Author Topic: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)  (Read 7086 times)

Offline Cormac Long

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Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« on: August 09, 2010, 07:25:12 AM »
Folks,
   first post here.. hello from Ireland!

I recently acquired a Mark 1 88 branded as a Fender-Rhodes. It lacks the serial sticker/stamp and digits on the top & bottom right of the harp.

The "Fender-Rhodes", Mark1 and curve-top format suggests a '69-'75 timeline based on my understanding of info I've read here etc.

The sustain/damper rail pivot pins are held in place on either side with a square bracket that is screwed onto the plate, with 2 screws. Also the centre of the rail has a bar and long screw securing it to the body below. I mention this as these designs seemed to vary over time and be of importance.

While the top of the harp has no markings at all, on the underside of the harp are 3 digits "242".

Going on the variable harp dating mechanisms, this as a short-form, might be week 2 or 74, day 2 of the week. But the question really.. has anyone else ever encountered one like this with no markings whatsoever and if the under-side numbering is of any use?

You can see this 3-digit numbering here..
http://picasaweb.google.com/dresdner353/2010RhodesMk188August#5503135106374937218

That link can let you see other images etc. I have a lot of work ahead to restore this baby but I'm looking forward to it TBH.

Regards,
   Cormac

Offline Rob A

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 08:25:28 AM »
Welcome to our club, Cormac.

I don't think that stamp is a date indicator at all.

I agree with placing it on that date range based on the criteria you mention.

Looking through your album, you have tonebars in a style that didn't appear till 1971, so that chops the earliest couple years off the range. I agree with your assessment that the hammer tips have been changed, so those can't be used to date it. The hybrid plastic/wood hammers are consistent with the date range you mention. So yours looks all original except the hammer tips and leg brace knob (which you noted).

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 08:43:05 AM »
Thanks Rob,
   knocking 2 years off is better than nothing.. I was born in 1974.. so its a competition to see who is older!

I'm going to try and look more closely under strong light to see if I can spot an outline. A friend is going to try and dig out an old black (UV) light and go all CSI on this. Although I fear what else it might uncover.

Was actually using your escapement video over the weekend to try and voice this baby in its current state.. lots of fun indeed.

Offline sean

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 10:06:19 AM »
I vote for 1974 as the date on this one, because:

It has half-wood hammers and wood harp supports.
It has the "Fender" in the Fender Rhodes logo on the Name Board.
Still has the early-type case with the small hinges.

Not Earlier:
If it were pre-1973-or-early1974, it would have the full-skirt keycaps with the rounded tops, and the pedestal would have the front corner truncated.  Your keys have the bare-wood sides and flat pedestal, so they are from the mid-1974 or later era.

Not Later:
If it were 1975 it would not likely have the "Fender" part in any of logos.  

The volume and bass boost knobs look to be replacements.

The sustain pedal is a modern reproduction, right?  The 1973 pianos should have the unpainted pedal.  I don't know the exact year that they changed the casting on the pedal and started painting it black.  On all original Rhodes pedals, the part that you step on would not be straight, it would look curved or bent to the right.

The square hammer tips are period-correct, but the damper felts certainly are not.  Maybe the piano came with the early-style V-shaped damper felts, and the maybe one owner didn't like them.


Sean

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 10:48:24 AM »
Sean
   ..that is so cool!.. So it could be a '74 like myself!

The pedal is indeed curved so possibly is original.. I noticed it for the first time during the week-end and for a second thought it might be warped or bent.. but of course it could also be a reproduction or one from a later/earlier model.

And yes the knobs are replacements (the seller had fitted these). I may try to source non-numbered versions at some later point.

I'm going to shine some light on the harp tonight and see if I can make any digits out.

Many thanks for the help here.

Offline Rob A

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 08:04:40 PM »
I went through the album again and I think you have a great piano there. You have issues with the damper felts and the hammer tips, but those are pretty easy to set right. The hammer tips look kind of randomly aligned to me, which is likely to mess with the strike line.

