Tag Archive for #CEPCo

MIDI Rhodes: Custom Glam-Sparkletop

Here’s a custom Rhodes that we’re not going to forget! Inspired by their “Grape Sparkle” Gretsch Penguin guitar, we were tasked with matching the sparkle on their Rhodes–and we were even more thrilled when it was paired with the ivory sparkle tolex. This thing is 1,011% Glam and we’re in love with it!

IMG_2893

Grape Sparkle with Gretsch

 

Along with the complete restoration service of the instrument and amplifier we also upgraded the Rhodes with an optical MIDI system! –This thing is a total spaceship!

The MIDI system that we use is an all-optical sensor system developed by QRS Music Technologies. The system was originally designed for installation inside an acoustic piano, and with a little extra modification to the Rhodes’ key bed it is an amazing upgrade for your instrument. With the MIDI output you can control any variety of synthesizers, or MIDI triggered devices running a 100% independent signal from the Rhodes’ output. This allows the two systems to be used independently, or–better yet–blended together to create all new sounds of your own!

It’s an incredible upgrade for your Rhodes that is sure to inspire a whole new world of creativity from the instrument! Here’s our Reverb.com video featuring the system on another recent MIDI Rhodes restoration:

 

And do we need to say that this MIDI system works on Wurlitzers too?!

The QRS PNOScan can also be installed on Wurlitzer Electric Pianos–and we love the feel of Wurlitzer action assemblies with the MIDI output! Just like with the Rhodes Suitcase we customize the power supply so that the system fires up as soon as the instrument is switched on.

Anyways…

What were we talking about? ? ?

…Oh, yeah–The GLAM SPARKLETOP! I don’t think I need to say much more… Have a look:

IMG_2881

IMG_2886

IMG_2889

IMG_2898

IMG_2896

IMG_2924

IMG_2920

IMG_2926

Custom Rhodes: “Lunar Dark Star”

Things are beginning to settle from our move over to the Treehouse Records building on Cicero Avenue. Here’s a look at one of our most recent customizations heading out to the west coast:

Here’s a glimpse of one of the latest custom Rhodes from our workshop. Some of you may recall our custom “Lunar Rhodes” from a few years ago, mimicking the stylings of the Moog Lunar series aesthetics. We’re calling this one the “Lunar Dark Star:”

IMG_2943

This 1973 Fender Rhodes Suitcase was finished with Ivory tolex, same as the Lunar Rhodes but inverted with black stained Walnut Cheek Blocks and a custom black sparkletop. In order to get the best lighting possible for the metal flakes in the lid we had to get this beauty into the sunshine out behind the workshop!

IMG_2948

IMG_2983

IMG_2933

IMG_2936

IMG_2940

IMG_2945

IMG_2946

IMG_2986

IMG_2969

IMG_2971

Stay tuned! –More Custom Rhodes posts coming soon!

Rhodes Mark I Suitcase 88 Restoration Feature

While moving between buildings, we started reposing some of our favorite blog posts during our time at our previous space labeled as *RE-Run* in the title. Through the process, we also came across a collection of photos of a restoration back in Dec 2016 that never made the webpage. I hate to admit it, but we do so many of these “classic” restorations each year that we just haven’t posted enough about them… Here’s a look at a complete “Classic/Rebirth” level of service for a Rhodes Suitcase 88:

IMG_4682

IMG_4670

IMG_4673

IMG_4674

IMG_4678

IMG_4676

IMG_4680

IMG_4679

IMG_4687

IMG_4684

IMG_4692IMG_4689

IMG_4690

IMG_4688

Custom Shop: Baby Blue Wurlitzer 206A *RE-Run*

Here’s the latest custom Wurlitzer from our workshop: The Baby Blue Wurli 206A!

IMG_1433

RE-Run Alert! We’re in the process of moving 50+ instruments and all of our tech/finishing equipment between buildings. It’s a fustrating process. Rather than boring you with pictures from our move we thought you would enjoy a blog post from the “vault.” Here it is:

Here’s the latest Custom Shop Wurlitzer restoration from our workshop. This Wurlitzer was restored from a very mint Classroom 206A set and finished in baby blue with white accents.

One of the subtle details for this restoration was using a 203W speaker baffle that allowed us to remove the 206A’s shelf. The 203W’s speaker baffle also gave a nice accent across the bottom of the speaker base. The aluminum pedal and feet were also polished and buffed to give this beauty as much shine as possible.

As you have come to expect from our restorations this beauty sounds and plays as good as it looks! We completely leveled the key bed, replaced all springs and action felts, regulated the action and key travel, and dialed in the amplifier to bring out the best of the classic Wurlitzer tone that we all know and love!

If you are interested in a piece like this we have more Wurlitzer 206A’s that are in need of a good home or studio. These models are usually picked up in near-mint condition since they spend most of their life in a University or school. Many of them come out of storage spaces where they have sat untouched for decades. They may be more cumbersome than a 200A for gigging, but in the studio or for home use the speaker base a 206A blows the internal speakers of a 200A out of the water!

–Please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com or (312)476-9528 for inventory availability and customization options.

IMG_1456

IMG_1461

IMG_1483

IMG_1476

IMG_1504

IMG_1470

IMG_1520

IMG_1527

IMG_1524

IMG_1508

IMG_1490

IMG_1506

IMG_1542

 

…Don’t to check out our Custom “Blue Sky” Sparkle Rhodes that is currently for sale! They made a hell of a pair at the workshop–along with a custom baby blue Fender Jazz Bass by our friends at Chicago Fret Works!

