What’d Ray Charles say?
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.
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!
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!