I'd say don't spend a huge amount of time in trying to voice it until you get the replacement tips on--the change in strike line will negate any other work you're doing that affects the tone. Setting your tonebar heights with a setup block would be productive though.

I also spotted the black corners that I missed the first time--those aren't original, but no big deal (and they can't affect the tone, so no concern of mine personally). I like sean's rationale for 1974. Some consider this a highly sought-after year.

How does it play?

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 04:46:57 AM »
Point taken on the voicing efforts.. but when I got it, some of the tines were located nearly 1cm above the pickups.. probably due to the overly large dampers. It really sounded bland and lacked proper Rhodes sound.

When I did the escapement (using a piece of wood that was about the width of a tine block) and then repositioned the tines to get decent sound, I found that many of the tines were permanently dampened. So I had to relax the screws again to get something that was playable. I tried a little test bending of one or two dampers here and there. I even trimmed some with a scissors rather than bend the strips. Some of the felts are glued on top of older felts that were not fully removed.

Video link below..
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert player and I'm definitely lacking practice!.. but also bear in mind, that in its current state, its a bit of a struggle to play it.

Its a lot of foot on the sustain to compensate for the dodgy damping. I edited out the really hidious bits. So you will see its cut together.

The audio recording was taken from the output via preamp/fx unit. So you're not hearing the noise of the hammers and dampers or myself using expletives as I hit bum notes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PiM-DGPiPs

Offline Rob A

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 08:27:35 AM »
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered sounded pretty nice.

Great version of Angela as well.


I'd do damper felts first, it's the biggest problem, with hammer tips next. Your strike line may not be horribly out of whack. You do have many notes getting choked off when you hit them hard. I can't say for sure that's double striking with the way your dampers are. If that persists after the damper felt change then it's a bit more significant. Early pianos are prone to double-strike, and there's a mod called backcheck mod that you can read about on the forum. But I would not go there until you're convinced you need it.

For me the escapement adjustment is about making it sound consistently good when played soft. Most Rhodes sound good when played hard, even when well out of adjustment.

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2010, 01:41:25 PM »
I've ordered some things from vintagevibe to start the refurb rolling...

Refurb kit (damper felts, hammer tips, tonebar screws, washers, grommets, pedestal felts and miracle mod). Several of the tonebars are loose and seem to have partially disintegrated grommets. Many of them have a lot of rust on the springs and screws. So its probably wise to just refit the lot and use the same opportunity to clean the harp wood, forks and tines.

Back-check Kit. Boy do I need this.. those hammers bounce when you release them and its affecting repetitive fast key presses.I used my finger to simulate a rest for the hammer and it had instant results.

10 tone-bar clips for the high register. The 88 has a higher pitch range than the 73 and I noticed that even with the sustain pedal held, that many of these do not hold the note well. You get 1-2 seconds max. The clips seem to be answer here.

2 replacement hammers.. unfortunately I managed to break one at the axel by accident and while I'm going to try and repair it, I decided to play it safe and get two replacements in case more damage is done.

So lots of fun ahead!

Offline Rob A

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 05:29:46 PM »
Make sure to read this excellent post through:
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=4666

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 08:42:32 PM »
That IS a great post about installing the miracle mod.  But after reading it -- and watching the Vintage Vibe video, there's one thing I don't get:

I can see where you glue the plastic bump  for the optimum effect.  But after you do so, when you cover it with the felt, you've essentially made the bump taller and wider, right?  So, don't you have to pick the bump location AFTER it's covered with felt?

Also, is there something special about the little pieces of plastic that VV sells?  Why not just cut up some zip ties of an appropriate size -- for pennies?
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Offline jim

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2010, 10:13:44 PM »
zip ties!?

yep, you've figured it out.

and the screws are just wood screws.

now see if you can find out what the grommets really cost.
I think you'll be unpleasantly surprised.

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 08:56:35 AM »
I'm not the original poster, so I'm not the guy with a cart full of Vintage Vibe products standing at the cash register.

