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MMD > Archives > July 2000 > 2000.07.05 > 03Prev  Next

Rebuilding my Player at Piano World, St. Louis
By Damon Atchison

Some of you may remember my introduction.  When I was 12 I was
fascinated by a 1914 Seeburg E and I wanted a player piano, and bugged
my parents for a year.  First I asked for a Yamaha Disklavier, but Dad
would not give me the $6,000 to get one.  (I wonder why?!)  Next Mom and
I looked at some 1940's player spinets in working order for $1,000 each
at a music store, but Mom thought that was too much money.

When I was 13 I paid $250, out of my own pocket, for my 1921 Beckwith
player piano, and since then I've spent well over $2,000 from my own
and some from my parents' pockets trying to get a player piano.  It all
could have been so simple if they just would have bought that $1,000
spinet!  I have consequently learned player restoration over a span of
5 years, and I went through _countless_ pitfalls in the process,
wasting money and time with each endeavor.

Two years ago D. L. Bullock offered me the opportunity to learn player
rebuilding in his shop and to rebuild my player in the process.  For two
years my parents refused to let me go and were convinced that I would
be murdered at a rest stop or by D. L. Bullock who was "Some guy off the
Internet" -- therefore surely not a mentally-stable human being!

Just four weeks ago, after finally convincing my dad to let me go (as
I'd graduated high school), I packed up with three days notice and
headed for St. Louis, Missouri -- a 10-hour drive, alone, in my '91
Ford pickup truck, with the Beckwith player stack and bellows in the bed.

These past two weeks Mr. Bullock and I have completely rebuilt every
part of the player mechanism: valves, pouches, bellows -- you name it.
Everything was tested and re-tested until each of those valves (in the
double-valve stack) had exactly .035" travel and not a peep of air
could be heard leaking from any part of the stack.  I learned that
multiple thousands of screws can be inserted and unscrewed multiple
thousands of times; it's all part of learning.

Through Mr. Bullock I have now experienced the complete rebuild of a
player stack after five years of simply wanting a fully-functioning
player piano.  Now I can play my rolls!

Damon Atchison

 [ Damon first wrote in 961124 MMD.  My favorite story of his is
 [ in 970311 MMD, wherein he describes a nickelodeon in a movie!
 [ Congratulations on your school graduation, Damon, and your short
 [ apprenticeship with D. L. Bullock.  What are your plans for the
 [ future?  Will you continue on to college?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 5 Jul 2000, 04:52:25 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Louis, my, Piano, Player, Rebuilding, St, World

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