Author Topic: Important Considerations for Purchasing  (Read 59306 times)

Offline blahblah

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« on: March 26, 2007, 08:49:21 PM »
I'm trying to buy a Mark I and want to know what questions I should ask to sound competent.  

Here's what I've got so far:

1.  How many owners?
2.  Has it been used on the road?
3.  Any past upgrades or work done on it?
4.  How is the condition of the tines, hammers, felts... etc?

I'm going to check it out and need any advice on what I should look for.  I know that I should see if there is any water damage because that is the only unfixable thing.  I'm assuming this will manifest itself by rust or mildew.  Also, regarding 4 there, what should I look for?

I know buying online is bad news, but the only person that I found close to me is two states away.  I was thinking about buying one from speakeasyvintagemusic, until I found out that 3,250 was the starting price.  Holy f.

Anyway, I hope the person I'm buying it from doesn't visit this forum and my cover is blown.

Offline Ben Bove

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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2007, 01:50:26 AM »
well, to be honest, these are great things to check yourself, most people don't know a lot about them - they're guitar players, or just use them sparingly.

Things like how many owners and has it been used on the road they might be able to answer, otherwise the tolex can usually show you how it's been cared for.

Tines and pickups can often have just light corrosion from age and air moisture over 20-35 years.  As long as they're not absolutely rusted out, you should be ok.

Definitely smell for mold / mildew.  They usually aren't bad, and have sort of a metal odor to them. but mildew is very distinct as you know.

other than that, broken tines are your only worry.  anything else like pickups, hammers etc, are cheap to get.  best of luck.
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Offline blahblah

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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2007, 04:15:56 PM »
thanks a lot, bjammerz.

Offline blahblah

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2007, 09:27:01 AM »
Hey, here are some pictures the guy sent me.  It looks a little shoddy, particularly in that first picture... but I don't really know what to make of these.





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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2007, 01:15:14 PM »
well you can use that as a bargaining tool lol...

but it's just a little normal wear on the plating on the tonebars - doesn't have much bearing at all on the tone, they were just plated with that yellow color you see to prevent corrosion.  But it should be fine, really.
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Offline kitchen

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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2007, 01:51:58 PM »
The first impression I get when i see these pics is that there is at least consistency throughout the tonebars and pickups(this is positive, mind you !)They seem levelled and are straight.
The usual corrosion doesn't seem to be too bad. Can you get some pics of the wood of the keys ? I bet this guy doesn't know how to put up the harp (or doesn't want to?)
Already got a production year ? I'd say give it a shot and try to see,feel and hear the piano for yourself. Can he mail a mp3 maybe ?

Good luck !!
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Offline blahblah

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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2007, 02:11:16 PM »
Quote from: "kitchen"
I bet this guy doesn't know how to put up the harp (or doesn't want to?)

That's my suspicion.  I asked him about warping and he said "on the part of the keys( ivory ) no warping, I don't see any warping on the inside either, " but then he didn't take pictures of it.  I'm on it though.  I'm being pretty obnoxious and asking him a bunch of questions.

Its production year is '78

Offline blahblah

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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2007, 11:38:14 AM »
Here's option #2.  I feel like this one is in better condition.  Tell me if anything jumps out at you.






Offline tnelson

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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2007, 12:43:07 PM »
There are quite a few hammers that are near-white compared to rest of the (yellowed) hammers.  Are they replacement hammers?  Seems like quite a few to me, and maybe indication of more than average wear. Perhaps someone with more experience than I have can comment? Not necessarily a concern, and maybe even good to see the apparent replacements, but I don't think I've seen one before with so many newer hammers  (10 or 12).

Offline kitchen

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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2007, 02:30:24 PM »
It certainly looks better than your 1st option. There's less corrosion, wood looks ok and the tonebars and pickups look consistent. It's an early 70-ies right ? Can't tell for sure, but is it 73 ?
Damperfelts are pretty grooved but that could be intentional. They're pretty easy to replace if it would be necessary.
Actionwise I think there will be quite a difference since it's an early 70-ies compared to the '78 piano but then again, maybe this one has a actionmod on it ? On the whole, strictly based on these pics and the information you gave us I'd say option 2 is the better piano of the two, but that's purely the technical state. That doesn't mean that this piano also plays and sounds better !
As for the hammers, the whiter ones could have been replaced, but I've seen piano's with different hammercolors that were never serviced nor replaced before.

The agony of choice !!

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Offline blahblah

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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2007, 04:08:22 PM »
The person said that it "looks to have been used for home use only."  Fishy wording.

Here's the badge... I thought the last number was an 8... but it's difficult to tell.


This is really stressful.

Offline kitchen

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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2007, 05:12:54 PM »
Has it got half wood/half plastic hammers ? Can't tell for sure from the pics.
Looking at that code I think the last number is a 2 !! Which makes this piano a late '72 piano. It's a pre '75 piano, that's for sure.
It's a FenderRhodes (not just Rhodes), no nameplate behind the knobs and FenderRhodes namerail logo and sticker inside.
These pictures can only say so much, I guess you have to go and take a look in person to make a good decision. Looks can be deceiving ! Let your ears and fingers decide as well. The 1st one looks shoddy(?) under the hood but could play and sound like a dream, where as the second one might look pretty decent and clean but could have terrible action and worn out parts. All of that could be fixed relatively easy but adds to the costs as well.

I'm getting the feeling that I'm not making it any easier, right ? :wink:
Don't get stressed, it's supposed to be fun !! :D

Good luck

Kitchen
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Offline O.Lahoz

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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2007, 05:24:45 PM »
It seems that its a '72 piano. It means that his tines are of the Torrington type (fussion era, bark sound) whereas those of the '78 piano are Schaller type (mellower sound).

I think that the election of a musical instrument depends on the sound that your prefer. Everything else can fix up easily.

Good luck
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Offline hrees

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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2007, 04:48:45 AM »
Once again, the later pianos are more than capable of getting as much bark as you want. The earlier pianos can be made to sound as smooth as you want. There is a subtle difference in tone but we should put aside the mythology that they are different instruments.

Offline Ben Bove

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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2007, 12:53:55 PM »
well unfortunately the mythology is there because that's generally how they're set up.  Yes you can make a mark 1 / II bark.  however when you buy one it's about a 98% chance that it's a docile, bell-like instrument.  You have to have the knowledge to change this, but the myth is there because 9/10 times sitting at one or the other unlatered, the ealy Fender Mark 1 will be "harder."
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Offline kitchen

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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2007, 02:19:25 PM »
I think that a lot of times people hear Rhodes' barking on different albums and expect their piano to sound the same just because it is the same instrument; although this is possible, what they most of the time don't realize that the piano's on these recordings are heavily EQ'd and customized / very well setup piano's.
Although there are tonal differences between the vintages, I agree with hrees and bjammerz, I believe any Rhodes can bark or sound mellow or bell-like or whatever...regardless the type of tines, hammers (plastic/half wood-plastic) and so on....it's just how it's been setup (and by who?)

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Offline Ben Bove

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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2007, 10:59:21 PM »
Yes, I have a '79 stage piano that was dynoed, and the thing barks more than any fender year I've ever played.  The tone is slightly different and has all the characteristics of the late model, but as far as "when I jam on it, it barks at me..."  yeah it's got that.

Also, I just picked up a suitcase 88 from 1978, and to play around with it I slid the pickups just about as far as I could upto the tines without any hitting universally, and it's got much more "bark" than when I brought it home originally sounding like a "smooth jazzy" rhodes.  

I really encourage a lot of people with late model rhodes (77-83) to really play around with the pickups, and bringing more overtones in the tonebar adjustments.  About 19/20 Rhodes I've played from this era just aren't set up properly, and strangely it seems like everyone has a Rhodes from this period, so they're also the most common.
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Offline O.Lahoz

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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2007, 07:44:17 AM »
A friend has a '74 Fender Rhodes. His action is hard but the sound is incredible. I have put his harp in my piano ('79) and can assure you that the sound of the tines (Torrington tines) is different from that of my harp (Schaller tines). Its indifferent as fit the tines with regard to pickups. Torrintong tines has his own flavor.

Also, they have a softly different shape and because of it I think that the harmonic content is different.

Also it is possible that the alloy of steel is not the same. I remember that MajorKey started by making new tines and nevertheless his sound was the worst of all (I bought them several and I have not used them because his poor sound)

Can someone corroborate this? :?:
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Offline kitchen

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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2007, 09:03:29 AM »
Quote
and can assure you that the sound of the tines (Torrington tines) is different from that of my harp (Schaller tines).


I never suggested there were no differences, there are ! But they're just minor differences if you compare them to the ways you can make a Rhodes sound just by setting it up properly/differently. The types of tines don't play a key role in bark of a Rhodes. It's all about setting up.

Kitchen
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Offline Ben Bove

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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2007, 12:33:21 PM »
Quote from: "bjammerz"
The tone is slightly different and has all the characteristics of the late model,


They have different sound, but can still "bark" meaning when you play hard it gets raspy not just louder.
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Offline O.Lahoz

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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2007, 01:22:07 PM »
In agreement, any piano can sound bark or mellow depending on the adjustments. Its like to compare a Steinway vs Bosendorfer. The two can sound brilliant or soft but still there are sonorous subtleties that help to estimate them of different form.

Under this point of view I prefer the barky sound of the Torrington tines (vs Schaller). For my its a different raspy, more evocative! 8) .

In short: what I want to say is that I really estimate these minor differences of sound.
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Offline kitchen

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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2007, 02:43:54 PM »
O.Lahoz wrote:
Quote
In agreement, any piano can sound bark or mellow depending on the adjustments

That's what I'm trying to make clear !!
In your earlier post you suggested that a difference in tine type is responsible for bark or no bark in a piano :
O.Lahoz wrote:
Quote
It means that his tines are of the Torrington type (fussion era, bark sound) whereas those of the '78 piano are Schaller type (mellower sound).

What you are saying now, is that you prefer the bark of Torrington's more than the bark of Schaller's. That's a different ballgame.
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Offline O.Lahoz

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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2007, 03:29:39 PM »
Sorry kitchen,

"bark" is an abstract word that I have learned lately (I do not speak english very well ), but for my defines this special Rhodes sound of the earlys 70's (not another sound).

Its difficult to speak about the angels sex !! :roll: .
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Offline kitchen

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« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2007, 10:03:30 AM »
No problem, O. Lahoz.

 :)

Kitchen
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Offline blahblah

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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2007, 08:27:59 PM »
I think I'm too paranoid to purchase this off the internet.  Also not knowing enough to make a truly educated purchase adds to it.  After some self doubt, I've decided to indulge myself because I've only got like 58.5 years left alive.  Unfortunately ebay is such a tease with all of the last minute bids.

Question:  What is the difference between a late 70's Mark I and a Mark II made in '80.  Is it just the different top?

Offline paulb

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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 09:05:21 PM »
If it's a 1980 Mark II, I would say the difference was the flat top, the new Mark II name rail, and the factory installed 'bump' action.  Certainly around this time they switched from the bare, flat pedestals with the felt on the hammers, to the felt and bump being on the pedestals and the hammers being bare?  I think the plastic keys came later.  That's all I can think of at the moment.  Paul
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Offline Ben Bove

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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2007, 11:25:56 PM »
I believe there are some 1980 models with plastic action, maybe not but look for the black keybed.  the 1980s with wood keys are identical to the very late Mark 1s, only cosmetic upgrades - as stated above, flat top, black namerail, plastic music stand, and the pickups were white opposed to the red appearance.  If this was a functionality difference or just different colored tape, don't know off hand.
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Offline blahblah

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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2007, 09:03:11 AM »
The latest tease (mark II):





What is that rusty looking stuff in the 2nd picture?

Offline tnelson

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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2007, 11:19:48 AM »
That's rust on the pole pieces (magnets) of the pickups.  Was probably stored in a damp place at some time.

Offline kitchen

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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2007, 11:52:57 AM »
Overall appearance is allright if you ask me. The corrosion on the pickups shouldn't be too much of a problem. It should come of quite easily. Worst case scenario you have to replace a few pickups. Those are cheap and with some soldering skills you should be able to do this yourself.

But still I'd go for the '72 Mk1 you had your eye on earlier.....but maybe that's because I like the Mk1's better !! :D

Kitchen
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