(Unfortunately, though, like many of us, it was only AFTER I did my first round of refurbishing of the four vintage keyboards that I own that I discovered that you didn't have to source many of the "consumables" from the vintage keyboard boutiques.)

On that topic, does anyone know where you can find the kind of felts that VV packages with the Miracle Mod kit?  (They are described as Steinway felts, and quite conveniently are self-adhering.)  I wonder what they would be called at a piano supply shop.

In spite of the above, I think we all ought to consider that while you can find a lot of these products cheaper elsewhere (if you know what to ask for and where to look), Vintage Vibe does a great public service with its free repair videos on YouTube.  

I've used them extensively to guide me through repairs on my Rhodes, Wurli and Vox that might have otherwise required a tech.  So, I do try to reward that by occasionally buying some parts through them, even when I might be able to save money buying elsewhere.
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Offline rockstardave

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2010, 07:14:22 PM »
Howdy!  That's a fine job you are doing restoring your Rhodes...

I had a listen to the video, and the damping problems you are having with some notes sounded very familiar.  Sounds like many damper arms aren't clearing the swing of the tines, which can cause quiet notes with extra mechanical noise.  I adjusted my dampers four of five times and still couldn't eliminate this problem, even with new VV felts.  I finally tried shimming up the harp, which it looks like someone has done to yours, and it cured virtually all my problems with bad damping.

I'm no tech, but it seems that this allows for much needed room between the tine and felt when the key is depressed.  Instead of dampers which push against the tine and barely clear the swing, I was able to set the dampers so they are just touching the tine but dropping well below the swing.  It also increases the escapement, which in turn eliminated a lot of double striking hammers.

Your shims look to be very short, perhaps less than an 1/8 inch.  I shimmed mine roughly 2/8 inch and had great results.  It would also give you a chance to check your strikeline.  

Good luck with the restoration, and let us know how it goes!
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Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2010, 06:16:36 AM »
rockstardave.. when you say adding shims to the harp.. where do these go exactly?.. on the wooden rests under the harp (where the securing screws go? or is it somewhere else?

Some update on the restoration...

The vintage vibe kits arrived. Lots of fun ensued..

I removed, cleaned and refitted the tonebars with the new screws & grommets. The springs were also cleaned of rust and grit. Given that the tuning springs were moved for the tine cleaning, I need to do a serious tuning session! I've already done a basic retune using an app on my Android phone (gstrings) to get it playable but you can still hear it needs more attention. The tonebars now feel quite secure. Their only movement is what the springs give them. Prior to this, the screws were loose and didn't feel like they were held in that well.

I've installed the new hammer tips, miracle mod bumps/felts and back-checks. I made the silly mistake of installing two thirds of  back-checks first before doing the miracle mod. The result that the back-checks needed some re-bending to get them back in contact with the slightly raised hammers as they now sit on the new felts and bump. But no big deal.

For the miracle mod itself, I found I needed to sit the bumps at the very edge of the flat pedestal block. Any further in toward the hammer arm and the hammer would still be still sitting on the bump in the raised position. That seems to be the rule of thumb for positioning these. The post referenced above was very useful to understand what was being achieved here.

Certainly now the bounce effect is significantly reduced for raised keys. When returning to resting position, the back-checks help but do not totally remove the bounce.. but they do remove enough. If you sit the back-check too close, the hammer will stick or sit too high.. so its a compromise to get the best balance possible. I can now play fast sequences between adjacent keys without the whole thing getting caught up. So mission accomplished here.

For the damper felts.. I first removed the old ones and straightened up the dampers to have a consistent alignment in their various sections. One of the problems I have is that the hammers and dampers can impact during play. I trimmed some of them a little to relieve this. However I messed up many of the upper treble dampers in that they became too short, barely clearing the pickup!.
So I had to glue on some thin metal strips to extend them again!. Oh the regret and shame! But in fairness.. I think a previous owner had already trimmed them.. so I was only adding to the issue.

