Author Topic: Mark V, thoughts, questions  (Read 5027 times)

Offline bourniplus

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Mark V, thoughts, questions
« on: March 06, 2014, 09:30:24 AM »
Greetings everyone,

I'm the proud owner of a Mark V and Mark I. I regularly use the Mark V for gigs. I started having a problem with one of the hammers on my Mark V travelling sideways. Upon inspection the hammer comb was cracked. And so I wonder, couldn't this hammer comb system be replaced by individual flanges with center pins and felt bushings? I mean, ALL of the hammers have a bit of sideplay. I see that my Mark I has the individual flanges, does anyone know why the hammer comb system was used on later pianos? Also, does anyone sell replacements that fit the Mark V?

When I look at how the action works in this piano, I notice that after the hammer strikes the tine, the key never hits the down felt, and what actually stops it is the hammer cam against the pedestal. Then, when additional pressure is applied, it is transferred to the hammer and hammer comb (which then bends very slightly). This happens to some degree every time we hit a key. Am I getting this right? Somehow this doesn't seem as obvious in my Mark I, maybe because of different pedestal or hammer design. Wouldn't this cause the wear on the hammer pins / flange that we see in Mark V's?

Am I just thinking too much?!

best regards to all
Martin
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 09:34:20 AM by bourniplus »

Offline Max Brink

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 02:39:07 PM »
Quote
I wonder, couldn't this hammer comb system be replaced by individual flanges with center pins and felt bushings? I mean, ALL of the hammers have a bit of sideplay. I see that my Mark I has the individual flanges, does anyone know why the hammer comb system was used on later pianos? Also, does anyone sell replacements that fit the Mark V?

The octave hammer strips were used starting in late '75 when they switched from the hybrid wood/plastic hammers to all plastic hammers. This was done to save on production costs most likely. The MKV hammers themselves are not directly interchangeable with the plastic hammers of the late MKI and MKII because they have a slightly different contour to them.

Unfortunately it's common for the MKV hammer flanges to break on the MKV because of the increased force that is applied from the extra throw distance of the hammer. If you are experiencing a lot of hammers with broken flanges it's time to have the action professionally serviced by someone that is aware of the best operating parameters of the key bed and action assembly.


Quote
When I look at how the action works in this piano, I notice that after the hammer strikes the tine, the key never hits the down felt, and what actually stops it is the hammer cam against the pedestal. Then, when additional pressure is applied, it is transferred to the hammer and hammer comb (which then bends very slightly). This happens to some degree every time we hit a key.

The action of the piano should probably be serviced if it is reaching the "stop lock" (end position) before lightly kissing the guide rail felts. If this force is too great it will likely lead to more hammer flange breakage. Also, I think you will be very pleased with the way that the piano plays once it is setup properly instead of the swampy feeling that you can get when the action is hyperextending before reaching the guide rail felt.
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Offline bourniplus

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 09:36:01 AM »
Thanks for your reply Max,
actually I'd rather have someone experienced and knowledgeable with Rhodes to work on my instruments, however I don't think there is any Rhodes tech near where I live.
The original strips of downstop felt under the keys were so low that I don't think the keys ever reached them. What I ended up doing is replacing them with individual round felts (they were just removed from a Steinway D(!) but still perfectly fine) and adjusting with shims until just before the point where I'd get double-striking. The action now feels more firm, and I can only guess it will be safer for the hammer flanges.

Offline Nitrofunk

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 03:11:26 AM »
Hi! I owned a Mark V for about 10 Years and finally sold it because of the Hammer Flange Problems. On at least two Occasions, those Flanges broke during a Gig. And this still happened after a professional Rhodes Tech overhauled it. So in my Opinion this is just a Design Flaw of the MK V that is pretty hard to cure.
Peter
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Offline Max Brink

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 04:59:11 PM »
It's a design flaw but if it's setup properly you can minimize how much stress is put on the hammers. If the front of the key is floating above the balance rail felt you are going to put a lot more stress on the hammer flanges than if it is kissing the felt. However if you regulate the key dip too drastically you are going to run into other action issues.
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Offline JVC (Mark V)

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 11:28:58 AM »
I own a Mark V and some of the hammers on my Mark V have been replaced with Mark II hammers. The Mark II hammers are installed on the lowest and highest keys on my Mark V.  The hammer pins on Mark V do break a bit easily. I've been keeping all the broken Mark V hammers, I want to repair them (of have them repaired) when I have time.
I wish that someone will make replica of Mark V hammers.

Offline Groove4Hire

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 05:41:11 AM »
The MK7 hammers have the same hammercurve as the MK5 hammers but unfortunately the pins on the MK7 hammers are a bit larger so they don't fit into the hammercombs on the MK5 (which is the same as the MK2...)

I have both MK5 and MK7 hammers lying around and I've also investigated in reproducing MK5 hammers but it's way to expensive at least for me and my little business...
Jon
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 08:39:51 AM »
The action of the piano should probably be serviced if it is reaching the "stop lock" (end position) before lightly kissing the guide rail felts. If this force is too great it will likely lead to more hammer flange breakage. Also, I think you will be very pleased with the way that the piano plays once it is setup properly instead of the swampy feeling that you can get when the action is hyperextending before reaching the guide rail felt.

