Author Topic: Escapement  (Read 89 times)

Offline Pbean

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Escapement
« on: July 25, 2020, 05:16:54 PM »
I am trying to figure out why some Rhodes pianos need shims added or cut to achieve the correct escapement.
I have a bit of background with a regular piano action so pardon my ignorance when it comes to the Rhodes action.

Were hammer tips changed over the years of manufacture to different shapes?
This would account for different blow distance which in turn should change the escapement if you are installing new hammer tips.

Were hammers always installed with different zones of various sizes to accommodate escapement?

Were harp supports all manufactured to tight specifications?
The quality of the lumber on the keys and machining of the key bushing holes makes me think things were not always done with great care in the factory.

So if key height is set (1/8 below key slip) and the rear pedestal felt is correct thickness then key depth should be good (3/8").
If tone bars are regulated to 3/8" height then hammer blow distance should be consistent.
I would assume that now escapement should be close to factory specs.

Needing more or less escapement than what the tone bar adjustment allows would mean needing to cut or add shims. What's so wonky that shim adjustment is necessary if all parts are set to factory spec?

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Escapement
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2020, 08:49:45 PM »
From what I understand, the workers in the Rhodes factory were not trained piano techs, and tolerances were sloppy at times. A lot of times you will find the paper shims on top of the felt punchings on the balance rail. I was told they did this to save time, but to me that's just lazy.

There were several types ( felt, rubber, Square, angled)  and shapes of hammer tips, but I'm not an expert on the different types. The tips are different hardnesses throughout the keyboard- softer in the bass and harder (sometimes rubber wrapped wood) in the treble.
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...