But now most dampers are fine with only some still experiencing the hammer impact. I think I may use some of the old pedestal felts to glue a soft area onto the plastic arm of the hammer where the plastic raises as it connest to the wood. Its right here that the damper and hammer can impact each other. So the tick noise may be lessened with a softer surface.

The fine adjusting of the dampers was slow at best. Your dealing with dampers that do not move at all, versus ones that are not resting on the tine.

For the ones not moving away from the tine, I did some bending near the bridal strap hook to increase tension on the strap. This generally helped bring more movement and occasionally required a little upward bend nearer the felt tip to get it to make contact with the tine. There are still a few needing attention in the mid range. At least 7 at the top need a lot of work to get things right.. but no doubt my clipping and subsequent re-extensions are not helping here. I may even leave some of these undamped as they do not have strong sustains.

I wonder if I should have ordered new bridal straps. But it seems that installing them is very difficult. I reckon if I ever decide to do this, I'll consider getting new dampers aswell and try to get a fresh run at the damping again. Give that such a step would be expensive, I'm going to work to the bitter end with what I've got until I can't stand it any longer!

For escapement, I used a wooden edge that is about the width of a tine block. This helped get things move evenly positioned. Then  I worked on the inner screw to get the tines just above centre with the pickup tips. I also moved most of the pickups closer to about 1.5mm from the tine. This has improved the bite a lot. I'm not looking for a dyno-my-rhodes effect, but at the same time, I don't want the sound too soft either. I'm actually quite happy with the results I'm getting.

I'll try and finish the damping work this week-end and also get the tuning sorted. I'll upload another video then to give people an idea of how far I've got.

Offline Rob A

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2010, 07:12:30 AM »
Quote from: "dresdner353"
rockstardave.. when you say adding shims to the harp.. where do these go exactly?.. on the wooden rests under the harp (where the securing screws go?


yes, that's it.

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2010, 08:38:00 AM »
Quote
wonder if I should have ordered new bridal straps. But it seems that installing them is very difficult.

Bridle straps are not hard to install if you know the tricks. The key is that there is a little point of plastic on the hammer arm that you use as a guide to get the length correct. Place the hole in the bridle strap tang over this point and then stuff the excess into the slot in the back of the hammer. You can put a drop of glue in the slot to hold it, but this is optional. Attach the tang to the damper arm and you're ready to play.

If the old one was glued, use a hair driyer to soften the glue and pull (or scrape) it out.

Several years ago, with no Rhodes experience, I replaced about 15 bridle straps very quickly, with no need to re-adjust anything when I was done.

Would recommend you not source this from the vintage keyboard suppliers (one of which charges $2.00 US for each strap.  For less than $10 US, you can get a bag of 100 bridle straps from a piano supply house.  The plain bridle straps are the ones you want. Like these: http://www.vandaking.com/s-1515-bridle-straps.html
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Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2010, 09:51:01 AM »
Quote from: "alenhoff"
The key is that there is a little point of plastic on the hammer arm that you use as a guide to get the length correct.


I noticed that point yesterday as I was wiping some of the hammer arms clean of dust etc. I thought it was just a moulding artifact. There's a purpose for everything it would seem!

Thanks for that advise and also on the link. I may source straps and keybrite etc from there.

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2010, 05:07:41 AM »
OK,
   I've removed all dampers and hammers.. those bridal straps are just not cutting it. Too much tension variation in them from damper to damper and I just can't get the bending to compensate correctly. So I'm just going to replace the lot and suffer whatever I have to in the process!

Getting wiser on costs.. I've ordered a set of bridal straps, new front and balance rail felts, paper shims, a new scarlet felt strip for the front rail and keybrite.  The total cost of the order is $39.45 (excl postage). It is indeed shocking the differences you can get in price.

Update: vandaking came back with a shipping cost of $42.. sorry.. too high.. will only cause customs to charge me again for import duty and Irish VAT (tax). They base this taxing on the cost of goods and shipping combined. So I cancelled order and managed to order the same set of items (except Key Brite) from tech-note.co.uk. Being in the EU means no import taxes. £45 all in with shipping. Works out at €54 for me.

