Author Topic: Calling all proud plastic key owners!  (Read 168 times)

Offline mjbarber431

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Calling all proud plastic key owners!
« on: March 30, 2021, 06:04:53 PM »
To those of you who own a plastic key Rhodes mark II, do you prefer the balance rail in the near or far position relative to the player? For people who aren't aware, they routed two grooves in the bottom of the case for the plastic balance rail giving players a choice of "soft" or "hard" touch. I recently moved mine to the closer position and am finding the action to be a bit too stiff, but I was wondering what others' preferences were and why. I can't decide if I should just leave and strengthen my hands over time or switch it back. Any input or information about my piano would be welcome!
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline sean

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Re: Calling all proud plastic key owners!
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 12:40:09 AM »
MJ,

I always jump up and down about YOU MUST move the balance rail to the FRONT position.  I am surprised that you don't like it better than the back slot.

In my 1983 Rhodes (Suitcase top), the action was mushy and yucky with the balance rail in the back slot.  I am pissed that the factory chose to put it there. 

If you move the balance rail to the front position, the keysticks pivot in a location more like the wooden-key Rhodes pianos.  It made a world of difference in the playability and lovability of my plastic-keyed Rhodes.

Now, let's be clear here:  the plastic-key action still sucks in comparison to well-adjusted wooden-keyed Rhodes actions.  The plastic-key key bounce is hilarious, the clickety-clackety noise is impressive.  The action is still mushy.  It is like each key is a little too lazy to throw the hammers up with authority. 

It takes a few nights of introspection and 12-step acceptance, but you can eventually get comfortable with the plastic-key Rhodes.  Yes, it has a very unique action.  Yes, it has hateful damper felts installed by the factory.  But it has that cool all-black name rail!  AND IT SOUNDS LIKE A RHODES!!

So I love my 1983 Plastic-Key Rhodes.

Sean

Offline mjbarber431

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Re: Calling all proud plastic key owners!
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2021, 10:22:35 AM »
Hey Sean!

I actually moved mine to that position because of your advice. As it turns out, today I took off the whole action rail assembly and witnessed the poor QC regarding the placement of the key pedestal felts. The plastic key pedestal features an integrated "bump" that was being negated by the felts slowly ramping up the bumps rather than fitting snuggly into the bumps, if that makes sense. Anyway, I took a socket and just pushed the felts back into the right-angle of the bump to try and bond the adhesive back and it seems to have made a huge difference in the action. Unless this is purely placebo, the action feels much lighter and more proper. Perhaps I will buy some replacement key pedestal felts someday and adhere it to the bumps properly. Has anyone else tried something like this?
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73

Offline mjbarber431

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Re: Calling all proud plastic key owners!
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2021, 08:36:00 AM »
Attached is an image of the issue I'm speaking of. See how the pedestal felt is ramped slowly up the bump? I feel like it should be more pushed into the corner.
'83 Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
'76 Rhodes Mk I Stage 73