Author Topic: 1976 Mk1 Suitcase 73  (Read 114 times)

Offline collin_mccabe

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1976 Mk1 Suitcase 73
« on: October 20, 2021, 03:33:55 PM »
Hi all –

New here, though I've had my Rhodes for almost 10 years. My old high school band director gave it to me for free and it's been sitting around collecting dust. Finally really able to put the time into restoring / repairing it.

Ran into a problem already. First step was to get the right cable and get the knobs replaced. I ordered a 4-pin cable from Vintage Vibe and it came in the mail today. Realized as soon as I opened it that it is either (1) not the right cable or (2) there is something screwy about this thing.

Both the piano and the speaker have this 4-pin connector – but they are, uh, not the standard 4-pin DIN cables. I've searched everywhere online and I can't find a picture of this specific type of cable anywhere, so now I'm starting to think that it's missing a part. Pictures below. Any help is appreciated!

Offline spave

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Re: 1976 Mk1 Suitcase 73
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2021, 07:48:08 PM »
You are absolutely right about the 4 pin being different than a standard suitcase 4 pin.

My guess is that the original connections broke back in the day and whoever owned it at the time decided to modify what they had instead of tracking down new replacements.

Depending on your technical abilities you can A. Get the right connectors from Vintage Vibe and replace them yourself. B. Have a reputable shop do A. Or C. You can run a 1/4 jack from accessory 1 into a guitar amp/stereo if you have one and play it like that until you have the time or $ for A/B.

Also, if your Rhodes has been sitting for as long as you say it has, you have a lot of mechanical things you can work on before you get to electronics anyway, so the 4 pin doesn't need to be your top priority (assuming you have a guitar amp/stereo).
1972 Home Rhodes Prototype
1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes
1977 Wurlitzer 270

Offline collin_mccabe

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Re: 1976 Mk1 Suitcase 73
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2021, 08:06:15 PM »
You are absolutely right about the 4 pin being different than a standard suitcase 4 pin.

My guess is that the original connections broke back in the day and whoever owned it at the time decided to modify what they had instead of tracking down new replacements.

Depending on your technical abilities you can A. Get the right connectors from Vintage Vibe and replace them yourself. B. Have a reputable shop do A. Or C. You can run a 1/4 jack from accessory 1 into a guitar amp/stereo if you have one and play it like that until you have the time or $ for A/B.

Also, if your Rhodes has been sitting for as long as you say it has, you have a lot of mechanical things you can work on before you get to electronics anyway, so the 4 pin doesn't need to be your top priority (assuming you have a guitar amp/stereo).

I actually managed to figure out this afternoon what type of cable it is! It's a GX16 4pin aviator cable. Seems reasonably easy to procure but I'd rather get this back its original state. I have no idea if it even works the way it's intended (though I'd assume it does).

I've got a buddy who can solder it all up. Ordered the original sockets from Vintage Vibe already.

I guess my next question for you then would be – where should i start if not the electronics? Shouldn't I get the electronics working first so I can make sure the rest of it works?

Offline spave

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Re: 1976 Mk1 Suitcase 73
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2021, 08:50:03 PM »
It depends on what you are unhappy with currently.


1. If your goal is to simply have it sound good but have its quirks then only a few adjustments should be needed like replace a few grommets, key height on low keys, escapement on certain notes, voicing, etc.

2. If you are looking for more of a ground up restoration, you would start by fully leveling the keybed, setting keydip, strike line, and most likely replacing all the rubber grommets and a good portion (if not all) of the hammer tips depending on how worn they are.

This is a link to the manual on the Fender Rhodes supersite. It is a good place to start and get familiar with what you will be working with.
https://www.fenderrhodes.com/service/manual.html

If you are leaning in direction 1. then you can probably jump to whatever chapter you need and just piecemeal it until it is in a condition you are happy with.

If you want to go in direction 2. then I would look up rebuild threads on this form and check out Vintage Vibe's videos on YouTube. I believe they have 1 or 2 that can completely walk you through the ground up rebuild process. Just remember though that the ground up rebuild is a much bigger commitment and once you start you have to see it through to the end.


Assuming you have the external amp, you can do all of that without the suitcase electronics. Having the suitcase working won't matter to you if the keyboard its amplifying doesn't sound good on its own first.
1972 Home Rhodes Prototype
1971 Suitcase Fender Rhodes
1977 Wurlitzer 270