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MMD > Archives > March 1999 > 1999.03.13 > 11Prev  Next

Rebuilding Chein PianoLodeon
By Mike Knudsen

Well, thanks to the "other Mike K." (Mike Kitner) and others who have
posted info on rolls and servicing of this toy, but genuine, player
piano.  One of my two rolls I did not see in Mike's list was C-11
"Whispering" (c) 1920 by Miller Music Co.  And I'll take Ed Sprankle
up on his generous offer to send out copies of the complete (?) 60-roll

Someone was looking for replacement parts, including some note chime
rods.  As I posted a few days ago, it may be easier to transplant a
whole set of rods from another toy piano -- and you will get a much
better tone quality in the bargain!  But Mike Kitner suggests that the
rolls were arranged for the odd tonal structure of the piano, so might
that cause a problem?  I'd hope that the arrangers had a _good_ toy
piano tone in mind (like a Jaymar) and not the poorer ones Chein ended
up with.

I _do_ need to replace just one rod in a small Barcelona barrel piano,
and I think it's possible.  The cast iron (?) holding bar is open at
the other end, so with a drift tool and hammer you should be able to
pound out the broken stub, likewise extract the replacement rod from
a junk toy piano, and -- here's the hard part -- hammer the good rod
into the keeper frame.  Since you have to hammer the free end, the full
length of the rod takes the strain and may buckle, especially at the
hourglass thin section right near the frame.  (Not all pianos have that
shape, but Chein and Jaymar do).

Someone mentioned tuning the rods.  I'd love to hear the do's and
don'ts of that, since PianoLodeons could be greatly improved just by
tuning.  At least all three of the ones I've heard could be!

By the way, most of the clattering noise Mike Kitner mentioned comes
from deliberate waste motion.  To get up enough force to play the
hammer, the actuator vane is allowed to swing over an inch to build
up momentum before slamming into the underside of the manual key.  Do
_not_ try this on your Ampico.  :-)  Little felts keep the din down
somewhat, so be sure those are in good condition and renew if needed.

Mike Knudsen

(Message sent Sat 13 Mar 1999, 21:24:47 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Chein, PianoLodeon, Rebuilding

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