Need help deciding about reed replacement (VV sustain and tone)

Started by e23, October 25, 2022, 04:17:07 AM

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so, I have a few reeds that have deteriorated to differing degrees.

C5 for example is just dead. The sound decays into oblivion in less than 1 sec. Db5 is similar, maybe 1,5 sec decay. The surrounding reeds sustain for about 3 seconds. This difference is also clearly audible without amplification, so it's not the pickup itself or reed placement within the pickup.

I've cleaned the reed and the reed bar.
I've resoldered the reed.
I've VERY carefully sanded the reed (3000 grit, although at this point, I don't think I can make it much worse)
I've swapped that reed with another one, to make sure it's not that slot (reedbar, hammer, strike-line, whatever else it could be).

Please tell me if there's something else I should try, but I'm assuming that reed is dead and I have to replace it.

Before I finally arrive at my question, some more context: I have unfortunately not had the chance to try many other Wurlis myself. I can only listen to Youtube Videos really to get an idea and comparison. That being said, I do get the feeling, that ALL the reeds in my Wurli have deteriorated to some degree making the instrument sound a bit dull/muddy in general. Or could that be the hammers too? I've always assumed though, that old/hardened/grooved hammers make the sound more attacky and not dull.

Now, here comes the question: Finding vintage reeds (that would fit right in with my Wurli) seems hard/impossible these days. But I'm hesitant about buying a Vintage Vibe reed. I'm afraid it will stand out (either having way more sustain or even sounding much better) which might lead me down the rabbit hole of wanting to replace them all. I am obsessed with uniformity after all (I know, vintage instruments might not be a great fit for that itch). But of course, it would make no sense financially.

So what would you recommend? (I'm assuming that you have tried VV reeds before)

I would love to hear your input.



Hi :-)

Did you check this with dampers or with dampers complete off?

Since there are 32 reeds on every aluminum cast, there is always a chance that there are some reeds in harmonical conjuction with the 'main' note (octaves, quarts, fifths), swinging out-of-phase with all dampers off. This will remove energy from the 'main' note and shortens sustain, too.

Reed screw... Be sure that it is thight to a certain amount, not just snug. Otherwise the spring-action of the washer will not work as supposed. This can reduce sustain.

Rhodes tech in Germany

VintageVibe 64 ACL + DOD FX25B, Tone City Sweet Cream, EHX SmallStone, Mooer e-Lady

Adams Solist 3.1 Vibraphone

In the Past:
Stage 73 Mk1 (1977)
Stage 88 Mk1 (1975)
Stage 73 Mk2 (1980)
Stage 73 Mk2 (1981 - plastic)
Suitcase 73 Mk1 (1973)
Suitcase 73 Mk1 (1978)


Hi Jenzz,

danke für Deinen Input. :)

I have tried it with dampers on, damper assembly of, damper key pressed. It makes no difference.

Taking what you said into consideration, I have also just taken down all the solder from the reed (and thereby taking it up quite a few semitones) to make sure it's not the resonance frequencies. I also used screw and washer from another reed.

I think I have to face it: It's a goner.

I guess it's time to decide between searching for an original replacement or getting the readily available VV reeds now...



So, in conclusion:

I bought a VV reed blank. Filed it down to the correct length. Added solder, filed a gorgeous pyramid the Inca would have been proud of ;) Had to file down more for tuning few times, each time talking it out, filing and then reinstalling it. Took some time, but...

Result: Sounds great. Timbre-wise, I can't hear a difference. Sustain is great. Fits right in.



I would get what you can and see how it works on your piano.