Custom Shop Feature: Mike Gordon’s Purple 106P

Custom Shop Feature: Mike Gordon’s Purple 106P
December 18, 2023 Max Brink
In Custom Shop, Wurlitzer

Mike Gordon’s Purple 106P:

We were lucky enough to pick up a few 44 note Wurlitzer 106P’s this past year. These cute little gems are some of the rarest birds in the world of Wurli and prior to this past year we only had one other 106P for sale in over ten years! On top of their extreme rarity they also require a lot more parts and labor to get them playing as well as their 200 counterparts.

A few quirks of the 106P from both then and now:

Back in the day the Wurlitzer 106P was a multi-instrument classroom model that was likely marketed for very young children given that the original stand sat so close to the ground. They originally were mounted as a set of eight 44-note pianos that were mounted onto a single folding frame that could be wheeled into a classroom or stored away with a small footprint. Along with a very simplified key set of 44 notes, these classroom pianos also lacked any sustain pedal function and shared a common power supply and amplifier between all eight units.

Unfortunately, our experience has been that the quality control of some classroom pianos was not the same level of detail that was given to the instruments that were marketed to musicians for home or professional use. Even though they have roughly 2/3 the notes of a standard 200-series Wurlitzer they often require just as much time, if not more, to service while on the workbench. One of the biggest things that we’ve seen common to the 106P’s is that the strike line of the hammers is often non-linear in ways that is not typical of their 200 counterparts that only have to be adjusted in rare situations. It also seems like they may have spent less time getting the key bed and action playing as dynamic as the 200’s produced during the same time period, which was probably fine for kids learning about scales and triads for the first time… Luckily, the 106P model shares a most of its critical parts (action parts, hammers, reeds, etc) with the 200 models at the time so it is possible to get them playing in the same professional level as long as they are serviced by someone with the proper expertise.

Today, a lot of the quirks of the 106P have to do with the way that they were removed from their classroom set and modified to work on their own. If you come across a 106P in the wild you might notice that there are a wide variety of knob placements or maybe other differences in the location of the location of the power cable or output jacks. They also may or may not have legs, sustain pedal, depending on the preferences and capabilities of the person that decided to convert them into a standalone instrument. Most are going to likely be modified with a 200 or 200A amplifier, or you may even come across an instrument with a more creative solution to supply the electrostatic pickup with proper voltage. In the end, the quality and condition of a 106P is going to depend on the level of craftsmen-ship that was given to the instrument when it was removed from the original set.

Over the past ten years, we have also had our fun with knob placement, and also with custom tailored electronics as we have worked out our own best practice approach for servicing and restoring 106P’s. Our latest preferred method is a deeply detailed restoration of the instrument, damper modification for use with a sustain pedal, chrome Wurlitzer legs, and a Warneck Research amplifier. In the end, the restoration requires over a thousand dollars in parts and a lot of time on the workbench, but we promise it’s been worth all the extra love each time!

The most recent set of 106P’s in our inventory had a lot of sun fading, so Mike Gordon decided to give one the Custom Shop treatment with this groovy purple finish. We topped it off with a translucent purple plexiglass music stand.

As of Dec ’23 we currently have three more 106P’s available for sale. –They have sun fading on the plastic lids so they will require a custom finish similar to this one. If you are interested please contact for more information.

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