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Messages - pnoboy

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: MK 1 Light Action vs Heavy Action?
« on: October 22, 2019, 11:36:11 AM »
I'll have to disagree with many of the posters in this thread.  The early 70s pianos, before the bump mod, had a heavier action much like that of an acoustic piano.  Given that I play both, I liked the heavier action.  BTW, I never found it sluggish.  Perhaps the sluggishness other poster refer to has to do with lack of lubrication, worn felt, keys that need easing, or some other issue that can be addressed with proper maintenance and adjustment.

Early Rhodes, before the bump mod, had a heavier action that felt quite a bit like the action of an acoustic piano.  The bump mod makes the action as light as a feather.  So, people who play both acoustic and Rhodes pianos might like a heavier action in their Rhodes.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Passive Electronics Question...
« on: August 08, 2019, 11:43:59 AM »
I have to say that IMO, and others may disagree, a tube preamp for a Rhodes is a waste of time and money.  I have played my Rhodes direct from the harp through both tube and solid-state amps, and I really hear no difference in sound except for that which is due to differences in frequency response.  Once the frequency responses are set to be the same, both SS and tube amps sound the same as long as they're played within their non-clipped range.  If you want to pretend to be a rock guitarist and play power chords and single-note leads on your Rhodes, get a distortion pedal, which is lots cheaper and lots less weight than lugging around a tube amp.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Pickup Rewinding Question...
« on: July 11, 2019, 11:44:03 AM »
... just a comment before soldering.  Most magnet wire nowadays has heat-strippable insulation.  It is not lacquer, but that is not important.  It takes a bit of heat to get the insulation off, and given the low melting point of the plastic Fender used for their bobbins, you should unwind the wire from the posts so that it's just hanging in the air.  Heat strip it with your soldering iron, and then, once stripped and tinned, put it back on the posts and as quickly and efficiently as possible, solder it on.  If you have no experience with soldering or dealing with heat strippable magnet wire, practice on a separate piece of wire lest you destroy one of your bobbins.

It's also possible you did not buy heat-strippable wire, in which case, you must unwind the wire from the posts, and then remove the insulation by carefully scraping it off with an Xacto blade or abrade it off with very fine sandpaper.  Once you do that, tin the ends of the wire, and then put it around the post and then solder it.

Good luck!

As a possible solution to your issue, may I suggest you try running an EQ in your effects loop and adjust it to pull back the frequencies you're objecting to rather than modifying the piano from it's current state? As Retrolinear says any physical mods you do will affect the action and you may find your self more unhappy than you are now.

I think this is very good advice.  A graphic equalizer can be a real lifesaver for a Rhodes.  The good news is that the Behringer EQ700 works quite well and costs about $25

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: Woven Damper Felts
« on: May 22, 2019, 11:35:21 AM »
These felts are not woven, though they are glued to a red cloth layer that is woven.  There is some debate as to which are better, flat damper felts or grooved damper felts.  The extent to which your hammers, pickups, and damper combs are aligned would surely be a factor.  If not well aligned, some tines may need to contact the felt dampers off center, which is likely not a good fit (literally and figuratively) to grooved felts.

The bass cut control does not muddy the sound.  However, Fender chose to use a 10k pot for the volume control, which does remove some of the sparkle from the sound.  A nice change can be made by changing the volume pot to a 50k audio taper, the bass pot to a 250k reverse-audio taper, and the capacitor to 10 nF.  These parts are usually in stock at Antique Electronics

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: April 07, 2019, 04:18:02 PM »

pno- do you mean like Kapton tape?

This is the kind of tape I was referring to .

Here's another one, but Teflon instead of polyester.

Note that the description for both tapes indicates that they are used for wrapping coils and capacitors.

You are probably referring to the well-known issue with notes on the bass end of the piano.  If you restrike a note while it is still sounding, the note can get louder or softer.  It depends on where the tine is in its swing when the hammer strikes it.  There's no cure.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: April 03, 2019, 11:49:13 AM »
I like the idea of using tape.  I can imagine a situation where someone drops a screwdriver, or something, while working on a piano and the tip hits a pickup winding.  There are electronics-grade tapes that, as far as I know, don't get gummy, etc. with age.  Most such tapes are Mylar with an acrylic adhesive.  3M and others make a selection.  If you see a cylindrical capacitor covered in yellow tape that's typically what you're looking at.  I would not use an inexpensive consumer-grade tape.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Hammer tip replacement/pickups
« on: March 28, 2019, 11:56:02 AM »
I've got my first Rhodes, it's a 1979 Rhodes in terrible condition. I'm gonna replace the hammertips soon and was wondering the best way to remove the old ones. The bass hammer tips came off quite easily, but the others dosen't seem to want to come off. I'm worried about using any chemicals, because I don't want to melt the plastic.
What would you suggest?

I've also just rewinded my first pickup, but I'm not quite sure what kind of tape to use. What abilities does it need to have.

