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I Picked up the Wurlitzer 4500!!!!

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  • I Picked up the Wurlitzer 4500!!!!

    $60 plus $5 tip to move it.

    It actually appears to work for the most part!

    It sounds a lot better now that I had some time to fiddle with the settings. Is there a way to
    save the user settings? (I will take photos of favorite settings for now)

    The Spectratone actually works. The rubber band is a bit loose, but it
    still rotates the speakers. However, the speakers are rubbing against the bottom of the organ,
    so you hear this scraping sound as the speakers rotate.

    I wish I had removed the front legs first, as the movers cracked the wood slightly, but they are mainly
    for looks anyways. Also, I wish I noticed what appear to be retractable handles on the back!

    The volume swell pedal is scratchy, and one key doesn't play, so will have to fix that. I would
    imagine it's like the Wah-wah pedals: contact cleaner will not be enough. I should probably
    replace the pots......there are two, right?

    The reverb isn't the greatest, but it will do for now.

    Surprisingly, the slow cathedral rotation makes for a pretty useful voice.

    How can I tell if the electrolytics need to be replaced on this unit or not?

  • #2
    Congratulations.
    A production date of 1989 on electrolytic caps or earlier indicates rubber seals of that age, the older the worse. YYWW where year is 19YY. oriental brand capacitors are probably after 1990, although the really cheap 500 hour ones can go in five years. Oriental brands have a one digit date code YWW; after ten years you are supposed to throw away the system and buy a new one. Certain panasonic, nichicon,rubicon, high hour service life series have been in production many years, you can sometimes download a datasheet on those from a vendor and confirm you have long life ones.
    A standard thread on identifying electrolytic caps is this one: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...146#post280146 Ignore the connector verbage in that one, Wurlitzer 4500's have much more substantial connectors than post 1970 organs.
    I think you will find that just because outdated electrolytic caps haven't failed and leaked fluid, doesn't mean they aren't impacting the proper sound of the organ. You cana buy a $149 capacitance and ESR checker, along with a $700 environmental chamber and timer to run the test on them after days of full voltage at 80 deg C and 0 deg C. Or you can look at the production date versus the calender and just change them. Or you can do what 99.9% of owners do, complain about this vile sounding primitive *** and buy a new imported digital keyboard, or play it sounding stupid.
    The keys are supposed to roll up from the contacts as a unit with a latch, I haven't tried it. Wurli 4500 contacts are allegedly silver plate and pretty thick at that, I'd try a pink pearl eraser followed by a lint friee alcohol rub for cleaning. I have rolled the straf unit up by unlatching up, the design is pretty slick.
    I'd wiggle the bearings on the spectrasonic arm to see if they are loose. If so the other thread tells you where to buy the bearing and slip ring.
    Old 1960's pots probably have a thicker carbon track than new pots, I'd try to clean them first. I'm not sure the 4500 has a pedal volume pot. I just spent 15 minutes with the schematic, and I can't find the volume control on either the amp page or the straf page. There is a lamp-photocell arrangement associated with the spectorsonic speaker, but I think it is for speed switching.
    I believe I warned you about the front legs. It falls over without them.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by indianajo View Post
      Congratulations.
      A production date of 1989 on electrolytic caps or earlier indicates rubber seals of that age, the older the worse. YYWW where year is 19YY. oriental brand capacitors are probably after 1990, although the really cheap 500 hour ones can go in five years. Oriental brands have a one digit date code YWW; after ten years you are supposed to throw away the system and buy a new one. Certain panasonic, nichicon,rubicon, high hour service life series have been in production many years, you can sometimes download a datasheet on those from a vendor and confirm you have long life ones.
      A standard thread on identifying electrolytic caps is this one: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...146#post280146 Ignore the connector verbage in that one, Wurlitzer 4500's have much more substantial connectors than post 1970 organs.
      I think you will find that just because outdated electrolytic caps haven't failed and leaked fluid, doesn't mean they aren't impacting the proper sound of the organ. You cana buy a $149 capacitance and ESR checker, along with a $700 environmental chamber and timer to run the test on them after days of full voltage at 80 deg C and 0 deg C. Or you can look at the production date versus the calender and just change them. Or you can do what 99.9% of owners do, complain about this vile sounding primitive *** and buy a new imported digital keyboard, or play it sounding stupid.
      The keys are supposed to roll up from the contacts as a unit with a latch, I haven't tried it. Wurli 4500 contacts are allegedly silver plate and pretty thick at that, I'd try a pink pearl eraser followed by a lint friee alcohol rub for cleaning. I have rolled the straf unit up by unlatching up, the design is pretty slick.
      I'd wiggle the bearings on the spectrasonic arm to see if they are loose. If so the other thread tells you where to buy the bearing and slip ring.
      Old 1960's pots probably have a thicker carbon track than new pots, I'd try to clean them first. I'm not sure the 4500 has a pedal volume pot. I just spent 15 minutes with the schematic, and I can't find the volume control on either the amp page or the straf page. There is a lamp-photocell arrangement associated with the spectorsonic speaker, but I think it is for speed switching.
      I believe I warned you about the front legs. It falls over without them.