Onto the dampers.. It appears that the upper dampers were replaced on my keyboard along the way. The upper treble section, keys 77-88 is a single section of 12 dampers. When I removed it, there were the full 12 holes and glue strip traces for the originals. So this is not an original and from what I read, the use of damper sections only came in later on in the 70's and was certainly not in use in 1974.

View of the upper treble section, showing the gap from the removed 12-damper section, some old-style single dampers and then another smaller combined set of 4...
http://picasaweb.google.com/dresdner353/2010RhodesMk188August#5508255068359160258

Closeup of the 12-damper section..
http://picasaweb.google.com/dresdner353/2010RhodesMk188August#5508250968367828594

The question for you experts.. can anyone confirm the correct length for these treble dampers?

 I'm going to try and remove my extensions and refit so that they are all the correct length. With the new straps etc, I'm hoping that the with correct lengths etc, that I can have a better go at this.

My own extensions are merely thin but rigid metal strips glued onto the existing dampers. So I'm inclined to hope that they will do the job with the correct lengths etc. To replace the top 33 dampers would be expensive at $3 each. So I'm going to leave it as a last resort. Would appreciate any suggestions on EU pricing for these if anyone knows of a cheaper option.

BTW: Lest is not be said enough.. Thanks again for all the help here.

.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 09:41:07 AM by dresdner353 »

Offline tarkus boy

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 01:12:22 PM »
hi Cormac,
i bet this 88 notes was produced in the Fender Rhodes era and was achieved in the new Rhodes era. it has both the small Fender Rhodes rail logo and the big Rhodes logo at the back. so it might be from the end of the Fender Rhodes era. i mean around 20th week of 1974. you should check the lowest keys and look for a date. the woodden frame also used to show the date of its assembling on the left side.
changing names can explain this clean harp got no sticker or dating codes though this is very rare. some pianos in this short transition period escaped the factory total control.




i still remember that pleasant vinyl smell from a brand new Rhodes piano in 1975. you can't forget this.

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Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2010, 02:01:03 PM »
Thanks for that.. I'm in the process of recapping the keys at present.. so I'll check out the lower keys and left frame to see if I can see anything.

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2010, 05:34:59 PM »
No dates found anywhere.. several pencil scribbles, of initials at best, but not digits or named dates.

Offline tarkus boy

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2010, 02:03:10 AM »
usually there is a stamp onto the frame just under the harp woodden support. it is necessary to unscrew the left one because it might hide the discreet stamp. however this only will give you the frame assembling date which is several months prior to piano achievement.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2010, 04:51:47 PM by dresdner353 »
i still remember that pleasant vinyl smell from a brand new Rhodes piano in 1975. you can't forget this.

One More Tine:
http://legacy.fenderrhodes.com/v2/service.html

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2010, 04:47:13 PM »
I've never actually removed the assembly from the case! Will definitely do this at some point to see if I can actually find some kind of date! thanks for those images!

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2010, 04:44:39 PM »
Finally removed the assembly from the case. Unfortunately no date on the left side..

Left Side:


The serials/codes shown were.."21402 3" under the hammer rail and "6301-1" alongside the balance rail.

The right side however was more giving!...



Its a 1975!.. and June at that. If that date is several months prior to the finishing, then it means this baby shipped with Fender branding well into '75, possibly late '75. The other thing to consider here is that it is an 88-key. Maybe, they were not as in-demand as the 73 and more prone to this later transition.

Anyway.. I think we now know its not a 74 unless someone had a few beers too many or something else and got the year wrong on the date stamp.

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2013, 02:41:20 AM »
Hey Cormac,
Was killing time, and I looked through the slide show of your Stage Model restoration. 
Very cool.  Makes me wish I'd taken the time to so document some of the pianos I've been going through.

I found the mix of transitional features on your piano kinda interesting. Wondering if it's stock, or a mix'n'match Rhodes?

Were one to believe the June 75 date stamp on the action rail, it would seem you've got a '75 that someone fitted with a 73-early 74 rail. (based on the control plate and the script logo.)