IMG_1563

IMG_1568

IMG_1589

IMG_1580

Live from CEPCo: Rooms “Same to You” *RE-Run*

Re-Run Alert! While we are in the middle of moving between buildings we thought we would dig back to some of our favorite posts from our former location. This one comes from one of our earliest videos, and one of our favorite nights ever at the former warehouse… Here is a captivating performance of a Trio Performance by Dan Pierson & Rooms at The Chicago Electric Piano Co. more than three years ago in the late winter thaw of 2014. Audio Engineering is by Mike Novak, of the Chicago Electric Piano Co, and video editing by Lenny Gilmore, formerly of the Chicago Tribune. Enjoy:

Dan Pierson and his trio, Rooms, stops by The Chicago Electric Piano Company with his recently overhauled tube Wurlitzer 145. Here’s just one take of their intimate live set:

Rooms -Dan Pierson – Wurlitzer -Charlie Kirchen – Bass -Matt Carroll – Drums

A Rhodes Reborn! *RE-Run*

Here’s the latest beauty from our workshop: 1975 Rhodes Mark I Suitcase 73.

IMG_3800

Re-Run Alert–We usually don’t do this, but this episode of “CEPCo” will feature a re-run from 2016. These services are some of what we do every day, but fail to feature as often as our custom Rhodes restorations because they sometimes seem less interesting than something that would be considered a one-of-a-kind… This is a great look at our rebirth restoration services and I only wish we had the before/after photos to really showcase our work on this instrument… We are in the middle of a move between buildings and it has been hard to keep up with posting to our blog while we move 50+ EP’s to our new location on Cicero. We hope to welcome you by there soon! Until things get back to normal, here is a wonderful restoration of a 1975 Rhodes Mark I Suitcase. (We are removing the former posts so that there isn’t a double entry). Enjoy:

This beauty could have been yours but someone fell in love with it before we even had a chance to apply its new tolex! It’s not too surprising since this Rhodes is from one of our favorite eras of Rhodes production. This Rhodes originally came from a school and besides the tolex being torn up it was in incredible condition internally when it came in. (And the good news is we have a few more Rhodes from this classroom set if you are interested…)

As you have come to expect from our fully restored pianos we started with a complete leveling of the key bed and action setup. From there, all aging rubber and felt components were replaced or treated in order to make sure that this piano plays and sounds just like new. We source only the top quality parts for our restorations from a variety of parts suppliers as well as our collection of vintage parts. In the end, our pianos get a detailed restoration process that leaves them playing and sounding better than when they left the Rhodes factory–and ready for another 40 musical years. 

If you are interested in a completely restored Fender Rhodes piano please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com. We have a large inventory of pianos that are in the restoration process and would love to help you find just the sound that you are looking for!

 

IMG_3777

IMG_3781

IMG_3783

IMG_3782

IMG_3778

IMG_3788

IMG_3793

IMG_3790

IMG_3801

IMG_3785

IMG_3809

IMG_3806

IMG_3791

Custom Shop: “Champagne Cowboy” Rhodes

Here is a glimpse of the latest Custom Shop Rhodes from The Chicago Electric Piano Company: Did we finally go over the top with this one?

IMG_4878

This one will certainly turn some heads! We dubbed this finish with the nickname “Champagne Cowboy” because of it’s champagne sparkle top and brown western tolex. On top of that we outfitted the piano with walnut cheek blocks.

This Fender Rhodes is from 1973, right in the heart of the early Fender Rhodes production period. We restored the piano with our “Rebirth” level of restoration services, virtually rebuilding the piano from scratch. Throughout the process we leveled the key bed and set the proper black key height, replaced all action felts and aging rubber components such as the grommets and hammer tips. Our goal was to keep the sound of the Rhodes as true to the sound of the 1973 production period by using only period-correct vintage parts and top quality reproduction parts that bring out the early Rhodes’ signature sound.

IMG_4892

IMG_4904

IMG_4876

IMG_4881

IMG_4885_2

IMG_4888

IMG_4890

IMG_4895

IMG_4893

IMG_4896_2

IMG_4898

IMG_4901

IMG_4905

IMG_4880

IMG_4909

IMG_4908

IMG_4912_2

FOR SALE: Red Wurlitzer 200 Eletric Piano

Just in time for Thanksgiving! Here’s the latest from our custom shop:

img_4613

We restored this stunning vintage instrument with with our “Rebirth” level of restoration services including a number of custom shop upgrades. The red finish is a custom paint job which is a perfect match to the original Red Wurlitzer 200’s. It and the base were re-painted to capture the original look of on of the coolest Wurlitzer finishes ever produced. In addition, we re-capped the white and black keys with new tops adding to the new mint finish. Along with the new set of chrome legs this thing looks like brand new–and it plays like it is too!

Internally, the instrument was restored with our full detailed restoration services. The key bed was completely leveled with all the sharps set to the proper height. And all action assembly springs and felts were replaced before regulation in order to get this thing playing at full dynamic potential.

The original alnico speakers are in great condition giving classic warmth to the instrument’s internal voice. The amplifier was upgraded with the Warneck Research EP200 amplifier and variable vibrato, which have excellent tone and an amazing noise floor for recording and professional performance. –As you’ve come to expect from our custom restorations, this piano sounds and plays as good as it looks! 

