Author Topic: Hammer height  (Read 405 times)

Offline synthetic

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    • Jeff Laity
Hammer height
« on: December 29, 2018, 08:57:55 PM »
I'm having the most difficult time setting my escapement. I got as far as shimming the harp up, but four popsicle sticks is still not enough to clear the top keys. The hammers towards the top strike the tine and hold it, so the tine won't ring. I took off the harp and this is the hammer height I'm seeing, photo below. The highest hammers are 3/8" higher than the bottom keys.

Is this normal? If not, how do I adjust it? I have replaced all of the pedestal felts, hammer tips, and leveled the keys already.



Thanks for your help, – Jeff
1978 Stage Eighty-Eight

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Hammer height
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2019, 07:21:03 AM »
No, not normal, but they are rarely ever perfect from the factory, then add all the years of who knows what was done to it. You need to check what is going on at the key pedestals. If you can't read the numbers on your keys, number them with a pencil on the wood from left to right and remove them all. There may even be debris lying on the "keybed" (inside on keys) under the keys that have higher hammers, but I don't think so since they look pretty level.

My guess is that they may have poorly done miracle mods, or other incorrect pedestal felts, or something that could cause the erratic hammer line.
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 synthetic

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Re: Hammer height
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 06:08:55 PM »
All of the pedestals are just short of 1 3/4". They have the late '70s wooden mod like the photo. And new felts on the pedestals. The bottom rail felt was not replaced but seems uniform. There was a lot of mildew when I got it, perhaps the top hammers soaked in moisture and expanded? But they are all 1 3/4" from top to bottom.


1978 Stage Eighty-Eight

Offline goldphinga

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Re: Hammer height
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 07:44:25 AM »
This is an issue with many rhodes and is often a head scratcher. It can be a combination of many things or one of these things from the list.

- not all keys cut the same from factory
- key warping
- worn back rail felt
- worn pedestal felts
- badly placed miracle mod bumps or badly made original bumps from factory
- hammer combs not screwed down fully
- uneven bridal strap/damper tension
- debris under keys or on back rail felt
- keys not seated properly
- keyframe warped or not screwed down properly
- action rail warped or not screwed down properly

Check all of these and report back!

Offline synthetic

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Re: Hammer height
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 05:46:41 PM »
The back rail felt is worn. But I assumed replacing that would make the problem worse, not better.

Hammers are screwed down. Bridle straps not really a factor when the keys are down, that seems like a clue. Not sure how to test the action rail, or what I would do about it.
1978 Stage Eighty-Eight