Hohner Pianet T - Setup and Voicing etc

Started by DB-Keys, November 28, 2019, 06:36:52 PM

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DB-Keys

Hi all
I have recently acquired a Hohner Pianet T. Although all seems in good working order, I'm curious to know if I can improve on its tone and performance in any way. Are there any general guidelines on the exact distant that the pickup should be from the reed or is it just a case of purely trusting ones ears?

Also, regarding the rubber pads, does best tone and performance come from them making contact with the very end of each of the reeds or does this vary across the keyboard range? The reason I ask is that in the photos I've seen online it appears that the rubber pads are making contact with the very end of the reed across the entire keyboard range whereas on the Planet T that I have the rubber pads are making contact with the reeds much further back on the keys in the lowest octave. Is this a common procedure?

Any info and advice on getting the very best from this instrument would be greatly appreciated.
Many thank in advance.

theseacowexists

I've found that voicing a Pianet T is more a case of just trusting your ears. It's a combination of pad placement and pickup adjustment.

Your pads are likely located in the position where they were originally placed. The photos you saw online are correct - does your pad placement differ much? Use your pads' current position and the photos as a starting point for adjustments. An adjustment that improves the sound of one note may not be the right adjustment to make on another note.

Clean the pads. Before taking them off the keyshaft, mark each keyshaft where they are placed so that you can replace them in the same position. Wash the pads in mildly soapy water (regular ol' dish soap is fine), rinse, and let dry. Clavinet.com offers replacement pads, but the originals should have plenty of pluck left in them, especially after a cleaning. If you find they're still not plucking to your satisfaction, then buy the replacements.

The pickup can be bent towards or away from the tip of the reed. As you might imagine, bending the pickup closer will make the note louder, bending away, quieter. Closer will produce a grittier tone, closer in character to the earlier N models or even a Wurlitzer, especially in the lower and mid octaves. It's your preference. Be very gentle when bending the pickup! Also, don't bend it so close that it touches the reed, it will either prevent the reed from sounding or make some nasty distortion.

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, there is a tiny capacitor near the output transformer that can be clipped out to give the Pianet a slightly brighter sound. The reason being that the cap attenuates some of the high frequencies, removing this will allow those to come through.

SwamiRob

The key arms make a big difference to the sound too. There's a specific tool you can get (from Clavinet.com I think) for doing this so you.can be extra careful about not breaking them as I've heard they can be a little delicate if you're not careful. Makes a big difference in the action and sound.

Then one I bought already had Clavinet.com pads on, and they seem at least to have a bit more dynamic range from what I've heard of originals, but I couldn't say for sure. I'm currently on the look out for an upward expander unit, to try and make the attack a bit louder and more aggressive when you play louder for a bit of extra dynamic range.

There's videos from Vintage Vibe on YouTube about moving pickups, sticky pads, tuning, and other playing action/voicing related stuff, albeit about the Pianet N but the same principles apply.

Quite interested in the cap thing though, mine is incredibly dull sounding without alot of EQ, so might try desoldering it. Also getting alot of noise, both a low hum and a hiss. But the hiss is only noticeable when bringing out the top end with EQ. I'm using an American style tone stack pedal to broaden the sound a bit that works nicely, if I could get rid ofnthe noise it'd be great.

Is yours a model with the big bronze slab that the reeds sit on, or are they on bits of MDF with a circuit board in-between them and the keybed that the pickups are individually wired to? I've got a feeling some of my noise might be coming from the fact that on mine all of the pickups are wired in 1 long sequence, and at the bass end, the copper wire is simply attached to the bronze pickup holder thing for it to route back to the circuit board that links to the output jack.

SwamiRob

Also, has anyone got any idea where the earth actually is for a Pianet? Gonna have a look at replacing the jack to see if that improves noise but got no idea how the pickups/earthing/passive transformer/capacitor/jack are all linked together.