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MMD > Archives > August 1999 > 1999.08.04 > 09Prev  Next

Pedal Pumping Rate
By Dale Houser

Last weekend I managed to acquire another player piano that needs
repairs, an old 1927 or so Gulbransen.  The pedal bellows, wind motor
and stack seemed to work okay after a few repairs, and I managed to
get the player to work.

When I plugged the three outlets of the reservoir with three rubber
plugs, it took about eight pumps of the pedal to totally collapse the
reservoir bellows.  When I stopped pumping, it took about four to five
seconds for the reservoir bellows to open up again.  The piano itself
needs work on dampers, keys, stickers, cabinet etc., but the strings,
soundboard and most other parts seem good enough to make it worthwhile
to repair.  At least it's a good piano for me to get some more
experience on.

In order to get it play rolls, I have to pump the pedals about twice
per second; this rate keeps the reservoir bellows essentially collapsed
all the time (which I took as a good sign...(?))

That got me to wondering what I would call the 'pedal pump rate' would
be for a player in good, medium, and poor condition.  This I thought
would be an easy metric, or 'rule of thumb', to measure and gauge
the condition of the player action.

It may be that the rate would be dependent on the make of piano or
the make of the player action, but I thought there might be some good
'rules of thumb' that folks with a lot of experience may have

I'd appreciate any comments on my thoughts.

Dale Houser  --   A novice player piano repairer
... using up time in his retirement.

 [ I pumped a newly restored late-20s Wurlitzer which could completely
 [ rewind a 20-foot roll with only the energy stored in the reserve.
 [ The piano also played nicely with only two fingers pushing upon
 [ one pedal, like the Gulbransen baby advert!  :)   -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 4 Aug 1999, 20:58:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pedal, Pumping, Rate

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