Max, I understand you get good results setting up your pianos this way but I feel it's a little dangerous speaking of this as though it's the proper and commonly accepted method. I believe the Rhodes was designed to be played without involving the front guide pin felts. The downward travel of the key is supposed to be limited by its stop-lock relationship with the hammer as shown in the service manual.
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Offline bourniplus

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 05:16:01 PM »
Isn't stop-lock reached only when both ends of the pedestal come in contact with the hammer? Looking at the picture, I don't quite see what keeps the key from pushing the hammer further up, until the part of the pedestal that's under the hammer pin reaches the hammer.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 06:19:19 PM »
David, I understand what you are saying, but as far as I am concerned, the Rhodes method of keys  NOT touching the front rail felts is incorrect, especially since the flanges and pins are breakable plastic. This is the commonly accepted method in every other piano action, including Wurli EPs. These felts are the key dip adjustment and prevent the hyper extension which can lead to the problem discussed here. With a heavy touch, the fronts of the keys can be forced down a little further without the front rail (the green) felts stopping them.  By using the front rail felts as a stop for extra protection, the flanges probably would not be breaking, or at least less often. If the Rhodes used traditional wooden flanges and metal center pins, then hyperextension likely wouldn't be breaking anything.

Why do you say it is dangerous to speak of this? This is the way I was taught, (and have been doing it this way all along) and I thought people were kidding at first when they told me that was not the accepted Rhodes method. Oh, and, I have never broken a hammer flange in a Rhodes, BTW.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 06:29:47 PM by pianotuner steveo »
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2014, 06:34:12 PM »
By "dangerous", I mean it could cause confusion. I understand your point and concede that it's the correct way to set up other pianos but, as I understand it, it's not the standard way to set up a Rhodes. It may be better but it conflicts with the standard and particularly, the official service manual and I think that should be acknowledged when modifications are discussed.
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2014, 06:53:26 PM »
I'd agree as well conceptually - why would the key pedestal and a plastic hammer interaction be the part that is stressed and brings motion to a stop, over felt on a solid wood frame.  Though it's by design in Rhodes manual.
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2014, 06:59:43 PM »
Isn't stop-lock reached only when both ends of the pedestal come in contact with the hammer? Looking at the picture, I don't quite see what keeps the key from pushing the hammer further up, until the part of the pedestal that's under the hammer pin reaches the hammer.
I agree. That picture doesn't completely make sense to me.
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2014, 07:04:52 PM »
And bourniplus, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Max's method of setting up pianos represents an improvement on the factory specs. Particularly when you're dealing with breaking hammer flanges.
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2014, 10:55:57 PM »
As I said, I have been doing this Max's way since the early '80's, and I have never broken a Rhodes flange since. I have seen broken flanges or hammer pins on pianos that I ended up repairing.

David, you are correct, It is not the standard way that the Rhodes manual suggests.

I do not mean to ruffle feathers here, but the official Rhodes method for key dip adjustment is flawed. As long as your key dip is correct, there is no harm, and as far as I am concerned, much benefit to having the keys bottom out onto the felts. Having extra room to put force into the key after the note is done playing puts too much stress on the plastic parts in my piano technology trained opinion.

I personally don't see it as a modification, really. Just an extra ounce of PM.  ;)

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Offline Max Brink

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Re: Mark V, thoughts, questions
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2014, 01:19:18 AM »
Quote
Looking at the picture, I don't quite see what keeps the key from pushing the hammer further up, until the part of the pedestal that's under the hammer pin reaches the hammer.

Ha! I never noticed how mechanically incorrect that picture was!


Quote
And bourniplus, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Max's method of setting up pianos represents an improvement on the factory specs. Particularly when you're dealing with breaking hammer flanges.

--First off, I'm probably not the first one to do things this way, as Steveo pointed out...

I don't feel that the method isn't that extreme compared to the manual's setup. It's just a matter of getting the key to "kiss" the front rail felt while not impeding on the final stop-lock position. All you want to do is remove any unwanted stress and from over extension beyond the stop-lock position. The process get's ridiculously tedious when you're dealing with adjustments in the key travel distance in order to keep everything in order, though...

And although the manual is extremely thorough in most basic setup aspects of the instrument many of the setup parameters of the instrument are more of an art than a science. When it comes to the action if the hammer rail is sitting just a fraction of an inch more forward or back in relation to the pedestals, or varying in height, then in order to produce the same motion applied to the hammer by the pedestal you would need to adjust the key height and the placement of the pedestal bump... Every instrument will have a measurable variance in the distances between the hammers and pedestals but in the manual while there is a height for the keys listed there is no parameter listed for the relationship between the hammers and the pedestal.

In the end every piano get's setup a little different because every instrument is a little different. I've tried measuring as many points as possible in order to recreate the feel of two pianos but there are too many variables that affect one another. In the end it comes down to trusting your gut and taking the time to understand what works.
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