      Ok, thanks much for the info.

      First things first: I've got to stop the rotating speakers from scrapping! Very irritating! The bearings do not seem loose.

      Could I just trim some of the metal off the speaker assembly? Or is the bottom board warping upwards? How can I push it
      back down? It doesn't seem to budge...

      Edit: Nevermind! I just cut a piece of wood shim, and slipped it under the Spectrasonic assembly. no more scrapping!

      This thing is sounding better and better as I tweak it! DEFINITELY WORTH IT.

      One step closer to organ heaven!
      Last edited by Paul789; 04-26-2014, 04:20 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok, the high G on the lower manual is still silent.

        How do I access the silver contacts, to clean them with pink eraser and alcohol?

        Also, the reverb sounds like a really bad version of the spring reverb units you get
        on Peavey Bandit 65. Is there someway to improve/restore its sound?
        Last edited by Paul789; 04-26-2014, 04:52 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Congratulations on the scraping. I warned you about the rubber motor mounts, there are also rubber mounts between the whole assy and the bottom of the case. 50 year old rubber mounts.
          I've had the straf unit up (the rail with the tab switches on it.) You take the back rail off removing obvious screws, then remove the top by some more obvious screws. Then there are a couple of latches on the side, you undo those and the straf unit rolls up out of the way, from the front with the horizontal mount rail being on the back..
          I would presume, that since someone said the keys lift up, that you find some more latches and roll the UM keys up (from the front), then the LM keys. Bit I haven't gone that far. On the Hammond you have to remove a screw from the back of every key and start at one end and work towards the middle. Somebody said it wasn't that hard on the 4500. Search using bing, organforum.com:"Wurlitzer 4500" and look for a really old post. Google will give you one OF result before they dive off into advertising about other organs, has been my recent experience.
          Then you can always call Morelock's on Monday. Paul0557 may chime in, he owned one, but he doesn't spend much time here anymore.
          On the reverb, e-caps is my remote diagnosis. They are everywhere in this design. After replacing the driver e-cap (it didn't work at first) the spring reverb in my H100 sounded fine (same technology and probably same tank supplier) but comes and goes depending on whether the grid of the E86 tube is making contact at 25 mv. The 4500 is a hard soldered transistor, a better design.
          Note plastic transistors in a 4500 are ECB from the flat side, unlike old TO92 that are EBC and new TO92 that are BCE. Somebody said these are not the most reliable transistors in the world, but they had replaced two of them, which I would accept as okay for a 50 year old product.
          city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

          Comment


          • #6
            Ok, Deoxit seemed to work very well on the volume pot. I say "pot", because the second pot was sealed, and
            not easily sprayed on the inside.

            Interestingly, the little side switch in the volume pedal WORKS! This is the switch that allows you to create a modent
            type sound, toggling 1/2 step down.

            For the most part, this 4500 appears to work decently for such an old instrument....Will research e-caps on reverb and
            get back to you.....BEEN A BUSY DAY!!! :-)

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, I'm really enjoying this organ!! Thanks to everyone here for cajoling me on
              to pick it up! I can't believe they were going to throw this in the trash!

