1966 Wurlitzer 140B electronic piano

  What’d Ray Charles say?

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This came into my collection in December 2013 in a very unlikely way:  It was listed on Craigslist at a location 200 miles from my house. The piano was mis-identified as a Wurlitzer 112.  And the seller was asking $3,000 for it.  But a few days later, after a long drive, it was mine for a reasonable price.

This was the last wooden Wurlitzer electric piano before the company decided to save money — and weight — by building the plastic-topped 200 series.  The 140B is, in my opinion, a high-water point for the Wurlitzer electric piano:  The best action and tone of any Wurli I’ve played, and optically controlled vibrato that will bring tears to your eyes. There are nuances in the sound that I don’t hear with the thicker reeds on my 200A, and hitting the keys a little harder rewards you with a very cool bark. I like the way it looks, too.

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And this was a very special one:  Virtually flawless cosmetically.  Complete with lid, pedal, music stand, legs and matching bench. And the seller even had a copy of the original schematics and a Wurlitzer warranty envelope with the the owner’s manual and, believe it or not, the original hang tag. Cool!

140B2

140B3

The downside of this model is that it is the heaviest portable Wurli EP ever built (not an issue for me, since I won’t be gigging with it). Its early solid state amp is also known for being noisy — and mine had some significant hum. But that’s gone since I re-built the amp (replacing the electrolytic caps, the high-value resistors, and subbing low-noise transistors for the originals).

The 140B had a near-twin, the 145B, which is identical except that it has a tube-type amp. Normally, you’d think a tube amp would be preferable, but I’ve been told that the tube amp makes the piano sound too bright. The solid state amp sounds excellent to me. It’s one AMAZING piano!

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11 thoughts on “1966 Wurlitzer 140B electronic piano

  1. This is FANTASTIC. Perfect piece!!!!!

    Alan, I am maintaining a page that documents every model of Wurli, and the early 60’s Wurlies are especially hard to pinpoint in terms of production. Since we know yours is from 1966, knowing its serial number could be incredibly helpful in terms of figuring out how many of these were produced each year. Can you help me? I put the link to the page in the details I filled out below, but you can also google “paleophone” and “a list” and it will come up.

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  2. Really nice! Thanks for your great pages. I’m in the market for a 140B or 145B now. If your music room is filling up & you see one that’s not an upgrade from your stuff, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks, PG

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  3. One of those magic and everlastingly remembered day today !
    Got a Wurlitzer 140 , serial number 25399 , bought from a musician in Paris.
    Well cleaned and fixed by another man 5 to…? years ago.
    Superb condition but a minor slight problem with the earphones exit plug. The sound just comes to one ear. But I know a professional in electronics to take a look at it soon !
    Otherwise, super sound, super speaker…..Super Piano !
    I am very happy, very lucky…And very grateful !!!…Even the sustain pedal , original one, functions perfectly ! What a piano !!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks everyone ! Thanks Wurlitzer !

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    1. Congratulations! Enjoy your new piano!

      It’s likely nothing is wrong with your piano’s headphone jack. The piano was built with a mono jack. If you plug in stereo headphones, the jack will only send a signal to one side of the headphones. There are three ways I can think of to fix this: 1) Your electronics pro could replace the jack in the piano with a stereo jack, and solder the mono output to both sides of the jack; 2) You could try to find some mono headphones; or 3) Buy an adapter like this: http://www.showmecables.com/product/1-4-IN-Stereo-Jack-to-Mono-Plug-Adapter.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=963&gclid=Cj0KEQiAt9vEBRDQmPSow-q5gs8BEiQAaWSEDsU9M-2y71KAtuqqf6pIuLNZDCNHsE7DsueRiCaZKmEaAn1c8P8HAQ

      #3 is quick, easy and cheap — and would be my suggestion.

      Alan

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      1. Thanks Alan !
        Thanks very much for what you are doing with referencing those wonderful instruments !
        I was asking myself the same question ! 🙂
        Thank you for the advices ! It seems the #3 definitely will be tried , as I prefer to touch the inside of the piano as less as possible , as long as it is not absolutely needed !

        Anyway, feeling like entering in a family, I let you enjoy as I am going to !

        Let’s keep in contact !

        Benjamin

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