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MMD > Archives > June 1999 > 1999.06.18 > 10Prev  Next

Simplex Recordo Baby Grand
By Bryan Cather

Kelly Goodman asked about the Simplex Recordo Baby Grand.  While there
are others on the MMD that are better qualified to answer Kelly's
questions, I'm going to give it a shot.

Recordo was developed initially by the Cable piano co. as a simple
(therefore less expensive) alternative to the very expensive
reproducing pianos (AMPICO, Duo-Art, Welte Mignon, etc.), which, they
apparently felt, might cut into the market for straight 88-note
players.  Cable did not keep this as a proprietary system, and
eventually many piano manufacturers offered their own version of this
system.  Eventually ownership wound up in the hands of QRS, who
produced Recordo rolls up until fairly recently.  Recordo pianos will
play 88-note rolls, but without expression (as will most Reproducing

There are three basic Recordo types, A,B, and C.  A is the earliest,
and the most primitive.  The most common type is the B Recordo, which
is more sophisticated than the A type.  The most complex type is the
C Recordo, of which only one example (of piano) is known to exist.
(Unfortunately, its owner is not online)

As for whether Recordo pianos are more desirable: That's a tough
question.  If you enjoy interpreting rolls on an 88-player, that's
what is more desirable...  to you.  If, however, you like to sit back
and let the piano play by itself, a Recordo  would be more desirable
than an 88-note player, but, less desirable (and usually somewhat less
expensive) than a full-blown Reproducing Piano, (AMPICO, Duo-Art, Welte
Mignon, etc.).

Another factor in desirability is condition.  At least in my area, the
cost of any player restoration is usually greater than the restored
instrument's cash value.  ANYONE contemplating buying an unrestored
player of any type would bear this in mind.

The Recordo has some pluses:  it is simpler than the Reproducing
Pianos, therefore maintenance is simpler as well.  There is a large
body of Recordo rolls out there, many of which are being recut.
Despite its simplicity, Recordo pianos can sound very nice indeed,
often giving Reproducing pianos a run for their money.

In the end, the value and desirability of this instrument is up to you.
I'm sorry , but my limited market experience cannot put a price on
your instrument, but I hope some of this information is helpful.

(Message sent Fri 18 Jun 1999, 15:34:14 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Baby, Grand, Recordo, Simplex

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