Author Topic: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...  (Read 3309 times)

Offline goldphinga

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Just got myself a full set of new VV screws, grommets and washers for my 1980 Janus Mk2 Stage. So far so good with the installation though the screws have thicker threads and some of the screws ( about 10 out of 73) are nigh on impossible to get into the original tonebar mounting holes. It's likely due to the inconsistency of the hole drilling in the Rhodes factory methinks...

Has anyone else encountered this and how do you get around this? Should i attempt to widen the mounting holes and if so how to do it without making the holes too wide...?

Thanks guys


Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 04:05:53 PM »
It should be easy to determine who's out of spec. Do other screws fit in the problem tone bars? Are the problem screws too large for other tone bars?

As far as I'm concerned, Vintage Vibe is the place to go for almost every replacement part you'd need... except the tone bar mounting hardware. I haven't noticed an inconsistency in the screws but the grommets and washers need to be brought to the attention of Quality Control. The holes are nearly universally off-center and the material typically has voids - sort of crevices - on the tops.

I just finished mounting a set of bars using the kit supplied by RetroLinear. The grommets are much more consistent but I'm bummed that the screws and washers are chrome rather than nickel. VV's are nickel and match the originals and other hardware better (unless there's an era of production with chrome that I'm unaware of).

I tried using Vintage Vibe's screws and washer with the RetroLinear grommets but the shank must be wider because there was no way they'd fit.
Dave Aubke
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 04:25:48 PM »
Hey David, thanks for the reply. Well, i'm presuming it's the pin block holes that must be inconsistently drilled on my Rhodes, though i'm going to examine the problem screws tomorrow but quite a few of the new screws are much tighter than i would like, to the point that its troublesome turning them at all to make adjustments...I was going to buy Retronlinear grommets and screws but the postage to UK alone was just too much to justify. We have an amazing new supplier here ElectricKeys who sell VV parts. The grommets seem great i just need to establish whats going on with these screws and whether the ones that are impossible to turn are too large compared to the others or whether its the pin block holes that are smaller on those notes. I have no quibble with VV quality at all; the grommets are all uniform here with the holes on centre but i agree about the washers as they only just fit the screws unless that is intentional but lets just say they are a pain to slide onto the screws! Anyway, i'm sure there's an easy way to resolve this...maybe a little silicone grease on the problem screws perhaps?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 04:29:45 PM by goldphinga »

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 04:57:41 PM »
I misunderstood. I thought the screws wouldn't fit through the holes in the tone bar. I can't say I've ever had trouble driving them into the wood but I do coat them with paraffin wax before driving.

The only problems I've had with the washers is too many of them are deformed. It's been a couple of years since I purchased any grommets from VV. I've double and triple-checked random pieces from at least two different batches to be certain I'm not misrepresenting them but perhaps they've improved since my last purchase.
Dave Aubke
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 05:09:16 PM »
I'm really on the fence about grommets (sorry to hijack your discussion). The RetroLinears are definitely more well formed but they are slightly larger than Vintage Vibe's. They're a very tight fit in the bars on the 1974 I'm working on. So tight that some of the grommets haven't seated all the way since being installed. I can pull up on the tone bar to remedy that but it doesn't seem quite right that I should have to do that. Between that and the plating on the metal, I'm not entirely sold on RetroLinear's.

There is also a difference in the firmness but I can't recall which is more and which is less firm.
Dave Aubke
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Offline Tim W

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 05:58:56 PM »
Hi David,

Sorry to hear you are having difficulty.  Here is how we install our kits to insure proper seating and performance:

1. Remove the old screw, grommet, and washer while holding the tonebar in position so that it does not angle up or down. 
2. Insert a #2 Phillips head screwdriver in the hole in the tonebar to insure the spring under the tonebar is centered.
3.  Insert the new grommet, seating it completely.  Make sure the spring under the tonebar fits around the grommet properly.
4.  Install the screw and washer.

If you do it any other way (i.e. drive the whole screw, washer and grommet in together at once), you risk the spring or screw deforming the grommet enough that proper seating may not take place.  Our grommets are the harder of the two currently available, so they will not seat as easily if the screw is put in them first.

As for he cosmetics, we chose our plating to keep cost down.  We use all US suppliers for our grommets and hardware, so the cost is already higher.  Most of the time the cover is on the piano, so it is not seen unless the piano is being worked on.

If you have any other problems, I'd like to know about it.  I have never had any complaints about seating from any customer using our product... quite the contrary, actually.

Regards,
Tim
retrolinear.com
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 06:05:08 PM by timengr1 »

Offline goldphinga

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 06:07:48 PM »
So getting back to the wax for a second, why isn't this suggested as a matter of course by the manufacturers/suppliers such as VV and RL? Surely if it was necessary to use wax, there would be instructions? I mean i've never had an issue installing screws from major key before, (i had a big stock of these until i used them all up recently) but these VV screws definitely have thicker threads..its not the shank as far as i can tell...

I'd be interested why VV chose thicker threads on their screws too.

PS Im gonna go get some paraffin wax anyway and give it a whirl on the hard to move screws.  8)

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 06:11:42 PM »
Thanks Tim. I guess that did come off as a bit of a complaint but that's not really how I view the situation. The fit of your grommets may be entirely appropriate but they are different from what I'm accustomed to.

About the plating: Although I don't think it should matter to nearly every other Rhodes player, my hobby is about providing an outlet for my obsessive tendencies. To that end, the plating on the tone bar screws is actually enough of an issue that, in order to continue using the RetroLinear grommets (which really are superbly consistent), I may need to try to source a nickel version of the screw and washer.
Dave Aubke
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 06:16:12 PM »
I've never seen wax suggested. I do it because I believe they used paraffin and sometimes beeswax at the factory.

I just measured some tone bar screws.
Original from 1974: 4.17 mm
Original from later year (probably '76): 4.06 mm
Vintage Vibe: 4.56 mm
RetroLinear: 4.27 mm
Dave Aubke
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Offline Tim W

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 06:30:03 PM »
Goldphinga,

We here at RL do not feel it is necessary to use wax, as we have never had to use wax on pianos ranging from the beginning to the end of Rhodes production that use rubber grommets.  But, it is a certainly a valid method to lubricate threads for driving screws into hard woods.  One can also use plain bar soap, such as Ivory, in a pinch. 

Tim
retrolinear.com

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Vintage Vibe tone bar mounting screws with thicker threads...
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2014, 08:03:41 AM »
Sorry to harp on this but I don't like the way I left this discussion.

I clearly went back and forth between declaring the RL grommets to be both awesome and possibly defective. For the record, they do fit my tone bars, just more tightly than others I've used.

I have been installing by first assembling the screw, washer and grommet. Then I dip the screw in wax and drop the assembly through the tone bar hole, pressing to seat it. I set the whole assembly - tone bar, screws and springs - into position. I give the voicing (tine side) screw a turn or two to start it then drive the escapement (key side) screw down to its final position. This pulls the tone bar down and usually unseats the voicing grommet. I then carefully drive the voicing screw being certain the grommet doesn't get hung up on the tone bar.

Although I don't think my voicing grommets are getting hung up on the springs, I do think installing the way Tim described would keep everything seated properly.
Dave Aubke
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