Sound samples coming soon and are available on request. Feel free to message us with any questions.

img_4612

img_4615

img_4616

img_4623

img_4620

img_4622

img_4624

img_4625

img_4626

img_4627

img_4613

 

Custom Shop: The Black and Brown Suitcase

There goes another stunning custom Rhodes!

Have a look at the “Black and Brown” Rhodes Suitcase:

img_4174

img_4167

img_4164

img_4165

img_4170

img_4171

img_4172

img_4173

img_4176

img_4179

img_4177

img_4183

img_4184

img_4169

img_4181

FOR SALE: Mark II Suitcase 88

Up for sale! We just completed a detailed restoration of this beautiful 1980 Mark II Suitcase 88 and now it’s time to find it a new home!

IMG_1604

[Update: This piano has sold. If you are interested in a similar piano we can restore one for you! Please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for more information]

We just wrapped up a complete restoration on this 1980 Mark II Suitcase 88. It’s in incredibly clean condition and even has the music stand! (The music stand is where all the classic MKII tone comes from)… This Rhodes is missing the top case so let’s find it a good studio to call home!

As you have come to expect from our restorations this Rhodes sounds and plays even better than it looks! We replaced all aging action felts and regulated the action with a detailed key bed leveling. All aging tone bar grommets were replaced with Retro Linear grommets and hammer tips with Vintage Vibe’s tapered tips that bring out the most of the classic Mark II tone. The amplifier was re-capped, biased, and all pots were opened for cleaning. This beauty is an excellent example of a Mark II piano sounding at its best!

Please enjoy the sound sample as you enjoy the pictures below:

 

IMG_1605

IMG_1608

IMG_1611

IMG_1622

IMG_1626

IMG_1627

IMG_1636

IMG_1638

IMG_1639

IMG_1642

IMG_1599

$3,499 — Please contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information. Worldwide shipping is available.

FOR SALE: Rhodes Piano Bass

UP FOR SALE! It doesn’t get much cooler than a Rhodes Piano Bass!IMG_1658

We just completed a complete restoration of this gorgeous 1979 Rhodes Piano Bass. The bass was in impeccably clean condition internally and we re-finished the tolex for the mint cosmetic finish that it deserves. The key bed was leveled and the action was dialed in with new action felts and setup for ideal dynamics. All grommets were replaced with Retro Linear parts and cubed hammer tips were added to give it that Fender Rhodes era attack that we just can’t get enough of!

This may be the cleanest one we have ever had for sale! Enjoy these sound samples while you have a look at this beauty:

Chameleon Demo:

Stratus Demo:

Doors-Wonder Melody:

 

 

IMG_1708

IMG_1654

IMG_1666

IMG_1673

IMG_1668

IMG_1674

IMG_1664

IMG_1679

IMG_1704

IMG_1651

This Rhodes Paino Bass can be yours for $2,999. Worldwide shipping is available. For ordering information please contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com

 

FOR SALE: Custom “Sea Foam” Rhodes Stage 73

Here’s another beautiful Custom Rhodes from our Custom Shop! Surfs Up!

IMG_3056

Another Custom Shop Rhodes restoration up for sale! This 1975 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73 was restored with custom Sea Foam Green tolex, cream lid and sustain pedal, and our signature wooden cheek blocks in natural oak. The Rhodes is from early 1975, which is one of our favorite periods of production, and has wonderfully warm bass, smooth mids, and sparkly treble. This period is great for that quintessential Rhodes bark that we all know and love!

As you have come to expect with our custom restorations, this Rhodes sounds even better than it looks! Action and voice have been overhauled featuring new tonebar grommets, pedestal bump action setup, and a complete key bed leveling and regulation. The hammer tips are original vintage cubed tips, and have been replaced or rotated as needed to ensure even tone across the keyboard. The tone bars and harp frame were re-plated in Zinc Chromate for a shiny mint finish under the hood. The piano has “Fender” era wooden harp supports and plastic-wood hybrid hammers.

Another fun note on this piano is that it comes from the crossover period when Fender dropped it’s name from the Rhodes brand. The harp has “Fender Rhodes” logos but all exterior logos are “Rhodes” logos. All the parts were still the same as the “Fender Rhodes” production period for the next several years but the crossover logos are only found for a small window of production in late ’74 through early ’75.

Have a look and a listen to this one-of-a-kind:

IMG_3057

IMG_3039 - Copy

IMG_3032

IMG_3033

IMG_3615

IMG_3612

IMG_3035

IMG_3043 - Copy

IMG_3031

IMG_3054

IMG_3042 - Copy

IMG_3046

IMG_3048

IMG_3029

 

This custom Rhodes can be yours for $4,499. Worldwide shipping is available. Contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information.

FOR SALE: Custom “Blue Sky Sparkle” Rhodes Suitcase 73

Here’s the latest Custom Shop Rhodes from our workshop. This one was upgraded to eleven!

IMG_2979

[Update: This piano has sold. If you are interested in a similar piano we can restore one for you! Please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for more information]

For sale by The Chicago Electric Piano Company is this completely restored and customized Rhodes. It features Carolina Blue tolex, Cane Grill Clothe, a custom fiberglass Sparkle Blue top by Vintage Vibe, our signature handmade wooden cheek blocks, and four new Eminence speakers.

As you’ve come to expect with any CEPCo restoration, this piano has been rebuilt internally to make it sound even better than it looks. New tonebar grommets, fresh graduated hammer tips, dynamic action setup, and a complete keybed level ensure that this Rhodes will keep its mojo for years to come.

