Author Topic: More dynamics for a Mark II  (Read 1787 times)

Offline lucjesuistonpere

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More dynamics for a Mark II
« on: March 24, 2010, 10:39:07 AM »
Hi folks!

I'm playing a Mark II with wooden keys through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. My Rhodes was refurbished and voiced by Jens from Taste und Technik. Actually, it sounds great now. Only one thing I'm missing: the dynamics are rather low, so I have to strike the keys very hard to get a "phat" tone that competes in the band, espacially when soloing. Striking line and pickup distance are already optimized for maximum dynamics and I got also new hammertips as well.

I know that a Mark II has intrinsically less dynamics than a old model Mark I. But while looking up this issue in the net, I found a video from the Gerald Clayton Trio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glzZX-9oEnE
He also plays a Mark II but has a sharp and distinct tone without raping the keys like a hulk (which I have to do to get this sound).

What do you guess is trick of Gerald Clayton to get so much dynamics? Is it the amplification? Effects, compressor or EQ? Could he have modded his Mark II? Or is his playing technique so advanced to get a maximum velocity out of the fingers without looking spectacously acrobatic?

Offline garagebandking41

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More dynamics for a Mark II
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 06:36:26 PM »
Quote
I know that a Mark II has intrinsically less dynamics than a old model Mark I.


Where have you heard this?

My mark II has wooden keys too, and although its a 54, and has the sliders, I go straight off the harp, with an adapter. That may help you to hear what is really going on before passive filters.

To make your rhodes a little less intimidating to play, I would first move your pickups around. (closer to the tine, farther from the tine, to see if they are moved too far back, requiring you to do more work to get that overdriven sound.) other than that, there's load of action, escapement, key alignment, stuff you can look into, as well.

But if your action is nice, but the tone isn't, the easiest thing to do is mess around with the tine to pickup arrangement. Try moving the pickups back and forth (volume) and the tine up and down (overtones) to see if you get what you want.

Sometimes if the pickup is too high, it'll just sound too belly for my tastes. Hope this helps you out some.
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Offline Ben Bove

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More dynamics for a Mark II
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2010, 01:31:47 AM »
I would agree - if you want a "fatter" tone on the mark II, I would experiment with moving the pickups closer on the center octave.  If you don't like it, you can readjust after to the surrounding original pickups.  If it sounds better you can adjust the piano to match the closer octave.
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Offline lucjesuistonpere

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More dynamics for a Mark II
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2010, 07:55:21 AM »
Hi!

Thanks for the advice! The pickup distance is already pretty close (approximately 1.5 mm), striking line and escapement also optimal. I dont think there can much be done anymore inside the rhodes. I tried to take the signal directly from the harp as well, but the sound is too metallic and thin then.

Maybe any ideas regarding amplification or sound processing? Or are there some mods that can be done inside? (I thought once about applying weights to the hammers to achieve more momentum... )

Offline jim

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More dynamics for a Mark II
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2010, 11:48:57 PM »
it's possible that the position of your hammers on your key pedestals is not quite right.

this can make an enormous difference to the dynamics of a piano,

also the height of the hammer rail. (this changes how far the hammers swing=more punch)

earlier pianos have a much longer swing, you can even see it by how close the front of the hammers sit above the keybed. on a mk5 it's way close also.

it's a big job though but worth investigating.

From steve's corner, action inspection in the technotes section:

"The wooden rail (late 60's, early 70's) was two pieces screwed together as one. The rail height varied due to the assemblers installing various shims between the action rail and the keybed. The higher the rail, the lower the hammer sits off the pedestal and the longer the hammer has to swing to strike the tine. With the key pressed down and the hammer in the up (lock) position, the back "knife" edge of the hammer cam curve should be about 1/16th of an inch from the back of the key pedestal. This setting is normal for all ages of pianos and more critical on any piano where the pedestal has a bump or marcel curve. If the hammer-to-pedestal setting is off, it causes the action to feel not as responsive. "

I have successfully turned a pretty lame mk2 into a dreamboat by moving the hammer rail (and balance rail)
like it's amazing , i shocked myself.