Hi Damon & group. It would be a shame to scrap that Ampico, and
particularly the piano since that is a top-of-the-line piano.
I had heard several Ampico systems in the past, and I wasn't impressed,
it was rather 'ho hum'. I was convinced at the time that these pianos
were over-rated. The fact was that these pianos were never restored and
set up properly. I realized this when I walked into Craig Brougher's
living room and heard his Chickering Ampico "B". My jaw dropped --
I was amazed at how much power and expression could actually come from
a small grand piano!
Believe me, I can also understand not having the funds to complete
a project. I am currently having to pull out all the stops to pay for
a solenoid system I just made a deal for. But it's just like my father
had told me, "It makes you appreciate it more." I am sure that someone
could use that Ampico system, if it comes down to that. The fact that
you stated it was untouched, is indeed a plus. That means no one has
messed with it.
It is normal for a piano soundboard to open up and crack once it is in
a heated room, after being in a damp basement. Believe it or not, as
long as the ribs are intact and crown is present in the soundboard, it
will not hurt the tone of the piano. I wonder about the "cracked"
The piano tech is correct -- in order for it to play and sound as it
should, a complete rebuild of the piano and player is in order. It is
possible to do the repairs yourself, a little at a time, as funds permit.
I have rebuilt many players that way, leaving them apart for better
than a year.
Save it if you can, as the Chickering is a wonderful piano. If you
cannot, by all means remove the Ampico system, as someone can use the
components to retrofit in a gutted piano. That way, at least it will
not be a total loss.