All aging electronic components have been replaced and properly biased. This Rhodes also features four new Eminence Legend speakers modeled after the Jensen C12N Speakers used in the original 60’s Rhodes’ Suitcase Cabinet. The new speakers are higher efficiency resulting in a louder and deeper cabinet response. The stereo tremolo is gorgeous! –-Have a listen for yourself:

Demo:

Additional Vibrato Demo:

IMG_2986

IMG_2989

IMG_2984

IMG_2981

IMG_2983

IMG_2991

IMG_2978

 

This Rhodes can be yours for $5,299. Worldwide shipping is available. Please contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information.

FOR SALE: Custom White Wurlitzer 214A

Here’s the latest from our Custom Shop: The White Wurlitzer 214A–upgraded to eleven!

img_20161011_124121

Here’s the latest stunning White Wurlitzer with our complete Custom Shop and “Rebirth” restoration services. This Custom White Wurlitzer is based off of the cosmetic design that was chosen by Jeff Tweedy for his custom 206A at the Wilco Loft. The design received such a great response that we decided to repeat it with this 214A along with a few other cosmetic and electronic upgrades.

Video of the piano via Reverb.com:

As you’ve come to expect from our custom restorations, this piano sounds and plays even better than it looks! The key bed was completely leveled with all the sharps set to the proper height. And all action assembly springs and felts were replaced before regulation in order to get this thing playing at full dynamic potential!

We also upgraded the electronics in this piano with a Retro Linear EP200A amplifier and its deep variable vibrato. These amplifiers really bring out the best of the Wurlitzer’s tone with a lower noise floor and much more clarity in the lows and mids. The lows sound tremendous through the 214A speaker base! –And you are going to love the deep range of the tremolo along with speed control on the third knob! (Sound samples coming soon)

New key tops always look stunning on a cosmetic restoration and especially when you’re working with white. In order to make the white really pop on this custom restoration we replaced all of the white key tops and sharps. You can see a preview of the before-and-after here:

2013-01-26 11.33.08

 

Sound samples coming soon! Until then have a closer look at this stunning restoration:

img_4192

img_4195

img_4196

img_4200

img_4201

img_4202

img_4203

img_4207

img_4205

img_4204

img_4209

img_4211

img_4210

img_4191

$4,999 plus shipping. Worldwide shipping is available. Please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information.

Custom Shop: White Wurltizer 200A*

I’m Dreaming of a White (Wurli) Christmas…

2015-12-14 17.56.36

Here’s the latest custom Wurlitzer from our custom shop: The White Wurlitzer 200A.

This Wurlitzer 200A was a conversion from a Classroom Wurlitzer 206A piano set that we acquired earlier this year. The classroom pianos make great candidates for customization because they are usually in excellent condition internally due to lighter use (although that may not always be the case). We added the classic 200A vibrato circuitry and a reproduction 200A face plate to finish it all off. Have a look here:

2015-12-14 17.57.17

2015-12-14 18.01.52

2015-12-14 18.03.26

2015-12-14 18.06.07

2015-12-14 18.02.29

2015-12-14 18.01.32

2015-12-14 18.05.03

2015-12-14 18.07.06

2015-12-14 17.59.49

 

2015-12-14 17.56.49

 

 

For Sale: Wurlitzer 206A Restored to Order

ROTATED 206A Photo

Here comes another set of Wurlitzer student models through our workshop for restoration! We recently acquired a full classroom set of Wurlitzer 206A pianos from a local music school that no longer had room for the electro-mechanical instruments. If you are not familiar with the model 206A it is an identical instrument to the 200A with a larger speaker bass. They are ideal models for recording studios or they can be easily converted to 200A specifications with reproduction legs and sustain pedals.

For a complete list of our inventory of pianos currently being restored click here.

IMG_1606

2014-12-02 15.01.25

2014-12-02 15.01.17

IMG_1605

We understand that the tan or beige finish doesn’t immediately seem very rock and roll but in fact these pianos look great under colorful stage lighting. They are also ideal candidates for custom cosmetics and we have used 206A for the custom White Wilco Loft Wurlitzer and Kesha’s Psychedlic Wurlitzer.

WILCO-White-Wurli-206

2014-06-17 10.48.18

Base Price: $2,799

Base Price Includes:

  • Complete Key Bed Leveling Including Setting Black Key Height
  • Regulation of Key Travel Distance
  • Replaced Fly Springs and Fly Felts in Action Assembly
  • Complete Regulation of the Action Assembly
  • Re-cap of the Amplifier Electrolytic Capacitors
  • 200A style vibrato is installed (unless otherwise requested)
  • Low Noise Preamp Transistors and Output Amp Transistors
  • Complete Tuning and Voicing Setup

Common Upgrades: (Contact for Quote)

  • Warneck Research EP200A Amplifier
  • Speaker Upgrades (Alnico is common upgrade for warmth in mids and bass)
  • Custom Cosmetics (painted lid/tolex & grill cloth)
  • Conversion to 200A “Chop”

If you check back in frequently with our blog then you may find these pianos familiar from a previous posting following our first round of service with the pianos. We kept these pianos in great tuning and regulation for the past several years so we can say with confidence that they are ideal candidates for restoration. You can see their debut post here.

For Sale: 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88

For Sale: 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88

Fully Restored and Ships Worldwide!

croppedMain

Here’s a quick showcase of one of our favorite stage models right now. This is a fully restored 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88 including new tolex giving it a mint condition look. The piano is from early 1973 which is right in the heart of the classic Fender Rhodes or early Mark I tone that everyone knows and loves. Along with the deep thumping bass of the full 88 key set This piano has the quintessential Rhodes bark that the Mark I is known for! (Sound samples below).

