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#655909 - 12/04/07 02:20 PM Gulbransen Player 1928
rtgentry Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 1
Loc: Pleasanton
Hello everyone. I am brand new here. I just came across a 1928 Gulbransen player piano. Its got alot of problems. The backer tubes and brittle, the bellows are blown I think. There are many dead keys and hammers, loose wires ect.

I am thinking of getting it at the least, able to be played and sounding good. Then I would like to see if the player can be fixed.

I live near San Antonio Texas . Any suggestions?

It also came with a roll that looks like a stamped autograph and date of song is 1918. I dont know if that is the date of the roll though.

#655910 - 12/06/07 07:57 PM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
Greg Seagraves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 63
Loc: Lawrenceville, GA
What you have described is what we call an "unrestored player piano". Restoring the piano mechanism only can be a very involved project now because father time has really taken its toll on players. It's probably 90 years old and from what you described, nothing has ever been done to it.
The player can be restored. Gulbransen made 2 types of player mechanisms. one is a fairly routine rebuilding project. The other is a little on the nightmarish side We have done gulbransens as well as many other types of players. One thing I know based on your description, there is no one thing that is keeping the piano or player from working. Don't know if this was any help to you. contact us at inzerpianos@charter,net

#655911 - 12/12/07 01:52 PM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
Tom Tuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 246
Loc: Bainbridge, OH
At this late date any vintage player piano in original condition will require a complete rebuilding to work at all! A Gulbransen 'glued-together stack' would probably not be a good candidate for your first player job as putting one back together requires some deftness with hot hide glue. Properly repaired they play very well, but botched they work poorly if at all.

#655912 - 09/11/08 02:03 PM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
What sort of value is a good condition player piano worth? Are they worth reconditioning ? are they rare in the USA. I have heard of one in England that is very bad condition.Thanks

#655913 - 09/12/08 10:54 AM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
Greg Seagraves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 63
Loc: Lawrenceville, GA
As far as unrestored players being rare, yes they are however supply and demand determines the value of everything. Every week we have someone wanting to give us one for free. Most we turn down because of their rough condition. Now as to the value of a restored player piano I will tell you the same thing that I tell customers that are thinking about having their player piano rebuilt. We charge between $15,000-22,000 for restorations depending on what is done. For instance some people are happy with the way the original finish looks and don't want it refinished. Therefore the price is lower. There are some things that can be left off in the restoration process that do not effect the quality of the finished instrument.
Is it worth it -- is another question we are asked a lot. our answer is--if you want a restored player piano it is.
What can I sell it for? -- our answer is: Like it sits (unrestored) you may get a maximum of $400.00. once you spend $20,000 on it you might be able to get $400.00 for it. There are not that many people looking to buy a restored player piano. If you want an investment, call your stock broker. PIANOS ARE NOT AN INVESTMENT! If you want a player piano that will last for years of enjoyment then have it restored.
But xxxxx said they would restore it for $4000.00 Our answer: then let xxxx restore it. In the piano business the word restored is a very loosly used term. The deffinition of 'restored' depends on who you ar talking to. There is not a textbook defination of restored. To some blowing the dust out is restored.

#655914 - 09/14/08 02:07 AM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Thanks for your expert advice. I'm sure the points you explain are completely wise. I just have a sentimental feeling for such an instrument. I hate to see a musical instrument destroyed. But I understand your advice. The only problem is the shipping of such articles overseas. The matter of moving pianos in ones own country is vastly better than overseas.

Thanks and kind regards,

Alan (swingal)

#655915 - 02/15/09 06:17 PM Re: Gulbransen Player 1928
rossco309 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Sydney, Australia
HI, I have a 1928 Gulbransen Player Piano as well. I live in Sydney Australia. I inherited it from my grandfather when he died about 20 years ago. I borrowed a book from my local library "Rebuilding the Player Piano" and replaced all the small vaccuum tubes to each note, and also replaced all the larger vacuum tubes that I could reach without taking the bellows out. It is still working fine and I have about 120 rolls, some from the 30's & 40's and some more recent ones. If you are a handy man it may be worth having a go at it yourself without spending alot of money. All the best.


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