Posts tagged Wurlitzer
From the Archives: Wurlitzer 214

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!

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From the Archives: Wurlitzer 720a

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.

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From the Archives: Wurlitzer 112a

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.

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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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From the Archives: Wurlitzer 200a

This is a classic example of a Wurlitzer 200a that we once had. We photographed it in front of a wall at the studio - actually, in the control room. (The “signal” stencil is a holdover from the building’s time as a Metro-North Railroad switching station.) The floor is very slanted so we got to use an underrated feature that all portable 200 models have: adjustable feet.

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What's the Difference Between a Rhodes and a Wurlitzer?

The Rhodes and the Wurlitzer are sometimes mentioned interchangeably, but they’re actually pretty different. We do spent 99% of our time around electronic pianos, but trust us: it’s not just our bias talking. A Rhodes and a Wurlitzer sound different, feel different, and were invented in completely different contexts. Most studios would benefit from one of each. (Well, one Rhodes and two or three Wurlitzers - but now this might be our bias talking.)

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In Restoration: Four 206 model Wurlitzers

We are extra-excited about this group of four Wurlitzer 200 student pianos because they are clearly of an early manufacture. Three of them had original music racks with the closely-spaced metal bars, which are incredibly rare. Even aside from that great detail, however, all of the keyboards were in great shape. They had clearly been used only lightly and had been stored in a clean, low-humidity area.

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In Restoration: August 2018

We drove through the eastern U.S. on a pickup/delivery run last week. (Little-known fact! We do deliver long-distance. More info here.) We dropped off our gorgeous Wurlitzer 720a, and then picked up a handful of new pieces: a teacher/student 206a/207a pair, a 203w wheeled console Wurlitzer, an extremely rare Wurlitzer 140a, and a Fender Rhodes Mk I.

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Wurlitzer 140b

The 140b is at the midpoint of Wurlitzer's electronic piano production: a stepping stone from the vintage tone of the 100-series to the more reliable modern electronics of the 200-series. The mechanical parts are easier to work with. It has updated, 200-style reeds. It has a transistor amplifier like the 200, but an early one, with germanium power transistors and neon bulb vibrato.

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Wurlitzer 700 (Mahogany): Details & Closeups

Is a piano more an instrument or a piece of furniture? If you're reading this blog, you'd probably find the question offensive. Of course a piano is an instrument! But if you just live with a pianist - as a spouse or a parent - you'd might have a different perspective. Specifically, that the piano is neither instrument nor furniture but some big wooden behemoth that takes over the living room and clashes with everything. 

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The Wurlitzer 112, Explained

The Wurlitzer 112 was released in 1955. Excluding some prototypes, it is the first Wurlitzer electronic piano. 

As the first of it's kind, the 112 has a lot of interesting features that were phased out in later iterations of Wurlitzer keyboards. First, the pedal is mounted to the side, rather than the bottom. By 1956, even the revised Wurlitzer 112A had a bottom-mounted pedal. Surviving original 112 pedals have become extremely rare. 

The 112 also has a unique silhouette: slightly deeper and taller than later Wurlitzers. A vintage keyboard is never going to fade into the wallpaper, but the 112 has a clear presence in a room. Between its size, speckled paint, and midcentury lines, this is definitely a statement piece. 

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The Wurlitzer 700, Explained

When Wurlitzer first released its electronic pianos in the mid-1950s, they were sleek and modern - almost space-age - in design. Curved cabinets, elegantly tapered legs, bold speckled paint jobs: inside and out, these were the pianos of the future, unlike any pianos ever built before. 

And Wurlitzer knew pianos. By 1955, the company had been manufacturing pianos for 75 years: uprights, spinets, compact grands. Wurlitzer did it all: entry-level apartment-friendly pianos, ornate heirloom-quality pianos, chic spinets trimmed in avocado tolex. The unusual design of their first electronic piano - the 112 - was a statement, not a necessity. If Wurlitzer wanted to give it a traditional look, they certainly had the resources to do so. 

Enter the 700. 

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