Author Topic: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.  (Read 617 times)

Offline Thelonius

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Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« on: May 21, 2019, 09:08:45 PM »
Greetings,

I just bought a refurbished Rhodes from Retrolinear. It’s a 1978 73 suitcase. The one thing that is bothering me with it is the graduated hammer tips.

Initially, I thought the problem was worn out tips. The notes start to clank abruptly at the B above middle C. I removed the lid and noticed that none of the tips had grooves in them until that B. Then I learned that the B (note 44 of 73) was a point where the tip hardness changed from 70 shore to 90 shore. I’m guessing that replacing the hammer tips (which Retrolinear strongly advised against) is futile. I thought the grooves were causing the clank but I’m now guessing the harder tips develop grooves more quickly.

The sound goes from nice, warm and round to percussive and clanky. I don’t like it. It’s abrasive to my ears. The lower and middle registers have great bark when pushed a little and sound perfect.

Anybody else run into this problem?

Any good solutions for this?

Thanks so much for your guidance and expertise.

-Greg
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 09:10:25 PM by Thelonius »

Offline mvanmanen

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 09:39:11 PM »
Hmmmm...

Any chance you could make a recording of it? Retrolinear has one of the best reputations in the restoration business. Without hearing it...I would not dream of making any recommendations.

What is your frame of reference for a Fender Rhodes? Most sampled or digital versions usually do not have the "character" that comes with electromechanical keyboards including the inherent noise of the upper registers from harder tips hitting shorter tines.
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Offline Thelonius

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 10:04:05 PM »
It’s not a Retrolinear issue. They did a great job.  It’s a a “Thelonius” issue.

My ears have always been partial to warm, soft tones. I just want to tame the clank or at least balance it out a little.


Offline Tim Hodges

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 05:42:32 AM »
Unfortunately that is the nature of the beast. As the tines get shorter a harder durometer is required to make them ring out (which is why the treble have maple core hammer tips)

Some have experimented with changing the transition with more of the mid range tips. Perhaps someone else who has attempted it can chime in but for me I like it and is a quintessential sound of the Rhodes on some recordings.
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 03:23:40 PM »
My advice would be to try softer tips in this area, (its not futile to change out tips at all!) Give some square 'white' tips a blast from VV which are softer than the standard graduated white tips and see if this improves things or alternatively, extend the yellow tips upwards into the white tip area and see if this helps.

Also, you can shave a little off the tip edge to remove the grooves and this will likely help too if you don't want to change out the tips. Also, changing out the grommets and screws in this area may well help- hardened grommets give a more pronounced attack. It may just be that changing the grooved tips for new white graduated tips will do the job too. But you are correct in as much as these tips and the woodcore tips do groove up quicker than other areas...
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 03:26:00 PM by goldphinga »

Offline retro-mike

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 05:21:24 PM »
My advice would be to try softer tips in this area, (its not futile to change out tips at all!) Give some square 'white' tips a blast from VV which are softer than the standard graduated white tips and see if this improves things or alternatively, extend the yellow tips upwards into the white tip area and see if this helps.

Also, you can shave a little off the tip edge to remove the grooves and this will likely help too if you don't want to change out the tips. Also, changing out the grommets and screws in this area may well help- hardened grommets give a more pronounced attack. It may just be that changing the grooved tips for new white graduated tips will do the job too. But you are correct in as much as these tips and the woodcore tips do groove up quicker than other areas...

GoldPhinga we know you have an excellent amount of knowledge on Rhodes, however in this instance we'd like to politely ask that you please don't offer advice for an instrument you haven't seen, touched or evaluated in person.

We don't know anything about the tips your are recommending so- if they're not the same height as the tips currently installed in his piano it will likely cause escapement and strike line issues, which leads down a path of endless frustration.     This piano was just restored, not even a month ago.
Out of every Janus Rhodes we've restored this is in the top 3.  It has new grommets among many other new or original parts under the hood and a complete electronic rebuild.  As for the hammer tips inside the piano, they have maybe 10% wear, they're still supple and they passed our sonic standards, if it ain't broke we're not gonna "fix" it..


His piano sounds great, dynamics out that wazoo-   It reacts the way it does not just because its setup well, but because it's not packed full of questionable parts.
Take a listen>>   https://youtu.be/-7J47-5GXl4


We'll be in touch with Thelonius :)

Offline rhodesworks

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 06:20:51 PM »
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.
Thanks,
Rhodesworks

Offline pnoboy

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2019, 02:57:40 PM »
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.
Thanks,
Rhodesworks

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

Offline goldphinga

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Re: Just bought a Rhodes. I hate graduated hammer tips.
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 06:51:03 AM »
I stand by the advice I gave earlier (with respect of course). Every restore/service I do, I change the tips and the piano has ALWAYS without fail sounded and played more evenly than before. It's obviously up to the individual vendor or customer or repair place what they want to do, but for me, I don't believe keeping original tips is in any way beneficial- unless tips available from current vendors don't suit the tone they are after, but that's something I don't often run into. Some direct audio of the piano would be helpful in this instance too. Peace y'all!

« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 06:55:49 AM by goldphinga »