Thanks for reading.
Kindly regards WilliamUhre

Single-edge razor blades work well for getting tips off.  You may have a little scraping/clean-up to do after the rubber tip is off.

This sounds like a problem that cries out for an oscilloscope and DMM to solve.

Hmmm, this is an odd one.  Have you tried adjusting the voicing screw?  Do the tone-bar assemblies feel loose, which could possibly be caused by old grommets?  For example, if you move the end of a tone bar right and left and then let it go, does it return to the center position, or is it loose enough to stay where you left it?  Are the tines screwed tightly into the tone bars?

You can hear yourself just fine, because sound comes out of the holes where the speakers were.  If you want to hear yourself even better, get a stage piano and put an amp behind you or next to you.

The schematic for what should be in your stage schematic is super simple.  You can find a diagram here  For more sparkle in the sound, I recommend scaling the values.   For example, you could use a 50k pot for the volume control, a 250k pot for the bass control and a 10nF capacitor.  To raise the impedance even more, you could use a 100k volume pot, a 500k bass pot, and a 4.7 nF capacitor.

The suitcase piano has a bassy sound due, in part, to 4 12" speakers in a closed cabinet.  Additionally, in some years, Fender supplied the same speakers used with the Fender Bassman amplifier, which were dull sounding.  Years ago, I had great success in taking out the 4 original 4-ohm speakers and putting in 2, 8-ohm speakers facing the audience.  I left the other openings where the 2 rear-facing speakers were, empty, which was critical to the improved sound.  The Peterson preamp has a 33k input impedance, which isn't horrible, but the piano will have more sparkle with an input impedance above 100k.  Also, the Peterson preamp has a treble rolloff built in.  Perhaps the preamp was noisy, and the rolloff was to diminish some of the noise.  Also, the Peterson power amp, even by 1980s standards, was an anachronism, and IMO entirely unworthy of a rebuild.  In general, the Peterson electronics might have been a competent design back in the mid to late 60s (?) when it was designed, but by today's standards, it doesn't have much to recommend it, IMO.  BTW, I am a highly experienced and qualified EE with lots of experience in analog and audio design, so I'm not just shooting off my mouth.  I can't comment on the VV preamp, as I have never seen its schematic.

I might also mention that most Rhodes pianos will sound better with a preamp that has a filter that puts an adjustable notch in the preamp's frequency response around 200 Hz or so.  I believe there are some Rhodes preamps, either old and out of design, or new, that offer this feature.  I believe that Avion Studios' newly announced preamp may have this feature.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: How to save a bad tine?
« on: March 01, 2019, 07:41:04 AM »
I agree with Sean--in my experience,  squared tine ends do not change the tone produced by the tine as far as I have been able to tell.

Does this occur mostly with hammers at or near the bass end?  I think this effect is latent in all Rhodes pianos.  A simple experiment all could try is this: rotate the harp up, and then while holding a key down firmly, use your hand to move a hammer from its escapement position flat against the key pedestal, up to the position where it would strike its tine and back down again.  You will feel friction.  On the bass end, where the escapement is large, and where the tine can bend quite a bit when the hammer strikes it, the hammer moves up quite a bit away from the escapement position when striking a tine.  The hammer relies on its bounce away from the tine, plus the pull of the damper as transmitted through the bridle straps to bring it back to escapement.  Any friction between the pedestal felt and the hammer plastic can inhibit this ability.  The problem you are encountering is normally much less likely to occur toward the treble end of the piano, where, because of the reduced escapement and the increased stiffness of the tines, the hammer does not move far at all from its escapement position when striking a note.  The sad fact is that the simplified action used in the Rhodes works very well toward the treble end of the piano, but much less well toward the bass end.

I believe some lubrication is often necessary, depending of course, on the felt used on the pedestal, and the condition of the plastic of the hammer.  I haven't tried it with my piano, but I suspect that stiff, dense, somewhat thin felt would be helpful, but because I haven't tried it, I can't specifically recommend it.  The idea of lubing the pedestal felt has been a contentious topic in this message board, and for that reason, I am not going to recommend any specific lubricant or course of action.  On my own piano, I have "lubed" the felt/hammer interface by modifying the surface of the hammer at the portion of the hammer where is touches the pedestal, but many might consider my solution somewhat radical, so I'm not prepared to discuss that either.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: How to save a bad tine?
« on: March 01, 2019, 07:11:17 AM »

I personally don't believe that having the tip of the tine be clean and square makes any difference.  My testing reveals no difference.  Jagged haphazard tine ends clipped with dykes sound great.  Sharp square tine ends cut with a diamond mototool blade sound great.

It sounds to me like your note is being damped by the hammer tip.  Raise the tine away from the hammer tip.
I think even the worst of grommets would not damp the tine like that.


