over the internet.   :-)

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: impossible escapement
« on: January 18, 2021, 07:58:48 PM »

Oh, by the way, read the service manual a bunch of times:

See also the technotes at:


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: impossible escapement
« on: January 18, 2021, 07:56:22 PM »
Do you see those two flanges that stick out from the aluminum harp support to create a slot?  The screw to hold the back end of the harp support goes in there.

A #8-32 screw will fit loosely, and a #10-32 screw will be very snug.  I think you want a self-tapping #10-32 screw about 1/2" long.  If the screw bottoms out in the slot, add washers under the head of the screw.

See photo below.


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