Retrofitting an Ampico
By Craig Brougher
|Terry asked about retrofitting an Ampico. Some years ago I retrofitted a Knabe Concert grand by using the hardware and valves from a baby grand and building a new stack. The new stack was 4-1/2" longer than the stack the parts came out of. Had I found something longer, like a M&H, then perhaps I would have been able to splay the pneumatics, too, although that doesn't sound very much like the way I'd do it, after all.
The method of building an Ampico stack is given step by step in my book, "The Orchestrion Builder's Manual and Pneumatics' Handbook." I know you have that book because you wrote the forward for it (for which I have always been very grateful) and received a copy from me. Everything is shown there, including the simple jig you will need to drill the angled holes. Why not do it the easy way and build a brand new stack, Terry? Working around a problem usually takes just as long, and you never end up with as nice a job. So if you have a planer, or access to one, you are in business. You also need a power saw and a drillpress.
Start by cutting a "scale stick" and writing on it in black indellible ink "BASS" That's the end you start from, and "FRONT"--that's the edge facing the keys. Then mark the position of each striker. Don't do it like I did about 25 years ago. I got the scale stick reversed somehow and built the mirror image of the stack. I had to throw the entire thing away and start all over again! To say the least, I was not thrilled.
Artcase Ampico M&W's are usually very narrow pianos, and you may discover that any stack you have is a tad too long, rather than short. Good luck, and keep us posted, Terry.
(Message sent Mon 29 Jul 1996, 14:03:35 GMT, from time zone GMT.)