Author Topic: Fixing 200-A bad action  (Read 6151 times)

Offline Abraham

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Fixing 200-A bad action
« on: September 08, 2011, 08:12:10 PM »
Ok Now I have to fix keyboard action which is far away from perfect... I have to admit, action is shitty... compared to my suitcase I don't like it, keys are not deeper enough and they almost don't weight anything... anyway, some regulation would make them better...

On some keys (to read most of them) you have to hit them really hard so that the hammer actually beats the reed. Hammer felts seem to be in good condition so it might be a matter of... lubrication maybe? I have noticed the "fly" lets the hammer falling down before it strikes the reed. I wont call it sluggish action, I don't know...

Also I've read the capstan nut is factory regulated and often is needed to be reset, so it wont be the problem because I'm talking about most of the keys. If anybody happened to be fixing this problem and would like to share some hints I'll be glad, as Im newbie to wurlies and I don't know where to start! service manual is great and detailed, but it doesn't describe this particular issue...

thank you thank you thank you!!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 08:14:40 PM by Abraham »
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 08:26:45 PM »
Well you answered your own question in the second paragraph.

Check your key dip first, it should be 3/8" - 7/16". Adjust as needed.Remove paper punchings under the green felt punchings to make it deeper. This may solve both problems. If not, then let off needs adjustment.

Let Off:

If you have to "pound" on the keys to get sound, and the hammer falls back down way before hitting the reed, then that means your let off is too soon. ( similar to escapement in a rhodes, but a little different)

If you press the key slowly, the hammer should rise up, then when it gets within 1/8" from the reed, it should fall down. If it falls down when there is more like 1/4" or even more, then the let off capstan needs to be turned clockwise. Remember it is upside down, so you are turning it so there is more of a gap between the capstan and the heel of the jack.

If the hammers let off too close to the reeds, then reed breakage will be a problem, so be careful of that.

This is not the key capstan.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 08:29:48 PM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 01:40:47 AM »
ok now key dip measures seems to be right, damper screws were loose all around the keyboard so I have tighten them all and now my keyboard looks leveled, the keys weights more and have more dip... but I still have a lot of hammers that dont hit the reeds properly unless you hit them hard. Escapement stills out of range no matter which screw I tighten or loose, even if i set the upper one so it doesnt even trigger let off. Felts doesn't seem to be worn (but I don't really know) so Im thinking again this might be a problem with active parts lubrication... so lets go for a zippo refill and some johnson's baby oil...

thank you steveo :)

Any comments appreciated, I need help!!
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline adcurtin

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 10:42:16 AM »
The capstan you need to adjust will need a special wrench, and it is the small (probably brass ish looking) bolt that sits on the end of the key (there's a piece of brown felt on mine). This is close to the bottom of the action.  This isn't just a regular screwhead (flathead or philips). It's actually like a small and short carriage bolt.

There are 2 of these capstans for every key, one kinda in the middle of everything, and one towards the bottom of the piano. The one toward the bottom is the one you want to adjust. I'm not sure what the middle one adjusts.

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 12:29:33 PM »
Please correct me if I'm wrong... lower capstan doesnt seem to affect anything but the height for the hamer to sit, if you unscrew too much it wont sit properly, if you over tighten then there would be a dead zone for the keys not triggering the hammer, so I guess the proper setting might me the very exact point for the hammer to sit back in its place...

Upper capstan is set to decide at what point of the hammer action its supposed to get back down, as you loosen it, the fly takes the hammer back early, as you screw back in the hammer takes more to retire back to its place, so whenever the reed is not hit, you have to tighten that one...

That was theoretically because no matter how I tweak both of them, some keys hardly get close to the reed, some other hit too hard, and this tweaking doesnt affect pretty much anything...it seems like im missing anything...
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline adcurtin

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 01:23:38 PM »
Looking at my wurli, it seems you are correct. I would try screwing the upper capstan all the way in and the lower one out a lot, but be very gentle when testing.

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 11:45:06 PM »

So I have a beautiful classic keyboard with an awful touch and it is anything but responsive... not a little less expressive than one could expect but a real trouble I cant fix myself...

also, after tightening the damper screws, action is even worse, now keys seem to over-weight and I'm still feeling 3/8 may not be enough for me, there were no paper shims as steveo pointed. May I have to add some of these on the center rail so this allow more movement to the key?  may I replace the front rail green felts for smaller ones? maybe the reed rail is too far from the hammer for any other reason?? I will lubricate all moving parts and check for any inprovement whitin the next few days, Ill keep you posted on my findings

Please help me Im lost right now... I think I hate wurlies :(
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 11:48:42 PM »
No, the lower one is NOT the one to adjust for this problem! Leave the lowers alone unless you have already changed them. They affect lost motion in the key and the hammer line somewhat. The one in the " middle" that trips the jack is the let off  adjustment and that is what you need to adjust. The key to adjusting this is to press the key SLOWLY, not a normal blow, to see what the hammer is doing and which way you need to turn this.  When the hammer reaches about 1/8" from the reed, it should drop down. Not too much sooner or much later. Too soon causes the original described problem, and too late causes blocking hammers (choked sound) and broken reeds.

