Author Topic: Keys and Bridle Strap Q  (Read 5924 times)

Offline A-L

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Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« on: February 15, 2012, 02:26:55 PM »
I have two Rhodes Pianos

1973 88 key mk1: The action is loose when the key is pressed down, Ive done some tests and it feels like the bridle straps might be effecting this problem the most. Some of the straps are so loose they don't even appear to be doing much.

Q: Can bridle straps have such a major effect on the action?
Q: Given that the bridle straps are connected to the dampers, is this a dualism of problems?

1975 73 Key mk1: The action is great vertically but there is a lot of side-to-side looseness.

Q: What can be done to center the keys?
Q: Anybody know of a mod that could "wedge" the keys in place?

Thanks is advance
1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 02:42:04 PM »
I'm not sure I know what you mean by "the action is loose when the key is pressed down" but bridle straps apparently can stretch. If they're hanging loosely, I don't think that's a good thing and could certainly affect the feel of the key stroke.

The hammers (at least all-plastic and hybrid) include a pin that acts as a gauge for your bridle straps.


Your straps should just barely reach that pin otherwise, I think your only option is to replace them.

I too would like to know of a technique to center keys but I doubt one exists. I can see no alternative to filling and re-drilling the guide pin hole.

To tighten the side-to-side movement, you can replace the felt bushings and/or rotate the front guide pins. The latter technique is referenced by pianotuner steveo in a recent thread.
Dave Aubke
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 11:17:26 AM »
I too would like to know of a technique to center keys but I doubt one exists. I can see no alternative to filling and re-drilling the guide pin hole.

Last night I threw caution to the wind and just bent the guide pins sideways. This yielded acceptable results. Luckily, my front bushings were already a little loose so bending the pin didn't cause them to tighten up too much. I had already twisted a few front pins and had to back them off after bending but the keys feel fine to me now.

Now I'm trying to come up with a proper tool for this procedure. Last night,  I used some hollow all-thread leftover from a desk lamp project but it doesn't fit tightly enough.
Dave Aubke
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Offline A-L

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 01:37:00 PM »
huh. Do you mean you twisted the guide pins sideways to change the contour of the guide pin? Or did you literally bend the guide pins sideways? I am assuming you twisted the guide pins which in my experience should stiffen the action more then center the keys, but I will give that a try on my 73 key. Thanks
1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 01:47:37 PM »
I've now done both: twisted and bent.

I've been reassembling my key frame since changing the balance bushings. I didn't change out the guide bushings opting instead to turn the guide pins to remove the wiggle. I've also been slightly bending the guide pins to even out the gaps between keys. After bending guide pins, it is sometimes necessary to un-twist them because bending them changes their relationship to the bushings.

Ironically, I already spent time straightening these pins when I disassembled the piano. I probably undid someone else's alignment job.

Please note, I am NOT saying that bending your guide pins is an appropriate course of action. Just saying that's what I did and it seems to have worked.
Dave Aubke
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 03:45:51 PM »
Slightly tapping the BALANCE RAIL PINS to one side or the other is OK for straightening crooked keys.

TURNING the FRONT RAIL pins is for taking side to side wobble out.

I am not in any way trying to insult anyone, but it is less confusing for all to use the correct names for parts. The pins are not just called guide pins. They are front rail pins and balance rail pins. This helps to avoid confusion. The balance pins are round, the front rail pins are oval. You turn the front pins, not bend them.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 04:45:09 PM »
I am not in any way trying to insult anyone, but it is less confusing for all to use the correct names for parts. The pins are not just called guide pins. They are front rail pins and balance rail pins. This helps to avoid confusion. The balance pins are round, the front rail pins are oval. You turn the front pins, not bend them.

No offense taken. I thought the front pins were specifically called guide pins. I was worried that "front" would be ambiguous because I can image some would call the opposite side of the piano "the front".

I take it it's your position that misaligned keys can be remedied solely at the balance rail then? I figured bending the fronts would be most effective for this but I'd certainly like to avoid messing with them that much.
Dave Aubke
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 06:59:44 PM »
Most of the time a crooked key is straightened at the balance rail pin. You lightly tap the top of the pin with a screwdriver blade and a hammer. This an approved method taught to piano techs. Just be careful not to slip and gouge a key.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline A-L

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 10:14:29 PM »
Sorry for being lazy in not defining my problem with the correct terminology. I never thought of bending the BALANCE RAIL PINS. I might give it a try now. Thanks Steveo for clarifying.
1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1

Offline A-L

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 10:26:42 PM »
Also, not to seem greedy, but has any one heard of a scenario where the bridle straps were the main cause of bad action on a rhodes? Thanks
1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 12:25:17 PM »
No, but they can affect dampers if too loose (or too tight)

No problem with the teminology, its just most people are never taught the correct names for the parts. Some people say key pins or key posts. That cracks me up.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 06:57:37 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 11:49:00 PM »
Yeah especially when a search for "bridle straps" turns up near nothing while "bridal straps" yields a LOT more results.

Have to repair a broken strap on my silvertop, and the repair isn't the same as later pianos

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 06:55:42 AM »
I have never been inside of a silvertop. Is that the one with wooden hammers?
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline AFeastOfFriends

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 09:55:48 AM »
The silvertops have the all-wood hammers and the teardrop felt hammers. RealMC's was modded and had the hammers replaced with the hybrid hammers and rubber tips.

Not to steal the thread, but my piano bass has horrible hammer bounce, and as a result, the dampers bounce and strike the keys. It makes the cutoffs of the notes this 'fiiumm' sound instead of just cutting off. Drives me crazy since it's so obvious on the bass notes. Would that be better remedied by replacing the bridle straps with less tight straps, or by putting in backchecks?

Offline sean

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 11:02:45 AM »


Backchecks.


Backchecks stop hammer bounce.



Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012, 03:53:08 PM »
I agree, but be sure all other specs are close too.

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline AFeastOfFriends

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012, 04:25:53 PM »
I figured backchecks, but I wasn't sure if it would be the best and most efficient way to do it, seeing how Vintage Vibe hasn't had backchecks for a while, and I'd only need 32.

I fiddled a bit with the action but left it pretty much alone. Asides from the occaisional 'thunk' from hitting the key too hard and the bouncing hammers, the action is great. Don't fix what isn't broken.

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2012, 08:17:01 PM »
Sparkletop dampers are different from the later pianos.  Damper felt on metal rod that is pliable enough to bend for correct damping, on a damper arm with a pivot (not sure if there is a spring under the arm).  The factory install had a hole at the end of the bridle strap that fitted on the rod and that hole strips through.  I spotted other keys that had the same problem, and the straps are simply glued to the damper arm.   That makes sense because there is no way to thread a new strap with a hole over the rod without disassembling the damper, and it's a PITA to get a single damper out of there.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2012, 01:09:32 AM »
No wait....will the back check mod work with those hammers....?
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline AFeastOfFriends

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2012, 12:01:23 PM »
I didn't mention, my piano bass has MkI action, not sparkletop-era action. It just has the silver top.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Keys and Bridle Strap Q
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2012, 10:23:09 PM »
Ok they will help then.


1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...