Help dating my Rhodes…I have no harp date stamp!

Started by cactusleaf, March 15, 2022, 10:50:39 PM

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cactusleaf

I only have the final assembly date stamp!

It's been a mystery since I've owned this piano as to why there are no markings on my pickup rail at all, except for a mummified piece of masking tape with, scrawled in pen, "73 pickup rail", a cryptic part number (presumably), and the name Jim Graham. That WWYY date everyone goes by is conspicuously missing.

But, down on the tone bar rail, next to the gold sticker, there is that WWYD stamp (mine's 1462) that I understand to be the full assembly date. But everyone and their brother goes by that other date, the pickup rail harp-completion stamp as the official date.

My thought is this: I've always just said this is a 1976, which is when it was assembled. But it's super early in the year, and the original other harp date stamp could have easily been sometime in late 1975! I know sometimes the two dates are weeks or even several months apart. If that were the case, hypothetically, would this then be considered a 1975?

Clues to the date of origin:
- It originally had square, uniform-height hammer tips, black with the colored paint
- Hammers are all plastic
- It has a mix of Torrington and Singer tines, about half and half
- Originally it had white felts on the hammer cams, and key pedestals are flat

Sooo:
-Anyone know what the deal could be with my pickup rail?
-What should I consider the date of my piano to be? What's likely?
-Anyone have examples of how many weeks between their WWYY harp date stamp and the WWYD assembly date stamp?

Help me solve the mystery of my harp date plz! Rhodes dates are weird!

If anyone is curious I can post pics! Thank you!
1976 Mk I Suitcase 73
Clavinet II (traded a Wurly for it)
ARP Odyssey Mk I
Sitar
That's about all you'd ever need.

Alan Lenhoff

If, as you say, everyone goes by the date on the pickup rail, they are simply mistaken. That date, in WWYY coding, is the date that Turbo Jet, a contractor for Fender, assembled the harp. As you say, it is typically several weeks to several months ahead of the final assembly date at the Rhodes plant. It is no more the piano's birth date than any date code you might find on any other component Fender bought from a supplier and installed in your piano.

So, there's no mystery at all: Your piano was assembled on the 14th week of 1976, on the second work day of the week. In other words, Tuesday, March 30, 1976. Bake a cake on that date every year, light some candles, and sing Happy Birthday to your Rhodes!

BTW, the pickup rail date is likely missing because it was often stamped lightly, and could easily have been washed away by a previous owner while cleaning the harp.

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
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1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1983 Roland JX-3P; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; 1983 Roland JX-3P synth; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )