Author Topic: "Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod  (Read 16191 times)

Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« on: June 24, 2007, 01:53:20 PM »
Hi everyone,
I recently added vintage vibe's miracle mod to lighten up the action on my 1972 MK1 73.  While the action is amazingly better, I ran into a few problems.

Firstly, I don't seem to be getting the same attack when I strike the keys.  The whole piano sounds a little more tame, and it is overall harder to get that signature bark.

Second, I can't effectively repeat notes.  If I hit the same key twice in a row, the second time is basically silent.  Feels like the hammer is bouncing around and I get no response when this happens.

At first I was considering removing themod because of this, but I have really come to like the feel of a much lighter action. So, hopefully someone who has had a similar experience can help me out here.

Thanks,
Andrew
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline O.Lahoz

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2007, 03:37:30 PM »
Probably you have to check the escapement and the strike line

Do you have sloped key pedestals?
O. Lahoz
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Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2007, 03:42:58 PM »
yeah, I have sloped pedestals
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline O.Lahoz

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2007, 06:09:34 PM »
More questions:

1) Do you have support shims under to the left side of the harp?
The factory harp support shims were sometimes at least twice as thick as needed for correct escapement. The most pianos of this period have similarly huge escapements and heavy action unless they've been optimized post-factory.  Trie to remove them, It will reduce the escapement. In this case you should readjust the strike line.

2) Have you the felts stuck to the hammers? or ...are the felts stuck on the key pedestal ?(over the bump mod)
In any case, only there should be one (not two). Also it is necessary to lubricate them with a silicone spray.

Good luck
O. Lahoz
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Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2007, 07:35:29 PM »
I haven't put shims under the harp, but the escapement was fine before this mod.  Never had any problem with it.  I assume that the bump up on my pedestal would cause my escapement to be reduced, not increased, am I correct?  Moving the hammer tip closer to the tine, less space for it to travel through.  Removing shims and lessening that distance would probably make this problem worse.  I might be wrong, but thats how it looks.

Yes, my felts are on the pedestals, and none on the hammers.  Again, I feel the need to stress that my escapement seemed fine before this mod. And also, the action isn't heavy or sluggish anymore.
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline tjcombs

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2007, 07:58:22 PM »
That's correct. Removing shims would lessen your escapement. I would recommend putting a temporary thin shim under the bass end and see if that helps.
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Offline jim

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2007, 04:31:18 AM »
i don't think they should call it a miracle mod, cause there are so many matters that can come into play when you mess with the action like that.. how can they say it's gonna be a miracle!?
check out the tech tips pages of the super site..they can be very very helpful. especially in regards to key pedestal to hammer relationship.

i personally think that the later action takes away all the awesomeness of the old rhodes sound, and you're better off dealing with heavy action than changing it.
you loose so much hammer travel.

Offline O.Lahoz

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2007, 05:16:44 AM »
bjammerz wrote:

Quote
I don't recommend using them on pianos pre 1975 with the sloped key pedestals. I believe it is possible but have seen one come into the shop and the escapement is terrible... where the pedestal is flat is too far back to work properly.

i really only recommend using on 75 - 77, and also to glue down the felts, not use the sticky side they include with it (as silicone spray dissolves it). but for this vintage its a great fix if you have a problem with acoustic-style action


If the miracle mod is put well, it reduces the distance of hammer travel (throw)but not the escapement. Am I wrong?

If it is true, less throw = less acceleration = less energy = less harmonics = less bark.

As result, it is necessary to play harder to get that signature bark. The same thing happens with the last models of Mark I and II (with the factory bump modification) They have a mellower sound due to the minor throw.
O. Lahoz
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Offline keysandslots

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2007, 08:17:18 AM »
I don't understand the need for this mod.  I have a 1974 Mark 1 stage that had fairly heavy action when it was new.  I'm a bit heavy on the fingers anyways (broke an acoustic piano once), so it didn't bother me too much, figured it would break in.  Eventually, I removed all the hammers, soaked the felt on the bottom of the hammers with some silicone lubricant, let it dry and put everything back together.  That was in 1974 and I've never had to do it again, and the action has been perfect the entire time.

Randy
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Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2007, 11:36:10 AM »
Jim,
I think I agree with you. Let me tell you, my hands can really fly over the keys after this mod, I mean it is quick.  Having said that, I think I'm going to end up removing the mod.  Sound is just more important than playability.

As far as the need for the mod, my action wasn't too great before it.  Even after lubricating everything, it was still tough, and I'm by no means small or weak in the arms.  

So I think I might remove the miracle mod, and just save up to have a tech go over my rhodes.  I think the difference might be worth the price, while returning me back to my original sound.  I was just seeing if I could get the improvements for $50 instead of a few hundred.
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline Ben Bove

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2007, 03:39:10 PM »
well the problem is that everyone is used to playing 'keyboards' nowadays.  Simulated weighted-keys, or even later model rhodes, where the action is very light and synth-like, and have diverted from a normal acoustic piano action.  I really prefer a well set up action from 1975 and earlier because there is a wide range of dynamics you can get from the action.  However, fast runs are not as easy for sure.  if you just can't get over the weight and need a lighter action you have to get the miracle mod (or subsequent action mod).  Here are a couple things to remember (as stated above)

Make sure to glue them down, not use the sticky-side (silicone lube dissolves it).

I recommend lubing the felts after you install them, as you get a lot of hammer bouncing or "double striking" as the raw felt catches on the hammer.

You probably have to raise the escapement as the hammers are physically lifted higher than factory (especially on sloped pedestal models if I recall).  Easily done with a shim on the left side of the harp, and possibly a thin one on the right so pianissimo playing matches from left to right.

These steps aren't that hard if you follow them through for a day, and your action will be much lighter from it.
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Offline jim

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2007, 07:21:10 PM »
bjammers have you ever moved the hammer rail back or forth to change the action on a piano? i'm wondering if this may help after a "miracle mod"

Offline paul0.1

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 01:29:08 PM »
i am really satisfied with the result of the miracle mod on my '71 stage rhodes.  i do not think pre '75 actions are more piano like. piano actions are heavy and fast. these actions were heavy and slow. bad thing in my opinion. and i am not used to cheap crappy plastic synth keys. as a piano player i really like heavy actions. but if you are not able to play a chromatic scale without realising fatigue in your hand as on the older rhodes models, you'll get upset. nothing to say about faster tone repetitions which are nearly impossible to play with older rhodes actions.
1971 mark I stage 73
1980 mark II stage 73

Offline keysandslots

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2007, 11:24:05 AM »
"nothing to say about faster tone repetitions which are nearly impossible to play with older rhodes actions."

Like I said, a bit of lube in 1974 and nothing since.  It had a heavy action when it was new, but still quite playable.  I certainly don't recall it being "slow", maybe the '74 is different than the '71.  I figured it would break-in eventually but decided to help it a bit.  Fast repetitions are no problem, neither is anything else I play.  Playing Beethoven's Pathetique feels different than on an acoustic piano but it is certainly possible.

I always keep in mind that this is a Rhodes, not an acoustic piano.  I don't expect it to sound, feel or act like an acoustic piano.  And, just as all acoustic pianos are different, I don't expect my Rhodes to have the same action or sound as any other Rhodes.  I adjust my playing to suit the instrument.

Randy
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Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2007, 11:31:46 AM »
It's no that repetitions are difficult, or slow, but that the hammer is getting back into place. If I strike a key two times in a row, the second one is just a dull thunk.  

I was never looking to mimic an acoustic piano, just make this thing a little bit easier to play. Every one has a different feel.  I played a MK1 88 in the studio about a year ago, and it's action was easily twice as bad as mine.  However, I noticed little to no improvement after the silicon spray, and wanted to give the miracle mod a shot.  

Now it is incredibly light, fast action. Lighter even than my acoustic piano, which is nice, but not worth the sacrificein sound.  This weekend, Im taking the mod out.
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline O.Lahoz

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2007, 02:02:16 PM »
Quote from: "Kolbenschlag"

Now it is incredibly light, fast action. Lighter even than my acoustic piano, which is nice, but not worth the sacrificein sound.  This weekend, Im taking the mod out.


Kolbenschlag, before taking the mod out, you might do this easy test:

Raises a bit the harp with shims or coins (for escapement) and move it a bit backward and forward while you play middle keys (for the strike line). Probably be pleasingly surprised.
O. Lahoz
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Offline Kolbenschlag

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2007, 03:20:09 PM »
Can't hurt, Ill give it a try,

Thanks for the idea!
1972 MK 1 Stage 73

Offline Ben Bove

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2007, 04:15:33 PM »
Lahoz is right, remember that when you install this mod, the hammers are lifted slightly in the front.  This throws off your escapement for every hammer ont he piano, so just raise the harp slightly.
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Offline tonup69

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2007, 02:36:31 PM »
Quote from: "O.Lahoz"
Quote from: "Kolbenschlag"

Now it is incredibly light, fast action. Lighter even than my acoustic piano, which is nice, but not worth the sacrificein sound.  This weekend, Im taking the mod out.


Kolbenschlag, before taking the mod out, you might do this easy test:

Raises a bit the harp with shims or coins (for escapement) and move it a bit backward and forward while you play middle keys (for the strike line). Probably be pleasingly surprised.


First off, this totally worked!  Thanks.  I tried it with one quarter under each end of the harp and really could tell that there was an increase in "bark".  I am going to make a shim for a more long term fix when I find the right spot.

