Author Topic: Just scored an early Sparkletop!  (Read 49617 times)

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2013, 08:46:06 AM »
Got the original preamp from the former owner.  Serial number 116.  Haven't tested it yet, but I'm not getting my hopes up.   

Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline Tim Hodges

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2013, 09:05:27 AM »
Wow that is early!
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Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2013, 08:25:52 AM »
Done (well, mostly done) with cosmetic rehabilitation of the piano.  Tolex and liner are original.  Replaced all the chrome hardware (VV stuff, decided not to replate corners and handle ends).  Cleaned up nicely.  Replaced the latches with twist latches, and the hinges with Mk1 hinges from VV.  Preamp isn't installed yet.  Used hole plugs where mods were removed on the rail.  Hoping to make some adjustments to flatten out the reflection of the keys in the rail. 



Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2013, 08:26:11 AM »


Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2013, 08:26:23 AM »




Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2013, 09:33:39 AM »
This piano is serial number A-0186 (preamp serial number 0116).  How likely do you think it is that there exists an older Rhodes in better condition?  Certainly possible, but if there are any, I bet there aren't many.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2013, 03:14:08 PM »
This is definitely a 1965ish piano.  The orange felt lining definitely original, and definitely early - they were still using this orange on the gold piano basses.  Also the longer tabs on the pickups show it's a very early one, besides the serial numbers.  I have seen the rectangular cutout on one piano before, again was a super early one with the actual silver control knobs from the '65 catalogue.  So, nice rare early piano :).  Looks great!

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Offline kphlx2000

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2013, 07:28:32 PM »
Congrats on purchasing this piano. I have the same piano from '64 with the same velvet color lining in the lid. But it's missing the bottom cabinet and the name rail with vol, treble & bass controls. The legs on your cabinet are original. They were featured on the pianos from '64 - '65. These pianos also featured a tube amp in the cabinet with a vibrato input. If you ever decide to part with this piano w/bottom cabinet, please let me know.

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Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2013, 10:44:30 PM »
I'll definitely be keeping the piano and cabinet together.  I am planning to part with it once I'm satisfied with its condition.

Anyone have a sparkletop tube amp for sale?  :P

Anyone have an image of that amp, or a schematic? 

Anyone have an image with a good view of the silver knobs? 

Kenneth, can you post some photos of your piano?  Thanks for the info.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2013, 08:59:20 AM »
Anyone have a sparkletop tube amp for sale?  :P

They made a handful of "Executone" rhodes that had a tube amp that was just a Vibrolux Reverb or Twin Reverb chassis.  They simply chopped 2/3 of the front panel of the amp and put the panel on the namerail with the amp chassis separately mounted some distance away. 

http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=7705.0

But that's a bad design because you have to bundle a couple of feet of wires between the panel and amp chassis, and this creates incurable tone-sucking lead dress issues with the grid wires capacitively coupling to the other bundled wires, resulting in bad tone and/or parasitic oscillation.  Back then the people in charge of Fender (CBS) were clueless about lead dress in tube amps, Leo was forced out of the design decision loop, and too many Fender tube guitar amps left the factory with compromised sound.

There's a reason so few of these pianos with tube amps were made.

Spare yourself the trouble and just use a standard tube guitar amp with direct connection from either the harp or the preamp output.  The silverface Fenders are best suited for Rhodes pianos, Twin Reverb (or head version Dual Showman Reverb) being the loudest and cleanest.  Use the #1 input jack as it is high input impedance which keeps the noise lower.  You could always use the bottom Rhodes cabinet as a speaker cabinet with a simple speaker panel mounted where the power amp was formerly located and just plug the speaker output of the tube amp into the cabinet, which is what I plan to do with my silvertop bottom cabinet.

Quote
Anyone have an image with a good view of the silver knobs?

There appear to be two different varieties of silver knobs.  This 1964 specimen shows concentric knobs



This 1966 prototype shows the more common silver knobs.  Those knobs were also used on the first (infamous) Fender solid state guitar amps.


Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2013, 09:25:38 AM »
Thanks for the pics.  The pot shafts on this piano are solid, so the VV replacements won't work.  I was planning to change out the pots so I could use the knobs available, but now I don't think I'm going to do that.  I'm thinking now of machining reproductions instead.  That is, if I can find an image with enough resolution to enable accurate reproduction.  I asked the previous owner if he has the knobs, but he does not and never did.  He suggested using concentric guitar knobs, which might actually work (and look good), at least as an interim solution. 

If anyone can provide high-res closeups of the original knobs you will be my Short Duration Personal Savior.

Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2013, 10:23:53 AM »
I picked up a pair of Weber California 10's on the local Craigslist, intending to use them as the player-side 10's in the sparkletop.  I am not particularly knowledgeable about the finer points of speakers, but they're obviously high quality 10's, and the price was right.  8 Ohm 80W.

Anyone familiar with these speakers, and have any thoughts about their use in this application? 

My plan is to build a 1U power amp (120W into 8 Ohms bridged) into the player-side baffle (the side with 10's, which is also the side where  the original baffle is MIA).  I think it will be pretty slick, and won't require any modification of the cabinet.  Thanks to bjammerz I've got a Jordan suitcase amp faceplate on the way that will enable me to keep an original look to the exterior of the suitcase cabinet.

So, I therefore also need to identify a good pair of 8 Ohm 12's for the audience-side.  Suggestions?
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2013, 01:23:36 PM »
Another image of the early concentric knobs.  Also hard to tell what exactly they look like.  Probably have to find someone who currently has a set to take close-up photos to have any hope of accurately reproducing them.  I wonder if they were metal or plastic?  Anyone know?

Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2013, 03:14:49 PM »
Here are the knobs on the solid state guitar amps.  I have seen at least two silvertops with knobs like these.  Hard to see, but the edge of the knob is knurled.




Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2013, 03:20:46 PM »
I picked up a pair of Weber California 10's on the local Craigslist, intending to use them as the player-side 10's in the sparkletop.  I am not particularly knowledgeable about the finer points of speakers, but they're obviously high quality 10's, and the price was right.  8 Ohm 80W.

Anyone familiar with these speakers, and have any thoughts about their use in this application? 

My plan is to build a 1U power amp (120W into 8 Ohms bridged) into the player-side baffle (the side with 10's, which is also the side where  the original baffle is MIA).  I think it will be pretty slick, and won't require any modification of the cabinet.  Thanks to bjammerz I've got a Jordan suitcase amp faceplate on the way that will enable me to keep an original look to the exterior of the suitcase cabinet.

So, I therefore also need to identify a good pair of 8 Ohm 12's for the audience-side.  Suggestions?

Hard to go wrong with Webers.  Do you know any guitar players with multiple speaker cabinets that you could experiment with?  Tonal varieties are all over the map with different speakers and if there's a particular sound you seek then it does no good to recommend something.  As a general guide you want a speaker that can reproduce bass without "farting out".

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2013, 03:28:58 PM »
Here are the knobs on the solid state guitar amps.  I have seen at least two silvertops with knobs like these.  Hard to see, but the edge of the knob is knurled.

I saw those, too.  They are different than the concentric knobs, though.  Definately the knobs I need.  This piano has concentric pots with solid shafts, like the '64 specimen you posted.  Those are the knobs I need to find hi res image of.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2013, 03:30:33 PM »
Here are the knobs on the solid state guitar amps.  I have seen at least two silvertops with knobs like these.  Hard to see, but the edge of the knob is knurled.

I saw those, too.  They are different than the concentric knobs, though.  Definately the knobs I need.  This piano has concentric pots with solid shafts, like the '64 specimen you posted.  Those are the knobs I need to find hi res image of.

Sorry, I seem to have left out a key word:  The knobs on the solid state amps are definately *NOT* the knobs I need.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2013, 04:25:58 PM »
Anyone have a sparkletop tube amp for sale?  :P

They made a handful of "Executone" rhodes that had a tube amp that was just a Vibrolux Reverb or Twin Reverb chassis.  They simply chopped 2/3 of the front panel of the amp and put the panel on the namerail with the amp chassis separately mounted some distance away. 


