Hi All, Some time ago Craig Brougher wrote a very good article about
player piano valves in which he said,
"If a player is anything at all, 'It is valves.' It is the valves
which make them play, and it is also the valves which cause them not
to play. To the degree that the valves are tight and responsive is
the degree to which the player is able to respond as well. To ignore
them is to cheat the customer. To the degree that they are ignored,
is the degree that the owner or future owner is being ripped off.
Why not look at it honestly, for a change?"
I believe those words also apply to the pneumatic cloth. And just as
a good rebuilder will test the leather for the valves before building
an entire set, he must also test the cloth before covering the bellows.
To do less is not only asking for problems, to a degree it shows a lack
of concern for the work being produced and for the customers who buy
Dealers have never and will never test every product they sell.
It's unreasonable, time consuming and, quite frankly, not their
responsibility. If a product fails to perform as expected, it is the
dealers responsibility to take the goods back and either refund the
money or replace the product with another product. Should they test
the product they send as a replacement? That would be nice, but it's
certainly not to be expected.
According to the few major suppliers/manufacturers I've spoken to
over the years, there is always a small percentage of defects in every
product line, from simple tuning pins to complicated musical
instruments. However, in every case, it is the responsibility of
the person selling those goods to the general public to check those
products out thoroughly before they leave the store or shop. My
guarantee to customers states that I guarantee the workmanship and
the parts. That means I've tested the parts and stand behind them.
Blaming the dealer for poor quality supplies that I have installed is
not only a cop-out, it's wrong.
As Craig has often said, "Test, test, test". And as another author
recently said, even the best and most expensive materials don't always
Consider the Chevy Vega with an aluminum block that I bought back in
the 70's. The block lasted for some 18,000 miles before it failed.
Should I have blamed the dealer? I don't think so. The dealer
contacted the manufacturer, got a new block, installed the block and
sent the bill to Chevy. Did I buy another Chevy from that dealer?
Why not? It wasn't his fault the block failed.
Durrell Armstrong is a reliable and honest dealer. Sure he gets
shafted every now and again by manufacturers who send him goods that
are either defective or don't measure up to his specifications. I've
encountered some of those defective goods over the past 25 years, but
in every single case, Durrell either refunded my money, gave me a
credit or sent me a replacement that he felt confident would meet or
exceed my needs.
John A. Tuttle