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Messages - Student Rhodes

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You may want to consider using very thin two-sided tape.  The quality stuff is very strong, and thin enough as to be unnoticeable.
Something like this...

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: April 12, 2019, 02:52:24 AM »
I'd say, yes, the dampers are original, and no, your tips are not toast. 
From the photo it looks like there may be plenty of meat left on the square tips anyway. 
You may end up trimming them back with a blade, but from this angle they look totally serviceable. 
I think you're going to be really happy with this when you get it up and running.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: 140b spruce up
« on: April 08, 2019, 11:45:10 PM »
This is gonna look great when it's done.
Nice work.

I like the piano. Has a clean, tight sound and tone in all your registers, but...
Hate the vocals.
Sorry.  I'm just over this kind of singing.  Ugh.
There are so many female singers aping this style, and they're all overwrought and literally indistinguishable. 
I'm not talking just about youtubers, but professional singers with what I assume are record deals.  They all have the same melismatic overkill and breathy fry in their voice.  I'm not saying she doesn't have talent.  But she's rolling hard on the same gimmicky vocal style every other singer is playing with. 
Reminds me of the highly skilled but ultimately boring shred guitar players in late 80s metal.  They played their asses off, but so what?
I can't wait until the whole fad is burned and we can hear something that doesn't immediately make me reach for the radio dial
Maybe I shouldn't post this...

Welcome to the group. 
I've always liked the way that type of harp cover looks on the MK I pianos.
Nice to see Malcom again.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Custom Paint Job on Harp Cover
« on: February 07, 2019, 03:43:38 PM »
Yes, I think those clips were used until about 1972(?) to grasp the harp cover.  Some pianos need them, as the covers can warp and show a gap behind the rail. They can cause a bit of a struggle when replacing the cover.  As seen by later Rhodes, often the clips not needed, but I think they're cool to have if the piano came with them. 

Needless to say, the clips should only come in contact with the inside (unpainted?) region of the cover.  Since they increase the pressure and friction on the harp cover, you'll be even better served by putting some felt on the back of the rail where there's contact.

Does your name rail have wood on the base as well?


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Custom Paint Job on Harp Cover
« on: February 06, 2019, 06:31:43 PM »
One more thing, here's a tip...
You may want to consider putting some thin, adhesive-backed felt behind your name rail, along the edges.  It will help keep your rail from scraping off the paint you've put on your harp cover.  I learned the hard way.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Custom Paint Job on Harp Cover
« on: February 06, 2019, 06:28:23 PM »

Next step might be snakeskin burgundy Tolex.

Never been too crazy about snakeskin.  Probably because I've only ever seen it on an amps or pianos that showed years of use and abuse.  Tattered snakeskin, compared to tattered black tolex, always seems more... well, "tattered" and trashed.  It just reminds me of regrettable car mods in the hotrod world.

Were it me, I'd go for the leather look or solid color, but darker than your burgundy top, so it pops that much more.  The harp cover provides a great opportunity for some level of contrast.   Even something in a light tan/brown family would be nice with that burgundy. 

Check out the Cabernet Bronco in this link.

I don't know if their prices are good, but it's nice looking tolex.

But you're not me, thank goodness.  So, I look forward to seeing your evolving piano.


The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Custom Paint Job on Harp Cover
« on: February 06, 2019, 06:17:32 PM »
Great color.  A complimentary tolex would really set it off.  You might have to get a cab to match as well!

It is a little wavy... I know when I had mine painted, the painter griped about all the work needed to get a smooth look, with moderate success.

Was your top wavy from the factory, (some were) or was it just gouged from years of use?


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Re: Wurlitzer 206a - To chop or not to chop?
« on: December 28, 2018, 07:27:36 PM »
I've got a 206a as well.
Always thought some day that it'd be cool to put a stereo amp with trem like the Suitcase Rhodes.  Maybe even put larger speakers in there.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: DIY Sustain Pedal
« on: December 28, 2018, 07:18:05 PM »
These look great!
But I'm a little concerned...  Are you sure that like the originals, they'll be able to slide around on a floor and thus lose connection to the piano? I mean, I'd hate to be in the middle of an intense and amazing solo wherein the pedal is supposed to slip away and ruin everything, but suddenly it stays where it's intended.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Escapement this far off?
« on: December 11, 2018, 02:17:18 PM »
I suppose if you forgot something, it'd still be on your bench?

