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MMD > Archives > November 2003 > 2003.11.10 > 01Prev  Next

Rebuilding a Player Piano in the Customer's Home
By Pat DeWitt

Hi all:  I am catching up on about 10 days of MMDs so this
observation is a little late.  I have a different take on rebuilding
a player in a customer's home.  Because I do not have time to do
rebuilding as a business, myself, I have acted as a consultant to
(hopefully) _technically qualified_ player piano owners.

I have helped several people (usually a man, but once a woman) to redo
their own pianos.  I provide technical advice on a cost per hour basis
and order the materials they need from any of the reputable sources
available at the time.  I have found new friends and have helped these
owners feel the sense of accomplishment by doing their own pianos.

First I send them to the library for Larry Given's book, "Rebuilding
the Player Piano".  I also have an old Ampico pump that I lend them to
use for testing the stack, etc.

I have had several pleasant surprises.  I got one man started and
received a phone call a week later with the comment "Listen!"  He had
gotten really involved on his own and had finished the player in record
time, as he played it for me over the phone.  I had another man who
was a tool and die maker.  He made beautiful assembly fixtures to
reassemble and test his Schultz pneumatics.  We redid the stack for his
piano on a cover laid over the lace tablecloth on his dining room

The most difficult part is to assess the person's capabilities.
Unfortunately, I have had two jobs where the person either lost
interest or was not able to carefully do what was required technically.

At least, these are ordinary "pumper" pianos.  I wouldn't let just
anyone attack a reproducer.  I have not had to face any liability
problems.  I believe the people I have helped pretty well realize their
own capabilities after getting into the project.

Pat DeWitt

(Message sent Tue 11 Nov 2003, 00:37:05 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Customer's, Home, Piano, Player, Rebuilding

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