Author Topic: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues  (Read 246 times)

Offline theseacowexists

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Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« on: February 02, 2020, 08:24:56 PM »
We finally scored a Rhodes! It's a 1973 Stage 73 model with the Major Key Harmonic Clarifier preamp. It came with everything but the legs. I've spent the last month getting it up to snuff, with new hammer tips and damper felts and the miracle mod. Overall, it plays much nicer than when we got it! I've been learning all about the mechanics of the piano and how to voice it properly, but I've run into a couple things that are either problems, or things I don't full understand yet:

The sustain pedal: Initially, it seemed to me that the pedal took quite a bit of effort to depress in order to get the piano to sustain properly. Through some threads on here, I learned about lubing the pins that the sustain bar hinges on and the shaft that the dowel sits in (did that while I was doing all the other mods). I believe I also read somewhere that the spring that's hooked onto the sustain bar could be taken off so relieve some of that resistance (haven't done that yet). What I've noticed is that after setting up the sustain pedal, after playing it for a few minutes, the rod would start to slip inside of itself, even though the wingnut was tightened all the way. The result is that when the pedal was at it's resting position, the top of the rod was not touching the dowel inside the piano - the pedal had a bit of travel before it engaged the rod. Is that normal? It seems to me that the rod should always be maintaining contact with the dowel. Also, when I do have the rod set up so that it's touching the dowel, the entire piano has a tendency to lift off of the stand that it's on! Again, is that normal? I haven't played many Rhodes, so I don't really have a point of reference.

Tonebar #53 (aka G#5, the final 'twisted' tonebar): The horizontal part tonebar seems to be rubbing against the aluminum bracket that sits between #53 and #54. Can this bracket be removed, or even moved between #54 and #55, where there seems to be a wide enough gap? The gap between #53 and #54 is wide enough, it's just that it is set too close to #53. Is this something that can be solved with new grommets and screws?

Sharp attack on a couple of middle register notes: Middle C and C#, to be exact. Almost a metallic 'clang' when the tines are struck. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the pickup, you can hear it even when the piano is unplugged. I believe they were like this before the new hammer tips.

Hope y'all might be able to help! Thanks!

Offline sean

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 12:53:46 PM »



Your sustain rod should not slip at all.  Take a close look at the clutch.  Make sure that the screw that tightens it is not somehow too short.  If the screw locks up against the outside of the clutch before it is fully tight, then it can slip.  Make sure that the little fingers inside the clutch are not broken off or twisted in a way that they prevent the screw from forcing them to grab the rod.  If the fingers are broken off and missing, then maybe the screw could be too short to directly contact the rod to lock it up.  If the fingers are gone from the side opposite the screw, then they won't be there to press against when you tighten the screw.  Also there is no reason to have grease in the clutch.

The pedal should not lift the piano.  The sustain rod (wooden dowel) inside the piano may not be working correctly.  It should move freely, and the damper release bar should also move freely.  Make sure there isn't any foreign object (or domestic object) stuck in there.  Also, make sure that your damper push rod (the wooden dowel) is not installed upside down.  (I don't have one handy to look at, but some models are not symmetric.  See https://www.vintagevibe.com/products/fender-rhodes-sustain-dowel.)

The damper-bar return spring isn't nearly strong enough to make a huge difference in foot feel.  The pedal is strong enough to lift a 140-pound Rhodes.  The spring and the force of 73 damper leaf springs is no match for your foot.  Leave the damper-bar return spring where it is.

Early sustain bars had a T-shaped bolt in the middle, and if this was out of whack, the sustain didn't work evenly.  I don't have a helpful diagram, but see https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=7761.msg40067#msg40067.  If the T-screw is broken or out of adjustment, then your damper bar will bend in the middle, and you will notice that the dampers don't work correctly at the far ends of the piano.  Newer damper rails are stiffer and don't need the T-screw in the center.

Sean



P.S. - I can't find a better word than "fingers" to describe the crenallated inner piece of the clutch.  It is simply a slotted end of a tube.  Merlons could be used, but I have never heard that word until I looked up "crenallated." 

Offline sean

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 01:35:40 PM »

The tonebars sometimes buzz against the harp brackets. 

If you replace the tonebar grommets and have nice straight screws, you might be lucky enough to have enough clearance to prevent the buzzing.  However, if the holes drilled in the tonebar rail are too close to the harp support bracket, you will still get buzz.

You can cut slots in the harp support brackets.
See  https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=9587.msg52909#msg52909

You can safely remove the harp support brackets.  I had the harp support brackets removed from my pianos for many many years before I slottled them.  Usually this will make no difference.  However, some harps will bow a tiny bit (I have only noticed this in one of my five Rhodes pianos).  If the pickup rail and tonebar rail become out of alignment after you remove the harp support brackets, you can simply adjust the tonebar mounting screws to re-point the tines at the pickups. 

Sean

Offline sean

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 01:47:11 PM »

Metallic clang... hmmm.  In the middle register?  Really?  Hmmm.

Metallic clang upon hammer strike is almost certainly the tine coming in contact with the pickup.  Move the pickups absurdly away from the tine, and test again.

Metallic clang upon damper release?  Sometimes the damper bounce makes the damper arms resonate (sounding a little bit like tin foil).  [Could this resonance be so perfectly tuned to only these two notes?  I don't think so.  You should notice this on all the notes, not just two.] [Oh, maybe these two dampers have come loose.  Conceivable, but unlikely.]

I can't image a tuning spring being so loose that it rattles.

Those are the only things I can think of.

Wait.  One more thing.  Could these two notes have their tine mounting block not securely bolted to the tonebar?  A little far-fetched, but....

Sean
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 01:55:45 PM by sean »

Offline theseacowexists

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 09:03:46 AM »
Sustain: The dowel was installed correctly and no foreign or domestic objects were in the way. So I tried a couple of other things, which so far have given me good results. First, I tightened the bolt in the T-bar. The piano stopped lifting off the stand after doing this. As for the sustain rod, the screw is long enough, the threads are not stripped, and it goes in as far as it should. It occurred to me that maybe the surfaces were too smooth to grip each other sufficiently. To that end, I used a file to roughen up the inner rod and the inner part of the fingers. So far, this seems to be working - I played for about half an hour after doing this and didn't experience any slippage.

BONUS: It turns out there is a technical term for those 'fingers': collet!

Tonebars: I think I will try cutting the slots in the brackets. Removing the brackets freed the tonebars (turns out the same thing was happening, but to a lesser degree, at the other bracket), but did cause the tines and pickups to go out of alignment. Instead of readjusting everything I've already worked so hard on, I'm keeping the brackets in until I find the time and means to cut the slots.

Tine attack: I don't think I described the sound accurately. It sounds more like if those notes had the treble range woodcore hammers on them instead of the neoprene ones that are there - a very 'bright' attack, especially when compared to the surrounding notes. To clarify, I did install the VV colored square hammer tips kit. The tine/tonebar bolts seem as tight as they can be, and the tines are definitely not touching the pickups. Moving the pickups away doesn't reduce the harshness of the attack either.

Offline sean

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 12:16:53 PM »

Collet - Thank you!  Duh.


Oh, so those two notes have extra "ping," right?  This is not unusual at the transition points in hammer tip hardness.

Offline theseacowexists

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Re: Rhodes 73 - Some Issues
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 02:27:37 PM »
Ping - yes that's the word I was looking for! C is the final green tip and C# is the first yellow tip, right? Is there any harm in trying a different color on those notes to see if that helps?