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Steve's Corner - Rubber Standoffs & Clips

Rubber Standoffs

Standoffs were used on the last 10 notes of a 73-key, though the effect was minimal. The tone bar assembly is an offset tuning fork: when you hold the handle of a tuning fork and tap it you feel the vibrations, but how hard you hold the handle has no effect on the vibrations. The same is true with the Rhodes tuning fork, except when the handle (the part where the screws and grommets mount to the tone bar) becomes near or shorter in length to one of the vibrating forks (tone bar from the tine mount to its end). In this case, clamping the mount section dampens the sustain time of the assembly. On note #73, the vibrating section of the tone bar and the mount section are basically equal in length. As you go higher up on an 88-key, the vibrating section becomes smaller than the mount section. The rubber standoff frees up the mount section to vibrate, and the sustain time increases by a factor of 10. Note #88 of this configuration out-rings note #88 on an acoustic piano significantly. I earned a patent on this part.

Clips

The clips were mass adjusters and could be used to adjust the tone bars for maximum sustain. If the tone bar was the correct length, the tine's fit was tight in the generator, the generator was screwed tight to the tone bar and the grommets were fresh and loose, then the clips were not needed. But all of these conditions were not always there for every single note, so clips were installed to help particular notes. Later, the tone bar lengths were reconfigured and the clips were not needed anymore.

More Info

  • Chapter 1: The RHODES Tone Source
  • Chapter 2: The RHODES Modular Action
  • Chapter 7: Early Design RHODES Pianos - Tone Source (Prior to 1975)
  • Chapter 8: Early Design RHODES Pianos - Action (Prior to September 1975)