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Messages - sean

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Buying / What a LIAR... "I don't have an amp"
« on: March 25, 2008, 10:48:57 PM »
There is a Rhodes Mark II stage 73 on ebay for an outrageous price with beautiful pictures but lame description.  Item 170203397744.

The seller claims that he doesn't have an amplifier to test the piano, however in three of his photos, you can clearly see a Hughes and Kettner amp in the background.  Amusing.

Hmmmm... would I trust this seller?

Still, that is not as bad as the seller in Taiwan who claims his Rhodes is "New Old Stock" and wants three grand for it.

I was able to buy three Rhodes on Ebay without a problem.  I guess I got lucky.

I think it would be nervewracking to bring your own beloved Rhodes out on tour.  You can't keep your eye on it all day and night, and most of the time it would be sitting inside a panelvan or 42-foot truck cooking in the sun.  

I think the only Rhodes that you see on stage are rented.  (Chick is the exception that proves the rule.)  I certainly would never give my Mark V to anyone else to transport, unload, and set up.  Not even my brother.

I used to go see every NRBQ show that came through the DC area, and I was always amazed to see Terry Adams punch and slap at his beautiful Hohner Clavinet.  Knowing what was inside that clavinet, I couldn't believe he would bang on it so hard, then I wondered how many he owned to keep one working every night, then I wondered what psycho would rent a clavinet to Terry Adams?  (I am not talking about pounding on the keys, although Terry did plenty of that.  Terry would smack and pound the side and top of the clavinet to get grungy percussive grunts out of it, and he was remarkably musical at it.)

On a similar note, Jon Lord had a famous habit of doing unspeakable things to his Hammond C3.

I would never do something like that to my Rhodes or Wurly.  (Although, I must admit that I sometimes bounce my little guitar amp against the floor to get the "cool" sound of the reverb springs banging against the side of the tank.  This is usually inspired by a few beers.)

If the price of that hinge makes you cringe, wait until you break a few tines, or Yikes! What if you break a hammer?

All the parts for these pianos are expensive.  Get used to it.

It just makes our love for this instrument more absurd, more unrequited and tragic.  A perfect situation for a musician looking for songwriting inspiration.

When a songwriter says "I miss my baby," I am sure they are really talking about that Fender Rhodes Piano that they sold years ago.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Leg Brace Measurements...
« on: March 23, 2008, 09:26:08 PM »
Dear Joao,

I uploaded a diagram of the exact measurements of my leg braces from my 1973 Mark I stage 73 to the files section of the rhodestech group on yahoo.  

All the measurements were taken with calipers, but some measurements might differ from the original production run.  For instance, the slots on each end of the legs tend to spread open over the years.  It looks to me like the slot was originally 3/8 of an inch (0.375"), but it is now a little wider on my braces.  The drawing shows what I believe were the original dimensions of the part.

I believe you can view the diagram without a yahoo login:

If you can't see the pdf file, please shoot me a note, and I will email it to you.

(Oh, sorry about using decimal inches, it is just how we do it over here.)

Best regards,



Preamps, Modifications & Upgrades / Too much bass from Piano Bass...
« on: March 20, 2008, 09:50:02 PM »
So, if I understand correctly, the problem you have is that your PB sound is now muddy, boomy, too much low end.

Does the tone control knob on the front rail still seem to work?

Take a look at the PB front panel controls:

The tone pot looks like it is set up as a high pass filter that would cut (or not cut) the high frequencies.  If one of the pins were disconnected, I don't think you would get a boost in bass.  A disconnected tone pot should mess up the high end.  (If either pin #1 or #3 were disconnected, then obviously turning the tone control knob would no longer make any difference in output sound.)

After staring at this circuit diagram for twenty minutes, I can't see a place to insert a fault that would cause a boost in bass response.

So, I don't think the problem is there on the front panel controls.  

My only guess is that you accidentally cleaned the RCA connector, and thereby removed a nice layer of oxide that was killing your bass.

Triple check your preamp and amp settings.  Did you switch channels on your mixer?