I have to agree--tines with square ends and tines without square ends sound the same as far as I have been able to tell.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Sound Adjustment Advices?
« on: February 19, 2019, 11:36:56 AM »
3 to 4 mm  is too much space from tine to pickup.  1 to 2 mm  is better.  The best way to measure spacing is to put a probe of known thickness between the tine and pickup, while holding the probe accurately vertical.  A 1.5 mm flat stick stick of wood, aluminum, or plastic should work well.  Think of something shaped like a skinny tongue depressor.  The "bass boost" control in the stage piano is actually a bass-cut control.  The harp going into a hifi speaker like the Yamaha you mention will definitely produce a bassy, tubby sound.  An amp and speaker meant for musical-instrument use should sound quite a lot better.  Most of us use guitar amplifiers of one sort or another.  When I said 200 Hz give or take 50 Hz, I meant a notch somewhere between 150 and 250 Hz.  Adjust the voicing screw by ear, don't worry about the tine's exact vertical position, which is difficult to measure anyway.

If you don't use the front-panel controls on the piano, expect to need to turn the bass control on the amp down a bit.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Preamp beat
« on: February 18, 2019, 04:23:45 PM »
Someone with a knowledge of electronics need to trace the signal through your preamp.  No doubt some component(s) in the tremolo circuit have problems.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Sound Adjustment Advices?
« on: February 18, 2019, 04:21:58 PM »
A few things come to mind.  First what is the tine to pickup spacing, especially in the bass?  Second, I assume you've played with the voicing screws in the bass to bring out more overtones, have you?  What happens to the sound if you turn the bass control down?  Finally, many Rhodes sound tubby unless one puts a dip in the frequency response around 200 Hz, give or take about 50 Hz, depending on the amp and speakers/cabinet.  This issue is most easily tested by using a parametric equalizer.  What are you using for speakers and speaker cabinet?    BTW, what happens to the bass sound if you play ff?  At some point, you should hear overtones.  Rhodes pianos will almost always sound tubby without the right combination of frequency-response settings and an appropriate speaker cabinet.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Tine Length Curve
« on: February 10, 2019, 04:56:08 PM »
I think that one thing that will throw off the smooth curve you are looking for are the tuning springs.  At different points within the compass of the piano, Fender uses different weight springs.  These different weights change abruptly, i.e., the springs immediately transition from one weight to another--they don't change in some smooth manner.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Stage MKI Hiss
« on: January 30, 2019, 03:34:01 PM »
I've found stage pianos to be pretty dead quiet.  If you are hearing hiss, look to your signal chain, some interference, or even a ground loop, though ground loops usually produce hum.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: MKV Hammer Tips
« on: January 30, 2019, 11:41:00 AM »
I tried a VV set of graduated tips on my '78 stage piano and, FWIW, found the rubber too hard--especially at the bass end.  I could easily feel the difference in the rubber Fender used at the bass end and the rubber supplied by VV.  The Fender rubber was noticeably softer.  The hardness of the bass VV tips caused the bass notes to produce too much noise.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Rhodes Stage MKI Hiss
« on: January 30, 2019, 11:37:20 AM »
If the harp of your stage piano is connected to the standard front-panel controls, it is already seeing a 10k impedance, and if you then connect it to anything with an input impedance higher than about 100k,  the load on the harp has not changed by any appreciable amount.  If you want to hear more of the "ting " of the hammers hitting the tines, then you must bypass the front-panel controls, or scale the values up to a higher impedance.

The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Re: Tine issues
« on: January 29, 2019, 12:05:27 PM »
Those hex thin-head  screws Fender used to screw the tines to the tone bars are far from ideal.  Socket-head cap screws are SO much nicer to use.  If I were redoing a whole piano, I'd dump the original screws and get cap screws instead.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Re: DIY Sustain Pedal
« on: December 29, 2018, 04:43:08 PM »
IMO, pick the lightest one if you gig, make sure there is minimal slop in the pivot, apply felt or rubber appropriately so the pedal doesn't clang at either end of its travel, and select some suitably "sticky" feet so the pedal doesn't slide around in use.  The use of wood is interesting--it has the potential for being light and stiff enough to do the job; I like the idea.  BTW, the use of a spring pin, as Fender did, for the pivot, is a poor choice. 

PVC-E glue is still available from Schaff and Pianotek--probably other sources as well, but I didn't check.

It's hard to say, but the odd attack that you demonstrate could be caused by the tine swinging enough to wack into its damper.  Try this, while watching the dampers, depress the sustain pedal.  You should be able to move the dampers further down than they might be being moved by holding a key down.  If that's the case, hit that note again, and see if the sound is more normal. 

As far as the tone, it sounds very tinny, like there's something wrong with your amp, or something odd with your piano.  Do you have a guitar you could plug into your amp to see if that sounds normal?  If it does, try plugging the harp directly into your amp, bypassing the front-panel controls.  BTW, I assume you have a stage piano--is that the case?

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