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MMD > Archives > December 1998 > 1998.12.20 > 08Prev  Next

Database of Used Player Piano Parts
By John A. Tuttle

HI All,  As many of you might expect, I get hundreds of letters
every year from the owners of player pianos that have been gutted,
either partially or entirely.  Until now, my attitude has always been,
"Gee, sorry to hear that."  But with the advent, and continual growth
of the Internet, it might be possible to start putting together a
comprehensive database of sellers and buyers.

Just the thought of how complex this effort can become has always
prevented me from seriously considering the task.  But as I move
farther away from rebuilding and closer to retailing as my full time
occupation, the prospect of satisfying the desires/needs of both the
professional and the novice gain greater importance.

Such comprehensive databases already exist in the automotive industry
and if appearances aren't too deceiving, they seem to be working, and
working well.  Since most antique cars fall into the category of
'luxury' item (as do all circa 1920 player pianos), I don't see any
stark difference between the two industries, except that, at present,
there is no active effort to bring the sellers and buyers of player
piano related items together.

And although possible, I don't think you'll find too many people trying
to sell "that piece of a player piano" that was found in the attic or
basement via conventional auction houses or classified advertising.
It's not that profitable.  Conversely, I don't think you'll find too
many technicians/rebuilders spending their valuable time looking around
the country for 'the upper section from a 1915 Lauter-Humana' or 'the
miniature rotary pump from a late model Duo-Art'.

So, here's my plan!

If any of you have 'parts' that you are willing or anxious to sell,
provide me with a descriptive list including:

  Scale Design:
  General Condition:
  Asking Price:
  (And other info you might think important)

These are just the basics for right now.  I feel certain that as the
database grows, there will be more 'pieces' of information that will be
required so that the buyer ends up with a piece that will, or can be
made, to fit into their existing unit.

Also, just so you don't think I'm naive, I do realize that the database
may become a valuable resource for technicians/rebuilders.  So I'll be
checking into exactly how the automotive industry handles the operation
and basically following in their footsteps.

It sounds like an interesting challenge and is potentially profitable,
but as one close friend put it, "If it isn't Challenging, Profitable,
and Fun-- You're doing something wrong." The 'fun' will be bringing the
pieces and the people together so the people can realize their goals/
desires.  The whole process might even pump (pun intended) new blood
into the industry.

Is there something I can get/find for you? (Gotta start someplace :-)
Do you have any comments and/or suggestions?

Please send 'parts-related' replies to: ''

Thanks for taking the time to read this posting.


John A. Tuttle (
Brick, NJ (732) 840-8787

Key Words in Subject:  Database, Parts, Piano, Player, Used

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