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MMD > Archives > October 1997 > 1997.10.02 > 07Prev  Next

Scott Currier's Solenoid Piano Survey
By John A. Tuttle

Hello,  Since I repair, rebuild and service all types of player pianos
for a living, I have an excellent database of information about what
people like and dislike.  What I find interesting is that amongst the
owners whose players I service, only one of the things Scott reported
about the solenoid or the pneumatic players has ever been mentioned by
the owners I've spoken to.  There is no doubt that everything he
presented is true but I don't think it reflects how the public really

In discussions with owners, we often talk about what they enjoy most
about their unit.  I also ask them if there are any problems because
that's my business but I don't ask them what they *don't like* (I'm not
there to generate negativity).  Across the board, the aspect of roll
operated players that virtually every owner loves is being able to read
the words on the roll as it's playing and that at parties, people have to
gather around the piano to read the words.  The keywords here are "gather

The second most popular aspect is pumping the player.  Even folks who
have electrified units love to pump them from time to time.  (And at
parties, they usually have to wait their turn to pump.) In other words,
it's the interaction that must occur between the people and the player
piano.  As a side note, one of the most frequent questions I'm asked when
customers call or write about electrifying is, "Will I still be able to
pump it?".  Naturally, my answer is always an emphatic "Yes".

Conversely, the only aspect of the newer electronic players that seems to
stimulate owners is the ability to record their own compositions (which
Scott did address).  That's it!  Not one single customer has ever
complained about the units performance capabilities, except when the unit
breaks down, and not one of them has ever said word one about downloading
music from the net.

And as another interesting side note, I've yet to come to the front door
of a home with a digital player that was in operation when I arrived
which, in my mind, partially negates the common perception that customers
enjoy (or utilize) the machines ability to play for long periods of time
without changing the disk.  One comment that I do hear often is, "We
haven't used it very much".  Hmmmm....  wonder why that is? (rhetorical)

What I think a lot of the members of this group fail to realize when
accumulating information or presenting opinions is the fact that the vast
majority are deeply involved in the hobby/business of these instruments
and the viewpoints of the average person are not addressed.  My point is
that I believe the results of Scott's survey are heavily biased and do
not represent the viewpoints of the people that really count; the tens of
thousands of player piano owners.

Therefore, I have created yet another web page (the best and least
expensive form of advertising ever known for creating demand, look for
my upcoming article: Selling MM Instruments) for conducting a survey of
the likes and dislikes of the general public with regard to all types of
player pianos.  This survey will run for three months.  In January of
1998, I will create another web page with the results of the survey.

With over 1000 hits a month at my Main Index Page alone (see: ), I'm hoping that visitors will take
a moment to express themselves and give me a much more accurate picture
of what it is that they really like or dislike about all types of player
pianos.  I do ask that if MMD members elect to partake in the survey that
they indicate their affiliation with the MMD so that I will be able to
separate the members from the general public.  However, all the results
will be published.

The address for the Survey Page is:

Musically Interested in the 'Masses' Opinion,

John Tuttle "Self-Playing Pianos"
407 19th Avenue                 E-Mail:
Bricktown, NJ 08724                   "We Keep Your Music Rolling"

 [ Editor's note:
 [ The survey announcement invites responses from MMD members who
 [ own pianos fitted with solenoid player systems, and so it doesn't
 [ reflect the preferences of the average person and the general public
 [ (although some comparisons with pneumatic players are reported).
 [ The original letter from Scott proposing the survey appeared in
 [ MMDigest 970910.
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 2 Oct 1997, 18:20:39 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Currier's, Piano, Scott, Solenoid, Survey

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