Hello MMD readers, While we know that many Ampico owners have been
extremely patient with us to "gear up" for new arrangements, we are
now in the finishing stages of an effervescent roll for 2001. You
can see three pictures of the new Ampico roll here, along with a brief
explanatory text: http://www.wiscasset.net/artcraft/capers.htm
What's interesting is that this Ampico roll was arranged on a Steinway
Duo-Art grand, interpreted with the Pianola levers, and using one of
the Leabarjan #5 machines in our studio. Then, the master was
transferred to the larger, heavier #8-B model, which has the scale for
Ampico, including the sustaining pedal slot, that is about 'half-off'
from the Aeolian-Angelus placement on the tracker bar. The basic
intensities, sustaining pedal and minimal crescendo are cut on this
At this writing, the roll is being proofed on our 1926 Brewster upright
in the roll storage building, 11 miles from Wiscasset. There, pencil
marks for additional crescendo (if needed) and soft pedal use are
added. The final cutting occurs back in Wiscasset on the #8-B and
one additional proofing session takes place on the Ampico instrument,
before the master is sent off to Play-Rite.
By toggling between "reproducing" and "standard pedal player", it
facilitates my determining how much of the manual interpretation
(say 100%) that the automatic player will achieve (usually about 80-85%
for my Ampico rolls, and about 50-75% for the bulk of the original
expression rolls). Judicious use of the hammer rail buttons gives
samples of the crescendo or soft pedal effects to be added. (Yes, when
arranging music of this type, you can "fake" the crescendo to a great
extent by playing with the hammer rail buttons in tandem with pedaling
for the Low-Medium-High playing ranges established by the spoolbox
indicator! The master, will, of course, receive the correct #1 and/or
#5 holes for the crescendo activities, when perforating resumes in the
studio.) After so many decades of this work, I've developed a style of
"shorthand" for marking the master in the spoolbox, as you can imagine!
Finally, we urge that all the Ampico owners who wrote us previously
and expressed an interest in new Artcraft Rolls for their instrument
to subscribe to our newsletter, if they already haven't done so. Our
newsletter mailing list will be used for bulletins that announce the
2001 Ampico releases. Due to the amount of Internet mail we receive
daily, there just isn't time to search hard drives, Iomega ZIP disks
and four C: drives (one for each laptop!) in order to discover an
address from a collector who asked to be on the "Ampico list".
You can sign up for the newsletter (with the pending Ampico bulletins)
here -- http://artcraftrolls.listbot.com/ --- and use the link called
"View The List Archive" to see our published Newsletters, if you wish.
Issue #6 has been partially written already, using a 110v inverter
in our VW sedan, a parking lot activity during a recent New England
journey. If you are on our list, you'll get this issue automatically.
If you are not a subscriber, you can access it at the URL just mentioned
in the previous paragraph, after it has been sent out to the growing
list of readers. At any rate, check out the illustrated Ampico page,
above, if you are curious about the new Ampico 'recordings' being made.
Regards from Maine,
Douglas Henderson - Artcraft Music Rolls