Author Topic: Tine issues  (Read 1610 times)

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 516
    • View Profile
Tine issues
« on: February 17, 2016, 08:24:26 PM »
Hi all,

working on my first Rhodes. A '77 Stage 73 in pretty good shape internally. I've removed all the tines for cleaning and installing new grommets/screws/washers. Some tines are noticeably non-parallel to their tonebar counterparts, and i'm correcting that.

1. I'm finding that it is pretty hard to change the position of the tine relative to the tonebar due to the ratchet-like impressions the tineblock has imprinted into the tonebar. I find that tightening the tine down in several other positions seems to flatten out those impressions and allows me greater precision when aligning the tine to the tone bar. Sound right? Anyone other easier methods?

2. After reinstalling the tine/tone bar assembly back into the harp, i'm noticing the pickups are out of line. I've read some posts on this but couldn't answer this question. How centered (laterally) do the tine bars need to be w.r.t. the pickups?  Perfectly center? It seems tough to move the pickup position laterally. Is this the reason some of the tonebar screws are bent upon removal? Meaning the rhodes assembly guy just put enough side pressure on the tonebar to permanently change the position and align to the pickup? That would probably break a tonebar. I could see it being done with a prybar in close proximity to the screws.

Now for the tangent...I've heard that the legend goes that the rhodes workers were drunk at work.  Now I can see it. It seems like this thing was haphazardly put together. Tonebar screw holes that missed the original hole, interlocked doubled-up tonebar mounting springs, a million washers on one side of the harp frame arm for (I guess) centering the harp. The mechanisms are so simple and cheap looking I think, almost like a 6th grader designed it, like a really really dumbed-down rube-goldberg mechanism. The simplicity is beautiful though. It sure seemed like they tried to streamline everything with the extruded aluminum everywhere, the ability to remove 4 screws and lift the entire action assembly out in one piece, the sustain push-rod dowel thingy, and simplification of the keystroke to a cam-catapult type mechanism.  Not to dig on the Rhodes' because I do love the sound. I was sort of surprised when I opened the lid.  It makes me appreciate the wurlitzers even more though...Here we go miracle-mod!

« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 08:26:38 PM by cinnamon »

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1195
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 08:20:15 AM »
Attempting to align the tines by simply pushing the tone generator assembly from side to side is definitely not the right way to go. Bending the tone bar screws is no good because you need to be able to adjust them periodically and you can't have the assembly moving back and forth while you're turning the screw.

If every tine is out of alignment, the entire pickup rail or tone bar rail can be shifted but it involves filling and redrilling the rail's mounting holes. I did this once but I suspect it was because I screwed something else up - maybe reinstalled the rails on opposite sides of the frame or even accidentally swapped frames with another piano.

Usually individual tines can be aligned by shifting their pickups slightly left or right. I don't think a small misalignment is an issue but technically, it must alter the tone to some degree.

Tonebar screw holes that missed the original hole, interlocked doubled-up tonebar mounting springs, a million washers on one side of the harp frame arm for (I guess) centering the harp. The mechanisms are so simple and cheap looking I think, almost like a 6th grader designed it, like a really really dumbed-down rube-goldberg mechanism. The simplicity is beautiful though.

You've got some tone bar screw holes that had to be redrilled? Are these the same that are out of alignment?

The interlocked springs were done purposefully to increase resonance and control oscillation in the same way Vintage Vibe's Tine Stabilizers work. I also attributed them to alcohol when I first encountered them. The extra washers are indeed to align the harp over the action. The simple mechanism is the genius of the Rhodes - a great action with only a few moving parts and minimal trade-offs.
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline Ben Bove

  • Vendor
  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3279
  • Formerly bjammerz
    • View Profile
    • Retro Rentals Website
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 12:11:40 PM »
Yes it can be difficult to line up the tines with the tone bars.  There are many various methods, what you're describing would work.  Basically, when you tighten the tine screw, it pulls the tine to the right as you naturally torque to the right to tighten.  So, some people also use an adjustable wrench to hold the tine block as you tighten the tine screw, or a vice etc.

As far as the pickups being out of alignment, how far are we talking?  You can also globally loosen all the pickup screws slightly so that they can move, and move them all over laterally to the right or left a bit.  It's preferred to have the tine centered to the pickup, so that if a tine has any oscillation to the left or right, it doesn't swing out side of the pickup range (and have loss of sound).

