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MMD > Archives > January 2001 > 2001.01.26 > 07Prev  Next

Ampico Modify Switch
By Ed Gaida

A few days ago, a local piano company brought over a Haines Bros.
upright piano with an Ampico installed.  They wanted the mechanism
removed so a new solenoid kit could be installed.  The Ampico mechanism
was a very late "A" model with the lost motion rail for soft pedal.
I have not seen too many of these.  Fortunately they brought it to me
or the whole Ampico would be in a dumpster somewhere, except for the
motor which could have been used to power _something_.

I tried to remove the action as carefully as I usually do in such a
case, but the drivers got impatient and "helped" me along.  Not all the
screws, etc., got saved.

What was very interesting was an original factory tag that I found
resting on top of the stack.  When I picked it up, the cardboard
crumbled into about six pieces.  Reconstructing it as best I could,
it would appear that the tag was attached to the modify lever.  The
text is worth writing into this august forum.  Maybe some of the other
readers have seen similar tags.

The tag measures 1-5/8" wide by 7-1/4" long (4 cm X 18 cm).  Printed
across the top is "Form 246", then, "Important Notice  -- The function
of this lever, which governs the Ampico's repetition of an artist's
performance on the latest type of Ampico, of which this is one, is
different from that formerly employed."  (How? -- Ed)  It continues:

   "When the lever is at the extreme left position marked _Brilliant_
it reproduces the exact performance of the artist just as he played the
piece.  It is a _brilliant_ concert interpretation such as the artist
would give in a public performance.

   "When the lever is at the middle position marked _Medium_ the
performance is subdued somewhat.  It is reduced in loudness and
restrained as if the artist were adapting the interpretation to the

   "When the lever is at the extreme right position marked _Subdued_
the interpretation is still further reduced and is offered very soft
with much less expression than when in the other position."

Leave it to Ampico to embellish the instructions, much the same as they
do in _The Ampico Salesman's Manual_ to which refer.

Ed Gaida

 [ When did Ampico add the amplifier feature and the Modify switch?
 [ Weren't these features part of the system which replaced the
 [ "Stoddard Ampico" mechanism?  Did the "late A" Ampico use any
 [ of the expression devices of the Ampico B?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 26 Jan 2001, 15:33:47 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Modify, Switch

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