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MMD > Archives > February 2010 > 2010.02.11 > 03Prev  Next

Ampico Piano Repair Isn't Affordable
By David Dewey

I would hope Damon would get some second opinions.  Someone may be
looking for more work, or not be interested in "another old upright
plugging the market" so it's easier to declare it junk and be rid of
it.  This is, or was, a high quality piano; it's likely to be very
worth rebuilding, if not for Damon, then for someone.

Falling on its back is not necessarily a "death sentence."  I used to
tune an old upright at a church (who really banged on it) that fell out
of a truck while being transported and landed on it's top!  Other than
some really ugly scratches, and having to re-screw the top back on the
piano and replace the lid hinges, it has been fine and holds a tune
very well.  Granted, that's not the usual result of such an incident.
I know of another one where the fall broke all the action brackets.
I carefully cast-brazed them back together, and that was over 10 years
ago.  This piano lives in a community hall, so it also gets hard use.

A piano store I used to work for had a new console piano fall over on
the uneven sidewalk while being delivered.  The back was broken, but
not the plate.  I bought it as salvage from the insurance company,
de-strung it, reglued the back, and added huge steel angle braces at
the bottom corners (carefully painted tan to match the wood), touched
up the case, and slowly brought the tension back up, and watched it
for six months, then sold it at a deep discount (as it doesn't exist
anymore to the manufacturer) with a full disclaimer about the repair.
That was some 10 years ago and the owner is still happy with it.
(With my added brackets, I think the piano is probably more stable
than it was when new!)

So, Damon, I will admit that I have or had probably more resources and
experience available to me, but there's no reason why you can't gain
some of that experience, or find another hobbyist who has it who would
be interested in your piano.

I am suspicious of the "cracked pinblock" report -- what basis is there
for that?  It's kinda hard to detect without knowing the piano, or at
least tuning it a few times to determine if the problem pins follow
a line (the telltale sign of a likely crack).  And I have a hard time
believing that the fall would show up later as a cracked pinblock.

But then I'm not there to look at, so what do I know (a favorite saying
of an engineering acquaintance of mine).

Good luck, and don't give up on the instrument that easily.

David Dewey

(Message sent Thu 11 Feb 2010, 08:48:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Affordable, Ampico, Isn't, Piano, Repair

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