Author Topic: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original  (Read 326 times)

Offline Kane

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I am in the market for a Rhodes, and currently have two options. Roughly the same era Mark 1 suitcase: one being a full restoration by Vintage Vibe around 2008 and kept in a studio since; the other is internally clean and looks to be in good condition, but is certainly more "original". Aesthetically neither is perfect, the Vintage Vibe has sparkly gold tolex that I can't stand, the other has original black with some tears. The Vintage Vibe piano does need some work to the preamp as the tremelo clicks in time with the rate, but speaking with Vintage Vibe this shouldn't be a difficult fix. Vintage Vibe restoration will be $800 to $1000 more taking into account the repair.

My question is, how do people find the Vintage Vibe restorations? I know on paper this will be the better piano, my concern is that it will be just too clean and perfect. Missing some of the character and charm an instrument finds along the way. Listening to their restorations on YouTube they do sound fantastic, but what do people think of a full restoration vs a clean and serviced original?

Neither piano is in my city (in Australia), and they are in different cities 12+ hours away. I'll inspect before purchasing, but I'm not in a position to travel to one city to try one and then the other city to try the other.


Offline sean

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Re: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2020, 04:55:33 PM »

There is no reason to steer away from a VV restoration.  It is still a Rhodes will a whole lot of vintage charm and heritage.

I honestly think there is no way to decide until you have a Rhodes under your fingertips.  One may excite you, one may not.

However...

The VV restoration should have hammer tips that are only 12 years old.  They will be nice and soft and sound great.
The original black tolex Rhodes will have hard hammer tips that don't sound like Donald Fagen, but it might still sound pretty good.

The VV restoration will have new damper felts that do a great job.
The original black tolex Rhodes will have ancient damper felts, and may not do a great job stopping the tines.

The VV restoration will have 12-year-old grommets that are probably still fine, but a grommet job is an easy task, and you can do that in an afternoon.

In either case, both piano's can be restored to work exactly how you want them to.

If the gold tolex turns you off, there is little chance that you will get over this.  I would hate to have an instrument in my living room or studio that looks like it tastes bad.  You want to be drawn to the instrument and adore how it looks.

I guess Rhodes pianos are painfully rare in Oz.  They are pretty easy to find in the USA.   I can't fix that.

Sean

Offline Kane

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Re: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2020, 06:36:39 PM »
Thanks for the thorough rundown on the likely condition of either piano, that was pretty much what I had suspected re: the restoration vs original. At least in saving $1000 I could have some cash aside to undertake work on the piano, but then again the convenience of what will be a ready to play beauty might be worth it.

Neither is entirely aesthetically pleasing - torn black tolex vs sparkly gold tolex - so I can't entirely hold that against either. Mind you, I'd happily replace the worn grill cloth and just leave the scrappy tolex as is. But, then again, my kids would love the sparkly gold and might encourage them to play it more anyway.

I'd say across the whole country there are typically only ever a 1 to 6 for sale through the typical sales channels (second hand music stores, ebay and Gumtree which is our equivilent of Craig's List). We're not exactly spoiled for choice. The only Rhodes in my state that has been for sale in the last few months was a pristine Mark II Stage that sold within a couple of hours.






Offline Kane

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Re: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2020, 09:19:57 PM »
An update... I've opted for neither.

As much as my heart has always wanted a suitcase practical considerations have won out, I'll be looking for a Stage.

Thanks for reading!

Offline Kane

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Re: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2020, 05:18:08 PM »
Picked up a 1979 Mark I Stage 88 yesterday. Tolex has a few scuffs and the hardware is a bit corroded but the piano itself is impeccable. Super clean and plays really nice. The very top A# sticks which I'll investigate, but not much of a rush as I don't think I'd really use it anyway.

I wasn't looking for an 88, but considering how hard to come by a clean and well priced Rhodes is in Australia the extra 15 keys and 10kg didn't deter me too much. For reference, people are asking higher prices for a Mark II stage with cigarette burnt keys and scratched to hell harp covers.

I'll just enjoy playing it for now, and will investigate any work I might do in the coming weeks.

Offline conke

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Re: Question about Vintage Vibe restorations vs well maintained original
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 01:16:36 AM »
Wow cool! Congrats on your new Rhodes

For the sticking keys, try lifting the harp up and testing the key.

If it sticks with the harp up, try easing the key bushings and inspecting key pins.

If it only sticks with the harp down, try raising the escapement of that one note a bit and checking the harp's alignment.

(If the hammer tip is very grooved and getting stuck around the tine, replace the hammer tip.)

Hohner Pianet T
1977 Rhodes Mk I
1966 Wurlitzer 146