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#656101 - 10/09/08 11:55 AM Player piano questions - help!
mrsQpiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 3
Loc: North Brookfield, MA
Some people think I'm crazy because I've wanted an antique player
piano for years. Well, it looks like I may have one given to me that
is in decent shape. The only problem are the air bellows. Apparently
they need new fabric and because of the air leak it's harder to pedal.

I'm looking for a quote or price range as to how much this would cost
before I take the piano. Everything else works fine (the keys are
surprisingly nice and very similar to my Baldwin to the touch).

Help? Anyone?

Melissa Q.

#656102 - 10/10/08 02:15 AM Re: Player piano questions - help!
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2631
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Melissa,

Your best bet would be to contact a player piano restorer in your area so that they may look at the piano. Without a hands on approach, it's not easy to determine what needs to be done.

To restore an antique player piano is not an inexpensive endeavor, as most of the time they need a lot of work, especially if they have never had any restoration done.

#656103 - 10/10/08 02:42 AM Re: Player piano questions - help!
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23181
Loc: Oakland
Most often there are plenty of leaks other than the bellows that cause difficulty when pedaling. The bellows should have plenty of capacity to run the air motor which turns the spool, with excess capacity available for dynamics. That is, the harder you pedal, the louder it should play. It is rare for a player to play as it should unless it has been excellently restored.

The biggest suspects for a major air leak are the main supply tubes to the vacuum chest, and to the motor. However, beyond this, there are lots of little bellows and valves (at least one of each per note) that can leak, and it all adds up.
Semipro Tech

#656104 - 10/12/08 10:46 PM Re: Player piano questions - help!
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Actually, when there are air leaks, they are generally much easier to pedal---unfortunately, not much else happens!

The dry season has not yet arrived. If the system has many leaks in it now, it may be unplayable by the time the holidays are upon us. Sometimes you can squeak by, with just a major round of screw tightening. There are many internal places for screws to loosen and cause air leaks.

Definitely have the piano looked at before committing to taking it in. While old player pianos can be lots of fun---you'll want to know what you may be in for to get it running.
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River


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