Author Topic: How long to voice a Rhodes  (Read 1599 times)

Offline David Aubke

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How long to voice a Rhodes
« on: June 03, 2016, 10:45:19 AM »
As I begin to take in customers' instruments, I've been wondering about this.

After reinstalling tone generators, I make a voicing pass across the instrument. This gets everything about 80% of the way there but the overall job is a bit of a Long-Tail situation. Over the course of weeks and even months, I'll continue to tweak notes as I play the piano. Even weeks later, sometimes a note will jump out at me in the middle of a tune.

I'm sure I could make a more concerted effort to get it set up faster but I'm curious about others' thoughts, both as customers and service providers.

Service providers: do you feel you're able to define a stopping point for tweaking voicing? I'm expecting to allot a reasonable amount of time to the job but it will be spread out over the course of at least days if not weeks.

Customers: What do you expect from your service providers? Do they claim to get it all set up and voiced in a matter of days? and do you think they succeed?
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 06:30:52 PM »
As I begin to take in customers' instruments, I've been wondering about this.

After reinstalling tone generators, I make a voicing pass across the instrument. This gets everything about 80% of the way there but the overall job is a bit of a Long-Tail situation. Over the course of weeks and even months, I'll continue to tweak notes as I play the piano. Even weeks later, sometimes a note will jump out at me in the middle of a tune.

I'm sure I could make a more concerted effort to get it set up faster but I'm curious about others' thoughts, both as customers and service providers.

Service providers: do you feel you're able to define a stopping point for tweaking voicing? I'm expecting to allot a reasonable amount of time to the job but it will be spread out over the course of at least days if not weeks.

Customers: What do you expect from your service providers? Do they claim to get it all set up and voiced in a matter of days? and do you think they succeed?

I agree that voicing and adjusting pickup position seems like a never ending task.  The same thing happens to me--I think the piano is all set, then I play it and notice a note that jumps out at me because it is either too loud or too soft.  One thing I've learned is that you have to pick a setting for the tone control on your piano and the tone controls on your amp before voicing, and then don't move them.  Changing the tone controls will cause certain portions of the keyboard to sound louder or softer, and then you're back in the soup.

Another thing I've found helpful is to use my eyes to help my ears.  I have connected an oscilloscope to my amp's output and watched the display as I adjusted the pickups.  Many times it has alerted me to a needed adjustment that I noticed with my ears only after my eyes noticed it.  Of course, I realize that not everyone has a scope sitting around the house.
One other thing I've found helpful is to use a shim to initially set the pickup spacing--this is only useful after an initial voicing is done.  I use a 1/32" thick aluminum strip that I hold accurately vertical while positioning it between the pickup and the end of a tine.  I adjust the pickup so that it is just touching the strip, and then tighten it down.  Some people may want a somewhat larger spacing than 1/32", which is about as small as you can go before the pickup magnet starts to pull the bass notes out of tune.  Personally, I wouldn't use a space greater than 1/16", but that's just my taste, and yours may be quite different.

Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 06:55:33 PM »
I agree with pnoboy about the eyes that can help you. I recently replaced 3 tines. The first took 2 minutes to voice, the second took about 10 seconds and the third took 3 days to get it almost there and I'm still not satisfied about that. I am about to replace all grommets and screws but not looking forward to the voicing that comes after it.

Difficult to say David. If 80% of the notes are fine to your ears after 1 hour of labour and it takes more than a week to make the other 20% right..... That won't probaly be good for your business.

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Offline goldphinga

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2016, 01:44:55 AM »
I usually voice a piano within an hour. And I check on several systems to ensure even tone. Through focal spirit pro headphones which are pretty flat high end mixing headphones, through a Janus preamp and headphones, through a yamaha dxr pa speaker and through a Gibson lab series amp. Once I have a good average between these systems I know the voicing is going to sound great across the board. Voice a piano on one system that's not super flat and that voicing don't translate in the studio and live. It's important to voice mainly on a flat response system that has no artificially cut or boosted areas.

Offline David Aubke

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 08:40:52 AM »
Thanks folks.

I do use visualizations. I run FMIT (If I spell out the name, the forum software thinks I'm trying to pull a scam and won't let me submit the post)(and hey, there's a Windows version now). This shows me the waveform, the pitch and it graphs the volume decay. It does other things as well but those are the three I concentrate on.

I've also been working slowly towards developing a standardized key striker so that I can be certain I'm comparing each note equally.
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=7890.msg40876#msg40876
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 08:51:46 AM by David Aubke »
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2016, 08:47:05 AM »
One other thing I've found helpful is to use a shim to initially set the pickup spacing--this is only useful after an initial voicing is done.  I use a 1/32" thick aluminum strip that I hold accurately vertical while positioning it between the pickup and the end of a tine.  I adjust the pickup so that it is just touching the strip, and then tighten it down.  Some people may want a somewhat larger spacing than 1/32", which is about as small as you can go before the pickup magnet starts to pull the bass notes out of tune.  Personally, I wouldn't use a space greater than 1/16", but that's just my taste, and yours may be quite different.

This is a good idea.
Dave Aubke
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: How long to voice a Rhodes
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 02:10:22 PM »
Great tips.  My only addition would be to give your ear a rest after the initial voicing.  If you come back to the piano even an hour later after you have everything set up, you'll find something that sticks out more than before.
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