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.
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.
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!