If you do these adjustments and they are not helping, something else must be wrong. Did you check your key height? are you sure dip is correct? Shallow dip can prevent hammers from hitting the reeds.

In order, check key height ( the front of the white keys at rest) ,hammer line, dip, let off

Check the manual for the correct blow distance. This is the distance between the hammer tips when at rest, and the bottoms of the reeds. That needs to be correct before let off.

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 11:55:59 PM »
What do you mean by tightening the damper screws?? Did you tighten the tiny screws at the back of the dampers that have rubber grommets around them?  This is a no no, there needs to be a gap there, about as thick as a business card.

Your front green felts may have been replaced with felts that are too thick. I prefer a 7/16" dip to a 3/8" dip myself. Your back rail cloth also may have been replaced with felt that is too thick, reducing your key height and affecting dip

It sounds like you know what things to adjust, but not how exactly or what order to do them. I really do not think that lubing has anything to do with your problem, although it will not harm the action.

See my last post that I typed whie you were also posting
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 11:59:24 PM »
yeah i liked that point about the blow distance but... how to adjust this? I think this is certainly the way to go

thank you steveo!
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2011, 12:01:22 AM »
And I really dont think anything was replaced inside
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2011, 12:06:32 AM »
When you adjust the " lower" capstan, do you see the hammer raise or lower? This is the blow distance. On some models, there is a rail that is preset to keep the blow distance correct, but I cant remember if your model has that rail or not.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2011, 12:20:04 AM »
yes I do... and there is a hammer bed where hammer is supposed to rest when key is not pressed, adjusting the lower capstan too high makes the hammer floating over this hammer bed
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2011, 08:14:31 AM »
Ok, but despite this 'bed' or rail, you still need to look up the hammer stroke in the manual and set it correctly. If i have time later, I will try to remember to look up this distance.

Someone may have raised the reed bar too high which could also cause this problem
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2011, 05:20:37 PM »
probably.... but how to raise/lower the reed bar?? isnt this fixed??
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2011, 06:55:21 PM »
No, it is possible to raise it. Do not raise it, but check to see if someone else did. Be sure power is off. You never know what "repairs" a previous owner did...

Keep in mind the reed bars have plastic, insulated washers. These are important to keep.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2011, 10:01:41 AM »
Quote
No, it is possible to raise it.

Certainly, it is... it seems that some asshole somebody actually did, I have set this back to correct distance, Ill post details and pics later. Now capstans really make a difference, but totally setting up the whole action for each key is time very consumming. And yeah dont care, insulated washers are still there!! thanks for all the hints, action is really improved now, it couldnt be done without your help, thank you thank you thank you!

Il post some pictures taken within the process, someone might find them useful
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2011, 11:29:23 AM »
No problem, you are welcome.

from the service manual:

"Hammer blow distance should be approx. 1 1/8" from the hammer tip to the bottom of the reed "

The lower capstan ( called the key capstan)  adjusts lost motion as I said before.

" When lost motion is correctly adjusted the hammers will move immediately as the keys are depressed, and will rest on the hammer rail without any downward movement when pushng down hard on the backs of the keys"

I recommend  a tiny amount of play between the top of the jack and the hammer butt felt when at rest to prevent the jack from getting caught on the felt when coming back down.


Now that your reed bar height is correct, and if your key dip is correct, adjust the lowers capstans to
The correct amount of lost motion, then adjust the let off. The let off takes the longest, but is also the single most critical adjustment for best touch.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 11:36:16 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Abraham

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2011, 12:25:48 AM »
this is fixed now, thank you

I found that a little ammount of lost motion actually improves action, but also affects key leveling, so Ill be lubricating everything within the next few days.

Also, some hammers were moving so slow that they had to be striked hard so they could hit the reed, even with the proper capstan setup. Now that I fixed some that way Ill be lubricating the whole thing.

thank you guys!
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Fixing 200-A bad action
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2011, 07:51:26 AM »
Lubricating will help the slow hammers, but does not affect the leveling unless the hammers were not falling all the way down.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...