Report from November 1981 issue, Keyboard Magazine


Dyno My Piano Rhodes Modifications

There's a strange beastprowling out there. It drives conservative manufacturers who resist it out of their minds, voids warranties, and makes keyboard players giggle with glee. It has the ring of some exotic new dance, but it's really only (a pause here for dramatic emphasis,please)the modification. Plenty of players want a little something more out of their instrument than they get when it comes straight off the shelf of a music store. So they turn to techno-whizkids in hopes of making theirinstruments something special, something uniquely their own. But all too often, therein lies the problem.Modified instruments aren't standardized;when you're away from the guy who designed them for you they can't be figured out and repaired easily. Even if it's a typical modification functionally,two technicians may achieve the same function in two very different.ways mechanically or electronically.
@Over the last few years, though,we've witnessed the birth of a new breed of modification:the mod that comes from a company whose main business is to produce and market it on a nation-wide level. Along with this type of modification comes documentation showing what it consists of, and even a network of technicians trained to work on it.One of the most modified (maybe because it is one of the most popular)instruments of the last decade has been the Rhodes electric piano.And the company whose modifications we'll be looking at this month is a companythat has been selling Rhodes mods on an international level, Dyno My Piano.

The Instrument we had to examine(supplied by Guitar Center of San Jose)was a Rhodes 73 Stage Piano with Dyno My's Percussion Pedal,Equalization, Tri-Stereo Panning, and shielding kit. Unlike a lot of modifications, these were added to a new Rhodes before anyone bought the piano. Of course, that doesn't mean that they can't be added to a used Rhodes. However, please note that the PercussionPedal can't be added to anything but a Rhodes73. The mod won't work with an 88.

Adjustments To The Rhodes.
Before Dyno My adds a percussion pedal to a Rhodes they make a series of adjustments to the instrument.
According to the company,the adjustments are what makes most of their work special. To briefly run down these adjustments,they are:tone and volume adjustments for setting the pickups in relation to the tines, which insures that the volume across the keyboard is even and affects the amount of overtone you'll hear in the sound;a striking line adjustment which makes sure that all the hammers are striking the tines at the optimum point(this is done by moving the harp of the piano); damper and sustain adjustmentswhich affect the action,to make sure that all the dampers rese and fall at the same time;checking the tines and tweaking the rest of the instrument; and finally tuning it.

The Percussion Pedal.
The Percussion Pedal mod lets you move the harp of the piano with a knee lever. Moving the Harp in turn changes the position of where the hammers strike the tines, which then changes the way the tines vibrate and gives you varying degrees of timbral alteration.It makes the Rhodes sound like chimes, steel drums and things like that. The effect is beautiful,and things like that. The effect is beautiful,especially when heard through a good amp that lets the overtones ring out clearly.
The knee lever mechanism attaches to the piano via a screw. Its position isadjustable so that you van be comfortable using it. When the knee lever is pushed to the right by the player's left knee,it pulls on a piece of cycle cable, which pulls on a thumb screw, which is attached to the harp,which moves. yhe knee lever itself is bare metal,and you might want to pad it so you don't accidentally bang your knee.The cycle cable thumb screw attaches to the harp through a hole in the front of the instrument. On the instrument we had for review,the sheath that fits around the cycle cable came loose in transit, and boy,did it send us scratching our heads trying to figure out what was wrong. Once we figured out that the cycle cable was the problem,it was simple to tighten it up and get things working again.
Whenever you move the piano,you've got to be sure to replace two screws that hold the harp in place;otherwise it'll get out of adjustment. Dyno My conveniently puts two holdes on the inside of the piano where you can keep these two harp lock screws.Make sure to replace these screws when moving the piano,and likewise, be sure to remove them when you want to use the Percussion Pedal.
One thing that happens when you change the position of the hammers on the tines is that you get a drop in volume. To combat this, the modification incorporates a slide pot that moves when you move the harp with the Percussion Pedal.If you have the volume controls on the equalizer set in a certain way you won't hear any volume change at when you move the harp.If they're set a different way, you'llget a volume swell when you strike a chord and then move the lever- which can be used in interesting ways, but if you don't want that effect,it can drive you nuts.Again,it all gets back to how you set the volume controls on the equalizer.

The Equalizer.
The Percussion Pedal comes with an equalizer that's built into the front panel of the Rhodes. You can also buy just the equalizer without the Percussion Pedal. The unit has two double rotary pots on it. The first of these is for adjusting the volume of the instrument. The first of these is for adjusting the volume of the instrument. The center ring is labelled Normal.The outer ring is labelled Volume. The Normal control is for setting the volume of the unfiltered Rhodes sound.The pot labelled Volume is for setting the overall dynamic range of the filters.Playing with the settings of these two controls lets you adjust the relative balance between the normal unfiltered appears after the equalizer tone controls.The other concentric dual pot is for setting the levels of the bass boost(center pot)and the overtones(outer pot). The fundamental and bass frequencies of the overtone content of the sound are controlled by the Overtone pot.
The Equalizer runs off of two 9-volt transistor radio batteries. It can also run off of AC power via a calculator-type adapter.The Dyno My people recommend using NiCad batteries because they can be recharged, and the AC power adapter will recharge the batteries whenever they aren't being used and the piano is plugged in.If you don't use NiCads and you are using the adapter with some other type of 9-volt battery, the adapter will still help make the standard batteries last a little longer than normal.There is an LED for indicating when the batteries are running down,a swith for selecting between off,batteries, or AC power,and an input jack for the calculator-type adapter.It would have been nice to have seen a more durable kind of jack used in the latter case, but the argument can be made that having an adapter you can buy in almost any department store or electronics supply house is better than having a non-standard adapter that's hard to replace if it breaks.One thing about the batteries is that the clips for holding them in place are down inside the Rhodes in such a position that they're fiendishly hard to get at. But this is understandabel,given that we're talking about modifications that have to fit onto an already existing instrument.

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