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MMD > Archives > February 2001 > 2001.02.22 > 08Prev  Next

Wurlitzer Player Piano Models 1202 & 1203
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  I must correct something I said some time ago concerning
the modern Wurlitzer player pianos (post 1960).  In the past I said
that Wurlitzer made two different player systems, and indeed they
did.  However, the Model 1402 is not solenoid-operated, it is
pneumatic-operated.  This 'discovery' caused me to re-examine the
other two Wurlitzer manuals.

'Player Note No. 1' (38 pages, dated May 20, 1968) refers to the Model
1202.  'Player Note No. 2 (23 pages, dated February 11, 1972) refers to
the Model 1203.  That tells me that somewhere between those two dates
the model numbers changed.

Looking at the wiring diagram/schematic for the 'unmarked' unit, there
is three-position "Tone Control" which allows the user to select
"Treble", "Normal" or "Bass".  This control works in conjunction with
the overall Volume Control and allows the user to increase the volume
of either the Bass or Treble registers, or leave it balanced (Normal).
(So I guess you could rightly say this model has a 'split-stack'.)

In the manual that is not marked with a model number, there is one note
on the Wiring Diagram (dated Sept 1, 1969) which reads: Starting Serial
No. (Player Unit Only) 2000.

Checking over the 'Wurlitzer Player Notes', I found Player note No. 1
(dated May 20, 1968) which reads:

  SUBJECT: Blowing of 1 amp. "Slo-Blo" fuse in power supply of
  Electric Player Unit used in Wurlitzer Model 1202 Player Piano.

So this might be the answer.  Before the Model 1203 (which does not
have a split solenoid rail) came the Model 1202.

Looking again at the circuit diagrams (dated September 1, 1969) in the
1202 manual with the "Tone Control", the "Slo-Blo" fuse (in the power
supply) mentioned in the Player Note No. 1 is listed as a 1 amp fuse,
whereas the fuse in the model 1203 (in the same location) is listed as
a 2 amp 'Slo-Blo'.

This would seems to narrow down the date change a bit further, but
actually it's more confusing.  Here's why.  The 'Player Note No. 1' came
out a year and four months before the schematic for the model 1202 was

There is another note in the first player note that reads: All player
units above Serial Number 1441 have this larger fuse installed at the
factory.  (They are referring to the 1.25 amp 'Slo-Blo' that should
replace the 1 amp fuse.)  Since the schematic for the 1202 is dated
Sept 1, 1969 (starting serial number 2000), it seems apparent that
Wurlitzer was way out of touch with the people who were drawing the
schematics.  Otherwise, why would they draw a schematic in 9/69 showing
the 1 amp fuse when they released a Player Note in 5/68 stating that
all units past serial number 1441 had the larger fuse installed at the

This leads to the next question: Which model of electric player action
was installed in the Gulbransen players (the one with the Dale E-5
player unit)?

I finally pulled out all of the Player Notes from the three manuals and
put them together.  I'm pleased to say I have 'notes' 1, 2, 2a, 3, 4, 5
& 6 (from 5/68 - 1/80).  (And people ask me why I don't advocate buying
electronic solenoid-operated player pianos.  Ha!)

Very soon, all three of these manuals will be available on-line.  Right
now, only the manual for the 1203 is available.  It includes Player
Notes 2, 2a, 3, 4, 5 and 6., see:


John A. Tuttle

(Message sent Thu 22 Feb 2001, 14:26:52 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  1202, 1203, Models, Piano, Player, Wurlitzer

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