Tag Archive for Wurlitzer

FOR SALE: Red Wurlitzer 200 Eletric Piano

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

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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.

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Custom Shop: Baby Blue Wurlitzer 206A

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

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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.

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…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!

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FOR SALE: Custom White Wurlitzer 214A

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

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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:

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

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$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…

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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:

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For Sale: Wurlitzer 206A Restored to Order

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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Click image to open the .pdf of the manual.

Wurlitzer Model 110 Amplifier Schematic

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.

Tweedy “Low Key” (Official Video)

Tweedy just released their latest music video for “Low Key” Directed by Nick Offerman featuring Jon Hodgeman, Mavis Staples, Conan Obrian, and many more–and hey look, there is our Orange Wurlitzer 106P Restoration!

Enjoy!

 

Live From CEPCo: Spare Parts “Watch Your Step”

More live jazz funk from Spare Parts! This time they were joined by Steve Eisen on flute, Rich Stitzel on percussion and Shane Jonas on trumpet. Check it out!

Live From The Chicago Electric Piano Co.: Spare Parts

Friends of the workshop Spare Parts, a Chicago rooted fusion trio, stopped by to film a live performance in the back of our warehouse.

Here is one of the groovy live takes captured in the back of our warehouse featuring Kevin Kozol’s recently overhauled Wurlitzer 200A:

 

A Rare Breed Indeed: The Wurlitzer 214A

Forgive us for the shameless self promotion but we are currently selling one of our favorite Wurlitzers that has come through our shop in some time. It’s not too often that you come across the Wurlitzer 214A and perhaps it could use a re-introduction. Here she is, the Wurlitzer 214A, a rare breed indeed:

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The Wurlitzer 214A is one of the flagship pianos of the 200A family. Like other members of the 200 family it has an action assembly that can be setup and maintained to perform like a sports car. There’s no excuse for poor action in a Wurli!

Like the Student Model 206A the 214A was marketed to a classroom setting and likely has not seen the abuse that many 200A’s have experienced ‘living the rock and roll dream.’ For decades, many of the 203, 206, 207, and 214 pianos have been preserving themselves as time capsules in rehearsal rooms and classrooms for future generations to bring back to life. This makes them some of the most valuable instruments to pick up used.

The distinguishing characteristic to the 206A would be that it has four 8″ speakers, rather than two, and the 214 also has the signature Wurlitzer vibrato circuitry. On the 214A there are two sets of 8″ speakers are mounted on each side similar to the Rhodes suitcase piano which gives it a rich, full sound within the room. Another added feature from the 206 is the casters that allow you to easily transport the piano.

And this one in no exception! As always, we promise you she sounds even better than she looks!

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As always, we have rebuilt this Wurlitzer from the key bed up for most expressive action possible. It comes with our 2 year parts warranty (under reasonable use) and a free tuneup within two years. –You won’t find a better 214A or service like ours anywhere else in the world! 

Custom Shop: Wilco’s White Wurlitzer

Here’s a glimpse of Wilco’s new Wurlitzer 206A from our Custom Shop. Hopefully we will be hearing from this beauty soon!

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Decisions. Decisions…

It was a tough decision whether or not to re-cap the white keys to match the bright white tolex and lid. Luckily, the Wurlitzer’s keys were all equally faded and the two shades of white were enough to contrast one another. Have another look at the complete job:

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And here she is. Home sweet home–and in good company! From the Wilco loft:

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What is the difference between a Wurlitzer 200 and 200A?

Is my Wurlitzer a 200 or a 200A?

Because of their identical cosmetic design, it is common for people to mistake a 200 for a 200A and vise versa. Even when taking a close look under the hood, you will find that their action assemblies and the reeds that produce their sound are perfectly identical, leaving only a few distinguishing characteristics to look and listen for.

Side Note: Actually, the cosmetics of each instrument can be differentiated from one another in some cases. There were a few color options that were only available on the 200 (red, forest green, and beige) that were not available on the 200A. Another distinguishing cosmetic note is that the Wurlitzer emblem on the back of the keyboard from the player was only on the last few years of the 200A.

When the 200 was first introduced in 1968 its amplifier was an early transistor circuit with a straightforward design. Over the next four years, the amplifier would be redesigned a few times with a couple of minor improvements that marginally improved both the power amp and the clarity of the preamp. These four years are also characterize by the 200’s 4×8″ speakers driven by alnico magnets that were mounted on the amplifier rail inside of the instrument.

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200A Amplifier

Wurlitzer discontinued the 200 in 1972 when they began the production of the 200A. The new 200A was nearly perfectly identical to the 200 with the exceptions of a newly designed amplifier additional shielding against interference that subtly improved the Wurlitzer Electric Piano. After a year or so of 200A production the alnico driven speakers were now driven by ceramic magnets and were mounted directly on the vinyl lid of the Wurlitzer rather than the amplifier. The mounting pins on the lid of the Wurlitzer are one of the fastest ways to identify most 200A’s.

