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#1219053 - 06/18/09 09:31 AM 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions
jbcobbs Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 6
I just purchased a 1926 Knabe Ampico Baby Grand Ser # 99762. The piano seems to work great and the body is in great shape. The player end of things is not working. Everything is pumping away but visually the keys only slightly depress and ultimately making no sound. Ive read previous posts about not bothering to fix these but I was wondering if there were any simple troubleshooting steps that I can take to try and Identify problems. The piano had been refurbished at some point, all the tubes look fairly new. Some of the smaller tubes were not plugged in, possibly dislodged from the move maybe? It seems like I put them back in the logical place but there is one tube that Im unsure about. Its got a splitter in it and There were some male ends that they fit into but all the other tubes going into the same area dont have splitters.

#1220047 - 06/20/09 11:48 AM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: jbcobbs]
Greg Seagraves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 63
Loc: Lawrenceville, GA
If it was rebuilt in the 70s there are many components that could have deterioated by now. You need to have a player man look at it.

#1220138 - 06/20/09 03:28 PM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: Greg Seagraves]
Eric J Shoemaker Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/09
Posts: 4
Undoubtedly and starting with, the tubing connections are wrong. Doesn't matter how close you think you are, if one hose is misrouted it will consequently throw off everything else after the first incorrect connection! You will get nowhere fast without a schematic and test roll to get the plumbing in the proper place. Now, if everything else is in tact ( only if hell will freeze up) it should play perfectly. Go to MMD.org site and look up "techical" then click on Ampico trackerbar scale etc etc.
This is potentially one hell of a great reproducing piano. But very complicated.

#1220293 - 06/20/09 10:16 PM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: Eric J Shoemaker]
jbcobbs Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 6
Yea - Im pretty sure there are some things out of place. The tubes themselves from an unprofessionals point of view look like they are all in great shape. The bellows I really dont know what a deteriorated one would look like but they look like there are no holes or anything. Eric, mmd.org looks defunct, do you have another link?

#1227426 - 07/05/09 04:23 PM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: jbcobbs]
pianolamike Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/21/09
Posts: 5
Loc: England / France.
Hello. Did you get any further with your Ampico problem? I've only just seen this topic. I would suggest, having owned and restored several Ampicos, that if the keys are trying to move but no notes are sounding then the tubing cannot be far from correct. Try putting a roll on to play, make sure that all four spoolbox switches are in the correct position (all pointing away from the piano), then press down both of the black expression buttons next to the motor switch. Does the piano then play? Knabe Ampico grands are very good instruments, and you shouldn't give up! Mike.

#1231312 - 07/14/09 08:39 AM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: pianolamike]
conn650 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 2
Loc: CNY
Hi All -new here. Knabe baby grand with an Ampico A ser. # 101784.Just assesing the last rebuild and replacing the celluloid governor slide plate that has deteriorated. Looks like some of the expression tubing is not conected corectly. Anyone have a tubing schematic ? What is the best way to get a air-tite seal on the take-up spool rewind hole ?
Thanks Dale

#1232979 - 07/17/09 02:20 PM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: conn650]
Greg Seagraves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 63
Loc: Lawrenceville, GA
Remove the take up spool and take the bearing out of the left end and take the series on leaher gaskets out. If they are in decent shape, clean them and then apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to each one before reinstalling.
Clean the bearing in mineral spirits.
Dont forget to replace the leather piece on the takeup spool that the roll covers up.

#1236639 - 07/24/09 03:37 PM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: pianolamike]
jbcobbs Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 6
Thanks for the advice Mike. When I take your suggestions, The keys go down a little more but still not enough to make sound. I went ahead and illustrated problems or issues i can see visually and posted it here. http://www.cobbsfriedman.com/piano.jpg - Let me know if anyone has any ideas. Thanks.

#1239405 - 07/29/09 02:48 AM Re: 1926 Knabe Ampico Newbie Questions [Re: jbcobbs]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi jbcobbs,

I just read your post here.....usually in a case like this, you are going to have to get the problems assessed by a player piano tech. For example, if the stack and valves have never been rebuilt, you are going to have many small air leaks, so it will not matter IF you could get the tubing corrected, and that's not including the expression pneumatics and pump.......as the leaks in the stack and the valves will never allow it to play properly let alone the other parts I mentioned. Sorry to be so negative, but this happens a lot with these old pneumatic players.

I am betting that you will need a complete rebuild of the player system to get it to operate correctly, just a guess though.

I have read folks trying to do the rebuild themselves...if you are mechanically inclined, you might be able to do it....a good book for that is by Art Reblitz called "Player Piano Servicing and Rebuilding."

If you do decide on a tech to take a look at it, contact the AMICA folks, as they may be able to recommend some techs in your area. www.amica.org


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