I can't say anything about the drunk-ness of the employees, I could maybe corroborate other more "green" influences, but it also should be noted it was an assembly line, and the care and precision we all dote on these pianos now as our own personal trophies could never match up to the day after day of putting together the same piano, and performance measured on how many pianos you can get out the door.
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear

http://www.RetroRentals.net
(818) 806-9606
info@retrorentals.net

FB: https://www.facebook.com/retrorentals.net/
IG: @RetroRentalsNet

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 516
    • View Profile
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 08:07:10 AM »

The interlocked springs were done purposefully to increase resonance and control oscillation in the same way Vintage Vibe's Tine Stabilizers work.

Thank you I would have never known that! I wish I would have taken note which key had double springs on it. Oh well I guess I will find out when voicing/tuning.


So, some people also use an adjustable wrench to hold the tine block as you tighten the tine screw, or a vice etc.

I discovered this method as well! It works great. I find that slightly tightening followed by realigning and repeating works well.

You can also globally loosen all the pickup screws slightly so that they can move, and move them all over laterally to the right or left a bit.  It's preferred to have the tine centered to the pickup, so that if a tine has any oscillation to the left or right, it doesn't swing out side of the pickup range (and have loss of sound).

That seems to have fixed my problem. In some cases I am limited by the shortness of the wire between pickups rather than actual spatial movement.  I believe I have some tone bars that are bent as well. Has anyone ever experimented with bending them slightly? I'm not talking huge proportions, but close enough that I may be touching the neighboring tine in one case (bass side). I don't want to weaken the integrity of the tine or change the tonal characteristics, but wanted to ask.
Bent tonebar screws probably alleviated this problem. I don't want to put the tine out of alignment with the tonebar either.

Looking in the photo, tonebar 12 looks bent to the right? Tonebars 13 on up look parallel with eachother but I am almost missing the pickup totally on 13 and 14 in the 2nd picture. One second thought, tonebars 13 and 14 look to be bent to the left. Hmmmmmmmm

Should I try putting an old/bent screw back in?

Thank you all!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 12:02:53 PM by cinnamon »

Offline pnoboy

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 382
    • View Profile
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 12:12:40 PM »
Definitely do not put crooked screws back.  From what I can tell, tonebar 12 is not bent, and ends up squarely over the pickup screw.  Tonebar 13 looks like it may be off to the left a bit, and as long as you're careful you could bend it a tad to the right.  OTOH, tonebars 12 and 13 are not hitting each other, so there may be no problem to fix.

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3194
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2016, 08:24:07 PM »
In the past I've seen people shim the tone bars near the mounting screw to separate them a little, but I don't remember if it has an effect on sustain or not.

1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline Sisboombah

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 02:19:34 AM »
At the risk of “necroposting”, I thought it prudent to respond to an already established thread rather than starting a new one.

Long story short, I’ve encountered the same issue restoring a ‘77 Mark I Stage 73. All the tines are too short, but fortunately it came with suitable replacements so I can add the long ones at the bottom and shift the tines up a note or two, cutting and filing to spec.  Getting the “new” tines to mate parallel to the tonebar has been tricky, as the old indentations want to seat themselves off-center.  Here’s the method I’ve come up with (photo below):

1) Using a vise and a large smooth-jawed crescent wrench, get the tonebar both straight with itself and twisted to perpendicular. There’s another thread about this. 
2) After cutting and filing the new tine to length, screw it into the tonebar just hand-tight.  You’ll see why.  Mainly just to reference it to the tonebar for the next step. 
3) Open the vise enough to fit the tonebar + tone generator/tine + a 10mm socket.  The 10mm socket is just big enough to surround the pan head of the tone generator mounting screw without pressing against it.  You don’t want to press the screw head itself, as you will booger up the threads.
4) Tighten the assembly down in the vise, making sure to line the tine up parallel with the tonebar.  Tighten it down good, thereby pressing the new generator’s ratcheted impressions into the tonebar.  Leave it in for a while, I say. 
5) Loosen the vise, take out the assembly, and now clamp the tone generator vertically in the vise with the tonebar above the vise clamp in order to tighten the screw with a 5/16” socket.  I’ve heard of using an impact driver, but I’ve had success ratcheting it in very tight by hand. I’d hate to shear the screw (which I’ve done and is not fun), but the connection seems to be tight and flush. I can’t even get a piece of paper between the tonebar and tone generator.  Maybe there is a torque setting someone knows for this?  Doing this by hand allows to manipulate the tonebar to stay parallel as you torque it down.  After unclamping, it stays perfectly parallel. 

This is what’s worked for me; I’m sure there are other ways. Hope it helps!


Offline pnoboy

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 382
    • View Profile
Re: Tine issues
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2019, 12:05:27 PM »
Those hex thin-head  screws Fender used to screw the tines to the tone bars are far from ideal.  Socket-head cap screws are SO much nicer to use.  If I were redoing a whole piano, I'd dump the original screws and get cap screws instead.