Author Topic: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips  (Read 3861 times)

Offline fota

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Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« on: September 21, 2015, 09:04:27 PM »
I'm looking to replace my hammer tips, and VV sells 4 different kinds and I'm having trouble figuring out what the sonic differences are. Also how they affect the action.

They have graduated, square, felt, and angled. http://www.vintagevibe.com/products/fender-rhodes-hammer-tip-kit?variant=899453023

Their descriptions tell more of the history and purpose of the tips but not much about the sound or playability.

I've been thinking of the felt ones for the softer tone, but they're said to not last as long. How much life could I expect out of them? I don't gig with the keyboard or anything, just write songs on it in the living room.

Offline Max Brink

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2015, 02:24:45 AM »
The original tips sound great! If you are satisfied with the tone in your current tips and there are not deep grooves in the hammer tips then there is no reason to replace them! Remember: The original tips sound like the Rhodes that you hear on your favorite records.

Since most of the VV alternative tips have only been introduced this past year I have not tried all of them. I doubt they are in many pianos yet so it's going to be hard to get an opinion from someone that has heard many of the different hammer tips available.

The only Vintage Vibe tips I have experienced so far are the VV tapered tips since the other tips were introduced more recently. They sound good as a set but not exactly like an original set of tapered (post '76) tips. The sound in the bass isn't as deep of a thump which already isn't as deep as the earlier pre-76 period and the sound in the treble--escpecially the wood core--is a little smoother... but the smoother treble may be more desirable. It's probably also worth noting, though, that the VV wood core is taller and has a more rounded form than the original wood core tips which makes them more prone to breaking off from the hammer after repeated strikes than the originals and also means you have to do some adjusting of the harm to get everything to sit just right. They sound good as a set for something post 1976 and we use them on a lot of pianos from that period if the original tips have deep grooves in more than a dozen keys.

The CAE hammer tips are also tapered and have a deeper voice much more like the earlier pre-76 tips. Their bass has more of a warm thump to it and the treble has more of the percussive sparkle that you get from the earlier "Fender Rhodes" years as well. I enjoy their tips a lot, even though they don't get much mention. They are a great option for someone that wants a deeper Rhodes sound like what you get in the earlier 70's Mark I. I'd recommend checking them out if you're looking for a deeper Fender Rhodes era sound in your tapered tip Rhodes.

The Retro Linear cubed tips are my current favorite for anything from the Fender Rhodes cubed tip period (pre-1976). They are the original cube shape which means that they have a linear strike line (which makes the most sense for a Rhodes harp). They have as close to the original Rhodes sound as I have ever heard. We have tried them in post-76 pianos as well and they also sound terrific (although this requires a serious setup change to the strike line, escapement, and damper felt levels). The action also feels the best with these tips as they react with the tines in a way that the early tips behave with a nice firm reaction back from the strike of the tine. I'm in love with the sound of these tips and as far as I have heard it is the best way to maintain the sound of the Fender Rhodes period.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 02:29:15 AM by Max Brink »
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Offline fota

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2015, 11:58:54 AM »
Thanks for the reply. I just realized that the VV tips are less than six months old. It's nice to know they're still creating new products. That interest is still high enough.

Does anyone have experience with felt tips? I think I like that sound but I'm worried about their longevity.

Offline Tim Hodges

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 02:27:31 AM »
That's a great response, thanks Max.
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Offline Max Brink

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2015, 10:11:43 AM »
Quote
Does anyone have experience with felt tips? I think I like that sound but I'm worried about their longevity.

The felt tips would not be the best choice if you are looking for longevity. They may give a unique sound but are you looking for a felt tip attack?


What year is the piano that you are servicing?

My philosophy is first to stay true to the production period of the hammer tip that was used. Unless you are seeking a specific sound that is also going to have the greatest ease of setup since hammers of different heights are going to change the strike line and escapement of the piano... For example, experimenting with the Retro Linear cubed tips in post-75 pianos I have been very pleased with the tone but this is going to require raising the harp, dampers, and resetting the strike line of the piano due to the change in the hammer height. So that is going to take a little more expertise to install properly.
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Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 08:21:36 AM »
Quote
My philosophy is first to stay true to the production period of the hammer tip that was used. Unless you are seeking a specific sound that is also going to have the greatest ease of setup since hammers of different heights are going to change the strike line and escapement of the piano... For example, experimenting with the Retro Linear cubed tips in post-75 pianos I have been very pleased with the tone but this is going to require raising the harp, dampers, and resetting the strike line of the piano due to the change in the hammer height. So that is going to take a little more expertise to install properly.

Pre- and post 76 are often mentioned , but what about 76, which tips would you recommend for a piano of that year, VV or CAE?

--Roy
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 08:27:24 AM by Rhodesjuzz »
1976 Rhodes Suitcase 73 <effects loop || EHX Holy Grail Nano>
Line 6 midi keys
Scarbee Mark I, A-200 and Classic EP-88S

Offline Max Brink

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 12:32:07 PM »
I would reach out to Retro Linear if you are looking for the cubed tips. To my ears they are the best for the Fender Rhodes cubed tip tone and will fit best with the factory escapement and strike line of the pianos through mid 1976.

Otherwise it's your call between the VV or CAE tips. One of my favorite Rhodes Mark II pianos was restored with CAE tips through the mids and VV tips from the hardest treble and wood core on up... The CAE tips have a little more depth with a darker "Fender Rhodes" era thump in the bass and the VV tapered tips have a little more crisp attack. VV recently came out with a whole bunch of other hammer tip options but they only sent me a couple sample sizes of each so I don't have an opinion on the complete set of any of their alternate options yet.
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Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2016, 10:55:45 AM »
I would reach out to Retro Linear if you are looking for the cubed tips. To my ears they are the best for the Fender Rhodes cubed tip tone and will fit best with the factory escapement and strike line of the pianos through mid 1976.

Otherwise it's your call between the VV or CAE tips. One of my favorite Rhodes Mark II pianos was restored with CAE tips through the mids and VV tips from the hardest treble and wood core on up... The CAE tips have a little more depth with a darker "Fender Rhodes" era thump in the bass and the VV tapered tips have a little more crisp attack. VV recently came out with a whole bunch of other hammer tip options but they only sent me a couple sample sizes of each so I don't have an opinion on the complete set of any of their alternate options yet.

Thank you Max really appreciate your tips and advice. I was planning to go for the cubed tips but my piano has been adjusted for optimum escapement and strike line in combination with the graduated tips to get that nice tone I really like. Cubed tips have all the same height (3/8"?) and I'm a bit reluctant to apply those and have everything re-adjusted again, but maybe I just may try a few in different sections to hear what the result will be????

If I would stick with the graduated tips then a combination of the 2 (vv/cae) may be tempting but my bass section up to the middle is perfect at the moment with descent/good tips. The percussive treble CAE tips won't match with the rest. That leaves vv as a good choice but clearly there seems to be a quality issue with the wood core tips.

--Roy


« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 02:23:37 PM by Rhodesjuzz »
1976 Rhodes Suitcase 73 <effects loop || EHX Holy Grail Nano>
Line 6 midi keys
Scarbee Mark I, A-200 and Classic EP-88S

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Vintage Vibe Hammer Tips
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2016, 07:47:58 PM »
Anyone who wants to try felt tips, please be aware that the tines cut deep grooves in them and they do not last. They sound beautiful, but Rhodes switched to neoprene because it lasts longer than felt.


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