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Rhodes key height question

Started by Boye, March 23, 2022, 03:04:29 PM

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Boye

Hi there,

I'm new to the forum as member but have read alot of threads over the last weeks. It's a wonderful source of information and its great see how people help each other. I'm starting the restoration of my piano but have a couple of questions before ordering parts.

First is about the balance rail felts. I feel like the general level of my keys is a little low. Some tabs of keys come really close to the front of the case. One or two keys even make noise because they hit the front of the case on a heavy blow. The thickness of the balance rail felts seems to be 2mm (0.08inch) and a thad more (plus added shims ofcourse). This already is quite thick I believe. I was able to find 3.2 mm (0.125inch) balance rail felts. Would that be a good idea for this piano? or could anything else be of influence to the keyheight? There is none in the service manual but could anyone share a reference on the keyheight? It would be nice to have an idea of how high the keys should be because it seems like on mine it's nowhere close to where it should be. 

Second is about the frontrail felts. Since the key level is quite low, the bottom of the keys should also be lower. Therefore you would expect that the bottom of the key would come close or would even touch the front rail felts. The opposite is happening however. When a key is pressed down really hard (Bending the key even) it still will not touch the frontrail felt. The tab on the key top will even hit the front of the case first before the key will touch the frontrail felt. Even when the tab of a key hits the front of the case, there is still a distance between the bottom of the key and the felt. If I heighten the key (to bring it to a normal level), this distance will become even greater. I know the key should not hit the front rail felt and the felt is only there for protection during a heavy blow but what is the idea behind a felt that the key will never be able to reach? The front rail felt is 5mm (0.2 inch). The keydip on this piano is around 11-12mm, a little to big I think.

Maybe I am way to precise but it looks like I am missing something because this seems to be unlogical.

Boye

lukevintage

Quote from: Boye on March 23, 2022, 03:04:29 PMHi there,

I'm new to the forum as member but have read alot of threads over the last weeks. It's a wonderful source of information and its great see how people help each other. I'm starting the restoration of my piano but have a couple of questions before ordering parts.

First is about the balance rail felts. I feel like the general level of my keys is a little low. Some tabs of keys come really close to the front of the case. One or two keys even make noise because they hit the front of the case on a heavy blow. The thickness of the balance rail felts seems to be 2mm (0.08inch) and a thad more (plus added shims ofcourse). This already is quite thick I believe. I was able to find 3.2 mm (0.125inch) balance rail felts. Would that be a good idea for this piano? or could anything else be of influence to the keyheight? There is none in the service manual but could anyone share a reference on the keyheight? It would be nice to have an idea of how high the keys should be because it seems like on mine it's nowhere close to where it should be. 

Second is about the frontrail felts. Since the key level is quite low, the bottom of the keys should also be lower. Therefore you would expect that the bottom of the key would come close or would even touch the front rail felts. The opposite is happening however. When a key is pressed down really hard (Bending the key even) it still will not touch the frontrail felt. The tab on the key top will even hit the front of the case first before the key will touch the frontrail felt. Even when the tab of a key hits the front of the case, there is still a distance between the bottom of the key and the felt. If I heighten the key (to bring it to a normal level), this distance will become even greater. I know the key should not hit the front rail felt and the felt is only there for protection during a heavy blow but what is the idea behind a felt that the key will never be able to reach? The front rail felt is 5mm (0.2 inch). The keydip on this piano is around 11-12mm, a little to big I think.

Maybe I am way to precise but it looks like I am missing something because this seems to be unlogical.

Boye
Hi Boye,
I too am new and going through the same steps as you with my recently acquired 1979 73 Rhodes. Perhaps my limited experience might help (2 weeks):
I just finished taking the rhodes down to its bones to discover that after a good vacuum, which helped spruce up the felt on the key bed, there were some paper key shims underneath the Harp support that were throwing the escapement out. The rejuvenated keybed felt returned the key dip to its proper measurement along the whole of the keyboard. The white felt on the balance rail were missing on some keys. I will order replacements and paper washers so to level the keys. From what I understand, the front rail felts are to be left alone (I have a long green felt instead). The parts to worry about are the key bed and the balance rail. With the harp Support removed, you can see whether the hammer is sitting properly on the key pedestal and moves into the locked position when the key is pressed. In fact, you should indicate if your rhodes has the key bump mod or not.
Anything else beyond this should perhaps be avoided for the time being; until the keys and the key beds are all in the right state, and they all interact correctly with the hammers, any work on the harp or dampners will go nowhere. Still, I couldn't resist and I learnt that I will have to reset anything anyway, especially as I need a whole new set of grommets and screws.
I know this doesn't really answer your questions but I hope it will help emphasise the importance of getting these fundamental steps fixed. And at the very least, you'll have someone to bounce off.

Boye

Hi luke,

Thanks for your response. I am now working on the keybed, replacing the key bushings that were worn out, balance rail felts and back rail felt. After that I will level the keys and check if the dip is correct and correct if necessery. I ordered the thick balance rail felt so I think my keys will have the proper height after leveling and won't be touching the keyslip anymore.

Regards,
Boye

lukevintage

I've replaced all my grommets and screws and levelled the keys. However, my key dip is 1.1cm, a little too much. How did the extra thick felt turn out? Mine looks to be 1.8cm as it's a little compressed over time.