Good luck with it.  Tell us if you find the problem.

I am not convinced that they do anything but rub against the adjacent tonebars to create a little buzz.

The tonebar rail is made up of 21 layers of birch, and is quite rigid.
The pickup rail is only made up of 12 layers, but it stays put.

But...  I had to go check for sure.  I went downstairs and picked up a spare pickup rail, and I was surprised that my spindly little arms could flex it quite a bit over my knee.  Hmmmm....

So I popped the tops off two-thirds of my Rhodes collection to check further:

My Mark II stage 73 has the harp support brackets removed because I could not stand the buzz (and I hadn't started replacing grommets yet).  I have had them off for three months, and have never noticed any issues.  I doubt I will re-install them.

But...  I took my thumb, and pushed down hard on the front edge of the pickup rail, and lo-and-behold, I can deflect it about an eighth of an inch.   The pickups do indeed move away from the tines, and it quite obviously affects the sound.  But wait....

I stepped to the left, and took the top of my Mark I stage 73.  It has the harp support brackets firmly installed.  I put my thumb in the same place, and I was able to deflect the pickup rail by the same amount!   The harp support brackets don't seem effective in preventing the pickup rail from sagging or drooping.

I have always believed that these two little metal strips are installed as part of the assembly process, and they really only helped the workers put the piano together right.  I suspect they are installed to set the front to back separation of the two rails.  

I imagine it might go something like this:
Worker #1: affix all the pickups to the pickup rail, tie the wires from terminal-to-terminal, snip the wires to create the staggered six-in-a-row pattern of pickups, solder all the connections, test the pickup rail.
Worker #2:  stuff all the tine/tonebar/grommet/spring assemblies onto the tonebar rail, squish the grommets until the tonebars are 3/8" from the rail.
Worker #3:  Grab a pickup rail, and flop it into the jig.  Grab a tonebar rail, and flop it into the jig.  Take a good look at it, and make sure that it is sitting in the jig correctly, then screw in two harp support brackets to lock in the front-to-back separation of the two rails.
Worker #4:  Take assembly out of Worker #3's jig, and put in into a harp support frame, and run 14 screws into it.  Pass it to the worker with the rubber stamp.

I don't believe the section in the repair manual where it says "Two metal Harp Brackets are then mounted to join the two."

Anybody know Worker #3's phone number?


Take a look at ebay item 250225377184.  After you laugh at the price the lister thinks is possible, take a look at the forth and fifth photos.  Obviously plastic keys, and obviously not black plastic.

It's nothing like


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / OOPS! not Germany...
« on: March 10, 2008, 11:16:22 AM »
Oops!  I think I got your location wrong.  It is Mark II that is in Germany.

Anyway, my previous post is otherwise correct.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / I wouldn't sell it yet....
« on: March 10, 2008, 11:13:31 AM »
Ouch.  I am stunned.

I agree that *IF* you have a lot of dead pickups to replace, it will take a few hours to replace them.  However, it should take less than an hour to find out exactly how many pickups are dead.

Once you find out how many are dead, you can look around for a Rhodes Tech in Germany that can do the repair for you.  Then decide if you want to spend that money or not, do the work yourself, or sell.

You have a Rhodes 54.  Almost none of us have that.  It is a rare animal indeed.

Even if you decide to sell it, you will get a much higher price if all the pickups are working.  In the states, the difference in price would be huge, and it would easily cover the cost of repair.

And one last "I told you so"...  If you sell the Rhodes 54, there is a huge probability that in a year or so, you will be sitting at a pub with beer in hand regretting ever letting that 54 slip though your fingers.

(Of course, this POV is written by one of us that has unreasonable affection for the Rhodes piano.  Normal folks might not agree with me.)

You certainly can use a screwdriver to tap against the pickup to get sound out of it.  You get a loud "thwok" as the magnet pulls the scredriver in for a little concussion.  You will probably never 'enjoy' this sound.

With the harp in the normal position the screwdriver is a little less convenient than simply playing the tines from the keyboard.  If you have the harp propped up vertically, then the screwdriver tap is fine.

Still, you need a functional pickup rail to get sound.   Or you could simply attach your alligator clips to either end of a single pickup under test, and run that to your amplifier for the test.  If you get sound, yay!  If not, mark it with a Sharpie, and move the alligator clips to the next pickup.  The bad part of this method is that you would have to repeat it 54 times.  

Before I repeat the individual search 54 times, I would try to search octave by octave using my method in the previous post.

But each method works.  Go for it.

Dear Jarrod,

It would be a simple task to re-wire the pickups to all be in parallel.  Simple to say, and simple to describe.   Ugly and hateful to actually do.

If you actually attempted this, you would regret it.  Doing any soldering work on the pickups is a pain in the... uhm... neck.  (I get super cranky after replacing one single pickup.)

The way the pickup rail is wired, you have to lose all three adjacent pickups in a group for the whole piano to go dead.  But if you are in the situation where the piano is dead because of a lot of dead pickups, you can find the dead pickups somewhat easily with a few alligator clips.  (The wikipedia claims that some folks also call them crocodile clips, but I cannot believe this could be true.)  Anyway this is what alligator clips look like:

Buy a bag of six jumper wires with alligator clips on both ends.  (Or better yet, buy something like Radio Shack #278-016 clip leads.)

Use the alligator clips to short out large sections of the pickup rail, and you will quickly be able to narrow it down to which section has the dead pickups.  If you are really unlucky, you may have to short out nearly all of the piano, but probably not.  

If you try to short out an octave at a time, and play the other notes, you will probably get lucky and find the dead section pretty quick.  If not, then use your best and favorite curse words while you short out the bottom octave, and then also short out another octave while playing around hoping for sound.  If that doesn't work, short out the bottom TWO octaves, and then again the other spans here and there while you plink away.  

When you finally get sound, you know that the group of dead pickups is in the regions that you have shorted out.  

Then you can move the alligator clips closer together to short out fewer and fewer pickups until you identify the dead individuals.  Mark the dead pickups with a magic marker.  Then those are the only ones you have to keep shorted, and replace or repair.

Another way to search for suspected dead pickups is to get your brightest flashlight and a good magnifying lens, and look closely at the tiny wires on each pickup as they leave the soldered connection on either end of the winding.  Usually, you will see a tiny green speck of oxidation at the end of the broken wire, or sometimes you might even see that the wire is indeed broken.

Good luck,


Dear Gang,

The pedal rod is EASY to make yourself.  My home-made one is just as good as the two Rodgers rods I have.

** See my directions below from a few years ago on the yahoo group. **

I made a clutch out of machined aluminum.  You could also use any high-hat clutch (It does not really need to be mounted securely to the bottom part of the rod).  You could also use a simple and cheap 1/4" stop collar from the hardware store as the clutch.  You can easily replace the set-screw with a thumbscrew.  

See a stop collar:


----------------------- original post from Sep 2004 ------------------------
Hey Gang,

It sickens me that there are some folks that would be so careless as
to misplace the pedal rod for their Rhodes. (There should laws against
this type of neglect.) Anyway...

I am a bit thrifty, so here is an easy way to make a pedal rod
yourself: all you need is the inner rod, outer tubing, and a clutch
of some sort.

The inner quarter-inch rod is easy to find at Lowes or Home Depot.
You should be able to get a three-foot aluminum rod for less than $2.50.

You won't find anything at Home Depot for the outer tubing. This took
me a few months to figure out.... Go to any auto parts store, and ask
for a three foot piece of 3/8" brake line. Manny, Moe, and Jack
charge less than $5.50 for it! (It is steel, and comes with flared
ends and brass connectors.)

Get out your hacksaw and cut the 1/4" rod down to 15 or 18 inches
long, file and sand the ends smooth. Then cut the brake line in
half... about 18" long. You can leave the flared end on it, and file
and sand the other end smooth.