Did you have measurements from before you disassembled?
Based on the notorious quality control issues at Fender way back when, I suppose anything's possible.
How does it play?  Are you getting the clean strike and tone you want?

I love it. 
You gotta make the legs...
Then give the whole thing to me!

It certainly seems reasonable that the difference in the thickness of the felt could be the reason you needed to remove some of the shim material.  But I'm not an expert on the geometry of the piano's action.

However, you mentioning of the .065" thickness of the bump triggered something in my brain.   That dimension is a common guitar fret wire thickness.  How impressive would it be to see someone taking the time and care to install polished and dressed nickel fret wire into the pedestal?  Totally overkill, but exactly the kind of hotrod overkill I love!

I think such a mod would look most impressive on a Rhodes made between late '75 and late '77 (or whenever it was that Fender went back to putting the felt on the pedestal) because the wire wouldn't have to be covered with felt.  You'd see the shiny fret snugly installed in the raw wood.   This is probably silly, but thinking about it, I'd bet a polished fret wire would be incrementally smoother action than a piece of plastic that probably gets micro abrasions over time.

But how cool would it look to have that level of craftsmanship on your piano?

That's it...  If I ever get one from that era, I'm doing it!

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Range of pickups not working
« on: November 18, 2018, 01:38:08 PM »
Does the '78 the dreaded "white tape" pickups?  I don't think so, but they are notorious for quitting on the job.

Where can I get one?
Or do I just need photoshop?

The pedal for a Stage model was cast aluminum, with rubber feet, and a plastic ring around the hole that push rod went through.
I don't know what kind of paper band you're talking about. 
A pic or two would be of much help.
Either way, should you need a new pedal, they can be had for $100-$125 or so.
There are plastic repros out there, but you may just want to get in touch with Custom Vintage Keyboards to get a new, very nice aluminum reproduction.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Bent tines?
« on: October 28, 2018, 11:33:35 PM »
The tine should run parallel and straight to the  tone bar.   If it is parallel, then the reason you may not be lining up properly with the magnet could be bent mounting screws on the tone bar. 

You can check by rotating the screw and looking for the front of the tine/tonebar to move left to right as you turn the screw.  A temp fix is to rotate the screw until the magnet and tine are properly positioned.  However this may not be optimal for voicing.  Best to get a straight replacement screw.  They're available from a few sources.  Don't just use some hardware store replacement. Proper screws have a non-threaded part of the shank that allows the screw to turn without distorting or compressing the tone bar grommet.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Bent tines?
« on: October 25, 2018, 11:57:41 PM »
Are you sure they're bent? Is the tine hitting in the middle of the hammer tip, or near the edge? Any chance they're merely out of alignment? 

It seems odd and unlikely that the tines would be bent, as they're under an area that's kind of "protected" by the other metal and wood parts on the harp. Unless one were to take the harp off, there's not much that can bend a tine in a direct impact.

If the tine(s) look straight in and of themselves, you may need to loosen the cap screw that holds the tine to the tone bar, then simply realign so the tine is properly with the magnets on the pickups.

Now I'm wondering, are you hearing low output from keys with the "bent" tines? 
When you get the tines re-aligned, you may need to adjust the pickups and do a little re-voicing as well.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: My first rhodes "repaired"
« on: July 07, 2018, 03:35:51 PM »
Yeah, I think moving the pickups too close to the tines kills tone because the magnetic pull of the pole pieces limits the natural travel of the tine.  That's how it is with guitar anyway.

When it comes to the classic bark of a Mk I, I suppose the hammers could have something to do with it, but the felt factor, whether hammers or cube/tips, was gone by late 70/early 71(?).  The bark that we've come to appreciate was certainly heard throughout the early to mid-70s, so it's reasonable to deduce it may be a function of the early pickups, or early tines, or the combination of both. 

With a '79 Rhodes, though still a Mk I, you don't have the Torrington tines that are often credited for some of that classic Rhodes sound.  I believe you have either Schaller or Singer tines, as found in the Mk II pianos, which to my ear were gradually brighter and less "woolly" than earlier pianos.

