Ampicophobia

Posted by: Ed Foote

Ampicophobia - 02/22/13 10:13 AM

Greetings,

Spiders. I hate spiders. Perhaps because our mother hated spiders, simultaneously shrieking and levitating in the kitchen, my brothers and I became adept at gauging the size of the menace by the pitch and altitude she accomplished.
Roaches were more dangerous, as they caused her to be propelled sideways during the first three octave vocal glissando of her escape flight, but it is the arachnidan aspects of life that find their fear deep in my DNA, a boot-sector problem, if you will. Wariness was warranted, growing up in the deep South, and anything that looked like a spider, or even evidence of a spider, was worthy of either a wide berth or a fast swat with the nearest blunt object. Even an obvious rubber one gets hit, just in case.
It is the distant memory of being caught it cobwebs running through my head as I lay on my back under an otherwise innocent Knabe, pregnantly laden with an Ampico-A. The normal comforting underside view of a sound board obscured by a mesh of tubing and wires that could masquerade as a huge nest for a Woodstock-like gathering of large, black-legged spiders.
I would like to avoid this gnarl of pneumatic nightmares, but there is an action in need on the other side, waiting like a distressed damsel marooned on a river island, suffering the loss of its motion, crowded hammers, and weak jacks,. An easy save, were it not for this forest of tubes and couplings between us.

In 34 years, I have learned not to be a hero. I have been beaten by a piano, before. I have plunged into unknown territory amidst the sounds of snapping old maple and dusty felt tearing, only to emerge with mediocre results showing for the low, low, wages found at the bottom of a vertical learning curve.
I hesitate. I explain my reluctance to the apprehensive owner. I tell him that I will seek counsel regarding extracting his action and my paycheck before I do anything. So, august members with some familiarity of the Ampico-A, the question is, can I just slide this action out of the piano, or must I disconnect things airy and electric?
Thanks,
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Ampicophobia - 02/22/13 10:29 AM

I look forward to the replies from PTG members. (Plumbers, Terminixians, & Grungeophiles)
Posted by: Supply

Re: Ampicophobia - 02/22/13 11:22 AM

Ed, there is a wealth of collective knowledge about and experience with Ampicos and other players at
Mechanical Music Digest .

Another good source of info is John Tuttle's
Player-care.com

A word of advice: Make sure you are not lying on your back below the piano when all the spiders begin rappelling down their threads toward you...
Posted by: BDB

Re: Ampicophobia - 02/22/13 11:57 AM

Ampico grand piano actions just slide out. It is the actions where the spool box is over the keys which are the problem, DuoArts especially.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Ampicophobia - 02/22/13 10:47 PM

If I were to ever take up a life of crime, I'm sure it would involve some form of multiple home invasions for the purpose of removing Ampico and especially DouArt player actions and consigning them to a "recycling" bonfire.

Trapwork and even the simplest action repair becomes a long nightmare of disassembly and reassembly with no guarantee that the player stuff will work after all your effort.

I recommend all player work to a competitor that I'm not terribly fond of. "A man's just gotta' know his limitations."
Posted by: TecFlip

Re: Ampicophobia - 02/23/13 09:47 AM

This is why I love piano world!