Now all you need is a clutch. I had a small block of aluminum handy,
so I used my drillpress to make a very nice one (email me if you
really want details). But, there are a few easier options:

- My local True Value hardware has a huge selection of small parts.
Get a "stop collar" with a 1/4" inner diameter. The ones I got have a
1/4"-20 threaded set screw, so replace it with a 1/4"-20tpi thumb
screw. Five bucks will get you a handfull of these parts.

When you put the stop collar around the rod, and adjust the pedal rod
length, the stop collar doesn't seem to need to be connected to the
outer tubing at all.

This works great, and fifteen bucks bought you enough parts to make
TWO rods.

- If you want something sturdier, and easier to crank tight, you can
go buy a hi-hat clutch at any music store. This might be hard to find
for less than ten bucks, and I don't think it is that much of an
improvement over the cheapie solution above. (And modifying the
chrome-plated clutch is almost guaranteed to give you metal splinters.)

Shoot me an email if you want the drawing (or photo) of the aluminum
clutch I made.

Best regards,

Sean Kilby
Rhodes Tech in Maryland
(September 2004)

Buying / The Mackie will be great...
« on: February 29, 2008, 10:57:04 AM »
You will be surprised how good the Stage Piano plugged directly into the Mackie mixer will sound.  It is a fine setup, and because the mixer has EQ and sends, you have all the flexibility you need.  (You will probably be equally happy plugging into the front rail 1/4" plug on the Rhodes as you will if you pop the top and go direct to the RCA jack inside.)  And the Mackie is quieter than any guitar amp.

You can work out all the cool chorus/phaser/flanger effects in software, or borrowed guitar effects inserted in the Mackie signal path.

I would get one of the stage pianos.  You should probably try to play both, and decide which has the best action.  Make your decision 100% on the action (unless one unit is significantly screwed up).  

Broken tines can be fixed easy, gnarled grommets are an easy fix too, escapement is a breeze to adjust.   Damper problems are a pain, and tedious, but....  Get the good action, and you can probably get your dream sound with a little tinkering.

good luck!

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / YOU MUST POST PICTURES!!!!
« on: February 27, 2008, 06:10:27 PM »
Yes, we are interested!  We wanna see it.  Please post pictures.

The schematic for the bass boost and volume circuit that you are missing is on some obscure website:

Guitar Pots from Stewmac are just fine.  However, I would love to see video of you walking into a store and demanding an "anti-log" potentiometer.  The teenage counter help will probably ask what language you are speaking.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / DOH! That's a much better idea.
« on: February 26, 2008, 01:27:45 PM »

The standoff is a much better idea than my two hairbrained ideas.

Good call.


The hole for the crossbar mount on my piano is 11.5" from the back edge of the case.  It would probably be a hateful pain to move this hole, but you might easily make a spacer that would allow the short braces to work.  Maybe take a small piece of oak, pop two holes through it, and hammer a T-nut into one hole.  Run a 1/4-20 bolt into the piano to hold the block in place, and use the other hole with the T-nut for your leg-brace knob.  You might have a hassle with the bolt on the knob being too long.   Well, it is kind of a half-assed solution, so maybe....

Maybe you can access the hole without taking the piano action out of the case.  I wonder if you raise the harp, and take six or eight keys out, you might be able to see the hole from above.  If so, you could remove the little aluminum  plate from the bottom of the piano.  Drill a new hole an inch closer to the rear of the case, and smack in the T-nut from above (Carefully!)  Then re-install the little aluminum plate in the new location on the underside, and pretend that all is well.  This would be a more gig-worthy solution.

This is a T-nut:

I probably wouldn't swing a hammer inside my piano.  You can get the T-nut into place using a little extension made from a hi-hat stand.  (Yes, I am just kidding.)  Use a cold chisel, or a large bolt from your junk drawer.

Good luck...


P.S. - I wonder if this leg brace problem is the reason that we occasionally see the leg braces mounted on the front legs instead of the back legs.

My cross-braces on my 1973 stage 73 are also 31" from bend-to-bend.

I think my tabs at the top are a bit bigger... It looks to me like the center-of-slot to bend distance is 1.5" on mine.

I remember cursing up a storm when I but the whole mess together, because I thought MY crossbraces were short.

