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I had pulled all the keys out if the keybed again to do a little cleaning and adjustment on the felts and had stacked all of the keys on the Rhodes case lid and then places the lid on a bench in my workspace. In the middle of the night, one of our two cats flipped the entire lid over, spilling all the keys out and scattering them all over the floor. In the process, four pedestals broke off their respective keys and I had to repair them.

Cats are idiots.

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My buddy has a Rhodes Mark 2 Stage 73 from 1981 that I told him I would happily fix up in exchange for some studio time at his place. This was the first time I really looked at a Mark 2 up close and the immediate differences are the plastic keys (they’re wood on the Mark 1 and the action feels completely different) and the notorious Mark 2 white pickups. I say notorious because these pickups have a high rate of failure and tend to go bad over time (corrosion from the inner part of the pickup coil, corrosion on the solder points, etc) and sure enough, we found FOURTEEN bad pickups in his piano. That’s a bummer considering how clean everything else in his piano was and how expensive/difficult it can be to track down working pickups for these.

Our choices now are to examine the solder points and redo them (which can be tricky due to all the plastic near the solder points) or wind our own pickups from scratch….ugh. Wish us luck.

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Installed the legs and cross braces that my awesome wife got for my birthday yesterday. Big thanks to my buddy Zack for providing some leg flanges that he had left over from his Rhodes (two of mine were broken) - now to do something unique and special with that beat up black case.

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Started putting the tines that have been cleaned up back onto the harp with their new screws and grommets. Voicing and tuning are a challenge, but a fun one - getting some positive feedback when a key is pressed is a great feeling, even if it is out of tune.

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Put the keys back in the Rhodes, which proved to be the most challenging part so far. Let’s just say that the quality control at the Rhodes factory 35 years ago was less than ideal - some keys were thicker than others, sometimes as much as an 1/8” in difference. Are you still reading this? Are you as stoked as I am about this? Probably not, that’s ok though. #ebonyandivory

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Put the keys back in the Rhodes, which proved to be the most challenging part so far. Let’s just say that the quality control at the Rhodes factory 35 years ago was less than ideal - some keys were thicker than others, sometimes as much as an 1/8” in difference. Are you still reading this? Are you as stoked as I am about this? Probably not, that’s ok though. #ebonyandivory

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Had big plans for the sustain pedal paint color - after a few coats of primer, I tried Krylon Glitter Blast in the black sparkle color. Sprayed one coat on and silly me forgot to snap a photo of it…which is ok, because it just didn’t look right. I had access to some glossy black Krylon and I ended up spraying three coats of that right over the glitter paint. This actually worked out really well - the layer of glitter paint gave the pedal some texture when the black was added on top. Finished it off with two coats of clear sealer and it’s done…

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Applied some new felt (the red things at the top of the pic) to the key pedestals of some of the Rhodes keys. Not just any felt, but STEINWAY PIANO felt (accept no substitutes)….I know you’re as stoked about this as I am. #ballin #upyourfeltgame #quietestactionever #rhodes #piano #restoration #huffingglue

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Stripped the black paint that was chipping off the sustain pedal. A coat of primer and then the final coats of a top secret color are next.

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My Rhodes is in 3,000 pieces at the moment, but its empty case is doubling nicely as a table for these guys. #rhodes #minibrute #myneighborsprobablyhateme

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Pulled each front rail felt out and noticed the reason that a lot of the keys were sticking - the key posts were either dirty or had some level of rust on them. There was also a few decades worth of dust and gunk that had built up around each felt/key post, which got vacuumed and cleaned up. Used the Dremel on each side of every key post, and then went over all of them again with #0000 steel wool. These keys are going to play like new.

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Replaced the electronics today - top picture is the old, presumably modified electronics (I say modified because the soldering work is atrocious) and below is the new set of electronics from Vintage Vibe. Haven’t tried them out just yet, as the piano is in about 3000 pieces, but it’s definitely going to be an upgrade.

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Pulled out every key for cleaning and re-felting and set them aside. Now it’s back to cleaning all of the tines and tone bars. After they’re clean, they’ll get new screws, washers, and brand new hard rubber grommets.

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George Duke (RIP)

The late, great George Duke talks about meeting Frank Zappa, breaking Chick Corea’s Rhodes at a festival, and plays some classic licks

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Boom. Clean, rust-free magnets.