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Messages - eddie_bowers

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The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano / Cleaning oxidized aluminum on harp.
« on: April 18, 2020, 10:29:18 PM »
What works best. The aluminium is right up against the wood (obviously) and I don't want to discolor that trying to clean up the aluminum.

(72 Stage BTW)

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Split harp mod?
« on: July 07, 2019, 09:50:12 PM »
That's great, Thanks!
I have a few more things to finish up first, but will report back on the progress.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Re: Split harp mod?
« on: July 02, 2019, 10:56:16 PM »
Well if nobody else has tried it Im down to experiment. It's easy to reverse. I will probably test it with a couple of standalone pedals and a summing amp/buffer before I start too far down the road of making a board.

Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Split harp mod?
« on: July 02, 2019, 06:58:17 PM »
So I have this 72 stage I'm getting back to working order.
When I got it there was a very amateurish preamp added (and additional hole drilled in the rail. One of the reasons it was cheap is because this mod was not fuctioning and the seller could get sound out of it.

Now that I'm close to done with the action mod and replaced a pickup (among other things) I trying to decide if I want to put in another preamp.

With a little guitar EQ pedal (from the harp) a little bump in the high end makes the lower half sound amazing. I mean this thing barks and growls! But the high end gets harsh. I tried mellowing it out with voicing but it just isn't happening.  So I was thinking that II split the harp i could easily design a preamp that would EQ the low notes only and then mix them back together.

Is this a crazy idea?

As far as the electronics are concerned I'm proficient in small audio signal design. Almost all of my guitar effects are either original designs or my take on classic circuits.

Thanks! Yeah that's what I was guessing. This piano has been around the block for sure. I did find a couple of broken tine ends floating around under the keys. The harp has a bunch of grimy fingeprints as well. Hopefully I can clean them up with some very fine grit sand paper  (unless someone has a better approach).

I had another tine that was a little on the short side, so clipped the "bad tine" some more and tried it in that higher slot. It worked perfectly there. Oh well.

With the 1972 piano I picked up it had a package of spare tines stored in the lid. They are slightly different than what is in the piano in that the taper is shorter.

I had one tine that had the spring way out on the tip to get it in tune, so I thought I would try cutting one of the spares.
It functions, but it almost mutes when struck hard. The other tines sound awesome when struck hard. It almost sounded like a double strike. I put the original tine back in and found a heavier spring that kept it in tune without being on the very end. It sounds great.

So is that a bad tine, or can some of the later tines not handle as much dynamics? I'm just curious in case I pick up another piano with later tines.

I'm starting to tear down my 1972 piano. In pulling out the key bed I noticed these four screw holes under the keys. It would appear they would secure the key bed to the case but from the top instead of the screws underneath.

Were these used to secure it to anything else? Maybe to a bench when working on it out of the case?

(Just getting started so prepare for many questions to follow  :) )

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: April 12, 2019, 11:49:12 AM »
 I was assuming I would just have to accept the extra hole in the rail. I was thinking about making it a harp insert for pedals or something  (with a TRS jack). BUT I would definitely be interested in finding how much you want for an unmodified rail.

As for the hammer tips. What about the wood core ones where the wood is exposed? I think I read somewhere you can just use heatshrink tubing to recover them. (Maybe I'm imagining that).

The pickup may be a bad connection or broken wire I can resolderd.  I haven't had a close look yet.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: April 11, 2019, 10:27:33 PM »
Unpacked it today. The stuck keys let loose as soon as I pushed on the hammers a bit. It has all it's legs and braces as well as the sustain pedal. It appears the hammer tips are toast. I'm not sure if those dampers are shaped that way originally or if it's from wear. I haven't seen examples like that.

I guess I will start with the dead pickup, then I guess hammer tips.

BTW It DOES have a harp cover. For some reason I don't start taking pictures until I pull it off. It's pretty scratched, but no big deal.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: April 10, 2019, 03:51:34 PM »
Finally. It's loaded up in my little car now and I'm headed home. Yay!

Cool article I ran into while searching for what Rhodes was used on Midnight Rider.
It's not linked from the VV site or mentioned, but it's practically and ad for them.

