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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.15 > 07Prev  Next

Boats And Player Pianos Are Luxury Items
By John A. Tuttle

[ John received this typical letter and shares his reply with MMD.
 [ His reasoning is accurate and his words are direct.  There's a
 [ saying about pleasure boats: "A hole in the water into which one
 [ pours money."   Might be true about player pianos, too...
 [ -- Robbie

At 04:12 PM 1/15/99 -0800, wrote:

> I have a beautiful oak player piano that is not working. It will not
> rewind the roll once it is finished playing. It has some other major
> problems, but I do not want to spend a fortune in repairs.  At this
> point, all I want to be able to do is play the many piano rolls that
> I have. I live in California, near Oakland. If you have any
> information that might help it would be greatly appreciated.

Hi,  Player pianos are 'money pits'.  They require constant maintenance
and must be rebuilt about every thirty years.

What constitutes a 'fortune' is subjective.  The average cost of
restoring a player action is $3000 to $4000.  Unfortunately, the
fair-market value of a restored unit is about 1/2 the cost of

One might reasonably ask: Why restore?  The answer: you love the music,
or you have a strong sentimental attachment to the instrument.

Considering that new units are available for less than $7000, offering
a complete rebuild for $10,000+ seems ridiculous; yet every year, at
least three people request such service.  Personally, I equate player
pianos to boats: They're luxury items, and their maintenance and repair
is priced accordingly.

For a technician in your area, please view:

Once there, scroll through the listing until you arrive at the state
in which you live.  Choose the technician closest to your location.


John A. Tuttle

(Message sent Sat 16 Jan 1999, 01:07:14 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Are, Boats, Items, Luxury, Pianos, Player

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