1966 Wurlitzer 140B electronic piano

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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!

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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).

This model does not have a line-level output jack to use with an external amp.  There are mods that can be done to add one, but I did not want to alter the piano.  So, I  got one of these Radial ProRMP reamp boxes.prormp-34-right-768x812

I now take the output  from the headphone jack on the piano to the box, and out to my Twin Reverb.  This works beautifully.  The internal amp and speaker have a beautiful mellow sound. But running it through the Twin Reverb gives it a nasty, metallic sound — and adds a lot of bark.  It’s almost like having two different electric pianos.  I like both sound options.

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 those who have played both instruments tend to prefer the solid state amp. It sounds excellent to me. It’s one AMAZING piano!

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23 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.

      1. I also have an old Wurlitzer – Model 140B. Serial number is #37184. I always thought it was from around 1974 – but it could be older than that. Thanks!

        1. Greg:

          They stopped making the 140B in the late 1960s. My best guess based on your serial number is that it was built in about 1967. (A “Summer of Love” piano?) 😉

          Alan

          1. Thanks for getting back to me on that Alan. I “inherited” it from my mom way back then. I’m sure that your guess is better than mine – and yes, the summer of love!

  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

  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 !

    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

      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

      1. For the record, all the 140Bs had solid state amps. The identical piano with a tube amp was identified as a model 145B. But over 50 years, it’s always possible that someone swapped an amp from another piano.

  4. I have Wurlitzer 140 b like the one pictured above that I’d like to sell. Do you know of anyone who might be interested?

    1. Yes, I know several people who might be interested. Price? Location? Condition? Do you have accessories? (Legs? Bench? Pedal? Transport cover? ) Contact me by email: alan.lenhoff AT G Mail DOT COM. Photos would help, too, including one of the serial number plate.

  5. Hello. I have a wurli 140b in exellent condition. I would like to sell it. If anyone interested you can contact me. Thanks

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