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Different grommet hardness for different sections?

Started by spave, May 04, 2022, 08:13:10 PM

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Hi all,

I had my 1971 Rhodes repaired by a respected expert a few months ago and at the time they said the grommets needed to be replaced. Oddly though, they recommended that I keep the old screws and washers instead of replacing them. They also used a custom set of grommets with different hardnesses in the bass, middle, and treble which they claimed were superior to the one size fits all approach.  However, I'm having difficulty voicing particularly in the bass and middle registers and I think it is due to a combination of the grommets and bent tonebar screws.

I tried swapping some of the different grommets around and noticed: 1. Each section of grommets have different heights and heads 2. the middle grommets are a very tight fit on the screws compared to the bass/treble which slide on fairly easily. and 3. the middle notes have a nicer "round" sound with the softer treble grommets compared to a more Wurlitzer like buzz with the harder ones. This leads me to believe the bass/mid grommets are acting like dried out originals by excessively dampening the vibrations from the tines.

Has anyone else restored their Rhodes with a range of different durometer grommets before and could shine a light on what the benefit is supposed to be? I know now that I should have pushed harder for new screws (especially because the bent ones have been a PITA to voice) but I have never read about anyone else doing custom grommets so I'm curious if anyone has.
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype


Odd that they didn't replace the screws, or at least the bent ones. Tine alignment to the pickup and damper would be the first casualty, not to mention the potential for Tone bars touching.
I just replaced all of mine including the grommets and the difference is clear. Two or three, however, have drill holes that are off. I wonder if there's an excess of wax inside or the wood has damaged, warped. Voicing and tuning are much easier across the board.