PLAYER PIANOS WERE OUR FIRST PASSION. Mike Rechel rebuilt his first player piano at age fourteen, following the instructions in a book from the library. Remarkably, this player still works. Since then we have learned a lot about player repair, and here’s the most important lesson:
THE MORE YOU USE THE METHODS AND MATERIALS THAT THE CRAFTSMAN THAT BUILT THE PLAYERS USED, THE BETTER YOUR REBUILD WILL PERFORM AND LOOK.

So, we use the same glues, the same kinds of hose and pneumatic cloth as original. New leather on all the gaskets. And time, lots of time. Player work is meticulous, and it takes time to do it right. But the result is a player piano that pumps well, sounds great and lasts for years.

Please call or e-mail us to schedule an estimate or to ask a player piano question not answered below.





MY PLAYER PIANO JUST STOPPED PLAYING. WHAT’S WRONG?
If your player was working well and suddenly stopped, it’s probably a simple repair involving a loose hose or a linkage that requires adjustment. These repairs are usually quick and inexpensive.

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MY PLAYER PIANO HASN’T WORKED FOR A WHILE. WHAT DOES IT NEED TO MAKE IT WORK?
If your player has not worked in a number of years, it may require a partial or total rebuild. A proper rebuilding of the Player action includes replacing all the pneumatic cloth (thin cotton cloth covered with rubber), hoses and rubber tubing, leather gaskets and valve facings. All these material disintegrate over time and lose their ability to maintain the vacuum which the player uses to operate. The player is then reassembled and the valves and pneumatics regulated to allow the player to reproduce all the notes on the player roll as accurately and efficiently as when new. All player pianos rebuilt by Rechel Piano Company are restored to at a minimum of 98% of the original vacuum.

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MY PLAYER IS HARD TO PUMP. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
There are two basic options. First, we can determine which part of the player has developed the vacuum leaks that cause the difficulty in pumping. Often by rebuilding the defective portion, the player can be restored to relatively easy pumping. The second option is installation of an electric blower. The blower can overcome numerous small leaks and still allows the player to be enjoyed. This option however does not make the piano easier to pump by foot. 

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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REBUILD A PLAYER?
Due to the complexity and number of parts, as well as the hand craftsmanship necessary to do a quality job, it usually requires 3 weeks to a month to do a full rebuild at our shops. The player can then be reinstalled in the piano at your home.

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DO YOU NEED TO TAKE MY PIANO TO REBUILD THE PLAYER ACTION?
No. The player unit is modular and can be removed in several large pieces. The piano itself remains in your home and still can be played by hand.

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HOW DO YOU ELECTRIFY A PLAYER PIANO?
A centrifugal electric blower is installed in the lower portion of the piano cabinet. Attached to the player action, it creates the same vacuum to operate the player that you do when you pump the treadles with your feet. The blowers installed by Rechel Piano Company incorporate a volume control, a rewind speed reduction, and a one way valve to allow the piano to still be pumped by foot.

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WHAT IS A REPRODUCING PLAYER PIANO?
Reproducing player pianos were manufactured 1905 and World War II. They not only play the notes, but also vary the volume and intensity at which the different notes are played. The result was a sound very close to reproducing that of a living person playing the piano. This type of piano was quite expensive, usually mounted on a grand piano and was somewhat rare. They were produced by three companies: Aeolean, who made the “Duo Art”, American Piano Company, who made the “Ampico”, and the “Welte”, made by several companies. Each brand used it’s own specially coded rolls, which were not interchangeable. Rechel Piano has much experience in the rebuilding of each of these models.

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DO THEY STILL MAKE PLAYER ROLLS?
Yes. The QRS continues to make player rolls in Buffalo, NY, as they have since the turn of the century. They can be contacted at 1-800-24rolls or www.qrsmusic.com. Several companies also still make rolls for reproducing player pianos. Please contact us for more information.

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    ©2003 Rechel Piano Company