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MMD > Archives > October 1997 > 1997.10.20 > 07Prev  Next

Player Piano Restoration Costs
By Jim Canavan

I've read with interest the various exchanges regarding player
restoration costs, and necessity of doing a "full" restoration, and would
like to add my two cents.

I have no doubt that a complete, well-done restoration on a regular
player (piano action, player action, & refinish) could cost up to
$10,000.  I realize that to many people (especially trained musicians),
the difference would be "like night & day."  I also realize that an
equivalent modern piano would cost much more, and not be a player at

However, for myself (and I've got to believe for many of us MM fans),
there is no way I could ever afford or justify spending $10,000 on a
regular player.  I also have a small collection of phonographs and
organettes, plus pre-War toy trains; this added to the regular expenses
of living.  Some day, I hope to be able to afford an upright reproducer,
and judging from ads in AMICA & MBSI publications, expect that I'll have
to pay between $10-12,000 for one properly done -- but that's going to
have to wait quite awhile.

In the meantime, I am very satisfied with my current Standard action
foot-pumper, which I purchased from a rebuilder for $3,500; a BIG
non-essential expense for me.  It was nicely refinished, player action
cleanly and well rebuilt (the pouches were in good shape and not
replaced), new key tops, etc.  The piano action & hammers were not
replaced/re-done.  For my taste, it performs wonderfully...very airtight
and easy to pump.  Yes, the treble sound is a bit shriller than it should
be, and the piano action could use work.  But, given the choice of no
player or one that could stand work, I'll take my player, thank you.

And guess what?  All of my family and friends think it sounds wonderful,
and are amazed by it.  Talk about spreading the gospel of mechanical humble player has gotten several of my friends interested in
the hobby.

At some point in the future, I may have my tuner/serviceman replace the
hammers, redo the piano action, and replace the pouches; but I will
probably put that roughly $2,000 of "discretionary money" toward my
"Duo-Art fund."

As for doing the work myself, even if I were mechanically-inclined (which
I'm not), there's not much room in a two-bedroom condo to do player work!

Sorry to be long-winded, but my point is that there's a place for
everyone in this great hobby of ours, no matter what your financial
means.  Please don't look down your nose at those of us who love our
players, but don't have the means to turn them all into museum-quality
Steinways! :)

Jim Canavan
Alexandria, VA

(Message sent Mon 20 Oct 1997, 21:37:16 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Costs, Piano, Player, Restoration

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