Second, I just want to say that I really like the bump mod.  I could barely play a run before I installed it and now the action is fantastic!  In combination with the raising of the escapement, I think there is no reason you can't get the tone you want while using this mod.

Third, yes, I am new here, but I am also a bit of a gearhead as well as a musician.  I have built and restored several British motorcycles (Triumph and BSA) and can see the parallels between vintage motorcycle restoration and vintage Rhodes restoration (although, to be honest, restoring a Rhodes is easier).  

The bump mod is a bit like installing a Boyer electronic ignition on your old bike.  Yes, you CAN make the manual points open and close correctly, just like you CAN make the action better on your Rhodes without this mod - the question is: Why would you?  An electronic ignition works every time and does not require adjustment after the initial set up.  This bump mod is the same thing - install it, fiddle with escapement and be happy.  

Last, but not least, I'm sure this is true of a Rhodes like it is an old Triumph - USE IT!  Best thing you can do for vintage bikes and pianos in my opinion....

Cheers,

LTR
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Offline Ben Bove

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2007, 03:06:12 PM »
haha surely!
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Offline Chris Carroll

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Miracle Mod
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2007, 06:54:01 PM »
Hey Guys, This is Chris Carroll of Vintage Vibe. I was just reading over some of the posts on the Miracle Mod.

The Mod was originally made for the older sloped style pianos, after inspecting the original 1960's fender Rhodes Silver Sparkle top Pianos. They had the original mod Bump. I fashioned our modification after that mod. The action on the 1960's Silver Sparkle top Tear drop felt hammer pianos is amazing. When I discovered the mod i knew why.

In 1978 they came out with the pedestal mod and it was supposed to be an ingenious new  design, but it actually had been designed in the 1960's. A leverage point to throw the hammer easier.

Anyway, we do not use a felt or a piece of flat plastic, this mod bump we use is designed on the same principle shape as the original 1960's bump. We custom cut them for our kits and include original Steinway pedestal felts.

Not every piano reacts the same way with the mod, all work though, some respond better than others, but like some have said, you need to tweak your own personal piano to get the optimal performance out of it.

If you have it installed incorrectly, it is not going to work 100% correctly, if you are not that familiar with the mechanics of a Rhodes and you just wing it, you might not get the results you expect.

I for one use it on a good number of pianos that come in for restoration, I have had miracles happen in regards to action, some better than others but, if I have decided the piano needs a lift, it has always been worth it.

In regards to saturation of pedestal felts with silicone, Vintage Vibe never does this, That's right I said it, we never do this,  It's not worth it, it does little or nothing. it's Rhodes Folklore. It won't hurt anything but it barely helps if any.....I know alot of you will disagree but that's ok, I would implement other measures to improve action before spraying felts.

So, I would never glue down felts, if you have new felts the action should slide easily across the new pedestal.

One last thing I take the products i sell seriously, i believe in the Miracle Mod and would not sell it if I did not. I do not need the money that bad!

All the best, Chris Carroll / Vintage Vibe  www.vintagevibe.com
Vintage Vibe will do all we can to help anyone out in a fair and honest way. Call us up or email anytime.  "Love is the answer"

Offline geronimo

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Rhodes Mod Kit
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2007, 07:01:25 PM »
I agree w/ keysandslots. your are now playing a Rhodes electric piano. as a rule, I play my Rhodes with a particular type of music, like jazz, Funk, R&B, Fusion. I don't use it for rock or classical or music that requires a more delicate touch. you have to match the instrument with the music. I used to use my Rhodes Suitcase for everything cause it was all i could afford. I even used it for country music. enjoy your Rhodes for playing music the way it was designed for. also, you must be careful with that silicon lubricant. you should apply a light spray on the red pedestal felts & let it dry. do not over spray the silicone lube because it breaks down the glue on the felts and the next thing you know all the felts will slide off of the hammers.

Offline jim

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2007, 09:04:02 PM »
i reckon a lot of the time that worn key bushings create a lot of problems in the action of a rhodes.
this could probably create the situation where one rhodes with old action is a beast to play, while another (with good bushings) is very playable.

there's also the position of the action rail in relation to the key peds.

it's not all about weather there is a bump or not.

Offline darkboneus

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"Miracle Mod"-- having some problems after the mod
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2007, 09:57:29 PM »
I just installed the miracle mod on two '74 stage pianos with incredibly sluggish action.  I found that after installing the mod, I needed to play around with the exact location of the bump before I found a spot that gave the action the right feel.  I can say that if your bridle straps are too slack and your dampers are not properly adjusted, as well as your harp, you will have a hard time getting consistent action, even with the bump installed.  I spend a long time just focusing on damper work before I experiment with the best spot for the bump to be installed.  When you get it right, the difference should be night and day.
-Rob