I've decided I'd like to get a player piano. Eventually, I want a player piano that can play BOTH rolls and discs, though I'm willing to start out with a roll-only instrument and add the modern player system later.
I currently have a restored early 1920s Starr grand piano in my living room. The Starr does not have a roll player mechanism (such as Ampico or Duo-Art). It would be next to impossible to retrofit a roll player to a grand, so...
It looks like the most practical option for me is to find a full-size (52"+) upright piano that has a roll player, and then add a modern solenoid system that is compatible with an upright (such as QRS PNOmation II or PianoForce).
So I scanned the current Craiglist options nearby and found a handful of player pianos for sale.
The first piano I checked out was listed as a "Duo-Art" upright player. Unfortunately, this was a 1960s-era 40" console that carried the "Duo-Art" brand, not a 1920s vintage 52" upright with Duo-Art player. It was also poorly-maintained (very out-of-tune and electric portion of player didn't work). Asking price was $600 (down from $1,100). So I passed, as I can get an unrestored / unmaintained 52" for a third of that asking price.
Over the next few days I'll be looking at three 52" uprights, one with an electrified player; the other two are unknown (may be manual-only).
Any advice on brands / what to look for to ensure that the piano I select can be retrofitted with a solenoid system (PNOmation II or PianoForce)?
I don't have to rush, so if I exhaust all the local options, I can keep looking until I find what I really want.
I do understand that pianos of this vintage will likely require some repair/restoration work, both to the piano and the roll player. I also know that this project does NOT make sense from a financial / resale-value perspective (as in - I may shell out $4K-$6K over the next few years to acquire, repair, and enhance with a modern player, only to have an instrument that is worth at most $5K).
To start out, I'd like to find something that can hold a tune, has a reasonable action for manual playing, and the player is in basic working condition (maybe not optimal, but usable). Most likely, if it's a 1920s upright, it would have had some restoration in the 1960s or 1970s. (A piano that has not had any string / action maintenance in 80-90 years is likely not even playable today.)
Any thoughts / advice on how to proceed?
I will update this thread as I look at pianos, select one, and make the journey toward repairs, restoration, and upgrading.