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MMD > Archives > December 1997 > 1997.12.02 > 13Prev  Next


Older Electric Kimball Player Piano
By John A. Tuttle

Hi Jody and Robbie,

I received and responded to the letter below. This gentleman has
requested a copy of the posting if that's possible.

Thanks, John

 [ I'll send him a "complimentary Digest"  ;)  -- Robbie ]


At 06:35  12/1/97 PST, Isaac J. Wilson wrote:

> Hi,  I have in my possession (just acquired) a Kimball electric
> player piano.  It has been in storage for 30 years.  Any information
> would be appreciated:  The piano, supposedly was in working order,
> when it was stored.  All parts seem to be in order, with the
> exception of one key that will not release without a little help.
>
> I am hesitant about Plugging it in. Should it be completely checked
> out?  If so, do you have any connections in my area?  Any WEB info?
> address?
>
> I am a new browser.  I have no knowledge of the unit; except it is
> old....  Thank you.
>
> Isaac J. Wilson
> Benton, AR 72105


Hi Isaac,

Well, I'm afraid you are going to have problems.  I don't think I would
hesitate to try the unit but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't play
well or at all.  It should definitely be checked out but there will
undoubtedly be some problems with the drive motor and the small bellows
that play the notes.  It may be very difficult and maybe next to
impossible to get repair parts for the unit since that style of player
was only expected to last about twenty years under the best of
conditions and the unit has been out of production for twenty years or
more.

There is no information on the net about your unit to my knowledge.  I
do various web searches for player related information everyday and
then approach the individuals with that information and request either
a link to their site or post the information at my site.

The main problem with letting the unit sit for so long is that the
lubricant that Kimball used in the motor gets hard with age.  An
experienced technician can disassemble the motor, remove the caked-on
grease and get it running again but he would have to have a complete
working knowledge of electronic motors as well as pneumatics to
complete the job successfully.

Is the unit hopeless?....  I don't think so, but I've found over the
years that I'm in the minority when it comes to resurrecting the older
electric Kimballs.  Most technicians don't want to become involved if
they think they might fail.  I'm a brave-heart and live by the credo
that 'anything man built, man can rebuild'.  Is it worth getting
involved in? I suppose that depends on how much you love player pianos
and the music they make.  How much might it cost to get it running
again? I would think that $400-500 is not unreasonable and considering
that there is (most likely) very few hours on the unit, it should last
another 10-15 years once repaired (that's just a guess).  However......
if the bellows that make the notes play (the striker pneumatics) have
gotten stiff, they will have to be replaced and that could run about
$650-800.  So, bottom line...  it could cost in excess of $1300.

Musically,
John A. Tuttle (johntuttle@playercare,com)

P.S.  With your permission, I would like to submit this letter to the
Mechanical Music Digest.  I believe it contains information that some of
the 660+ members might find useful.


> To: "John A. Tuttle" <johntuttle@playercare.com>
> From: "ISAAC J. WILSON" <ikwilson@ipa.net>
> Subject: Re: Kimball electric player piano.
> Date: Tue, 02 Dec 97 09:13:01 PST
>
> Good morning John,  Thanks a bunch for the information on the
> Kimball player piano.  John, you do have my permission to post this
> inquiry if you like.  Please check the spelling.  You may also post
> my e-mail address.  I would like to hear from anyone concerning this
> piano.  I am an elderly novice where the piano is concerned.  I play
> guitar, sing Gospel, write Gospel, Bluegrass, and Country.  Please
> send me a post copy e-mail with the address of the location.  Indeed
> your friend in music.
>
> Isaac J. Wilson    ikwilson@ipa.net


If there are any techs in the area of Benton, AR 72105, please drop
Isaac a line.

Musically,
John A. Tuttle (johntuttle@playercare.com)


Key Words in Subject:  Electric, Kimball, Older, Piano, Player

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