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MMD > Archives > May 1997 > 1997.05.26 > 07Prev  Next

Stark and Berry-Wood Pianos
By Andy Taylor

 [ Editor's Note:
 [ Here's another article which I gave to Joyce Brite for editorial revision.
 [ The article has been edited for readability only.  No change in meaning
 [ was intended.
 [ Thanks Joyce, for the quick response on this.
 [ Jody

I certainly agree with Don Teach's idea of playing "O" rolls in a regular
player spoolbox.  Not only will it save you money, you also won't have to
deal with the terrible tracking problem that I've had with the Ragtime

When I got my creation built, I found out that I didn't have any music
for it.  So, I re-spooled an 88-note roll, and it played.  Of course it
didn't play the drums, but it was better than nothing.  The take-up spool
could be reduced in size to play the whole roll with a little
calculation.  The core is much smaller on an 88-note roll anyway.

Why not go a step further and add some kind of interface to switch the
tracker tubing?  In one mode, it could play the "O" rolls, and in the
other mode, it could play an 88-note roll.  You would have a nickelodeon
and a player all in one unit!  That would be great for folks with limited

Concerning John's Stark piano, whether to restore it or not is a toss-up.
As far as making a profit rebuilding the piano, there probably is none.
But, there is a wonderful feeling when you restore something like that.
I know for a fact that the scale can be improved.  The quality of the
piano has much to do with the time put into it when it was built.  If you
are willing to spend the time, you can improve it.  You don't have to be
concerned with production time like the factory was.

Another approach, if you're lucky, is to replace the string back.  I had
a old Lakeside with a terrible sound board.  Quite by chance, I found a
"straight" Lakeside that had the same scale.  I used the back of it,
finished my player piano, and saved a ton of money.  Don't overlook the
straight pianos.  Often, they had the same scale if they were made by the
same company.  This is not true in every case, so be sure to check.  Your
brand is not really rare, so look around.  An old Stark non-player may
have the parts you need!  My Lakeside turned out wonderful.  I used a
stringing scale pattern from a old Baldwin Monarch and the tone is
unbelievable.  To the dismay of the purists, I found this stringing scale
will work in just about any upright.  I used it in the Lakeside, a Cable
and a Foster and Co. with great results.

I doubt that Mr. Goodman's Berry-Wood was built by them.  Most of the coin
pianos were built by other piano makers to their specs, but don't take
this as gospel.

Best Regards
Andy Taylor, Mo.

(Message sent Sun 25 May 1997, 20:06:39 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Berry-Wood, Pianos, Stark

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