It wouldn't take much slop in the mounting of the leg inserts to create problems here.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / Princeton Chorus speakers...
« on: February 26, 2008, 08:03:02 AM »
My Princeton Chorus has two ten-inch speakers.

However, I must admit they do provide a perfect simulation of a single eight-inch speaker.   Oh well.

Amps, Effects & Recording Techniques / I like my Princeton Chorus...
« on: February 17, 2008, 12:02:24 PM »
I think you will like the transistor-based Princeton Chorus a lot.  It sounds great, it is light, and you should be able to get one cheap.

I think the only real problem with the Princeton Chorus is that it isn't loud enough to hang with a drumset and blaring guitar.  But you could use the effects send to run signal out to the PA.

It is a perfect little amp to practice alone, and it has a headphone jack too.

(There is a tube-based Princeton amp, but you can tell by the price.  The "recording" version is tempting, but pricey!)


Buying / Only the datecode will tell....
« on: February 17, 2008, 11:37:58 AM »
So, the black keys with the rounded fronts make me think it is later than 1973, and the round-top full-skirt keycaps make me think that it is not very much later than 1973.

Only her hairdresser will know for sure.

Buying / Look at the black keys...
« on: February 17, 2008, 11:35:28 AM »
I think one clue that it might be later than 1973 is that the black keys have the rounded front edges.  

I can't quite tell from the photos, but it looks like it might also have the rounded top full-skirt white keycaps.

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / OOPS! I FORGOT A PART!
« on: February 14, 2008, 05:35:42 AM »
Yikes!  I goofed up.  I forgot one part....

The connection to the Wurly sustain mechanism needs to be internal 1/4-20 threads.  So you need to put a "coupling nut" on top of the eye bolt.

Here is another link that shows what a coupling nut looks like:

This part is easily found in the hardware store too.

You can jam a pair of regular 1/4-20 nuts onto your eye bolt to create a stop that prevents the coupling nut from moving around much.

Sorry about forgetting this part of the design.  I guess you might have to make another trip to the hardware store.  


The Wurlitzer Electric Piano / Homemade/DIY wurly sustain pedal...
« on: February 12, 2008, 09:41:23 AM »
You don't really need any special "wurly adapter" at the top of the cable.  The threads inside the piano are standard 1/4"-20.  In the US, we just say "Quarter-twenty."  (Quarter inch diameter bolt with twenty threads per inch.)

A common eye bolt works well, and you can get them at any hardware store.
This gif will show you what eye mean:

Tie it to a bike cable, or a guitar cable, or an old shoestring, and you can make a workable sustain pedal.  You only need about 1/4" of downward movement to operate the damper mechanism inside the wurly.  

With a couple of hours work, you can make one yourself that is road-worthy; and with a little more work, you can even make make it look respectable.  

(Young folks will do all the work, and be happy they saved 200 bucks; old farts like me will eventually realize that the 200 bucks is small compared to the weeks of fiddling around in the workshop building a replacement pedal.  Still, we both come out happy in the end.)

Good luck,

I got a Wurly 200, and a 206.
Also got three stage73 Rhodes: 1973 Mark I, 1981 Mark II, 1984 Mark V.
(I also have a Hohner Pianet T in the closet.  I believe the Pianet T action mechanism inspired Casio and Radio Shack designers.)

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Sorry about that.
« on: February 09, 2008, 09:37:43 AM »
But, dude, you are the moderator.  So, please excuse me for being immoderate.  Sorry about that.  I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings.  Please remove the subject line from my previous post, or go ahead and remove the whole post.  

My apologies,


[A high-hat stand is designed to pull the rod down, not push up.  
I will hold my tongue, and discuss that no more.]

...back to jesse's problem:
I think gunnar might have identified the problem:  maybe jesse was trying to put the pedal rod up into the hole where the leg braces are supposed to attach.

So, Jesse:  look for a hole way in the back of the piano bottom.  It is only an inch or so from the back.  The hole probably has a black plastic grommet in it, so the rod will stay in dead-center.  BUT... this hole will not grasp your rod (NO laughter here, guys).

