15 March 2014

Another Easy Fix for a Morley Pedal

I recently acquired a 1970s Morley MVO Wah Volume on eBay. It was listed as not working/for parts, so I got a good deal on it. Here is a picture of the pedal as it was when I bought it:

And here is a picture of the pedal as it was when I sold it:

There are three issues a non-working pedal can have, and the Morley WVO had two:
  • Mechanical: the treadle was loose and laid all the way forward. It moved freely like a treadle should, but flopped forward as soon as I took my foot off it. Also, the tolex flap inside the pedal that blocks the light came unstuck from the tape that holds it in place (see a brief description of how this works in my previous post at http://momentfx.blogspot.com/2014/03/simple-fix-for-1976-morley-pro-flanger.html).
  • Cosmetic (which is really only an issue if the plan is to resell the pedal, which I did): The chrome was decidedly dull and the treadle pad was dirty.
  • (The third issue is electrical, and this pedal had absolutely no problems in that respect.)

The first mechanical fix was the pedal, which was easy. I used a 5/16” wrench for the bolt and a 3/8” wrench for the nut and gave each a few slow turns. A plastic bushing maintains the friction required to hold the pedal in position. If you were to overtighten and crack the bushing, they are not specialty parts, so you could get one from any hardware store. Nonetheless, you should only tighten a little at a time and check for feel after a couple of slow turns.
The other mechanical fix was a little trickier, and I didn’t notice it until after making arrangements for a potential buyer to come look at it. The flap that blocks the light is made of tolex (fake leather made of vinyl and fabric), which had become stiff over the last thirty-some years. So rocking the treadle back and forth must have worked it loose from the tape that was holding it in place.

Because of the age of the pedal, I did not want to replace anything, even a piece of tape. So I took a length of double-sided tape and placed it along the edge of the tolex. I put it in place and pressed the original tape down on the tolex and it held. I was thus able to keep all of the original components of the pedal and the fix is invisible. I know it’s only a piece of tape, but I wasn’t sure at the time if the buyer was an avid collector or just someone who wanted the pedal for nostalgic reasons.
The cosmetic fix did not require any troubleshooting, but it did require some work. I used window cleaner for the chrome and a damp cloth over a screwdriver tip to clean every ridge in the treadle pad. After about a half hour, the pedal looked almost like new. Well, not new, but an old pedal that has been well taken care of.
I was able to resell this pedal on craigslist very quickly for a tidy profit. I probably could have gotten a bit more on eBay, but not having to pay fees or pack and ship the pedal was worth it. A bird in hand . . .
A few takeaways from this one:
  • Take the time to clean whatever your selling.
  • If the item only requires a few turns of a wrench to get it in working order, it’s worth the effort (and possibly the price of a wrench).
  • When selling a pedal, always give it a quick test before the seller comes. If I hadn’t, it would have been pretty awkward. He did not want to test it, so he would have gotten home, found out it didn’t work, and I would have looked foolish, if not dishonest. 
For more Morley maintenance and repair tips, as well as a brief history of Tel-Ray/Morley, check out this site: http://www.wingspreadrecords.com/morley_maintenance.htmlWarning: All text on that site is centered and occasionally red on a gray background. I had a bit of a headache by the time I was done reading it. However, I love the guy’s passion. People like that make the Internet a better place.