Tag Archive for The Chicago Electric Piano Company

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:

 

 

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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: 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88

For Sale: 1973 Fender Rhodes Stage 88

Fully Restored and Ships Worldwide!

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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:

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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***

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

Clavinet Schematic Updated

Clavinet E7 and D6 Wiring Translated by The Chicago Electric Piano Company

Over the years we grew tired of attempting to remember the English translations for the German Clavinet schematics. Here are updated schematic files with English translations which are also the only publicly available schematic to show the proper pickup switching for the A/B and C/B pickup switches. I hope that you will find these translations and notations helpful.

For more information about the Clavinet Tone Controls please visit our previous post “Understanding the Clavinet Tone Controls”.

Clavinet D6 Schematic

Clavinet E7 Schematic

 

 

Note: There are slight variations on some Clavinets’ preamplifiers from what is noted in these schematics. The most common is finding 15nF capacitors in place of 10uF capacitors as noted by the schematic. The difference is subtle but the 15uF will establish a lower cutoff filter frequency.

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.

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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)

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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.

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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. 

Wurlitzer 214A Classroom Pianos for Sale

You don’t see too many classrooms like this one anymore! Here’s a classroom of Wurlitzer 214A pianos, their flagship classroom piano, in a high school in Michigan:

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The school updated their classroom setup with modern digital pianos so that they wouldn’t need to concern themselves with maintenance costs of the vintage mechanical pianos. These 214A high school dropouts are now waiting restoration by The Chicago Electric Piano Company as they are released out into the world to live the rock and roll dream.

Wurlitzer’s 214A electric piano was their flagship classroom piano and featured what I believe is their best built-in speaker compliment to any of their models. The two most common models of student piano are the black 214A (although sometimes it’s green) and the tan 206 or 206A. The main advantages to the 214A is that it has the classic vibrato built into the circuitry, casters so that it can be wheeled around for recording or performing, and the speaker base is larger than the 206 since it does not have a built in shelf or cubby area for headphones. (Click here for our previous 206 Classroom post).

Another huge advantage of classroom model Wurlitzers is that they have seen less moving and handling and are usually kept in temperature controlled classrooms, practice rooms or storage closets. With this foundation they are ideal candidates for restoration and along with the Hammond M3 probably one of the most undervalued instruments that you can pick up on the used market. These are identical pianos mechanically to what you find in the 200A pianos and can even be converted with chrome legs to make them just as gig-worthy. If you don’t need to haul them to a gig, however, these speaker bases sound great and the style is pretty cool too. These are really the ideal Wurlitzer piano for home use or a professional recording studio.

For Sale

*For ordering information please contact Max Brink at (312)476-9528.

The first of the dozen pianos that will be restored is “Lucky No. 7” (nicknamed for the “7” stenciled onto the back of the piano) which was selected for being in the best condition of the group. It is in near mint condition and we have restored it from the key bed up in order to give it our full seal of approval. In this case, we fitted with the Warneck Preamp developed by Tim Warneck of Retro Linear. These amplifiers have an incredibly low noise floor and Tim spent a great deal of time getting the EQ and attach of the amplifier to bring out everything that we know and love about the Wurlitzer’s tone. It features a third knob for the speed control of the vibrato which has a great musical charm with no distortion at slow or fast speeds. These amplifiers are a must have for the studio or professional musician.

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You can find “Lucky No. 7” listed on Reverb.com or you can request any of the other 11 Wurlitzers to be restored to order by contacting Max Brink at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com.

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Custom Shop: Tweed Rhodes Suitcase

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Many people were so blown away from our Tweed Two Tone Rhodes earlier this year that we were quickly contacted to tweed amplifiers and another two Rhodes in the custom finish. This one in particular has the shellac’d finish for the amber shine that we know and love from the classic Fender amps. This gives the tweed a classic aesthetic look and also prevents the tweed from getting stained or from fraying.

This is a 1975 Rhodes Suitcase from the late ’75 period with all plastic hammers. Although this period of production usually takes a little more work to regulate properly the Rhodes can sound and feel just as good as the earlier true Fender Rhodes period. The key to maintaining their classic tone is restoring them with the original cube shaped hammer tips that give them the signature Fender Rhodes attack.

When restoring a Rhodes cosmetically it’s always a tough decision whether or not to use the aging original hardware (corners, handles, logos, etc.) or whether or not to use shiny new hardware. The original hardware maintains the vintage vibes and mojo of the instrument while the new hardware completes the cosmetic overhaul for those that want a brand new finish. In this case the decision was a no brainer… The original Rhodes hardware’s patina and light rust looked way too good with the tweed and amber shellac.

 

Here’s a look at the Custom Tweed Rhodes:

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Custom Shop: The Navy Blue Rhodes Suitcase

Here’s a look at the latest Rhodes from our Custom Shop: The a Navy and Tan Suitcase from 1976.

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The 1972-1975 period is something that I consider the best era of Rhodes production but 1976 pianos have really grown on me over the course of the past year. Although it takes a little more labor to regulate their action properly the feel and tone of the early 1976 pianos is just as solid as ’74-75 pianos. This is especially true in early 1976 when the neoprene rubber hammer tips used were still the cubed tips that were used in the true Fender Rhodes period of production.

My mother raised me not to wear navy with black but sometimes rules are meant to be broken. And the blue strands in the tan grill cloth really ties the entire look together! Have a look:

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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 Tweed Two-Tone Rhodes Suitcase

Here’s the latest from our custom shop: The Tweed Two-Tone Rhodes Suitcase.

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And another emergence of our signature wooden cheek blocks to top it off!

 

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Cheek Block Best

This Rhodes Suitcase 73 is from the “Golden Tine” era of late ’74 through early ’75 and we knew right away that the tone was going to be absolutely gorgeous even before the restoration process began. These “Golden Tine” pianos are some of our very favorite but are from a very short lived period of Rhodes production that spanned less than a full year. For those who are unfamiliar, changes in Rhodes tines happened almost every other year and noticeably alter the timbre of the Rhodes’ voice from year to year. These changes are analogous to the differences in tone from various gauges and metallurgical makeups of guitar strings or acoustic piano strings. Aside from a pretty straight forward restoration of the Rhodes piano itself we just needed to make sure that this Rhodes looked as good as it sounds!

Have a look for yourself and share what you think on our facebook page. Here’s a look at the Tweed Two-Tone Rhodes:

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Front

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Angle

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Closeup Angle

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Amp and Wood

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Top Down View

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Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Front W Case

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Back 2

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Logo

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Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Back Angle

Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Front Angle WO Case

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Rhodes Tweed Two Tone Closeup Angle 1

…There are more custom Rhodes currently in the works so stay tuned!

If you are interested in restoration services or custom refinishing your Rhodes piano please contact Max at (312)476-9528 or max@chicagoelectricpiano.com.