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MMD > Archives > July 2006 > 2006.07.12 > 04Prev  Next

Elepian Player Piano
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Got a call from a woman this morning about an "Elepian" player
piano.  A quick check in the Pierce Piano Atlas yielded nothing, and
I couldn't find any mention of the instrument in the MMDigest Archives.
Searching the Internet, I found quite a few references to an Elepian
electric piano, but no mention of a player.  So, since the owner lives
just a mile away, I asked if I could drop by and take a look at the
instrument so I could prepare myself for the service call next week.

Entering the house, and much to my surprise, there was this shiny black
lacquered instrument that looked very much like a 3/4-size professional
upright, and smack dab in the middle, just above the keys was a spoolbox
and a brass trackerbar.

The controls inside the spoolbox were very basic.  There was a Tempo
control, a Play/Reroll lever, and two pushbutton switches for Start
and Stop.  I put a roll in and set everything up, then pushed the Start
button.  A vacuum motor came on, but the roll didn't turn.  So, I moved
the piano away from the wall (it was very light), and peeked in through
a vent hole in the back.  There I could easily see some sort of a stack.

The family was leaving shortly, so I couldn't take the piano apart
any further, but as I removed the roll from the piano I couldn't help
but notice a gold decal in the spoolbox with the very familiar letters
"Q R S".  I called QRS and spoke to Tom Dolan.  He said he knew nothing
about the instrument, had never heard of it, and was curious to know
more.  I'll contact Bob Berkman and John Omiatek tomorrow in the hopes
of learning more.

If anyone has any information about this instrument, please write to
the MMDigest and share your knowledge.  I'll be taking numerous
pictures when I work on the piano next week, and fully plan to devote
at least one web page at Player-Care to this interesting piece.  By the
way, it is an electric piano that sounds something like the old Fender
Rhodes.  The touch of the keys is also similar to the Rhodes.

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

 [ Introduced in 1962 by Nippon Columbia (Japan) Denon as Columbia
 [ Elepian electro-mechanical piano.  Mechanically similar to Wurlitzer.
 [ Elepian = ELEctronic PIANo, name also used for modern electronic
 [ digital pianos.  Evidently Gibson imported the console model for
 [ use in teaching labs and renamed it "Maestro".  Ref.:
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 12 Jul 2006, 23:10:13 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Elepian, Piano, Player

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