I don't know if this was a case of Fender trying to veer toward the increasingly popular sounds of Dyno'd pianos, or just some sort of bean counting budget issue, but the later Rhodes pianos sound tighter and brighter to me. 

That said, a lot of this stuff seems to be voodoo.  I'm sure there are MkII pianos with incredible bark.

Have you tried taking the signal straight from the harp?  I'm not savvy enough to know, but outside of pickup adjustments, I wonder if different caps in the tone circuit might get more bark?

Nice looking pianos.   Is that a Vintage Vibe sparkle harp cover, or did you do that yourself?

Have you tried the attachment tab, just below the dialog box?

I'm pretty sure Vintage Vibe sells them.

I think Vintage Vibe sells them for about fifty bucks.  Perhaps less.
Best of luck,

Yes, the cinch plug is the four pin, square plug that connects to the power supply.   They're notoriously sketchy.  I've seen replacements on ebay.  Many replace the cable and input with the newer, round, four-pin connecter as found on the Rhodes after (I believe, but I'm not certain) 1972.  However the control plate needs some modification to do this.

In general though, the "check all your connections" advice is certainly a good place to start.  Open the cabinet, and make sure the cables are properly seated, and have no corrosion present. Make sure your power is disconnected, of course.

I think you'll also find there's no consistency between pianos.  Heck there's no consistency on a single Peterson.  They don't keep very accurate time, if you know what I mean.  I'd offer to do mine over the phone for you, but I've had it modded to play at even slower speeds.
That may be an easier way than having someone record one and send it.

Congrats on your new Rhodes. 

Does your right channel go out completely?  Or does it keep a steady signal while the left channel turns on and off?  That would seem weird, if not impossible.   When you turn the unit off, how soon before you can turn it back on and have stereo again?

I've got an older Rhodes that sometimes loses the stereo pan, leaving just one throbbing mono trem channel, which at full depth isn't so pleasing.  It's always the cinch plug needing a little jiggle.  I'm sure that's why Fender got rid of it by about '72.   If you have another four pin cable, you may try swapping it out.

Try swapping the RCA inputs on the power modules, and see if the problem switches to the other side?

My understanding is having it stand vertically won't affect the piano.
However, I'd be sure not to bang it about.  You never know what's going to shift on you.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Miracle Mod Issue
« on: April 01, 2018, 03:59:45 PM »
Very cool.  I love it.
This piano is sure to play better than when it left the factory.

It appears your piano is from the Summer of '74 (mid July), as it has many of the characteristic cosmetic features of that period:
wood harp supports
hybrid hammers
four top latches
solid wood keys with a two-piece cap, of which the thinner vertical face is dis-colored. 
gold foil sticker lacking the word "Fender"
the faded, or lightly stamped four digit date code on the upper right corner of the pickup rail, which would indicate 28th week of '74.  At this point, I think I've seen more faded green and black stamps from this period than clear stamps. Moreso faded green actually.

I suspect your hinges are replacements, as the heavier duty hinges didn't appear until late '75/ early '76

My understanding is the "2874" is the date code that Turbojet put on the harp before it was shipped to Fender.  On certain years, there is also a stamp on the lower right corner of the tone bar rail, often near the foil sticker, that is believed to be a "completion" date stamped on the piano at the Fullerton factory.  Invariably that "date" number is always later than the TBJ number on the pickup rail by anywhere from two to as many as ten or more weeks.  You seem to have at least three digits of such completion stamp below your tone bars of "29 4", perhaps indicating the 29th week of '74.  If that's the case, that would probably explain the red "insp" stamp of "2945" on the harp support, which may indicate the "29th" week, of 7"4" and perhaps the "5" day of the week?

I'd say your piano is most assuredly a '74. 

Many believe that to be a preferred year, falling within a production window of about twenty months where Rhodes pianos came with solid, flat key caps, Torrington tines, hybrid hammers with square tips, and felt on the key pedestals, rather than the hammer cam.  Years previous to and after this period had some combination of several of these features, but not all these features at once.  I'm lucky enough to have a couple pianos from this era, and I love them.


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