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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.15 > 08Prev  Next

Old vs. New Aeolian Player Pianos
By Tom Dimock

Chris Taylor wrote:

> The older Aeolian pianos were not too bad, but in the later years
> they just seemed to go from bad to worst.  I guess in my opinion
> they took the name Aeolian right down the tubes.

That is a major understatement.  Back when I was actively restoring
players, the old Aeolians were one of my favorites.  They were built
from top quality materials and can easily be restored to play very,
very well.

The new, as Andy correctly surmised, are a piece of junk.
We had a dealer here in town who sold them, and after the first few,
he got into the habit of having me "restore" them before he even put
them out for sale.  It was not at all uncommon to see a brand new one
fresh from the factory in which multiple notes did not play at all.

I didn't really enjoy the work, but it was money, which let me acquire
and restore (sometimes at a loss) much more interesting pianos.  As for
the pianos themselves, I am not a piano tech, so I couldn't help with
them, but the dealer assured me that he was doing quite a bit of remed-
ial work on them too.  After a year or two of this he just gave up and
stopped carrying them.

Just as a side note, my all time favorite 88-note player was a Schulz
that I restored.  The little pouch pneumatics were pretty fiddly work,
but the responsiveness of that piano was uncanny.  You could pump it
up and get up and leave the room with the music playing on behind you
from the pumper reservoirs. I always thought it sad that that stack was
never used in a reproducer, as I thought it had far more potential than
the pouch based designs.

Tom Dimock
Cornell University

(Message sent Fri 15 Jan 1999, 15:47:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian, New, Old, Pianos, Player, vs

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