Wurlitzer 270 (200a) dull sound (and other questions)

Started by spave, March 24, 2022, 08:20:22 PM

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Hi everyone,

This is a follow up post to my previous topic on troubleshooting the dull sound of my 1977 Wurlitzer 270 https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=10588.0

In that previous topic I discovered that some of the reed bolts were overtightened which was contributing to the lack of dynamics but did not seem to be the root cause. I have decided to start from the ground up and see if anyone  has any suggestions on what could be causing the dull sound. I have previously tried playing with the leftoff, strikeline, and pickups but I admittedly did not have a good grasp on what I was doing. At this point I'm grasping at straws after playing with those other variables which normally seem to be the root of most peoples problems. My best guess now is that the hammer butt felts are too thick as I have read that Wurlitzer started making them thicker in the late 70s but that still doesn't explain why some notes sound a lot better than others.

I've attached an MP3 that has samples of what some of the good and bad notes sound like. It was recorded with a phone mic placed in front of one of the speakers. At 00:27 I get to B15 which is one of the best across the keyboard and has a wider range of dynamics and timbre than any of the notes before it. at 00:52 I play E32 which also seems to be one of the better notes and it too has more of an attack and "bark" than the surrounding notes. For Queen's Your my best friend and Dancing in the moonlight it is easy to tell how much bark this 270 is missing. I played both pieces with a fair bit of force but never really got much of the bark that is present in the original recordings or in cover versions. (I know both would have likely been recorded on wurlys with the slightly thinner 140/200 reeds, but I don't think that is a huge factor between them and the 270)

Any ideas/suggestions for what to work on would be greatly appreciated.

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1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1977 Wurlitzer 270

Alan Lenhoff

One suggestion:

Many of the classic Wurli recordings you hear are of the piano playing through a guitar amp. My 140B is a creamy, mellow-sounding piano when played through its internal speaker. But when I play it through my Silverface Twin, it can be a nasty, metallic sounding beast. I used to own a 200A and it, too, was like a different instrument through the Twin.

So, if you've not played yours through a guitar amp, you might want to see if that gives you more of the sound you want.


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

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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/ )


Hi Alan

Thats a good suggestion, unfortunately I don't have any guitar amps anymore (it was either them or the Rhodes)  :'(

The main thing that confuses me is how there are "good" sounding notes using the stock speakers. I'm sure it would sound better through a twin or similar tube amp but I've heard good 200s and 200As using internal speakers before too.

I'm going to try tinkering with it some more before I start saving up for the Twin  ;)   

Thanks  :)
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype
1977 Wurlitzer 270