Author Topic: Just scored an early Sparkletop!  (Read 50617 times)

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #60 on: October 12, 2013, 08:17:19 PM »
Agree. go for it!

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #61 on: October 12, 2013, 09:10:13 PM »
Audience side baffle ready for grill cloth and speakers.


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 #62 on: October 12, 2013, 09:23:12 PM »
Mockup of player side baffle.  I'll make a cutout behind the power amp for cooling.  Built in effects would go in the upper right, foot switches on the lower left.  I'm thinking an EH Stereo Pulsar for tremolo.  I think a Moog 12 Stage Stereo Phaser would be cool as hell, but neither it nor the Pulsar have stereo inputs.  I've thought about using two Phase 90s with a ganged pot to control the rate on both.  The LFOs wouldn't be synced like the Moog, though.  Anyone know of a stereo tremolo with stereo inputs? 




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 #63 on: October 12, 2013, 09:29:54 PM »
The wooden sustain lever was pretty busted up from lateral forces on the sus pedal, so I repaired the wood and cut a piece of aluminum u channel that fits over it to reinforce the wood and act as a big washer.  I plan to polish the pedal before I'm done.


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 #64 on: October 12, 2013, 09:42:46 PM »
This looks like a winner in the cool stereo tremolo with stereo inputs department:


http://www.youngpedals.com/thelooker.html
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 Cormac Long

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #65 on: October 13, 2013, 03:30:22 PM »
I had an EH Pulsar and returned it because the rate control was way too sensitive. The depth control was also on the over-sensitive side. Make sure you check reviews in this regard before parting with cash.

After returning it, I replaced it with a used MXR 159 which has a much less sensitive rate pot, stereo inputs as well as shape control which does a great job of emulating the square tremolo if you want that. There's two latch switches, one for bypass and one for toggling pan mode on/off. It runs of 2 9V batteries or 18v DC.. but I run mine from a fx PSU that can only max at 12V and it drives it fine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHPvAc_NIPA

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #66 on: October 13, 2013, 04:08:09 PM »
Thanks, Cormac.  The Young "Looker" is what I'm planning to get.  It has stereo ins, plus tap tempo, which is a great feature given that the controls will not be conveniently located on the rail.  Other cool features, too, like variable waveform LFO.

I'm not planning to build in any other effects.  The line out/line ins will allow someone to do whatever they wish.  I figure I'll build in the stereo tremolo to give it functionality equivalent to a Mk1 suitcase and leave it at that.

I'm thinking now of putting the tremolo pedal on a little door in the baffle that will drop down to expose the pedal in a left-foot, on the floor position. 
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 #67 on: October 13, 2013, 08:52:12 PM »
Keep in mind that the much-loved stereo tremolo on the Peterson preamp used a trapezoidal waveshape not square.  Hopefully the SHAPE knob on the Young pedal can accomplish that.

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #68 on: October 14, 2013, 11:52:52 AM »
Keep in mind that the much-loved stereo tremolo on the Peterson preamp used a trapezoidal waveshape not square.  Hopefully the SHAPE knob on the Young pedal can accomplish that.

That's a good point.  The Looker has multiple waveforms, but they are not continuously variable.  I'm leaning toward dropping the built-in idea altogether.  The line out/ins are all that's really needed.  Anything else is just gravy, and a lot of extra work.

Having a road-worthy instrument is crucial for a lot of players and customizing a Rhodes to be more robust can be a huge benefit for those players. I don't see any problem modifying a Rhodes in order to meet the needs of a specific player. But that player should be aware that it may have an effect on the value of the instrument when it's being sold to the potential future owner of the instrument as there are many people that expect a sparkletop Rhodes to have all of the parts of a sparkletop Rhodes.

The only real issue that I have is when the modifications are not done for an intentional purpose of that player but simply done for the convenience of the repair.

Another good point (from Max, on a different thread).  Once the Tolex was repaired, it was just too tempting to put on bling, especially since I had a full set of new suitcase hardware on hand.  However, I think it does qualify as a sin of convenience.  I'm planning now to get the original corners and handle ends replated with nickel and put them back on.  A fair amount of additional cost, but I think it's the best way to maintain the historical integrity of the piano without sacrificing cosmetic punch (and really, one has to admit that the sparkletop was designed for cosmetic punch from day 1, and tired-looking hardware, even if original, doesn't exactly honor that design intent).  There was no modification involved in putting on the new corners/handle-ends.

