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MMD > Archives > July 2002 > 2002.07.10 > 04Prev  Next

Ampico Player Is Missing Parts
By Eliyahu Shahar

Hi again,  I've been out sick the last two days so I haven't had the
strength to answer email.

In answer to the questions of some, it's a fairly early Ampico A in a
1923 Knabe grand.  I measured the case to be 5' 10" but the literature
tells me that they were only available in 5' 4" and 5' 8".  I may have
measured wrong or it may be a special case.  I see no evidence of
either the bellows reservoir, the treble or bass equalizers, or
expression cut-out block ever being in the piano.

I generally don't play standard 88-note rolls as I mostly like
classical and they sound terrible on my piano.  I have been thinking
about either punching the rolls that I do have to set the dynamics at
6 and lock, or as an alternative to work up a small valve that will
take the input from the switch and output the 6 dynamic level.  I
haven't decided which is more difficult yet.

From the schematic layout, I see that the expression cut-out block is
placed in the piano just behind the stack and valves.  I don't know if
it's attached normally to the piano or to the stack or valves.  There
are no extra holes either of them, however I do not have access to the
piano just now to check if there are screws in the piano to mount it.

Does anyone out there have a spare that they can part with?  I can
and will live without the reservoir and equalizers, but I would like
a solution to the expression-cut-out.  Can you tell me where it's
supposed to be mounted and if anyone is familiar with an early "A" that
is missing it originally?

This brings up another point.  The piano was repaired at one time.
I say repaired because the best I can tell is that the repairman only
did the tubing, stack and expression pneumatics.  The work was
excellent but that was all that he did.

Before I started this project, I was thinking that the job was going to
be a simple repair/replace the tubing and recover pneumatics.  The
piano was playing well (after it started) and I had even managed to get
it to start immediately by adjusting the expression pneumatics and
pushing in a few nipples that had come loose.

To my dismay, when I got to the valves, I discovered that the leather
which worked perfectly was so rotten that I could blow on it and it
would disintegrate.  I opened one of the valves and scratched the
leather lightly with a fingernail and it shredded.

My question is, how common is it that the valves seem to be good but
are so far gone that a strong wind would blow them away?  I guess that
it's to be expected that 80-year-old leather just doesn't make it any

Eliyahu Shahar

(Message sent Wed 10 Jul 2002, 15:08:02 GMT, from time zone GMT+0300.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Is, Missing, Parts, Player

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