Author Topic: Restoring '82 MkII Suitcase  (Read 112 times)

Offline Tom999

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Mark II Suitcase
    • View Profile
Restoring '82 MkII Suitcase
« on: September 02, 2020, 04:43:30 AM »
Just joined the forum - I've enjoyed searching/reading through various posts here looking for info, so as way of introduction I thought I could add mine to the bunch.  Apologies for lengthy first post! Just recently acquired a MkII suitcase and have a question on felt but also looking for tolex/lid color advice.

1) It's in pretty good shape, considering its age. All the white pickups work, surprisingly.  Just going through the cleaning now, ordered an action refurb kit and a preamp rebuild kit. This Rhodes one uses the two strips of green felt for the front key rail instead of those felt washers,  and they are a bit grungy. I've read the keys don't really touch it 100% but it affects aftertouch feel?  I can't find front rail felt strips on VintageVibe's shop and wondering if I remove it if I can replace with the felt washers they say 'aren't compatible with plastic keys'? I'm wondering if they say that because there's already the strip felt there or if I remove the strips then it would be compatible.

2) Color - As you can see, it's the black name rail. I haven't seen many images of that style online, but I do have to replace the ripped tolex, especially on the speaker cab, and I can't find any examples of custom color with the black rail. I'm afraid if I pick something the rail will not match or stand out too much, if that makes sense. Originally I really liked the seafoam green tolex + cream lid pictures (I think from Chicago Electric Piano Co) but I don't think that color combo would work very well on this MkII.  Would anyone have any recommendations? Maybe tweed with some color on the lid? Maybe I should just embrace the black.

I attached a photo of what the piano looks like now. Like most 'seasoned' things, it's got some history. The owner said it was mostly used in their recording studio but lent out (or rented out, I can't remember) to some famous regulars.  I drove across the state to pick it up, they were nice enough to hold it for me - said they'd prefer it go to a nice home instead of some guys who said they'd just flip it. So I'm trying to do the restoration justice.   Thank you

Offline sean

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 897
    • View Profile
Re: Restoring '82 MkII Suitcase
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 11:04:28 AM »
Hey Tom,

1.  The plastic-key Rhodes has plastic pins in the balance rail and guide rail.  These plastic pins are much larger in diameter than the little metal pins in the other Rhodes pianos, so the standard round paper punchings and felt donuts do not fit the plastic-key Rhodes.

The felt at the guide rail serves no purpose.  The downward travel of the key will stop when the pedestal jams against the hammer cam in the "stop-lock" position. 

There are some folks who believe that it is helpful or good to have front rail felts impede or stop this travel, and they try to build up the guide rail felts until they hit the bottom of the key. 

2.  I personally love the look of the black name rail (I have a 1983 plastic-key Rhodes downstairs).  If you are energetic enough to change the tolex color AND paint the flat-top harp cover, then you should also be inspired enough to buy a new name rail.  This may would give you the look you want.   Hmmm... maybe I should run downstairs and make sure that the black rail's aluminum extrusion profile is similar to the other Mark II namerails.  (See next post.)


You should definitely move the balance rail to the front position!  (There are two grooves in the bottom of the case, the factory installed the balance rail in the back slot, but moving the balance rail to the front slot will make your action much better.  It will still bounce and clickety-clack, but it will feel lighter and faster.)

Is that the Rhodes amplifier and base at the bottom left in your photo?  Do you need a power supply for the preamp?  See  https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=9706.msg53682#msg53682 and https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=9657.0

Sean

Offline Tom999

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Mark II Suitcase
    • View Profile
Re: Restoring '82 MkII Suitcase
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 11:22:49 AM »
1.  The plastic-key Rhodes has plastic pins in the balance rail and guide rail.  These plastic pins are much larger in diameter than the little metal pins in the other Rhodes pianos, so the standard round paper punchings and felt donuts do not fit the plastic-key Rhodes.

The felt at the guide rail serves no purpose.  The downward travel of the key will stop when the pedestal jams against the hammer cam in the "stop-lock" position. 

There are some folks who believe that it is helpful or good to have front rail felts impede or stop this travel, and they try to build up the guide rail felts until they hit the bottom of the key. 

Sean thank you for your reply. Your posts have been extremely informative in learning about how these pianos work! The guide rail (thanks for the correct terminology) felt sounds like it's not super important when playing, but maybe helps guard against accidental damage if the keys are slammed down too hard? I've found some 1/4" thick felt roll I'll just try that.
What do the paper punchings do? Are they just shims? It seems like this model, being aluminum, was manufactured to higher tolerances than previous models. Are they for key leveling?

2.  I personally love the look of the black name rail (I have a 1983 plastic-key Rhodes downstairs).  If you are energetic enough to change the tolex color AND paint the flat-top harp cover, then you should also be inspired enough to buy a new name rail.  This may would give you the look you want.   Hmmm... maybe I should run downstairs and make sure that the black rail's aluminum extrusion profile is similar to the other Mark II namerails.  (See next post.)

I do like the rail as is, and it's in amazing condition so probably will keep it stock. Maybe I just do the tolex first and then see how the lid goes. Black lid would probably look best.

Thanks for the tip on the balance rail.  It is indeed in the back position, so I'll see how it plays when I get it all together and then move it to see the difference.

Quote
Is that the Rhodes amplifier and base at the bottom left in your photo?  Do you need a power supply for the preamp?  See  https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=9706.msg53682#msg53682 and https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=9657.0
Yes it is in pretty good condition and the amp functions well, too.  I saw your PSU posts as I was doing my research into how this all works and appreciate all that info, thanks again.