Author Topic: New (to me) 140A questions  (Read 605 times)

Offline Tinymotel

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
New (to me) 140A questions
« on: January 07, 2021, 11:35:08 PM »
I just picked up a pretty nice 140A Wurlitzer and would potentially like to try and give it a bit of a tune up. It’s in pretty good shape as is with a few minor issues.

First question I have is, is it typical to remove the volume/trim pots from the lid to work inside of it? Or do you guys just sort of tuck the lid to the side somehow? I popped it open hinged forward toward the keys, and it seems almost impossible to get in there otherwise to check out the action etc. or is there some trick I’m missing? Looks like the later 200 models hinge up / toward the back.

The main issue I’m having is a good portion of the treble side is very soft / quiet. I’ve went through and watched a handful of videos from vintage vibe detailing the process for voicing and tuning (on a 200). Seems like most of the pickups are fully horizontal. Could it need new reeds? Maybe cleaning of the reeds? They look pretty centered between the pickups I think but I’m very green to all this. I’m very interested in learning more about this beautiful instrument. The reeds seem to ring out on acoustically, so I’m thinking placement or pickups might be the issue.

Luckily it sounds pretty clean, is decently in tune, although the amp looks to be pretty old caps. The transformers look to be mismatched. Should I be concerned about any of the electronics given their age? I read a few posts about some death cap potentially being a risk factor and that kind of freaked me out. Is there any info on the amp differences between the 140A & later B model?

Overall it sounds and feels in pretty good shape aside from the treble sides softness. And it’s not every note in the treble, but I’d say the majority has a few db lower output and far less bite than the lower register. Starts at middle C up.

While I love the idea of eventually learning all the ins and outs of servicing this my self, I’m also interested in having a tech potentially give it an initial once over. Can anyone recommend any techs in the Detroit Metro area?

Thanks y’all!

Offline sean

  • Mark III EK-10
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 11:20:00 AM »


Take the knobs off!!

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3517
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 03:05:55 PM »
Yes, knobs off but don't forget there is AC power on the switch. I don't remember if that model has the death cap or not. Can someone else say for sure?

I wouldn't mess with bending pickups until you are 100% sure that is the problem. It may be letting off the soft notes too early, so the hammers may be barely touching the reed before falling back down.

Press the soft playing keys slowly, and watch what the hammers do. If they drop down with little or no musical tone, that is likely the problem.

There's a guy on eBay that sells the best wrench for that.  ;)

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 Tinymotel

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2021, 10:48:49 PM »
Hahah thanks guys!

Maybe I’m a complete idiot here. the pots for the power / tremolo and power light are all attached to the lid. I assuming you guys are saying remove the potentiometer for the power and term from the lid and tuck them aside? They don’t just pop off by removing the knobs... (Clearly not a difficult thing I just wasn’t sure what standard procedure is).

You guys rock! I’ll check the hammers out and see how they’re hitting in there.

Thanks guys!

Offline Tinymotel

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2021, 11:06:39 PM »
Ok I finally found a manual which says to tilt the top back toward the keys then rotate it till you can place the treble side on the floor. Much easier than pulling all this stuff off of the lid every time!

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3517
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 11:03:47 AM »
Yes, you may do it that way, but be careful about pulling the wires too far. Also, there is a nut under the knob that holds each pot on.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 10:04:06 AM 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 Tinymotel

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2021, 03:56:54 PM »
Cool, thanks Steve! Always good to know best practices. I severed the power chord on an old synth years taking the lid off to change a fuse and ive never been the same  ;D

Hopefully get some time in this weekend to work on this guy a bit!


Offline DocWurly

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 408
    • View Profile
    • DocWurly.com
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2021, 08:55:07 PM »
If the whole upper reed bar is quieter than the bass reed bar, make sure that the treble pickups are in fact transmitting to the amp.  It is conceivable that you are picking up the resonance of those notes through the body into the bass reedbar.  I doubt it, but please make sure:  disconnect one of the wires connecting the reed bars in the middle, and see if the problem is worse or identical.

What's the serial number of that instrument?  I'd love that, and any dates you find inside, for my research: 

https://www.Drwurly.com

You can send me a private message here.

The 140A amp never has the death cap, as far as I know.  Of the 60's models, only the 145/720 tube amp (including any A's or B's) does.

The 140A is a completely different solid state amp from the 140B amp.  You want to look at the schematic for the "140 amp." (not "140B amp")  The 140A amp is a minor revision of the 140 amp--so minor that they didn't bother to make a unique schematic for its updates.  It's the same board, with just a few values changed in some caps and resistors, and a couple (crucial) resistors added.

The famous problem with the run of 140A's and 145A's is that there was a bad batch of reed screw washers partway through the run, and those instruments are prone to washers cracking.  Not all 140A's have this problem;  seems to be the later ones.

Even the instruments without the washer problems are hard to tune. They just aren't easy reed screws.  But it can be done!  I've done it.


Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3517
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: New (to me) 140A questions
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2021, 08:59:20 AM »
And the model 700 had the death cap. Same amp as the 120.
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...