 

Mounting Pins of the 200A

Mounting Pins for the 200A’s Speakers

The most notable improvement of the 200A is that it is naturally less susceptible to noise and interference the former 200 amplifier due to three new factors. First, the distance between the preamp and the amplifier reduced much of the noise caused by the amplifier’s electromagnetic field. Next, Wurlitzer added an additional pickup shield that helped protect the pickups from picking up radio frequencies and other external interference. Last, the AC wiring from the power source to the transformer was placed within a strip aluminum tubing that shielded the amplifier from the electromagnetic field produced by the AC current running to the power transformer behind the amplifier. (We can’t figure out why they didn’t just simply put the AC receptical on the other side of the instrument and avoid this design flaw all together!)

Aside from the noise reducing measures made by the 200A, the differences between the two amplifiers are negligible. Both have a vibrato (–tremolo) circuit, and a static equalizer curve set by their amplifier’s design that limits the players control over the tone of the instrument without additional external amplification. In the end, both incorporate one of the best action assemblies of any electric piano and deliver that classic Wurlitzer tone that we just can’t get enough of.

…It is also common that players will complain about their amplifier being “muddy” or “dull” when in fact the amplifier is perfectly fine. This is due to the fact that most Wurlitzers have not been regulated properly over the years and therefore their hammers do not produce the proper strike of the instrument. Bring your Wurlitzer in for a free estimate and we can show you how to instantly get more clarity and dynamics from your instrument!

Choosing the Best Amplifier for a Rhodes or Wurlitzer

There are many opinions floating around on the best way to amplify an electric piano. Most of which can inevitably be summed up by our favorite sound engineering cliche — “It all depends on the tone your are looking for!” While this is invariably true, here are some more concrete guidelines for choosing the right amp for your Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer electric piano.

Solid State v. Tube –

This is an ongoing argument that we could write paragraphs about. Perhaps here is where your personal sonic preferences will come most into play. To be concise, The Chicago Electric Piano Company fully endorses tube amplification  The saturation of vacuum tubes really enhances the harmonic overtones created by the reeds/tines in these instruments. The warmth and depth of tube amplification brings out the best tones from your electric piano. Read more

The Amtrak Rhodes and The Boeing Lounge Piano

We received a lot of interesting input from our first post that shared our first time being introduced to the Amtrak Rhodes piano but we still haven’t learned too much concrete information about their lifetimes spent on the Amtrak lounge cars.

Since then, thanks to a friend of the workshop we have been given a photo of an Amtrak lounge car with a Rhodes piano:

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 Amtrak Rhodes With Lid

However, we are still seeking any additional information that anyone may have regarding this piano so please feel free to let us know via the comments below or via our facebook page.

In addition to this photo, our friend Tim also introduced us to a model of Wurlitzer electric piano that was used on the Boeing 747 lounge cars. And according to one picture these were in coach! Check it out:

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So here we go again! Once again this raises more questions than it answers and given what little information we have been able to find so far we are reaching out to you to help us tell more about the story of these two pianos. If anyone has any information at all about Wurlitzer’s Boeing 747 Lounge Piano or Amtrak’s Rhodes piano please contact us at info@chicagoelectricpiano.com.

John Medeski on Digital vs. Analog

Ask Medeski any type of question, and you risk having to dodge some vehemently expressed convictions. For example, the mention of digital keyboards triggers an impassioned reaction. “Digital keyboards are toys,” exclaims Medeski Read more

Stretch Tuning vs. Equal Temperament Tuning

Stretch Tuning vs. Equal Temperament Tuning: The Proper Way to Tune Your Rhodes, Wurlitzer or Clavinet.

 

What is the difference between Stretch Tuning and Equal Temperament Tuning? And why can’t you tune a piano with a guitar tuner?

 

If you took a high school or university physics class that had a unit on the physics of sound, you may recall learning that notes an octave apart have a frequency ratio of 2:1. These are the place holders for the two ends of a scale. Taking this basic knowledge, it may seem reasonable to take the twelve notes of the scale and divide the octave into even portions. If this were the case, over the course of several octaves as on a piano’s keyboard manual, the harmonies would begin to sound dissonent. But why? In the most simplified terms, this is because as intervals move further apart, the human ear finds the beats generated by the two or more frequencies unpleasant. Luckily, there are alternate methods of tuning that produce more appealing harmonies.

When two intervals are played together, the combination of the two or more frequencies produce beats. The rate of the beats is a function of the differences in frequency of the two pitches, which is one of the components of how the human ear interprets harmonies. In order to produce the most appealing harmonies in a piano or ensemble, a number of tuning philosophies exist that create more pleasant beats, and can even account for inharmonicity within the instrument (more on inharmonicity in a later post). The philosophies typically use more pure major thirds, minor thirds, fourths, fifths—you name itRead more