Author Topic: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes  (Read 9188 times)

Offline Scottsguitar

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How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« on: June 26, 2014, 10:24:25 PM »
I have a question maybe some of you can answer??? I have a Rhodes 73 and want to level the keys. How do I do that any Ideas

Scott

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2014, 07:52:24 AM »
It is not easy. Well, it is easy, but it is very time consuming. The felt and paper punchings under the balance rail are what raises and lowers the keys for leveling. The paper punchings are different thicknesses. The felt punchings are thin,medium, or thick, but they likely do not need replacing. If you have a handful that are too low, or too high, adjust the paper shims. The felt punchings should ALWAYS be on top of the paper punchings, but seldom are, due to laziness at the factory.

If some keys are real low, it is possible that the felt punchings are missing ( eaten by mice or moths.)




 
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
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Offline martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 11:21:07 AM »
is t
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 11:21:43 AM »
is there a trick to mesure the height? ive tried with a ruler, but with the wood infront on the keys being slanted, its hard to keep the ruler straight.........
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 09:37:22 AM »
Leveling by eye is a fool's errand.  My trick is to use a dial indicator on an adjustable base on a smooth, flat surface:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/1-Dial-Indicator-and-Fine-Adjustment-Magnetic-Base/T24804

The dial indicator is a measuring tool accurate to typically .001" (1/1000th of an inch).  Set a key to your desired height, zero out the dial, then shim (or de-shim) the other keys to get them to the same height.  Makes it quick and easy.  I can level a keybed in about 2 hours with this method.  It's important to have a flat, smooth surface.



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 timpotent

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 10:36:48 AM »
Nice !!

Gonna order this now  ;)

Offline martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2014, 07:11:14 AM »
nice one! ill order it!
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2014, 09:02:03 AM »
There's also a trick to the trick, which is to weight down the pedestal side of the keys while measuring to keep the indicator's plunger from pushing down the key and ruining the measurement.  Also, measure at the same location on all the (white/black) keys.  I measure in the middle within appx 1/16" of the front of the key.  I allow +/-.010" deviation on the white keys, and +/-.015" on the black keys.
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 Mister_Al

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2014, 10:21:21 AM »
Well, thanks for the dial indicator trick, but isn't there an easier method to level the keys without buying a new tool?
And why would one wish to level the keys so accurate? Does one realize a small deviation when playing the Rhodes?

Thanks for the answers...
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Offline squarebubble

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2014, 10:40:08 AM »
I thought it was best to level the keys in the case. What happens if you're case is slightly warped and then it throws it all out once screwed in place?

Offline voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2014, 10:42:11 AM »
Well, thanks for the dial indicator trick, but isn't there an easier method to level the keys without buying a new tool?
And why would one wish to level the keys so accurate? Does one realize a small deviation when playing the Rhodes?

Thanks for the answers...

An easier method without a tool?  I suppose anything is possible.

+/-.010" is driven by visually discernable difference in height.  Obviously there is some point where deviation in key height becomes a distraction for the player, and the amount that is tolerable is probably very dependent on the player.  As key leveling goes, if it looks good, it feels good.

If someone has a better solution than a $30 tool that will level keys within thousandths of an inch within a couple hours, I'm all ears.  And if you like a snaggletooth keybed, or spending hours driving yourself crazy leveling by eye, more power to you.
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: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2014, 10:46:00 AM »
I thought it was best to level the keys in the case. What happens if you're case is slightly warped and then it throws it all out once screwed in place?

I considered that, but the case adds error, and a warped case is a separate issue that should be dealt with independently by shimming between the piano chassis and the case.  Compensating for a warped case by key leveling doesn't make much sense to me.
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 pianotuner steveo

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2014, 02:57:56 PM »
I agree the tool sounds awesome and I may get one, but I think the real question here is why buy the tool if you only need to do this once?  (Non techs)

For those of us who do this for a living, this looks like the best tool I have ever seen for this.

