Posts in How-To
How to Replace Vintage Filter Capacitor Cans

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?

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How to Fix Hum in Your Wurlitzer Electronic Piano (Or Other Vintage Amp): Part II

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:

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What components should I replace in my vintage Wurlitzer amp, and why?

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.

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In Restoration: Removing Duct Tape from the Wurlitzer 140a

This Wurlitzer 140a belonged to a producer for many years, and arrived at our shop in well-used condition. By that, we mean that it was pretty banged up and showed evidence of previous repairs. Also, because multiple latches were missing, the lid didn’t attach very well. At some point, it had obviously once been held in place with duct tape.

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How to Convert a Wurlitzer 206 into a Wurlitzer 200

The Wurlitzer 206 is the student version of the Wurlitzer 200. It is equivalent to the 200 in every day, but it is mounted on a cabinet instead of legs and some features of the amplifier are disabled. However, all of the components that are in a 200 are also present on the circuit board of the 206. Enabling vibrato and the aux output is therefore as simple as adding some wires and a 10k potentiometer. Here is how we do it.

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Gibson GA-5 vs Fender 5F1: Circuit Analysis

We’ve written about the history of the Gibson GA-5 before. Basically, the GA-5 was Gibson’s first practice amp offering. Not only was the circuit nearly identical to the Fender Champ, but the GA-5’s cabinet was suspiciously similar as well. Eventually, Gibson adopted a more original exterior design, but the circuit remained pretty much the same. This means that a GA-5 of any vintage is an extremely affordable equivalent to a 5F1 Champ.

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Does My Wurlitzer Need New Key Bushing Felts?

If you flip a Wurlitzer key upside down, you’ll see two holes underneath. These holes line up with the two metal pins in the keybed that guide the key’s vertical travel. They’re called the key bushings, and they’re lined with felt. As the keyboard is played, this felt becomes compressed over time and the keys no longer fit snugly around the key pin. Or, if these felts become damaged, they could prevent the key’s smooth travel and the touch-responsiveness of the keyboard becomes compromised.

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A Short Guide to Wurlitzer Electronic Piano Sustain Problems

The most common sustain problem on a Wurlitzer 200a (or earlier) keyboard is too much sustain: the note continues to ring out, even when the pedal is not depressed. This is almost always caused by damper felts that are excessively compressed or otherwise deteriorated. In other cases, the Wurlitzer’s sustain pedal doesn’t do anything when depressed, and the piano never has sustain. This is usually because the pedal is not making the proper interior connection. This guide will help you address both problems.

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Techniques for Recording a Wurlitzer Electronic Keyboard

The Wurlitzer electronic keyboard was first commercially released by Wurlitzer in 1955 as a convenient (and potentially silent) tool to practice and study piano.  But, almost immediately after its release, the instrument was discovered by professional musical talent such as Ray Charles and found its way to stages and recording studios. Because of the instrument’s unmistakably unique and warm tone and numerous practical advantages, it was a solid choice for recording artists from the very beginning. 

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Choose the Right Wurlitzer Model with our Quick Guide to Wurlitzers!

Having trouble deciding which Wurlitzer model is right for you? Take a look at our handy infographic!

This infographic is an at-a-glance guide to the features of common Wurlitzer models. All models of Wurlitzers are excellent instruments, and with the right restoration any one of them can become a functional, professional piece of gear. However, all Wurlitzers were manufactured 40+ years ago, at a time when standards for recording were much different. And, anyway, professional musicians weren’t necessarily the most lucrative target audience: that would be schools, who bought keyboards six at a time. So, some features that would be standard today - such as an aux output - are absent from many models.

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