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MMD > Archives > August 1996 > 1996.08.05 > 03Prev  Next

Ampico Valve Block Springs
By Craig Brougher

Robbie Rhodes is absolutely correct when he suggests using Ampico B springs for Ampico A valves. Having hundreds of Ampico pianos all over the USA by now, I occassionally get calls from some earlier ones which were done before decent springs were available.

"My piano sometimes won't even start to play anymore. It's like it's losing lots of air, but you can't hear any leaks. You said it would probably play for the next 50 years. It's only been playing for twenty, so far. What's the trouble?"

The answer invariably is springs. One customer got so mad at me, deciding that all this was my fault, he got under his piano and removed all his valves, boxed them up, sent them to me, and told me (this was 6 years later) to test every one of them, and that he didn't intend to pay me a dime for what should have been done right the first time.

I re-labelled the box, sent them back to this presumptuous know-it-all, and he, thinking I had done what he demanded, reinstalled them. Voilla--- what a difference! It plays again.

The reason are the so-called "springs" which were not springs, but simply spanner bars used to clamp two blocks at a time. When tightened, they merely crush the back of the blocks, which in time relieves itself and gets loose again. Particularly in environments that have a lot of humidty changes.

I strongly advise everyone who owns an Ampico to change out these iron bars to real springs. They are available from Robert Streicher, 717-559-7403, or Player Piano Company. No more loose valve blocks or distorted and cracked blocks which can crush deeply enough to unseat the valve itself!

Craig B.

(Message sent Mon 5 Aug 1996, 13:22:13 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Block, Springs, Valve

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