Author Topic: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips  (Read 2049 times)

Offline mac_dusty

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No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« on: February 02, 2017, 03:43:44 AM »
Hello everybody!

My 73 1975 Mk1 Rhodes (wooden hybrid) doesnt sustain properly in the top octave even with tonebar clips. The clips helped a few notes but some (dreadfully in my favorite keys!!  :'( ) are still not sustaining fully, does anyone have any tips?

I completely refurbished this rhodes and replaced the following things: grommets, hammer tips, miracle mod, damper felts, etc.
I did however notice a few keys had double tonebar springs on them which i assumed were factory misshaps but maybe i should dig those out and put them back in to see if theres a difference?

Does anyone have any suggestion?

(The answer to this is probably out there but google cant help me really)

Thanks for your time.

Offline e-soul91

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 04:05:54 AM »
How is your tine? Maybe it has gone bad due to metal fatigue, and can't ring nicely.
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Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 06:14:41 AM »
Double springs are not mistakes, but are usually more common in areas where the tines are longer, such as low bass. If they sounded fine before, then yes, put them back in. If you can, temporarily swap a good sounding tine with a bad one next to it, to rule out any hammer issues, such as hammer tip. It could also be harp alignment, but this is tricky if in the high treble. Not much wiggle room.

Also, make sure dampers are pulling away on those notes (if dampers are present)
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Offline Tim Hodges

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 07:04:59 AM »
Another one to check is the grommet fit on the screws.

For example the Vintage Vibe grommets I'm fitting at the moment have varying degrees of fit. Some slide up and down the screw whilst others are a tighter fit. This isn't a problem for the bass and mid keys but in the treble section it does prevent the tine from ringing out. Usually I replace the grommet with one that has a looser fit and that fixes the problem. First time I discovered it I was driving myself mad by replacing the tine, checking the strike line, the fit between the tine and the tonebar, changing the springs and also using tone bar clips but in the end this did it for me.

Now whenever I replace grommets I try and find the looser fit ones and save them for the treble area.
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2017, 11:45:02 AM »
I also found out that on the very highest notes, the tines should be cut so that the tuning spring is close to the end of the tine--I adjusted the tine length of a few of my highest notes so the springs were close to the end, and sustain increased noticeably.  I also want to try the trick of using looser grommets--sounds interesting.

Offline mac_dusty

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2017, 01:39:03 AM »
Wow so many good replies! I tink the tines are good, atleast i think so, I replaced one in the low mids so i think i should be able to recognize how a broken one sounds but maybe it sounds just like its regular note but with no sustain in the top octave?
I guess ill take that tonebar out, check the grommets and then double spring it afterwards, if that doesnt help ill check if i have some looser fitting grommets.

Regarding the question how it sounded before - it was awful, a old church had neglected it for years and then set it in a storage to mold so really unplayable basically. But its been sounding nice for the last 1,5yrs ive had it except those 3-4 notes in the top octave (which i luckily rarely reach for).

Ill post a clip of how it sounds later aswell, gotta run off to work

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2017, 04:13:52 PM »
Great replies above.  The top register is always difficult to get sustain out of.  They even tried using these parts called rubber standoffs near the end of Rhodes production, and those even have their shortcomings now. 

After the above tries... also play around with unscrewing the tone bar screws a little higher or lower than expected.  This changes the tension the springs offer, and it sometimes does have a positive effect. 

Make sure you also play with the location of the tone bar clips - test in multiple locations up the tone bar, playing and testing as you go.  Little changes in the position can suddenly bring in sustain.
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2017, 07:48:14 AM »
I did some experiments last night.  My top notes don't sustain badly, but I picked the worst one, #72 (in a 73 stage piano).  I tried looser grommets--none of mine are really loose, but I picked through and got ones that were not tight.  I then lubed the shanks of the screws and the OD of the grommets with McLube Sailkote, which is the best dry lube (by far) that I've ever used.  At his point, the screws and grommets slid easily.  The sustain didn't change much--maybe it got a bit better.

However, I hit pay dirt by adding mass to the tonebar.  I used neodymium magnets, and by sliding them in and out, I could find the place where the sustain was best.  Incidentally I had suggested using neo magnets on another thread, but the idea was not well received.  This note now has better sustain than its neighbors.  I found another note whose sustain was a bit below part, and by sliding a magnet on the tonebar I was able to tell that this tonebar was cut too long, because moving the magnet out toward the end of the bar made the sustain worse.  I have marked the position of the magnets I put on with a sharpie, and will monitor them to see if they move with playing and time, but I suspect they won't.

BTW, the magnets are easier to use than the clips, are cheaper, and are available in a wide variety of sizes. www.kjmagnetics.com/‎  If the magnets I put on the tonebar move over time or otherwise prove to be a poor solution, I'll report back to this thread.

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2017, 08:00:36 AM »
That sounds like a great idea! Nice going!
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 goldphinga

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 11:34:25 AM »
sounds great! do you have any pics?

Offline Peter Hayes

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2017, 01:48:01 PM »
Interesting. You could find the "sweet spot" for the magnets, and, if they wander, hit them with a drop of glue to assist in keeping them where they need to be.
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2017, 06:15:57 PM »
Interesting. You could find the "sweet spot" for the magnets, and, if they wander, hit them with a drop of glue to assist in keeping them where they need to be.

Yes, I'm sure I could.  I'm interested in just securing them with their magnetic force and checking periodically to see if they move.  Incidentally, the megnets I had around were certainly not the strongest one could get, so if these stay put, I'd say using Neo magnets is a valid method of tuning the tone bar.

Offline e-soul91

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 02:28:00 PM »
So, the magnetic field of magnet on tonebars doesn't interfere with the pickups?
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Offline pnoboy

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2017, 07:16:06 AM »
So, the magnetic field of magnet on tonebars doesn't interfere with the pickups?

No, not at all.  The magnetic field would be mostly contained within the tone bar, near the magnet.  If you wanted to be super careful about the magnetic field, you could use 2 magnets side-by-side, one with north pole up, and the other with north pole down.  With that configuration the field would be held tightly between the 2 magnets.

Offline Oliver Sheen

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Re: No/short sustain in top octave even with tonebar clips
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 06:16:53 PM »
Is there a recommendation of what size magnet/pulling weight to use?