As far as latches and hinges, I view an update as a somewhat regrettable but nonetheless necessary modification to protect the piano.  I doubt that Harold would have used the latches and hinges he did if he were doing it over and had better options available.  It's really agonizing making decisions about a rare instrument like this, and no doubt others may have made different judgements.  At least the modifications I've made are genuine improvements from a practical and objective standpoint.  The price of ensuring structural integrity and safety in transport is a loss of historical integrity.  So be it.  The joints won't separate, and it won't fall out of the case.  That's worth something.

I value others' philosophies and experiences, so if you think I'm doing something stupid here or there, speak 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 Ben Bove

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #69 on: October 14, 2013, 06:07:51 PM »
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Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #70 on: October 14, 2013, 07:12:13 PM »
Nice!
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 #71 on: October 14, 2013, 07:19:37 PM »
So, yeah.  Who's got that schematic? 
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 #72 on: October 14, 2013, 07:23:47 PM »
Those pianos were considered prototypes.

If they used a prototype tube amp, there may not be schematics.

If they used a production tube amp, any decent guitar amp tech could decipher what it is.

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #73 on: October 14, 2013, 09:42:16 PM »
Just got home where I can view flickr pics... It's an 80w amp with four 6L6 power tubes.  The only Fender amp with four 6L6 tubes during that era is the Twin Reverb.  That isn't anywhere near a Twin Reverb.  Only other tubes are two 12AX7 dual triodes, one for PI and one for preamp and tone recovery... done.  Simple TONE control, no treble bass or mid.  So it wouldn't have tremolo or reverb.

Definitely a non-production amp chassis.  Hard to tell if it was a Leo job, would not be surprised if it was.

Four speakers... on the player side!!!  Wonder if the audience baffle had four MORE speakers...!  Notice how the hammers were graded along the scale, that would had been REAL labor intensive on a production line.

edit: just saw the other pic showing a better view of the chassis and a THIRD 12AX7.  This single tube would cover tremolo.  That's probably the other yellow knobs - speed and depth.
edit #2: it's definitely an amp made by Leo.  Cap tray with original electrolytics, blue molded capacitors (highly desirable), and white bakelite knobs (now yellow from age) from the early 1960s blond/tan Fender amps.  The metal guides for the mounting screws are also Fender amp traits.  Not a production amp though.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 10:02:08 PM by The Real MC »

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #74 on: October 14, 2013, 10:02:07 PM »
Yeah, the four speakers on one side looks badass.  Thanks for finding that thread!
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 #75 on: October 14, 2013, 10:08:45 PM »
The graded hammers are really interesting.  Yeah, looks like that would take forever.  Looks like it had a lot of attention.
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 #76 on: October 15, 2013, 10:13:43 AM »
What is the jack inside the plastic cup above the panel on the cabinet used for?  My ST cabinet has a cup in the same place. 
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 #77 on: October 15, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »
I see the red pencil number in that prototype is #9.  Again, same pencil and handwriting as on my #58 and Loucas' #80.  Mine has the cup above the panel, Loucas' does not.
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 #78 on: October 15, 2013, 02:53:49 PM »
I believe there was a jack for vibrato pedal?  I seem to remember seeing an early poweramp faceplate that said "Vibrato Pedal" by a jack.  Maybe in a catalogue even.
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Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #79 on: October 15, 2013, 03:20:39 PM »
I believe there was a jack for vibrato pedal?  I seem to remember seeing an early poweramp faceplate that said "Vibrato Pedal" by a jack.  Maybe in a catalogue even.

Piano input and vibrato pedal are labeled on the plate, but then there's another jack (unlabeled) in the cup above.  Here's the link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33536929@N06/3120080935/in/photostream/
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

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #80 on: October 15, 2013, 03:23:42 PM »
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 #81 on: October 19, 2013, 06:05:36 PM »
Realized my st has graduated hammers like the prototype.  Were all of them built like that?  I haven't researched it yet.


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

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #82 on: October 19, 2013, 06:07:41 PM »
Player side baffle in progress. 


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

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #83 on: October 19, 2013, 06:10:35 PM »
Used tone bar grommets to isolate the power amp from baffle vibration.





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 #84 on: October 19, 2013, 06:13:21 PM »
Almost done.





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 #85 on: October 19, 2013, 06:14:28 PM »
In the cabinet.


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 kphlx2000

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #86 on: October 19, 2013, 11:20:18 PM »
Great Work!

Kenneth
Fender Rhodes Collector/Music Producer/Recording Engineer

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #87 on: October 20, 2013, 03:35:07 PM »
Correction - there WAS another amp with four 6L6 power tubes = Fender Showman.  The chassis in that prototype looks closer to a Showman.

Offline voltergeist

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #88 on: October 23, 2013, 10:44:34 PM »



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

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Re: Just scored an early Sparkletop!
« Reply #89 on: October 23, 2013, 10:46:32 PM »


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