Gotta wonder if  the boys in Fullerton had the wrong year on the date stamp that day? Wouldn't be the first time. Unlikely it's a mismarked '73, because barring a full keybed swap, it's got the 74-75 era two piece, flat key caps.  Anyone ever seen a late 1973 piano with two-piece caps rather than Pratt Reads?

Unless the action rail or name rail was from another piano, my guess is you've got a mis-marked 74?

Did you check the date codes on the pots? 

Ray

[mod] moved post to original topic
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 06:14:38 AM by Cormac Long »

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2013, 06:49:45 AM »
Hi Ray,
   sorry about the site acting up. It's one of the consequences of shared web-hosting. Sometimes it acts up and you need to either fix your end or have the hosting company sort things out.

I also moved your post to this thread which was actually my first post in this forum while it was still under the fenderrhodes.com location.

I think my piano is a bit of a village bicycle in that the keybed was made up of mostly 2-part key tops without about 10 of them using the all-in-one form. I doubt that was the way it originally left the factory. So this piano was probably a parts horse at some point.

The keytop surfaces were in bad condition. Not so much pitted but more like someone had painted them with enamel.. it was scraping off like enamel paint would so I assumed that to be the case. I made the decision to fit a new set of key tops myself.. and to be honest.. i regret that because the finish is not professional. I'm even wondering it the so-called peeling was actually just the plastic.

To make matters worse, I could not get the front part of the 2-part tops to separate from the wood. The tops came off very easily but the front part was to well bonded to the wood. The plastic was very brittle and it was just crumbling when you tried to get it to separate. So I ended up leaving them in position and gluing the new tops over them. This has the effect of bringing the fronts of new tops about 1mm closer to the front edge of the case. In the case of the all-in-one key tops that came off easily from the wood, I had to space the new keytops a little out from the edge to align with adjacent keys. I planned to fill these at some point. Still need to address that. There is a small risk with this causing keys to stick to the tolex. But thats solvable.

When you see the sanding and buffing results some people are getting, its clear that recapping should be the absolute last resort. If I ever go about fixing that amateur job of mine, it will sent to a pro to do it.

The only consolation I have is that previous owners put hammer tip glue on with a trowel and did all kinds of hacks to the dampers and felts. So at least I have a much cleaner job in this regard and it definitely sounded a lot better when I had the bulk of the work finished. I did try to increase bark earlier this year and am now dealing with notes detuning more. So the pickup spacing needs to relaxed again to get it back to a more ideal position. After that I wil try to get the stronger springs for the lower notes to reduce the tine farting.

I was told by someone on this forum (probably bjammerz (Ben Bove)  that its not uncommon for the 75 models to be caught in that transition period when the logos were a mix. Apparently the 88's were never as popular and there are more later '75 models that have the half-wood hammer setup. But you can never know for sure. I'll check the pots when I get a chance in case that may confirm what you think that the rail is from another piano. Another thing about the rail was that it had a green felt strip under it instead of the red one. I removed it and fitted a red one because green was not right.

Getting time to work on this with 2 young children and a day job is a challenge I can tell you. But honestly I will never regret buying the piano even if the job will never be as professional as the work of a skilled tech.. it taught me a lot about the instrument and got me back into playing music at home.

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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2013, 12:10:09 PM »
I recall having photos of a 4973 (pickup rail stamp) having the 2-piece keycaps found on '74 / '75 models.  I believe I also saw a 50s week 1973 with the same to confirm that transition.

Yeah the logo switchover was definitely a clunky one starting in late 74 and ending early 75ish. 
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Re: Looking to date my Mk1 88 (has no serial or usual numbering)
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2013, 08:01:19 AM »
Hi Cormac - I have a box full of hammers and dampers from a piano like yours - I think all the bridle straps are brand new on them too. And I have a load of shims, keybed / rail felts, screws & grommets etc, some new some used.  Let me know if you need any - you can have a handful of them for the price of postage and a pint of beer. Mike.