[ 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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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