For a complete list of our inventory of pianos currently being restored click here.

This Fender Rhodes piano was restored using Retro Linear Grommets and Cubed hammer tips which we have found to by the best quality and the most true to the original sound of the Fender Rhodes production era. The action and key bed are fully setup and play wonderfully. The tolex was replaced and looks like new while keeping the original hardware and logos for that element of “elegant decay.” (New hardware or logos are available at the same price if you prefer)

Have a listen as you enjoy the pictures below:

IMG_1593

IMG_1591

 

IMG_1587

IMG_1586

 

IMG_1581

IMG_1583

IMG_1590

IMG_1585

 

This piano can be yours for $3,599 and ships worldwide. Please contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information.

***Free delivery to Minnesota or Wisconsin with in person setup for the Thanksgiving weekend***

Wurlitzer 110 Manual and Schematic

–Gotta love that 1950’s space-age Wurlitzer atomic logo!

Here is a rare look at the original Wurlitzer manual for the near-prototype 110! Until now we were only aware of the 112 service manual and assumed that the 110 probably didn’t have a manual since it was only produced for such a limited lifespan. We’re happy to have it in our collection of original artifacts and we would like to share a copy of the .pdf with anyone else who will benefit from having it. A copy of the 110 schematic is also available as a .jpeg.

Click the cover image below to open a .pdf copy of the manual.

Wurlitzer 110_Service manual Cover

Click image to open the .pdf of the manual.

Wurlitzer Model 110 Amplifier Schematic

Hohner Clavinet D6: “Rebirth” Restoration

An Overview of The Chicago Electric Piano Company’s Clavinet Restoration Service

Hohner Clavinet D6 Logo and Latch

Clavinet CEPCo Brick Logo & Case

Wow! Cosmetically this is THE most mint Clavinet that has ever passed through the workshop! This Hohner Clavinet D6 must have spent most of its life packed up in a safe place. And now after receiving our “Rebirth” services this thing is playing and sounding better than ever! –Scroll down to have a glimpse of the pictures below!

Hohner Clavinet D6 with Legs Full View

Hohner Clavinet Back Full View

This Clavinet was restored with what would fall under our “Rebirth” Clavinet Services with all new hammer tips, strings, electronic servicing, and a complete detailed setup. Through the restoration process each key was removed individually for cleaning and a thorough setup for the proper key travel and an articulate percussive attack. We used our favorite hammer tips and strings from Ken Rich Sound Services, which have proven to be hands-down the top quality of all the Clavinet parts available. This D6 now delivers all the percussive attack and tone you want from a Clavinet.

Clavinet Strings and Yarn

Clavinet Strings and Yarn by The Chicago Electric Piano Company

Clavinet Damper Arm

Clavinet Hammer Tips by Ken Rich Sound Services

Clavinet Strings and Pickups

The D6’s amplifier is notoriously noisy and we service all our amps to reduce this noise without interfering with the classic tone that we all know and love about the D6. Then an enclosure of copper shielding is formed around the amplifier that helps reduce any interference noise picked up by the amplifier. From our experience many of the hiss reduction techniques suggested on youtube videos, forums, and sold as “Hiss Reduction Kits” suggest implementing techniques that negatively affect the tone of the amplifier. That is because these techniques use low pass filtering techniques that overly impacts the tone of the amp. These filtering techniques are not necessary with the right knowledge of how the D6 amplifier is supposed to be setup.

Clavinet D6 Copper Amplifier Shielding

Clavinet D6 Amplifier Shielding and Low Noise Hiss Reduction

These days there aren’t too many Clavinets that still have their original legs and latches. And the wood and tolex were also in immaculate shape. It was a pleasure to come across this instrument and it sold on our waiting list before we even had a chance to list it for sale.

If are looking for a fully restored Clavinet please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com and we will help you track down a Clavinet to meet your budget. All instruments are appraised based on the model, cosmetic condition, and their overall condition.

Clavinet Case and Legs

Clavinet D6 Back Logo and Wood Top

Clavinet D6 Top View

Clavinet D6 Control Panel

Clavinet d6 Faceplate Logo

Hohner Clavinet Control Panel

Clavinet D6 Faceplate Closeup

Clavinet Damper Arm Adjustment

Clavinet Damper Arm

Hohner Clavinet D6 Pickup and Damper

Clavinet d6 Keys Closeup

 

Hohner Clavinet D6 at Chicago Electric Piano

Hohner Clavinet D6 Back View Lid Open

Hohner Clavinet Logo Closeup

If are looking for a fully restored Clavinet please contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com and we will help you track down a Clavinet to meet your budgetAll instruments are appraised based on the model, cosmetic condition, and their overall condition.

 

Custom Shop: Custom Silver “Low A” Piano Bass

Here is the latest from our custom shop: The Custom Silver “Low A” Fender Rhodes Piano Bass.

CEPCO Custom Silver Rhodes Piano Bass

This key set was modified to play down to low A like the 88 key Rhodes key set rather than the low E from the 73 key set that usually punctuates the deepest end of the Piano Bass. The Piano Bass was refinished cosmetically with silver tolex and fully setup from top to bottom by hand. And with the low A this Piano Bass rumbles!

