Player Piano Kits
By Craig Brougher
|Watch out for player piano kits which I have seen in the past, made from aluminum extruded parts and containing a soft vinyl rubber valve. They are highly cantankerous and unreliable. Notes stop playing at low volumes like magic, because the valve is, in effect "sticky" to the aluminum surface. Its stem is soft vinyl and sticks to the edges of it lower valve seat, and whatever direction that valve is angled at when the pouch pushes it up each time is the degree that it is able to seat, because once it touches the outside valve seat, it has two sticking points: the side of the stem where it touches, and the spot on the outside seat. From there, it cannot slide to seal. So the owner will have to turn the thing up full volume just to hear all the notes perform correctly.
Also, since the pneumatics, which are also extruded aluminum, have a built-in hinge, they tend to tear their cloth at the hinge end and leak badly in short order. The reason is because the molded hinge must be recessed, so it acts like a lever, stretching the hinge cover and pulling it off the thin metal leaves, or pinching it continually until their sharp edges have cut completely through the material.
I don't know who makes these things or if they are still being made, but they are absolutely miserable in my opinion, require a lot of vacuum to run, and are just no fun to listen to or keep up with, as far as their problems are concerned. There is no way to fix them, and they ignore good player technology for a quick and dirty method of assembly.
(Message sent Sat 9 Nov 1996, 14:27:14 GMT, from time zone GMT.)