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MMD > Archives > November 2004 > 2004.11.02 > 04Prev  Next

Player Piano Needs Fast Pumping
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  There is only one thing that accounts for 'fast pumping rates'
in a player piano and that is *leakage*!  As I've put in writing and
said repeatedly, "Pumping a player piano should be like taking a gentle
walk on Sunday.  It should not be an aerobic workout."

Naturally, there are some tunes that require more physical effort than
others -- loud marches, heavy classical pieces, and raucous ragtime
tunes come to mind.  But, for the most part, it shouldn't be difficult
to accent or maintain a fairly loud playing volume if the player
mechanism and piano action are in good repair and well regulated.

If a player is advertised as "restored" and requires a fast pumping
rate, it is most likely that the valves have either not been restored
or that they have been poorly restored.  It's also likely, though quite
a bit less common, that there is leakage not related to the valves.

Since the wood in a circa 1920's player is now about 80 years old, air
can pass through microscopic openings between the cells of the wood.
These openings are not visible to the naked eye, and a less experienced
rebuilder might not even know they exist.  However, a conscionable
technician would seek out and remedy such leakage even if it meant
tearing the unit back apart and testing every component of the system.

In closing, it seems difficult for me to believe that any technician
in the 21st Century doesn't know how easy it is suppose to be to pump
a player piano.  This leads me to say that any technician who sells a
leaky player piano is betting on the ignorance of the general public.
I can almost hear him saying to an unsuspecting buyer, "See, they all
play like that..."

For information about testing the various components in a standard
player system, see

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Tue 2 Nov 2004, 13:35:46 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Fast, Needs, Piano, Player, Pumping

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