              Ok, another issue: The volume swell pedal is a bit loose, and will slowly
              move forward, to a louder position, so I need to tighten the screws for the
              pedal. But how do you take the pedal assembly out? It appears to be screwed
              into the floor of the organ, but there is no obvious way to get it out.

              Can I tighten the screws without taking the assembly out? Doesn't look easy.....

              Comment


              • #8
                Never had the swell pedal out. But from the state of the rubber mounts on the spectrasonic, I would bet there is a missing rubber washer involved somewhere. Rubber makes a great variable gap tensioning device, for about thirty years.
                You had the top off yet? this thing is supposed to unload components from the top, I gather, from my adventure taking out the spectrasonic speaker, and looking how the straf unit (tab filter rack) swings away. The case bottom and sides are pretty well stuck together permanently, as I couldn't get to the spinning in the wood spectrasonic mount nuts that way.
                Note I make random rubber parts from old bits of innertube and belts and stuff. Old truck spring bumper blocks I find by the side of the road when I walk around, and old shock absorber washers. Rubber drills a lot better with flat wood bits, instead of twist drill bits. Drills better with a soft wood block under it, too. For thin sheet rubber, there is a set of gasket punches at the import tool bazaars. Rubber cuts best with a hand crosscut saw, not a power saw and nothing finer than 10 tpi.
                You could also make a slotted shim like a metal front suspension shim, out of felt, and stuff it in the gap on the swell pedal shaft. You could sew the end together after you stuffed it in.
                city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by indianajo View Post
                  Never had the swell pedal out. But from the state of the rubber mounts on the spectrasonic, I would bet there is a missing rubber washer involved somewhere. Rubber makes a great variable gap tensioning device, for about thirty years.
                  You had the top off yet? this thing is supposed to unload components from the top, I gather, from my adventure taking out the spectrasonic speaker, and looking how the straf unit (tab filter rack) swings away. The case bottom and sides are pretty well stuck together permanently, as I couldn't get to the spinning in the wood spectrasonic mount nuts that way.
                  Note I make random rubber parts from old bits of innertube and belts and stuff. Old truck spring bumper blocks I find by the side of the road when I walk around, and old shock absorber washers. Rubber drills a lot better with flat wood bits, instead of twist drill bits. Drills better with a soft wood block under it, too. For thin sheet rubber, there is a set of gasket punches at the import tool bazaars. Rubber cuts best with a hand crosscut saw, not a power saw and nothing finer than 10 tpi.
                  You could also make a slotted shim like a metal front suspension shim, out of felt, and stuff it in the gap on the swell pedal shaft. You could sew the end together after you stuffed it in.

                  Ok, so I assume you would recommend that I try to replace the rubber in the Spectrasonic, instead of just leaving
                  wood shims under the assembly, right? The shims are only meant for temporary fix, so I can enjoy the organ immediately.
                  Also, although the rubber band is loose, it still rotates the speakers, albeit with a delay. I assume if I got a new, tighter
                  band, that the speed would change more quickly, right?

                  Another issue: My legs are short! Do people with short legs make custom organ seats that are a bit closer to the
                  pedals? Like just 2-3" shorter for the bench, and I think it would be much more comfy, and the keys would be
                  in better reach, and the manuals will still be at a good position (they won't be too high). Are there professional
                  organists who have custom made seats for themselves? Or are they adjustable organ seats, like the piano ones?

                  It seems silly to think there would be a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to organ chair height!!!