To get the pedal rod to stay in the hole, you have to put the pedal under it, and then extend the rod to full length while fitting it into the hole in the bottom of the piano, then tighten the screw that locks the rod at full length.

Good luck, and tell us if this helps.


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Rusty Mark I BFTG...
« on: February 04, 2008, 03:37:10 PM »
Harp position is the least of your troubles!  If the tines are rusted, and the springs are rusted solid to the tines, how can you tune at all?  I think you will have to replace the tines.  Ouch$!  

I prefer to have the harp down to tune.  I like to be able to easily plunk out fourths, fifths, and octaves to check my work.  Plus, since the low register is tricky about sounding one pitch when struck, then settling to another pitch for the sustain, I like to be able to listen to the "real blow" and make my choice of tuning spring location.  It isn't hard at all to get at the tuning springs from above.

Awesome tip about the carpet tack puller!!  Four bucks.

I have a screwdriver with a homemade "file-and-hacksaw customization" that I tune with, but the pre-made solution is great to know about.  It makes me sick to see people try to sell a "tuning tool" on ebay for $35.

AS FOR RUSTED BOLTS on harp frame:
I think you need to give your drilling technique another try.
I assume you were already using a nice strong plug-into-the-wall type drill, and not a battery-powered drill.  You want a drill that can spin pretty fast (most 18V drills are NOT very fast).  Let the tool reach top speed before you push it into the screw.  If you or you neighbor has a drill press, this will be a million times easier.  Even on my cheapie ($80) tiny drill press, I can swing or rotate the head around so I can drill stuff that doesn't fit on the base of the drill press.  I clamp my drill press to a portable workbench, and then swing the head out over the end of the workbench.  The drillpress will eat that screwhead without any problem.

You might also be successful in cracking the head of the screw off with a hammer and cold chisel.  Wear goggles! and hope that the screwhead doesn't land inside the piano when you knock it loose (you know it will).

Once you drill off or crack off the screw head, you can lift the harp and grind off or drill out the remaining shank of the screw.  When you are all done, and you adjust the strike line to your liking, mark the location, and drill new holes to secure the harp.

goooood luck!


Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Pickup Rail noise...
« on: January 28, 2008, 11:55:41 PM »
Dear James,

If your pickup rail is troubling you with lots of buzz, it is either: "ground loop" noise or induced Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI).  

Ground loop noise comes from some amount of resistance in one of the ground paths:
  - a bad connection at the RCA jack, or corroded contacts on the RCA jack,
  - a break in the foil tape that grounds the pickups (reeeealy unlikely), or
  - a healthy amount of corrosion that is causing some amount of resistance at one of the screw terminals at either end of the squiggly ground wire that runs the length of the harp.
  - a whollotta corrosion inside or a break in the conductor of the long squiggly wire, or some other ground conductor.
  - a missing ground wire:  there should be that long squiggly wire that runs the width of the harp, and also a wire that jumps from the foil tape on the back pickup rail to the foil tape on the front part of the harp (the foil tape that runs under the tonebar mounting screws)
  - a huge amount of corrosion on the harp frame at the places that the foil tape is tucked under to connect to the frame
  = you can detect or isolate the faulty ground by taking a length of wire and touching one end to the ground at one location, and the other end to other ground locations a few feet away.  If the hum goes away (or diminishes), then your test wire has shorted the high-resistance span that is causing the hum.  (Theoretically, you could also eliminate the "loop"; meaning make sure you only have one single ground path, but that ain't  a practical option on the Rhodes harp.)

If the noise is from induced interference, you probably have some component acting like a nice little antenna that is picking up induced ac current hum from local alien spaceships or florescent lights.  This usually requires some length of conductor feeding your signal path, with a high impedance or open circuit at the other end.  A bad pickup is a perfect candidate for this bad behavior.  But if all of your pickups are indeed working and not victims of the tiny green speck of corrosion that cuts through the pickup wire, this seems unlikely to me that a good working pickup would be creating significant noise.  (It would only take you five minutes to systematically short out one pickup at a time to prove this is not the source.  Unless you are unlucky and you have more-than-one nearly-dead pickup.)