 

Custom 88 Key Piano Bass Low A Rhodes

88 Piano Bass Tone Bars Fender Rhodes

 

 

The installation of the deeper key set was intensive and required modifying parts from a vintage 88 key Rhodes. The key bed was cut down and routed to fit with the former key bed with a mortise and tenon joint just as the Rhodes key beds were originally manufactured. (See Below)

Mortise and Tenon Key Bed

And the list of modifications doesn’t end there… Once the key bed was installed in alignment with the hammers the strike line and escapement height of the harp was set. This is done by setting the alignment of the harp and harp supports and also shimming the height for final find tuning. The pickups also needed to be re-soldered for the piano bass ~5.7ohm impedance level. In the end, the entire Piano Bass was practically re-built by hand from top to bottom!

Custom Silver Rhodes Piano Bass

Custom Fender Rhodes Bass Piano

Piano Bass Closeup

Custom Rhodes Piano Bass

Low A Piano Bass Custom Fender Rhodes

 

 

Stunning, right? When this Rhodes came into our shop the original tolex was in complete tatters! Since the piano is going to be hitting the road we decided to install protective corner hardware that was originally absent from the Piano Bass case design. We also installed a “Fender Rhodes” script logo for just an extra flair.

Piano Bass Ripped Tolex Before

Rhodes Piano Bass Top Case Silver

 

 

Does anyone else get the impression that this Rhodes is trying to stay hip to the silver hair dues that are currently in vogue?

 

Rhodes Bass Case Top

Fender Rhodes Piano Bass Tolex

Fender Rhodes Piano Bass Logo

CEPCO Custom Silver Rhodes Piano Bass

Custom Shop: The Tweed Copper Top Rhodes

Chicago Electric Piano Company Custom Tweed Rhodes

Here’s the latest from our custom shop: The “Tweed Copper Top” Rhodes. This was a late 1971 Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano that we refinished in tweed with a few other cosmetic customizations. The replacement copper fiberglass lid was contracted through Vintage Vibe in New Jersey with similar construction to the Sparkletop Fender Rhodes of the 1960’s. Once again we finished off the restoration with a pair of satin cheek blocks using oak and giving it a deep honey stain.

The Piano itself is full restored with new rubber tone bar grommets and hammer tips developed by Retro Linear that restored the harp and hammers while maintaining the early 1970’s sound characteristics. The key bed was fully leveled and regulated and plays wonderfully.

This Rhodes has the classic “Return to Forever” sparkle in the treble and deep warm bass characteristic of pianos from the early 1970’s. Have a listen here:

This Rhodes is currently for sale and if you are interested please contact Max Brink at max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for ordering information.

Here are some closer looks at the instrument:

Custom Fender Rhodes Case Top by CEPCo

Fender Rhodes Tweed Top Case

Custom Fender Rhodes Front

Custom Fender Rhodes by Chicago Electric Piano Company

Fender Rhodes Knobs 1971 Tweed Sparkle

Rhodes Seventy Three Script Logo on Tweed Sparkle Top

Vintage Vibe Fiberglass Sparkle

 

Oak Wood Cheek Blocks with Knobs on Fender Rhodes

Honey Oak Cheek Blocks

Fender Rhodes 1971 Tone Bars

Fender Rhodes Tweed Sparkle Top

Chicago Electric Piano Company Custom Tweed Rhodes

Custom Shop: 1971 Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73

Here is the latest Custom Restore Fender Rhodes from the workshop:

Ira Rhodes With Logo

The most recent Fender Rhodes piano to leave out custom shop is this fully restored 1971 Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73. The piano was restored to the original black tolex with silver grill cloth and upgraded to custom walnut cheek blocks capping off the ends of the keys. The tone bars were also re-plated with a thin layer of the original zinc chromate finish which gives this period of Fender Rhodes iridescent zinc finish. Have a look:

IMG_1273

IMG_1286

IMG_1275

IMG_1274

IMG_1279

IMG_1284

IMG_1282

IMG_1280

IMG_1281

IMG_1283

Another upgrade for this Rhodes is that it features a set of four vintage 12″ Utah speakers. (You may have already noticed the metal dust covers). The speakers belonged to the owner of the Rhodes and were re-coned by our friend Mick at J&J Speaker Repair. The metal dust covers that add a hidden flare to the suitcase–and they sound incredible! 

IMG_1272

utah speaker 2

utah speaker

…And as always we promise that it sounds even better than it looks!

IMG_1287

Understanding the Clavinet Tone Controls

The Clavinet Tone Control and Pickup Settingsclavinet D position

How do the Clavinet Controls Work?

Players are often confused about the controls of the Clavinet, and rely on ‘guess and check’ methods to find a tone they like. Although the names on the switches can be helpful, most instrument owners have little understanding of what the controls are changing within the amplifier circuitry. Below we will describe the functions of the every switch in detail, and give a few hints to remember different settings.

The toggle switches of the Clavinet are separated into two categories: four tone controls on the left and two pickup switches on the right. The pickup switches control different configurations of the pickup wiring before amplification and the tone controls toggle EQ filters within the preamplifier of the instrument.

The Clavinet Tone Controls

The four tone controls of the Clavinet offer a series of high or low pass filters that sculpt the EQ response within the preamplifier. The Brilliant (Scharf) and Treble (Hoch) switch between high pass filters that create the clav’s characteristic twangy and punchy tone. The Medium (Mittel) and Soft (Tief) switches activate circuitry that acts as a low pass filter resulting in mellower, darker tones. Experimenting with different tonal combinations will compound the EQ filtering, giving the player many tonal options.

