The secret to the best sound lies in the quality of your hammer tips. We've designed our hammer tips for real durability, great sound quality and maximum playability.
Graduated Hammer Tips
Our graduated hammer tips are custom made for use in any Rhodes or Fender Rhodes piano. It is an unfortunate reality that all Rhodes piano hammer tips wear out at some point. They become grooved and as a result, tone is lost. The deeper the grooves on a hammer tip, the greater the negative impact on the strikeline; and in turn, the duller the sound. This is why it is important to replace hammer tips at the appropriate time in the pianos life.
Graduated tips are graduated in height, which means they offer an immediate escapement without changing the height of the harp. As a side note, you should always ensure your escapement by whatever means possible! Graduated tips also have the hardest durometer out of all of our tips. This means they will have the brightest sound and the most articulation. There is more of an immediate overtone associated with these tips.
Vintage Vibe uses these tips on our Vintage Vibe piano. We would recommend these tips for any year piano but particularly on any piano post 1976.
Besides grooving, hammer tip hardness (or durometer) changes over time. The correct hardness of each section of tips is imperative to an even scale, this is why replacing tips is high on the list when restoring.
Graduated hammer tips inside a Vintage Vibe Piano
Square Hammer Tips
Neoprene hammer tips have always been recognized and distributed by Rhodes and various aftermarket companies by color code. This started in 1970-1971 after Fender Rhodes changed from felt to neoprene. The colors Red, Green, Yellow and White denote varying ranges of rubber density (or Durometer) and where the different tips are placed on the piano’s hammers. Since then, tips have always been referred to by color. We have embarked on bringing the true original square hammer tip back with the same hardnesses and colors.
The colored variation are not quite as firm as the black variation which results in a very warm character. If you are looking for that sound these tips will please. The black variation also sound great and are recommended for pianos in the '71 - '75 era. They have a nice round creamy tone and will do justice to all Fender Rhodes pianos.
Our Vintage Series neoprene hammer tips are all the same height (3/8") and with a range of five different hardnesses.
Square tips inside a 1972 Fender Rhodes Stage Piano
We are offering a full line of square neoprene tips in the classic color palate or natural black.
Angled Hammer Tips
The newest of the Vintage Series tips to come along; Vintage Vibe original hybrid hammer tips are made with the best of both worlds in mind. Classic square hammer tips crossed with angled graduated tips. Angled tips are consistent in durometer with the square tips which results in a warm yet articulate tone. The angle creates a more precise strike point on the tine as well as allowing clearance for tine sway. They feature a beveled tip, 3/8” height and are also available in the classic color palate or natural black.
Felt Hammer Tips
Going back to circa 1969-1970, Fender Rhodes pianos were built with square felt hammer tips before going to neoprene tips. The reason Fender changed to neoprene was because the felt tips wore out over time. Although this holds some weight, the tone that the felt tips produced was warm and creamy and not replicated by the neoprene tips.
A uniquely warm early Fender Rhodes tone is achievable by installing felt hammer tips alongside performing a proper set up. Our Vintage Series felt hammer tips come in different densities to properly accent the various ranges of your piano’s scale.
The Vintage Series felt hammer tip kit includes a set of hammer tips, glue and felt hardener (the hardener allows for custom hardness applications and includes an application brush.)
Vintage Vibe replacement tear drop hammers are custom made for the 1960's silver sparkle top and student space age models in mind. These teardrop style hammers can be used in any old Fender Rhodes piano. They are custom measured tapered and bored in our shop. These tips are sold as a set or installed with new hammers and bridle straps.
Wood Core Hammer Tips
Vintage Vibe offers two types of wood core tips for repairs and restorations both are well suited for all Fender Rhodes pianos.
Molded Wood Core Hammer Tips
Molded tips are made with a cavity mold where rubber is injected around a wood core then cut to size. These tips are made quicker and inexpensively compared to custom tips through this molding process. These tips in height are 0.50” tall and 3/8th wide. They are an economical choice and they sound great. We have been making these molded tips for years as well as using them. We have sold over 100,000 of these tips.
Custom Hand Wrapped Tips
Custom hand made tips start with rock maple wood then goes through the process of shaping the wood core to size. The two layers of rubber are wrapped around individually and shrunk to fit. The each piece is cut to size. These tips are 0.375" in height, which is 3/8th" tall and 3/8th" wide. We also make a slightly taller wood core tip that is 7/16" tall x 3/8th wide. The idea of having two different heights of wood core tips is to have the ultimate flexibility when dealing with escapement.
Custom 3/8th" wrapped tips allow for a more consistent escapement when using square hammer tips and angled hammer tips or when you find blocking in the upper range is interfering with a proper escapement. They have a unique tone that is somewhat softer than the molded tips but still have all the clarity you want. The same method and style Rhodes employed in their tips all through the years.