Techs have been leveling keys for hundreds of years in pianos without the fancy tools. (acoustic pianos have been around since 1706) The basic way is to set a few (like ends and middle) with careful measurements, then fill in the rest in between by using a straight edge across the keys that are known to be correct. Again, it is easier to place the felt on the bottom, add or subtract paper punchings until correct, then flip the whole stack of punchings over with tweezers or whatever. The felt punching should be on top of the pile when done. Thisprevents the paper punchings from getting worn/torn from the key movement.



« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 03:47:58 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 voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2014, 03:07:42 PM »

Techs have been leveling keys for hundreds of years in pianos without the fancy tools. (acoustic pianos have been around since 1706) The basic way is to set a few (like ends and middle) with careful measurements, then fill in the rest in between by using a straight edge across the keys that are known to be correct. Again, it is easier to place the felt on the bottom, add or subtract paper punchings until correct, then flip the whole stack of punchings over with tweezers or whatever. The felt punching should be on top of the pile when done. Thisprevents the paper punchings from getting worn/torn from the key movement.

As a low-tech method for someone doing a one-off, yes, that sounds like a good solution.
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 cfishel15

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2014, 05:00:09 PM »
The basic way is to set a few (like ends and middle) with careful measurements, then fill in the rest in between by using a straight edge across the keys that are known to be correct. Again, it is easier to place the felt on the bottom, add or subtract paper punchings until correct, then flip the whole stack of punchings over with tweezers or whatever. The felt punching should be on top of the pile when done. Thisprevents the paper punchings from getting worn/torn from the key movement.

I've used pianotuner steveo's method and it works quite well! Use an aluminum yardstick propped on its edge to provide a good straight edge span between the end and middle keys.
1978 Rhodes Mark I Suitcase 73

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2014, 07:53:33 AM »
Thanks, but it actually is the method piano techs are taught in school. I did not invent it... :(
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 Peter Hayes

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2014, 08:53:35 AM »
It's how I was taught at Perkin's School of Piano Tuning and Technology (using the Reblitz book) back in the day.
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Offline martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2014, 08:58:22 AM »
i got the meter today, and i tried using it but haven't got the patience! i took out all of the shims and just placed all they keys onto the felt and the action is fast and light, really even and dynamic. next thing is to re-drill the harp for optimum strike line!!!
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2014, 09:32:29 AM »
Hmmmm... Is your dip still correct?

Of course if dip is too shallow, it gives the illusion that the action is heavy so maybe not...

Do you want to keep the gauge?
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 martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2014, 12:02:15 PM »
im gonna come back to it in a few days...... on another topic, would it be ok to tune the rhodes to my nord by ear or do i need a tuner???
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2014, 07:09:24 PM »
You don't 'need' a tuner, per say, they just make it faster.

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 voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2014, 10:00:23 AM »
i got the meter today, and i tried using it but haven't got the patience! i took out all of the shims and just placed all they keys onto the felt and the action is fast and light, really even and dynamic. next thing is to re-drill the harp for optimum strike line!!!

With all due respect, if you don't have the patience for the relatively quick and painless task of leveling keys with the indicator, Rhodes teching may not be for you.  Patience is everything.  Persistence and skill are important, too, but neither is much good without patience.
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 martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2014, 12:28:48 PM »
but if the action feels great, why spend all that time to change it??
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab

Offline voltergeist

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2014, 12:35:58 PM »
but if the action feels great, why spend all that time to change it??

Your question was about leveling keys.  Are your keys level after you gave up leveling and removed all the shims?
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 martin

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Re: How To Level the Keys on my rhodes
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2014, 04:11:53 PM »
yes, there are maybe 4 or 5 that need shimming up a bit....
'77 stage rhodes mark 1>'73 traynor ygl3a mark III>'60's selmer pa100sv>Wurly200a>Nord Stage Compact>hh ma100>1x12 fane twin cone speaker>smartlight pa>2xhz speakers>selmer pa100>Samson Auro D210 active pa cab