2015-05-14 18.47.02

Without any tone controls selected the Clavinet should not produce any sound! The tone switches are in the “on” position when the toggle leans towards the player. It is best to test each sound individually to make sure that the tones are discernible from one another. If the instrument produces sound without a tone selected or if the tones are not discernible from one another there is likely a short within the switching circuitry. This is a common issue with Clavinets.

The Clavinet Pickup Controls

The pickup controls are a little less obvious since the pickups are not labeled and the selectors are not very intuitively organized. The Clavinet has two pickups. One is located near the bridge, and the other closer to the hammers. With the C/D toggle the player chooses whether the pickups are used individually (C) or together in parallel (D). The A/B toggle switch then controls the subsets within the two pickup modes, detailed below. A properly setup clav will have a wide range of voices with all four pickup configurations.

Individual (C) Pickup Mode:

With the individual (C) selection the player can select either the rhythm pickup (A) or the bridge/lead pickup (B)

2015-05-14 18.46.33

Individual Pickup Mode (C) Bridge Pickup (B)

–Helpful letter association: remember “B” for Bridge.

The rhythm (A) pickup selection will give the player more bass response with a smoother attack while the bridge/lead (B) pickup will have a punchy attack with more treble in the sustain of the note. When setup properly, both pickups should have the nearly identical volume output across the octaves of the piano. 

Parallel (D) Pickup Mode:

With the Parallel (D) pickup selection the player can select using the pickups either in-phase (A) or out-of-phase (B).

clavinet D position

Parallel (Dual) Pickup Mode (D) In-Phase (A)

–Helpful letter association: remember “D” for Dual Pickups.

The in-phase (A) selection will sound rich and balanced while out-ofphase (B) will sound thinner because the signals of the pickups are working against one another. If these two sounds are not discernible the pickups need to be adjusted.

2015-04-30 14.02.30

Eliminating Clavinet Noise, Hiss, and Interference

Clavinets are notoriously noisy instruments, commonly suffering from radio interference, ground loops, and poor components. Most of the hiss and noise within the Clavinets can be eliminated with proper service of the amplifier. Many of the solutions currently offered online, such as hiss reduction kits, filter out too much high or low end from the EQ of the instrument, resulting in a thin or bland tone. The best approach will not sacrifice the sonic palate produced by the instrument.

For Updated Clavinet Schematics Click Here to View our Follow Up Post

Due to variations in amplifier design, the different Clavinet models have slightly altered tonal characteristics. For example, the Clavinet model C’s gritty sound can be attributed to germanium PNP transistors. The amplifier in the D6 has more gain, resulting in deeper tonal colour–or Klangfarbe as notated on the original German schematic.

If you are experiencing issues with your Clavinet amplifier and would like to restore the classic tone of the instrument contact max@chicagoelectricpiano.com for shipping instructions to The Chicago Electric Piano Co. 

Live from #CEPCo: Spare Parts “Loose Cannon”

Live from The Chicago Electric Piano Company: Spare Parts “Loose Cannon.”

Spare Parts dropped back by the warehouse studio to produce another live video featuring Chris Neal on Tenor Sax and Rich Stitzel on Percussion.

Kesha’s Custom Wurlitzer 200

Here’s a look at the latest from our custom shop: Kesha’s Custom Psychedelic Wurlitzer 200.

Kesha Custom Wurlitzer Faceplate

2014-06-17 10.48.09

_DSC4140

_DSC4163

_DSC4164

_DSC4184

_DSC4191

_DSC4194

_DSC4156

_DSC4157

2014-04-23 11.48.52

2014-04-23 11.56.48

2014-04-23 11.56.40

2014-06-17 10.48.18

This Wurlitzer was fully restored by our workshop rebuilding and regulating the key bed and action assembly so that it is playing better than the day that it left the Wurlitzer factory. The original 200 amplifier was removed and fitted with the Warneck Research EP200 amplifier with a third knob for speed controlled vibrato. As always we promise that it plays and sounds even better than it looks!

The psychedelic paint job was commissioned from friend of the workshop Brendan Luchik.

Photography for this post was provided by Lenny Gilmore.

Custom Shop: The Ivory Fender Rhodes Piano Bass

It doesn’t get much cooler than a Rhodes Piano bass!
Fender Rhodes Piano Bass

 

Here’s the latest custom built Rhodes in our inventory: The Ivory Fender Rhodes Piano Bass.

This Rhodes is a true one of a kind and was hand assembled by our workshop using the best vintage components. It is a 1969 Fender Rhodes Piano bass lid, body, pickups and harp with 1975 hammers and tines. We selected all of the parts in order to give this piano bass the best warm Rhodes bass tone possible.

This completely restored piano bass is for sale for $2,699 and we promise that it plays and sounds even better than it looks! Just give Max a call at (312)476-9528 for more information.

Rhodes Bass

Fender Rhodes Piano Key Bass

Sparkle Top Rhodes Piano Bass

Rhodes Piano Bass Tines

Rhodes Piano Key Bass

Fender Rhodes Piano Bass Case

 

Custom Shop: The Orange Rhodes

Custom Rhodes Orange

Here’s the latest Rhodes to leave our Custom Shop: The Orange Mark II. This Rhodes was inspired by the orange 44 note Wurlitzer 106 and a few vintage guitars with an orange finish. The piano was completely restored by our workshop and as always we promise she sounds even better than she looks!

This beauty is now back at Wilco’s recording loft where we will hopefully hear from it soon!