[Doesn't the way the pickups are grouped provide some amount of hum-bucking?  The three-this-way, three-that-way, three-this-way wiring scheme should cancel nearly all of the electo-magnetic interference.]

(When you said "all wired in parallel" you meant your 12-note, not the MkII-73, right?)

You could also be really unlucky in that you have found the perfect spot in your house that has a really strong elctro-magnetic field from some household or workshop electrical device.  (But this is too obvious, isn't it?  Move the harp away from the computer monitor, or away from the refrigerator, or away from the halogen lamp, or away from the florescent fixture, etc.)

In any case, if you suspected that it was induced hum, you could make a temporary hum shield from roofer's flashing or wire mesh and cover the harp with a grounded shroud.  This would probably not be worth the trouble, because you should have an easier time confirming the induced interference by bringing a known source of strong EM interference near the harp, and seeing if the interference gets worse.  Bring a hair dryer, or electric fan within a foot of the harp, and you should get plenty of hum.  

Good luck with this, and please tell us what the problem is if and when you find it.

1973 Mark I stage 73 -> Mackie 1402VLZpro mixer
1981 Mark II stage 73 -> Fender Princeton Chorus (solid state, but not DSP)
1984 Mark V stage 73 -> top cover on, sitting on shelf, safe and sound.
Wurly 200 and a Wurly 206
Hohner Pianet T hidden in closet.
Yamaha P-80 in bedroom.
...And my wife doesn't seem to mind all these dang pianos.

Parts, Service, Maintenance & Repairs / Sustain Pedal Measurements... DIY
« on: January 28, 2008, 12:27:35 AM »
Here are the measurements of my black-painted Rhodes sustain pedal.  My older bare-potmetal pedal is not identical, but within an eighth of an inch in every dimension.  

When I say "front" I mean the end where your toe touches the pedal, the back is the end where the push rod connects to the pedal.

The BASE (or body or housing) of the pedal assembly (as seen from the underside) is:  

Length of base:  12.187" long.
Width of base:  3.562" wide at widest point in the middle.
The sides are curved, so the front of the base is just under 3" wide, and the back is just under 2.5 inches, but the middle is fatter at 3.562".

The base sits on rubber feet that add 0.437" to the overall height of the base.
Height of base at back end:  2.375", plus .437 for feet, 2.812" from top to floor.
Height of base at front end:  2.125", plus .437 for feet, 2.562" from top to floor.

The rubber feet are 1.125" in diameter, and .437" tall.  Neoprene Rubber.
The feet are bolted to the base, 0.5" from the front edge, and 0.5" from the back edge.  The front feet are spread 2" apart, the back feet are closer to each other, the back feet are 1.625" apart.  (Locations are the center of the feet mounting bolt.)

To allow the pedal lever to stick out the front of the base, there is a slot cut in the face of the pedal base.  This slot is 1" wide, and it is cut 1.187" up the face of the pedal front.  (This slot might be lined with a piece of felt to keep the pedal from making a loud click every time you lift your foot.  If the felt is missing or damaged, you can simply wrap a piece of velcro around the pedal lever to get the same silent operation of the pedal.)

There is a round hole on the top of the base near the back to allow the pedal rod to poke through.  The hole is 1.125" in diameter, and the center of the hole is 1.75" from the back end of the pedal.
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The LEVER of the pedal assembly is:
Overall Length of lever:  15.125"
Length of fancy-shaped part that your foot touches:  4"
Length from front tip of pedal to fulcrum pin:  9"
Length from fulcrum pin to back end of lever: 6.125"
Length from fulcrum pin to drift-pin that hold pedal rod:  5.5"

The lever is mostly 0.625" wide by 0.625" tall, but the front part that your foot touches is 1.25" wide.  (The front end has a nice piano-pedal graceful shape.)
The back end has a widened 1" round end where the pin and pushrod go.
(The lever shaft in my older nude-metal-finish pedal is a much larger casting.  The shaft is 0.75" wide, but the other dimensions are about the same.)