Back to the song. For me it's the quintessential tone of a Rhoads.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 21, 2019, 06:57:43 PM »
No, I'm getting it for sure. He put it back in a corner standing on end behind a bunch of boxes so nobody will ask about it. I just need to scrape up some more money and he didn't want to mess with having me put money down right now. He assured me it will still be there in a couple of weeks when I'm ready to pick it up. I trust him. He has bought and sold a bunch of stuff from one of my oldest friends and he may even get me to look at one of his vintage synths he can't sell because it wont power up (He knows I have an electronics background and have restored a few tube amps).

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 20, 2019, 09:48:29 AM »
Yes I did. It was surprisingly hot though. I like a dirty rhodes sounds, but I couldn't get it clean with my little battery powered headphone amp (made for guitar, but I turned off all the modeling and effects). The pickups do appear to be adjusted as close as possible. It has a nice fat sound. Less clear and percussive as the 78, but that could be a difference in setup and hammer tips. It has the cube tips. Some badly indented. Some show a hint of paint color (original tips?).

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 19, 2019, 05:18:54 PM »
I visited the piano today and tested it. It has one dead pickup (no big deal). I can only get sound directly off the harp. That preamp (assuming that's what it is) currently doesn't function. Good news for negotiating a price.

I was a little surprised that the output from the harp easily distorted the input on my little zoom headphone amp. I expected it to be lower than a guitar signal.

The guy suggested he might let it go for $500.
I just need to scrape up a tiny bit more cash and it's mine.
I asked if I could put some money down, but he told me not to worry about it "it will still be here in the next couple of weeks".

 This is fantastic. I play a lot of toy pianos (that have tines BTW) and was thinking of building a toy piano scale Rhodes enclosure to put my yamaha Reface CP in. It has some decent electric piano sounds and it would be funny to gig with. I have played the toy piano live a few times, it's just hell to mic up close and sound good.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 17, 2019, 11:31:48 AM »
It's not super close to my house. I'm back over there on Tuesday and will take a headphone amp to connect to the harp of the 72 to check the pickups. Then I will make an offer.

I happened on another one in really terrible shape the other day (76 maybe). It's keys where not straight (all over the place) and it had tons of stuff piled on it. The guy at the shop wouldn't even bother letting me dig it out. He said his boss is the only one that could tell me what he would sell it for anyway. This was a music store with pretty typical low end new instruments, but in a large corner they literally had piles of interesting vintage stuff in really rough shape. That's the stuff I want to see, but that guy wouldn't let me. Weird.

I will post back after my visit on Tuesday.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 04, 2019, 03:48:27 PM »
Thanks so much guys!
I guess now I just need to make workshop space for it and then convince my wife it's really worth the money. Getting both would be ideal, but that would be a very hard sell even though I'm sure I could make some money on the 78. Space is always a problem. I give my wife a hard time when she buys stuff and she has no place to put. She it will at least have fun making me eat my words   :D

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 04, 2019, 02:25:07 PM »
Here is a fairly blurry photo of the 72 with the top off.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 02, 2019, 06:10:11 PM »
Yeah, it's just a situation where you have to dig a bit and move heavy stuff just get a guitar amp next to it. I literally had a French horn case get dislodged and fall on my head. Lukely it was empty and light.

Buying / Re: Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 73?
« on: March 02, 2019, 03:53:46 PM »
Sorry for the bad title. The older one is definitely a 72. It might a bit tough to compare them sound wise without adjustment but I will try. I guess I should tap direct off the harp on both to compare since the 72 has some wacky rigged electronics added.

It's a place that has stuff staked up, so it was some effort to look at them. I need to take a day off and spend some time listening. Maybe being some portable headphone amp?

Buying / Clean Rhodes 78 or ugly 72?
« on: March 02, 2019, 02:18:59 AM »
I found a local guy with two Rhodes 73 stage pianos. The 78 is super clean inside and out. Very well taken care of.
The 72 has cosmetic issues including a cigarette burn that melted a dent in a key. It also has an unidentified electric box mounted inside. I'm assuming it's a home made preamp, but i'm not expecting much. It's in a cheap project box with a two prong lamp cord. It also look like the power transformer for it is mounted inside the piano fairly close to the pickups.
The harp and hammers all look good though. I can replace the tips or at least the ones I see that have a divot in them.

Because I want a project and it's an earlier piano, I'm leaning towards the 72. He initially said $650 for either, but that was before I saw the problems with the 72. I might could try for $500.

Does that sound reasonable? The only thing I don't know how to fix is burned plastic keys and the scratched top (very scratched). but it would be a good project piano to get good at setting up. I fear the 78 is just nice (if a little too chimey) and not much adjustment would improve it.

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