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MMD > Archives > June 1997 > 1997.06.25 > 03Prev  Next

Keystone Music Rolls
By Dan Wilson

In Digest 970624 Spencer Chase said of Keystone:

> There are several rolls that I would like to order, but I have been
> disappointed (understatement) with the quality of their recuts in the
> past. What do people think of their recent attempts? Do they track? Are
> all the holes in the right places (within reason?) Do they need to be
> aired out before playing to part with the punched-out paper?

From a European perspective, ordering from Keystone has something of the
"casting of bread upon the waters" effect that one used to get ordering
from Aeolian-American 30 years ago.  The order goes into limbo and when
it has been forgotten all about, rolls suddenly appear, with a heavily
scored-through yellow photocopy of your order - the score-throughs
indicating the rolls you're not going to get this time, or maybe ever.

I find the rolls are dead on track, but throw off handfuls of punch
chad and white dust as you play them (even a year or two from new).
The snakebites on most of the Duo-Arts are much longer than on the
originals and there are those who claim this makes them un-listenable to.

I'm suspicious of this claim and would like to see an objective test
using dynamic measuring equipment.  Since I use the Duo-Arts as "themed"
pedal rolls (although I have a Steinway OR Duo-Art awaiting attention),
it's of no account to me, except when a roll arrives, as one did 2 years
ago, with middle B-flat missing throughout.

Despite the failed promises of the catalog and the imperfections, I like
the general feel of the rolls and boxes - rather as though Frank Adams's
AMR Music Rolls business was still going but ignorant relatives had taken
it over and didn't know which things to keep a close eye on.  Keystone is
absolutely the only way I'm ever going to build up a reasonable
collection of hot show medleys, the way things are.  And you do get
rarities you never would otherwise.  I've got a handful of jolly Duo-Art
selections painstakingly Magic-Taped together from Keystone's packing
material !

Rex Lawson is computerising the Keystone production process.  I expect
this to solve the snakebite issue but you need more than a computer to
keep rolls clean-cut.  I shall watch developments with interest.

Dan Wilson

Key Words in Subject:  Keystone, Music, Rolls

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