                  :-P

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The professional organist over at St Paul's in New Albany IN is about 6' 4" tall. When I took my one pipe organ lesson too see if my legs were too short to reach the pedals, he had two hymnals stacked under each corner of the bench.
                    I have a 28" inseam and can just barely play AGO pedals, it seems. That is with the hymnals removed.
                    I do fine on the 25 pedals of the Hammond H100. I would presume the 4500 would be exactly the same, but since mine is unrestored I haven't tried it yet. With the price of 25 pedal organ benchs being what they are, feel free to cut the legs down. However, most organists buy a special set of "organ shoes" to play pedals, so perhaps you would like some with a thicker sole. I'm using moccasins made in Indiana at the moment due to my annoyance at everything being made in the orient by serfs, but they are a serious nuisance to put on and take off. I've seen on TV, Diane Bish, who is rather small, plays in high heels.
                    I have a 30" shirt sleeve, and can reach 2 manuals fine. I have serious doubts about reaching a third manual conveniently, so I haven't bought one of those. Neither will I be putting a modern keyboard on top if the organ case and playing the synth solos up there. Not without standing up. I'm having real difficulty finding new clothes these days that are small enough for me, and if you have shorter limbs I sympathize. It is a 3 hour bus trip over to the next county to get pants hemmed, and it takes two trips to get it done.
                    My paragraph about the rubber washer was specifically in reference to the looseness of the swell pedal. If you actually make rubber toroids for your spectrasonic mount, it may save some vibrations from being transmitted to the wood case.
                    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK! I finally figured out how to lift the top and the keys up, exposing the contacts.

                      WOW! Hardcore design! Now some questions:

                      1) The contacts for each key are very thin, delicate wires. I will have to straighten the wires of one key
                      that does not play, in order to get it working again, but I'm afraid to touch the others. Should I just
                      spray Deoxit on each wire, and the corresponding contact for each? The pink eraser might be ok on the
                      rail contact, but not a good idea on the delicate wires.

                      2) Although all the voice/stop tabs seem to work, I'm thinking I should hit all of them with a squirt of
                      Deoxit, and work the switches vigorously, just to be sure they are ALL clean. Good idea?

                      3) Most of the electrolytics I could see where labeled: 6726, 6802, 6734, etc. So by the other
                      thread, I assume they were made in 1967-1968. However, using my Russian ESR-Micro V4.0s meter,
                      some of the 100uF, 25V caps were normal, and had around 0.30 Ohms of ESR. Some of the
                      10uF and 5uF caps also read normal. The organ has some inconsistencies along each manual,
                      but it doesn't sound too bad. Is it possible 47 year old electrolytics are still good? Or am I missing
                      something here? Someone suggested it's best to replace caps in small batches. If so, what e-caps
                      should I replace first, that would give me the greatest bang for the buck, or have the greatest
                      effect on tone? The e-caps just behind the stop tabs?

                      4) Someone mentioned that a symptom of bad power supply e-caps is excessive humming. My
                      unit hums a little, but it's not what I would say is bad humming. How much is too much humming?

                      5) I removed the cassette recorder, because I'm not going to use it. However, it dawned on me
                      that there has to be a line-level going to the recorder. There were like 4 wires, but I'm sure it's
                      at most a stereo signal (left, right, ground), or maybe even a mono signal. I'm thinking of drilling
                      a hole, and adding a stereo 1/4" female jack, or perhaps two RCAs, so that I can record the
                      direct signal digitally, and not have to mic the speakers for recording.

                      6) Each key has a screw on it, to adjust when the contacts touch. This is similar to the "lost motion"
                      adjustment on my spinet piano. Should I try to adjust these as close as possible? Unfortunately,
                      if I adjust one of them, I have to adjust all of them. They seem ok where they are, so perhaps it's
                      best not to mess with them...

                      Thanks everyone for any advice......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paul789 View Post
                        there has to be a line-level going to the recorder. There were like 4 wires, but I'm sure it's
                        at most a stereo signal (left, right, ground), or maybe even a mono signal. I'm thinking of drilling
                        a hole, and adding a stereo 1/4" female jack, or perhaps two RCAs, so that I can record the
                        direct signal digitally, and not have to mic the speakers for recording.
                        There's probably a separate ground for each channel that ties to the shield of the audio cable for that channel. I'd just run them to the twin RCA jacks and this would be an excellent line out for recording or remote amplification.
                        Roland Atelier AT-90s, AT-80s, AT-70, 30, and 15. Roland VR-760 combo
                        Yamaha S-90, Kurzweil PC-3x, Casio Privia PX-330, Roland E-80, G-70, BK-5, Leslie 760, 820
                        Moved on:
                        Allen 3MT/Hauptwerk, Technics GA1, Yamaha HX1, AR80, numerous Hammonds, including 2 M's, an L, 2 A-100's, XP-2, XM-1/1c, & an XK-3. Roland Atelier AT-30, 60r, 80, & 20r(2 units), and a slew of Leslies (147, 142, 760, 900, 330).
                        Korg Triton Le-61, Casio Privia PX-310 & 110, and Kurzweils: PC-2x, SP-88, Pro-III, K1000