–Until then, here’s a glimpse of the custom finish:

Wilco Orange Rhodes

Custom Rhodes Mark II

Orange Custom Rhodes Colors

Orange Wilco Rhodes

Rhodes Lid in Orange

2014-01-21 09.12.50

Rhodes Logo Orange Rhodes

Rhodes Logo and Back

Custom Rhodes Case

Vibrating Parts: Geeking Out on the Rhodes Piano

banner_wdtbda

Last month our friends at Reverb.com stopped by the warehouse to talk about Harold Rhodes and the piano that he invented. Here’s a quote on digital pianos from the article and you can read the whole Reverb article here.

‘Who the hell would think that a musical instrument would have vibrating components?’ Of course that’s a great idea! I think keyboardists get robbed having all of these pianos that have weighted action being what’s being sought after and then in the end you don’t get anything more than a digital sample being played depending on the velocity that you strike it with. What a bummer! Electric guitar players get an electric guitar, it’s not something that is made to sound like playing a Stratocaster, it is a Stratocaster.”

-Max Brink

Read the full article here.

Mark I vs. Mark II

What is the difference between a Fender Rhodes Mark I and Rhodes Mark II? Which model is better? How can I make my Mark I sound more like a Mark II (and vise versa)?

These are questions that are asked by Rhodes owners and electric piano enthusiasts. It’s not uncommon for a Mark II owner to request ‘more of a Mark I sound.’ The quick answer to these questions is surprisingly simple: when the Mark II was introduced in 1979, the only true changes were to the exterior aesthetic design of the instrument—the Mark II was nearly the identical instrument to the Mark I on its day of birth. It only becomes more complicated because of all of the changes throughout Mark I design that led up to the transition to the Mark II. Changes were made nearly year-by-year for the Mark I are what differentiate early Mark I pianos from a Mark II even though late Mark I’s will be more like a Mark II than a Mark I… Three factors have the greatest impact on Rhodes tone: The hammer and hammer tip, the tine, and the amplification system.

I. The Hammer Tip

After the Mark I was introduced in late 1969, the first of major changes in production happened in the early 1971 when Fender Rhodes production switched over from felt hammer tips to cubed neoprene rubber hammer tips. This change was intended to give the hammer tips a longer life span because the felt tips developed deep grooves that needed to be filed by a tech and the harp or tine re-aligned for proper strike line to restore their sound (and the filing eventually would affect the height of the hammer). The cubed rubber tips gave a unique tone that had deep lows and more crystal clear highs. The early cubed tip sound is today part of the quintessential part of the Mark I Rhodes sound which lasted until early 1976. For many players that seek that classic sound there is no other way to get it than the original hammer tips or those produced by Retro Linear.

After mid 1976 Rhodes pianos began to feature tapered hammer tips that changed height within sections of the piano moving from the bass to the treble. This design caused a greater noticeable imbalance in tone at the points of crossover because it also affects the strike line of the hammer with the tine. Additionally, the attack of the bass notes dramatically changed because of the depth of the neoprene hammer tip used. Because the change in hammer tip happened halfway through Mark I production it is often a point of confusion for the differences between the Mark I and Mark II sound. In fact, we are huge fans of Mark II Pianos with the early Mark I style cubed tips because you get the balanced harmonics of the Mark II Tines with the early Mark I attack–particularly in the bass!

II. The Tine

Even though it is less noticeable than the hammer tips from a visual perspective the tine is one of the most important aspects to the pianos voice. The tines were redesigned and commissioned to different manufacturers throughout the years. Almost every other year there were slight differences in production of the tines that affected the tone of the Rhodes piano. We always restore our pianos with period correct parts–especially when it comes to the tines–because of the dramatic impact that it has on the tone of the instrument.

The changes in tines’ production within the Rhodes piano is directly analogous to changes in strings of a piano or guitar and is especially analogous to the metallurgical makeup of guitar strings. Since the Rhodes’ tines and an electric guitar strings are both interpreted by an electromagnetic pickup before amplification the behavior of the vibrating parts and the metallurgical makeup of the parts themselves have a great impact on the timbre and the sustain characteristics of the instruments. In the case of early Rhodes Mark I pianos the tines were slightly more brittle with warmer bass and mids and brighter highs while the changes leading up to the Mark II piano gave it a more balanced moderately bright tone with more bell like highs and cooler mids and lows. The later tines were also developed to be more robust and had slightly different attack/sustain characteristics than the early tines.

III. Suitcase Model Amplification

Perhaps the single greatest change in Rhodes Mark I design was the change happened with amplifier built into its suitcase model. In 1977, the 80W Peterson design was replaced with an all new 100W design known as the Janus amplifier. Majority of the perceived differences in tone may be derived from the differences in these two systems which both have very subjective trade-offs. The later “Janus” model has better control of the EQ of the instrument while the earlier “Peterson” Design has less control but can be dialed in for great tone. The  Peterson amplifier makes up for the less dynamic EQ sculpting with its warm alnico speakers and the incandescent lightbulbs in its vibrato circuitry that give it a quintessential silky smooth timbre. Both amplifiers have the same controls as one another but with very much their own characteristics within the sets of controls.

(to be continued)…

The final note: Up to 80-90% of the tone of the Rhodes depends on how well it was maintained and how the instrument is set up. Very minor changes in the pickup placement and the escapement levels of the piano will have a significant effect on the tone. These setup differences will have a much greater impact on the tone than the various changes year by year or model by model if you were to compare a poorly maintained instrument to one that was fully restored by our workshop. –If you don’t believe me come on by and check out our instruments for yourself!