Author Topic: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly  (Read 523 times)

Offline jhawk

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Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« on: February 29, 2020, 04:05:16 PM »
Greetings all! I'm new to the forum and pretty new to the EP world. I'm primarily a guitarist/bassist, but have been creating a home studio and learning keys over the past few years.

After watching Reverb.com and my local classifieds for a good while, a Wurli in my price range finally showed up in Utah (and a 270 model no less!). Wurlis rarely show up here, despite the fact that I live only a few miles from the old Logan factory. After going back and forth on price for over a month, I finally went and picked it up. It's not in terrible condition, but certainly needs some work. E4 had a broken whip flange, an easy enough fix.



The amp has some hum--no surprise there. Since it's working and fairly strong, I will likely leave as is until I have enough money to spring for a Borish or Warneck to replace it with.

Someday I will also refinish it. Some areas of the case are in great condition, while other areas have heavy checking and holes in the finish.

What I want to focus on most right now is the action/tuning. Does anyone know of a good electric piano tech in the Utah area? If the price is right, I'd rather have a pro work on it. If there's no one in my area, I guess I'll be learning to do it myself!

Excited to be part of the forum!

Josh
« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 02:32:22 PM by jhawk »

Offline sean

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2020, 05:05:51 PM »
Josh,

I can see why you are excited.  It looks adorable.

To work on the action, Steve O has taught us that you want to find a PTG-registered tech that is willing to work on the little Wurlitzer action. 
See https://portal.ptg.org/4dcgi/directory/rpt/person.html - it looks like you can look for tech's within 100 miles of 84322.
Is the action bad enough that it cannot be played?  Did you already fix the broken whip flange?

Are there some notes that are out of tune?  The tuning of the Wurly doesn't drift around with humidity and thermodynamics like an acoustic piano.  The tuning is set by the lump of lead on the end of the tines.  Changing and adjusting the tuning is a bit of tedious work (add or remove solder from the end of the reed, mount it ever so slightly differently, and tighten the screws consistently).  There are experts here on this forum that can help if you are willing to dive in yourself. 

Sean


P.S. - You can easily re-size photos in PC Paint - Ctrl-W should bring up the "Resize and Skew" dialog.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2020, 11:08:33 AM »
Sean, Most piano techs I know will not touch a Wurlitzer EP, but some out there will. Also, that PTG link only shows registered technicians, it does not list associates. I have 40+ years of experience, but
I am an associate. I have also met techs with less than 5 years of experience that are RPTs. All the RPT status means is that those techs paid hundreds of dollars to take tests and passed them. It does not account for experience at all.

I'm all for guys working on their own actions, I'm more cautious about newbies playing around with the electronics.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2020, 11:10:07 AM »
Jhawk, can you post a picture of the broken part(s)?
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline jhawk

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2020, 02:52:32 PM »
I emailed a nearby piano tech. He said he wouldn't work on it and he doesn't know anyone around that works on electric pianos. Looks like I'll be learning to do a lot of this myself. I'm fairly confident I can do it, but it may just take me awhile. ;)

I'd say the piano is quite playable, but I find some notes are too quiet, while some are too loud and even strident. With some notes, the the key is not responsive when played with a light touch.

Some notes are out of tune as well. I'm hoping they are within the range that I can simply move the reeds forward or back without needing to add/remove solder.

I did already fix the broken key. Below is a photo of the broken whip flange (or at least I think that's what it's called...), and another photo of my makeshift rubber-band-clamp job. Good as new! I had to remove the whole assembly from the case to get down there.




As for the electronics, I know well enough to keep it turned off and unplugged when working on the internals. Also avoid the filter caps!

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 03:18:27 PM »
The notes that are too loud may possibly be the "normal" notes. It's more common for a Wurlitzer to develop "quiet notes" than loud notes. Unless someone has bent the pickups, my guess is that the quiet notes are also the same keys that are hard to play with a light touch. If a key is hard to play with a light touch, most of the time it is letting off way too early in the cycle- this is the most common problem I have found in Wurli actions.

There is a guy on eBay that sells the capstan wrench you will need.  ;)
The Upper capstan needs to be raised. Don't touch the lower capstan unless you have excessive lost motion.

Yes the broken part is a flange, but I hope the glue will be sufficient for the repair. I either replace the flange, or add a flange shield to flanges that are hard to find replacements for. (Rare)  It is a small aluminum shield that is held on to the repaired wood, by the same screw that holds the flange in. It's like a cover for the flange, and it prevents the center pin from sliding out on either end.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline jhawk

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2020, 05:07:39 PM »
I will check the pickups and make sure they are at the correct placement. Do you have a link to the eBay listing? I see there are a few options. This fellow says his wrench is the best:
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F223743626088
Vintage Vibe also sells one for $12, sans shipping.

Also, is there a best order of operations I should follow when setting up my piano? For example, tune first, adjust pickups second, adjust capstans third, etc.?

I am fairly confident in the flange repair. In my experience, if the wood undergoes a second break, it will generally be at a site different than where it was repaired (assuming it was glued well in the first place). If there are more problems, I will look into a flange shield.


Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2020, 08:17:08 PM »
Yes, that is the best capstan wrench available. Trust me. I have tried all types. The long Silver wrenches are junk.the short ones are too short. This one is just right, said Goldilocks...lol. You need quality tools for quality work. Doesn't VV have a minimum order of $25 plus shipping?

 The first thing to do, assuming the keys are level, not sticking, etc, is adjust the Letoff. Do not bend any pickups unless you are 100% sure someone else bent them incorrectly. If you don't know, leave them alone. Just getting the action working evenly will likely assist with the volume issue if not completely fix it. The Letoff adjustment is the single most critical adjustment in a Wurli.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline jhawk

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Re: Introduction and Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2020, 03:13:12 PM »
I am going to invest in the Goldilocks capstan wrench! Haha.

Once I have some time to work on things, I will report back and let everyone know how things turn out. Thanks for all the help so far!