The pin that sticks up at the back of the lever is a 0.125" drift pin that is 1.250" long.  It only needs to protrude out of the top part of the lever a tiny bit, but they used a long pin for ease of assembly.
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LOCATION OF FULCRUM PIN (or pivot pin) in the base assembly:
The fulcrum pin is 4.875" from the front edge of the base.
The fulcrum pin is 1.062" from the floor.  (That is 0.625" from the bottom of the base, plus the .437" feet.)
The full travel of the front tip of the lever under your foot is:  1"
(The front tip of the lever is 1" off the floor when your foot is off.)
The full travel of the back end of the lever is 0.75".
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The PUSH ROD is made in two sections:

The top section is a solid steel rod:
Diameter of top section of pushrod:  0.25"
Length of top section of pushrod:  15.875"

The bottom section is a steel tube with a clutch/clamp assembly:
Outer diameter of bottom section of pushrod:  0.375"
Length of bottom section of pushrod:  18"  (including clutch)

The clutch is a truncated cylinder of metal that supports a radial bolt ("radial" meaning coming in from side toward the center).  The clutch was machined from a 1" diameter bar, and is 0.75" tall.  The bottom half of this cylinder is machined off at a 45-degree taper (as if it were sharpened in a huge pencil sharpener).
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Obviously, I have ignored the fact that the pedal housing is tapered and rounded on all sides, and the top has that decorative half-inch quarter-round concave cornice around the top edge.

This should be enough info for you to make your own pedal and rod (if you are crafty enough).  If I have made any obvious mismeasurements or typos, please SCREAM at me, and I will correct or clarify my work.

Best regards,

Sean Kilby
28 JAN 2008

P.S. - I have used inches and decimals (instead of inches and fractions), but three decimals should not be construed to be high-precision accuracy.  All measurements were taken with a tape measure, and scribbled down to the nearest 1/16 of an inch.  Conversions to centimeters are your own responsibility (sorry).   In the states, it is common to abbreviate the word "inches" with a pair of tiny tic marks that are typed as a quotation mark on the computer.  So 3.5" means three and a half inches.

Hey Plaistow,

Is your Rhodes an 88 or a 73?  If Seventy Three, read on....

The top sixteen hammer tips are wood wrapped in plastic, so they are quite hard.  This causes the pronounced clicking that you hear.  The nearby neoprene tips are hard by nature, and harder due to age, so they may make a bit of noise too.  (Even with the harp cover on, the Rhodes is not very quiet.)  New hammer tips will change this situation.

But, you should NOT get a unsatisfying sound from your amp.   The last two and a half octaves should not be extra loud.  So look for the cause, and fix it.  First, I would look to see if the last pickups are pushed extra close to the tines at the right side of the harp, or are the other pickups pushed back away from the tines?  Probably not, but worth checking.  You might be able to correct the balance by moving the pickups in or out to adjust volume (but this does cause other effects, so read the service manual and technotes linked below).

Also look to see if the top group of tines has been raised or lowered in relation to the tines.  They might have been raised to keep some pesky keys from sticking.  BUT this would not cause an increase in volume; as the tines are moved away from the pickups, the volume would  decrease.    So, here is your most likely cause of your problem:

The frequency response of your preamp and amp is causing the treble side of your piano to sound louder.  (Oh, it could be your ears, I guess.)  Fix it with EQ, or get accustomed to the peculiar nature of your Rhodes and Amp.

Sadly, your problem is probably a combination of the above.


If your Rhodes has 88 keys, then you will notice that the pickups are wired in such a way that the highest keys are grouped tegether, BUT I DON'T think it should be the whole top two+ octaves.  So, your issues would be a combination of the issues noted for the 73, with the bonus of the pickup wiring for the 88.

The action at the top of the piano does indeed feel quicker/lighter.  This is because the escapement is (and is supposed to be) very small.

I assume that you will immediately download and read the Rhodes service manual.
Get it from:  
Also read all of:

Good luck.


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