From what I understand, there was a small Jordan tube power amp that pre-dated the Jordan solid state power amp.  Nothing to do with the Executones.  It's this mythical early original sparkletop tube amp that I'm interested in.  If it's true that the early sparkletops had a tube power stage, it would be interesting to know something about it.  And it would probably be the most impossible-to-find of all impossible-to-find Rhodes parts.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline Loucas

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2013, 05:39:44 PM »
Hello ,
Welcome to the silver top family with this rare find .
Well done !
Here are the schematics ( chapter 11-17) : http://www.fenderrhodes.com/org/manual/toc.html

A close photo of the knobs: Free Web Proxy

Also my 1966's silver top cabinet : Free Web Proxy

Hope will help you .
Loucas
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 05:44:31 PM by LOUCAS »

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2013, 05:55:39 PM »
Awesome!  Thanks, Loucas!  I never would have guessed that the player side baffle would look like that.  Are those 10s on the player side?  Thanks for the great shot of the knobs, too. 
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline Loucas

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2013, 06:16:34 PM »
You are welcome !
Two facing the player and two facing the crowd.
There are 12'' speakers not 10" and you can see the Jensen's code 220 and the 6 which means 1966 and 45th week Free Web Proxy

Also the amp here: Free Web Proxy

And schematics too : Free Web Proxy

« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 06:18:18 PM by LOUCAS »

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2013, 07:51:08 PM »
I'm well aware of that amp and schematic, but it's been suggested the very earliest ones had a different power amp.  I have no doubt that mine had the same Jordan solid state amp as yours, though.  I'm asking about the rumored tube amp out of curiosity.

Your player side baffle matches mine exactly.  I keep hearing about a 2x12/2×10 configuration, was that then on even earlier ones or later ones, I wonder?

Are the knobs solid aluminum? 

What's the serial number on yours?

Looks like we have different name rails. 
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2013, 08:25:44 PM »
Our baffles and cabinets have the same handwriting of the red number.  Yours is 80, mine is 58.  I'll post the pics when I get a chance.
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2013, 12:05:01 AM »



Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #54 on: October 12, 2013, 12:21:33 AM »
Loucas, can you post a closeup of the kick plate?

Also, can you please post some more closeup photos of the knobs?
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #55 on: October 12, 2013, 08:52:54 AM »
Anyone have a sparkletop tube amp for sale?  :P

They made a handful of "Executone" rhodes that had a tube amp that was just a Vibrolux Reverb or Twin Reverb chassis.  They simply chopped 2/3 of the front panel of the amp and put the panel on the namerail with the amp chassis separately mounted some distance away. 


From what I understand, there was a small Jordan tube power amp that pre-dated the Jordan solid state power amp.  Nothing to do with the Executones.  It's this mythical early original sparkletop tube amp that I'm interested in.  If it's true that the early sparkletops had a tube power stage, it would be interesting to know something about it.  And it would probably be the most impossible-to-find of all impossible-to-find Rhodes parts.

It may have been this... a student piano with bench that had the tube amp and speakers enclosed.  I saw the piano sans amp at a NAMM show back in 2000, but have not heard of a complete package to surface.


Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #56 on: October 12, 2013, 09:00:05 AM »
Hey, look what I found on Google


Offline Loucas

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #57 on: October 12, 2013, 12:57:31 PM »
Nice find Real MC !

voltergeist : I will post you all the photos i have here .
If you need close ups etc. i will have to go to my studio and take a shot again .It will take some time.
Also 2 videos to see how it sounds before i set it up a bit .

Free Web Proxy
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG21TH9KX58

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C7uA0EwmBA

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #58 on: October 12, 2013, 01:06:19 PM »
New audience side baffle.  1/2" birch ply.  Still need to put the edging on.

Thinking about configuring the cabinet for stereo.  Also kicking around some other ideas, like a mono line out and stereo line ins on a plate built into the player side baffle.  Also thinking about building a stereo tremolo into it, and maybe a Phase 90.  Controls would be on the baffle.  Foot switches would also be on a baffle panel.  The player side speakers would be on the sides rather than in the middle.  No modification of the cabinet, cabinet amp panel, or audience side baffle.  Whadaya think?

Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline Loucas

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #59 on: October 12, 2013, 02:13:07 PM »
SUPERB ! Go fo it !