This vintage tube amp was removed from a Wurlitzer 700 electronic piano. It’s is the same amplifier as a Wurlitzer 120…unfortunately. The 120 had very limited cabinet space, so that’s why the physical design of the amp is so cramped. On the other hand, the 700 had a cavernous cabinet that could definitely have handled a larger amp chassis. Oh well: that ship has obviously sailed.Read More
The Wurlitzer 120 amplifier represented a total redesign from the previous Wurlitzer model, the 112. The upside is that the amp is a lot smaller, so it fits nicely in the smaller, lighter 120 cabinet. The downside is also that the amp is a lot smaller. It’s missing many of the features that make the Wurlitzer 112 so magical. Regardless, it’s still a great vintage tube amp with a lovely, classic tone.Read More
These photos are from a batch of four student model Wurlitzers that we recently picked up. All arrived in amazing condition, with very few rips or scuffs and immaculately clean interiors. With just a little restoration, they became excellent and highly playable examples of early 200 Wurlitzers. Only one is still available.Read More
The filter capacitors in many amps are mounted in a metal can, which can be an obstacle to successfully recapping the amp. These days, filter cans are only made in a limited values, so it's hard to find the exact match. Mounting the caps outside of the can is another option, but finding the space can be tricky. Removing the can can leave a giant hole, which can allow dust to enter the chassis over time. So, what's the best way to replace can-style filter capacitors?Read More
Originally, Wurlitzer built amplifier chassis just big enough to fit the components they needed. This left some interior cabinet space unused. There is nothing wrong with this design choice, but there is a lot of interior cabinet space that can be utilized should one (like, say, us) were to design a brand new replacement amplifier to go inside the Wurlitzer.Read More
Whenever you think about modifying a vintage electronic piano, you should think about two things. Is the mod reversible? And, if not, am I actually improving the keyboard?
A Wurlitzer electronic piano has been around for decades. Clearly, Wurlitzer did something right when they manufactured them, because even after all these years they are still desirable. It is important to avoid performing impulsive mods that will irreversibly change the keyboard. Think it through. Consider whether the mod enhances the function of the keyboard. Consider whether there is a less invasive way to reach the same goal.Read More
When we’re thinking about buying a Rhodes, there are a few criteria that we use to judge potential purchases. We’re mostly concerned about how much work the Rhodes needs to become playable - and if you want your Rhodes to be a functional keyboard and not just a moderately inconvenient buffet table, you probably care about the same things we do.Read More
In Part I of our guide on fixing hum, we listed some easy fixes. In Part II, we’ll go into further detail on techniques that require some prior electronics experience to execute. It’s worth checking out Part I first, because it listed some simple, non-invasive things that you should always be tried before diving into the amplifier’s circuitry. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you already tried everything in Part I. This includes:Read More
Before we start, a disclaimer: hum should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, because every vintage amp is special and degrades in its own way. What cures one amp may not work for another. That said, reading this guide should give you a good starting point on how to address your own hum problems. This guide is pretty basic and going to assume that the only piece of test equipment that you have is a multimeter.Read More
The heaters of your vacuum tubes are one of the most critical parts of your amplifier. A well-designed heater circuit is quiet and unobtrusive: truly an unsung hero of any quality amp. On the other hand, flaws in a heater circuit can produce noise.Read More
Wurlitzer tube amps are in fact very similar to guitar amps.
But before we talk about that, let’s back up a little. The Wurlitzer itself is very analogous to an electric guitar: the heart of both instruments is a pickup that converts vibration into an electrical signal that is ultimately sent to an amplifier. In a guitar, the amplifier is almost always external, but a Wurlitzer’s amplifier is tucked into the body of the instrument.Read More
An effects loop opens up many, many tonal possibilities in your Wurlitzer. Some of the earlier Wurlitzers have a reputation as a one-trick pony. The 112, for instance. How many people on forums have opined that it’s good for that one Ray Charles sound, and that’s it? Three people? Four? That’s not the point. The point is that, once you give the 112 an fx loop, it now has an unlimited amount of sounds.
But what sounds, specifically, should you plug into your Wurlitzer’s effects loop?Read More
This Wurlitzer 214 that we once had is a classic example of 214 glory. The Avocado green top was in excellent condition and the tolex was all there without any tears. The wooden keybed has some “chair” nicks and the grill cloth had some stains, but no tears! Perhaps the most amazing feature of the 214 is that it is a complete 200 set on top of a console which houses four 8” round speakers. The four speakers - two in front and two in the back - project the Wurlitzer’s awesome tone in all directions!Read More
This Wurlitzer 120 arrived in exceptional condition. It had spent many years studio, a carpeted, finished basement housing an enormous collection of jazz records. Really the only indication that this keyboard is a late-50s vintage is the splatter-paint finish. It doesn’t show any of the cosmetic wear that you’d expect from a 60-year-old piece of gear. There’s a little bit of dust in the cheek block tolex, a little bit of patina on the metal parts, and that’s it.Read More
When we walked into the room where the original owner had this keyboard, the seller mentioned they had it switched on for us ready to try out. We thought, oh then it must not be making sound because we heard nothing - not even the usual idle hum. We played a A-7 chord, and a wall of rich tube sound blasted out of the massive 12” alnico speaker. Needless to say, we were floored.Read More
Tropical Fish now offers several kits containing replacement components for all Wurlitzer amplifiers. If you already have experience working with electronics, these kits offer a convenient DIY option for restoring your amp. Each kit contains the same high-quality components that we use in our own restorations.
For all amplifiers, we offer the Basic kit as well as several add-on components packages. The Basic kit contains all electrolytic capacitors, power supply resistors, and a few input components for the preamp. For many amplifiers, replacing these components is sufficient for improved reliability and performance.Read More
Early Wurlitzer electronic keyboards dating before roughly 1962 all featured on board tube amplifiers. Tube amplifiers offer a unique warm & full sound and what could be better to play your Wurly through right? To many, however, a vintage tube amp can appear intimidating, high-maintenance and something only audiophiles should own. In the world of vintage amplifiers, however, a tube amp is more likely to be easier to troubleshoot should anything go wrong with its functionality. In general vintage tube amps have large easy to check and replace components, while vintage solid state amps often have smaller, more delicate components.Read More
This is a classic example of a Wurlitzer 112a that we once had. We photographed it in our main studio live room. A serviced Wurlitzer 112a electronic piano is a powerful music making tool in any studio! The effective alnico speaker is mounted on the rear of the instrument so it can be easily mic’d without picking up much (or any) mechanical key or finger noise from the players’ hands.Read More
This Wurlitzer 145 was brought in by a customer, who had just purchased it from its original owner. The Wurlitzer was in a state of obvious neglect: the amp was noisy, the keys were sticky, and the entire unit was covered in a film of dust. It had been refinished many years ago and had developed an interesting patina, but it needed to be handled gently because the old paint was prone to chipping. The 145 is a rare model of Wurlitzer and this one in particular was truly one-of-a-kind. We were very happy to work on it.Read More
Fender Rhodes keyboards came with quite a few parts and accessories, many of which are subtle and easy to lose. If you’re unfamiliar with the Rhodes, it can be hard to tell if a keyboard you’re thinking about buying is complete or not.Read More