Author Topic: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions  (Read 503 times)

Offline DAtkinson

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Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« on: July 22, 2020, 02:38:52 PM »
Hi all

I'm getting ready to freshen up my Mark II from 1980 - plastic hammers, wooden keys. Have a series of questions before I take the plunge and make the parts order from VV. I know some of these have been asked before, but hopefully this thread will be useful for anybody doing a late Mark 1 or an early Mk II restoration.

Like many Mark 2 owners, I've never loved it as much as the Mk 1 that I played in high school, so I am definitely looking to get that warmer barkier sound, less of the bright modern tone, although I do prefer the action of the 2.

- no-brainer is replacing tone bar grommets (pic1)

- am I correct that I do not need to attend to the key pedestals? They have a built-in bump, and while the felts have a very slightly worn groove at the rear, they look otherwise ok. (pic2)

- am I correct that my damper felts are still good? (one of them in the photo looks floppy, but while angled it still feels firm) (pic3)

- the big one: hammer tips! (pics 4 and 5)
Mine have some grooves and pits, so I am assuming that I should change my tips. I've read here and there that using older-style tips, either square or graduated, might get me closer to the sound I've been looking for. However, I've also read that you shouldn't go from graduated to non-graduated, as it screws up with the strike line. So...
 - should I get new tips?
 - should I stick with graduated tips, and rely purely on voicing to get the sound I want?
 - or should I try a different tip? I know VV sound very excited about their new angled tip set, but I'm worried about moving to non-graduated tips

- finally, I'm pulling out my hair trying to assess my tines. I suspect a few might be dying, but with my old grommets I can't be sure whether it's the tine or something else. Anybody have some insight there? Related to this, I noticed that there were multiple harp mounting holes, which allowed me to try a couple of different strike line positions. Playing around with this was game-changingly impactful, but didn't get me any closer to knowing if I should replace any of my tines.

You can hear the piano here: https://youtu.be/CtjcEj3wWBU

In this video, which I made to document this project for myself and some colleagues, I mull over all the above questions and take a closer look. If anybody has the spare time to glance, it would help me immensely, and hopefully others who are working with this era of pianos.

Cheers to all of you, very excited to become part of this community!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 04:20:15 PM by DAtkinson »

Offline sean

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2020, 04:14:37 PM »


Don't worry about your tines yet.  Yes, definitely replace the grommets, you will be surprised how much of a difference that makes.

Your damper felts look great.  The one that leans can be re-glued, or gently convinced with a little glue at the base to sit up straight and eat his peas.

I think you should go for new hammer tips, because you don't like the current dried-up and hardened ones.  Newer softer tips will sound different.  If nobody here has guidance, call Chris or Fred at VV and discuss it.  They will help you decide which style tips to get.

I would leave the pedestal felts as they are.  They don't seem to be any problem - you don't seem to be hating the action in the video. 

Sean

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2020, 04:29:53 PM »
Beat me again!

Ditto on all points.
Grommets for sure 1st. Hammer tips second. Hardened grommets will make good tines sound bad.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 04:32:06 PM by pianotuner steveo »
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 DAtkinson

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2020, 08:14:08 PM »
Thank you both. Just need to decide what to do about hammer tips, then. Might give VV a call tomorrow to figure it out.

Would love to hear experiences others have had using different types of hammer tips to get more bark out of post-1978 pianos.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 06:24:09 AM »
I've only changed one set of hammer tips and it was so long ago, I don't remember enough to answer your question. There are not many EPs in my area anymore, I don't work on them very often like I did in the 80's.
You really should ask Fred @ VV- he's a member on here. Search members under 'Fred-' and he will show up as a vendor. Or, call VV later today as Sean suggested. IMHO, I think you want a set of softer tips, but ask them to be sure. They works on EPS every day.

Strike line and escapement affect bark too.

Just curious, is this a stage or a suitcase?
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 4kinga

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2020, 08:25:42 AM »
I felt the same way about my Mark II until I adjusted the strike line and added shims in lower register.  It made a world of difference in sound and feel.

Offline DAtkinson

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 08:43:00 AM »
Stevo - It's a stage. Picked it up over a decade ago for around $900, gigged extensively with a few bands until I became too lazy and switched to a Nord, and then when my kid was born and my music room became a kid's room, the Rhodes got packed up and stored until we moved into a bigger place a few months ago. Now my Rhodes and my Clav have breathing space - alongside my new upright piano. Not bad for being stuck inside with no gigs.

4kinga - Yes, I already had a jaw-dropping change by adjusting the strike line on the left side, and just measured the escapement - it's 5/16" on the bass side (so 3/16" too high?) and around 1/8" or 3/16" on the treble side (so around 1/16" too low?)... I'm hoping I can stick to adding shims, without having to rip off the shims that are already glued onto the aluminum supports.

Offline DAtkinson

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 12:00:06 PM »
For anybody following.... After a chat with one of the kind techs at VV, I ended up going for the new 6-zone angled kit. I might need to make some escapement adjustments, but I'll buy shims from a local hardware store if the need arises. I'll update my progress when it all arrives.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 05:42:24 PM »
And new grommets too, I hope...
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 DAtkinson

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2020, 08:25:52 PM »
Meh, the grommets didn't look so bad, so I decided to put my money towards a custom tolex kit instead. Can't wait to get my piano re-skinned in alligator to match my gigging shoes!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist... Yeah, grommets, screws, hammer tips, some key shims, and then new name rail felt as an indulgence.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2020, 03:17:47 PM »
 :o!
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 Tines&Reeds

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 01:22:23 AM »
When we are talking about the grommets, I know that most of my colleagues insist to replace the grommets no matter what.

I made the experience that often it really works well and is a huge improvement. It equalizes sustain and tone.

But on some instruments the whole sound gets dull and it looses sustain completely. With that said: With a trained ear you can decide on a per-note-base if the grommets (and which one) need to be replaced. It's always good to have grommets in stock. So I highly recommend getting some of those.

By the way: I always keep the old grommets if they are not damaged. Sometimes I change old grommets with other old grommets if new grommets don't get me where I want to get to. Also you can remove the old grommet, take some silicone spray and roll / squeeze the grommet between your fingers. This helps to "refresh" the grommet.
German Rhodes Tech nearby Hamburg / Bremen

http://www.tinesandreeds.com

Offline DAtkinson

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Re: Mark II (wooden key) restoration questions
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2020, 10:19:14 PM »
I'll keep that in mind, thank you. My new grommets arrived today, so I'll set aside and save any old ones that don't completely crumble, or are pancaked beyond use.