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          IIRC you have to get to the underside of the console to remove the expression pedal assy.

                          mike
                          If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You're on beyond Zebra (to quote Dr Seuss) on your contacts and ESR meter. Do what you think is best. If the wires are actually silver and black, I'd do something to make the black go away. Not silver polish, it has insulating dust in it. I'm not as convinced about deoxit as others, I suspect it has cramolyn in it (the MDSD says propretary) and techs have been suspicious that it both removes and causes corrosion since I started work in the seventies. Deoxit has great fast action, you'll need to use it again in a few years, is my suspicion. Was it field tech Schwetfuhrer or Kovac that told me, if you use cramolyn, you'll be back in that module next year to use it again? The cramolyn cleaner source is bankrupt, who knows?
                            It is possible your bad key has a later bad connection after the key contact. I'd check the key contact DC voltage wise versus the others on-off before I closed the keyboard back up. If there is still a problem I'd trace the wire by pulling on it. I have a key wiring diagram but it is inscrutable. Be careful pulling that huge connector block apart, 50 year old PVC is fragile. I'd be tempted to wire around it if there is a problem.
                            I would use the ESR meter, if you don't actually have to remove the caps to get a good reading, to focus my efforts on the the ones that are bad. But remember, like tires made in 1967, the rubber is not effective at holding the water in against heat of operation.
                            The couple of caps at a time routine is to focus your eyes on what mistakes you just made. Actually, change any part one at a time was my associate Harville's wise rule. Modules that have plugs, you don't pay a penalty to unsolder and resolder the chassis in again.
                            You sure the ESR part of the reading isn't sneaking around the transistor part of the circuit? Transistors leak, is my opinion when trying to measure resistance in circuit. Some circuits you can measure resistance in circuit, some circuits you can't until you isolate the resistor from the transistor.
                            If you try to look at the bottom of the organ, use some serious landscape timbers to set it up on. I did that and thought I saw a big plank of hard maple that everything was screwed to from the top, but I may be wrong. I would suspect the expression pedal is quite accessible from the back if you remove the power amps and supplies down there. Mark your harnesses with tape and a sharpie, there are a lot of similar plugs. The chassis sockets are marked, but the function of the destination of the harness is not as obvious to me as it would be to a Wurlitzer factory assembler.
                            I measured and the pedal-keyboard distance on the 4500 is longer than the distance on the Hammond H100. So thick soled shoes may be in order here. Organ shoes have especially narrow soles; I've been thinking of cutting down soles of junk shoes and glueing/screwing them to loafers, instead of relying on the efforts of former farmers in a foreign shoe factory that work 90 hours per week for a 32 sq ft shelf in the in the dorm and their own TV. A bench grinder wire brush is good for making fine adjustments to the size and shape of rubber blocks.
                            Last edited by indianajo; 04-28-2014, 09:59 AM.
                            city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mashaffer View Post
                              IIRC you have to get to the underside of the console to remove the expression pedal assy.

                              mike

                              That appears to be true, but it turns out you don't have to remove the pedal assy
                              to tighten the pedal action. There is a screw that holds a friction plate to the assembly,
                              that you can reach with a crescent wrench under the front of the volume pedal.

                              My pedal is quite firm and tight now! I incorrectly thought that the tightness
                              was adjusted by the two bolts on the side of the pedal, but after tightening them,
                              I realized they didn't increase friction at all.

                              Thank God I didn't have to lean this monster against the wall!!!! haha!

                              Comment

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