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9 messages

Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!

27 Jul 04 - 01:36 AM (#1234510)
Subject: What's the scoop on Stuyvesant pianolas?
From: darkriver

And, yes, that's 'pianolas' and NOT 'pignolas'. --Player pianos, not pine nuts.

What do you know about the pianos made by Stuyvesant Piano Company of New York? I know that Wheelock & Company (149th Street near Third Avenue in the Bronx) began, about 1886, to manufacture cheaper pianos using the name Stuyvesant Piano Company. (It was also the first piano maker to use modern advertising techniques to sell its product.) The company was later associated with the Aeolian Piano Corporation. Serial Number Dates (years manufactured) were 1895 - 1930.

My son has a chance to buy one in a private-party sale, so I thought I'd turn to you knowledgable folks for the lowdown, the nitty-gritty. If you've had experience playing one of these (or rather, hearing it played), what is your opinion of the sound, etc.?


Doug (darkriver)

27 Jul 04 - 05:42 AM (#1234599)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: The Fooles Troupe

The Nitty Gritty?

Rhymes with 'Crunchy Granola'...

27 Jul 04 - 10:24 AM (#1234753)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: *#1 PEASANT*

There is a usenet group for piano tuners try that-maybe two may be for tuners the other pianos in geneal.

Check google as I remember finding a good source somewhere on the things...

Also....find out how many notes it has. At one point a convention was adopted before that I would imagine they would be more valuable however....rolls might be harder to find or should be dealt with more care.

An interesting field....automatic music players. I just finished assembling a collection of them from the musical casket to interchangable disk music box to edison machines to flat disks to wire recorder tape recorder 8 I will go on the road with this.... Player piano however was too large to cart around I did obtain a roll for demo purposes but went for the musical casket for the show....


27 Jul 04 - 05:16 PM (#1235025)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: darkriver


thanks. Well, before I posted, I checked the Mudcat archives and Googled the subject. I found a number of interesting things, including an entire Player Piano Ring, which contains a surprising number of pages for automatic music players.

However, I was looking more for personal experiences with this particular make of piano, to see if (condition of piano aside) it's worth a buy.

The Web sites I found include a number of pre-digital recording pianos. Fascinating stuff, but I must not be distracted from helping my son....


27 Jul 04 - 08:14 PM (#1235167)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: The Fooles Troupe

Nowadays, such gadgets are a 'fun thing party piece' - which means that they can be fun, but we have other more complex toys. I have been at parties where one was in the house, and it depends on the actual mix of people who are there, and their attitudes.

One hassle, but can be a plus, is that the source of 'new tunes' is likely to be more restricted than when they were in their heyday.

If I had the money and the space, I would have one.

28 Jul 04 - 03:49 AM (#1235353)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: Roger the Skiffler

We have one, but not this model (ours is a 1909-ish Grunert Hupfeld Player)inherited from Sheila's grandfather together with his worn collection of light classical rolls. We got more modern (Fats Waller & James P Johnston to Elvis)from US and Australian manufacturers through a couple of sources but, sadly, the man who restored ours, who was based in Slough, was killed in a car crash and the other roll supplier, a lawyer from East Anglia, doing it as a hobby, seems to have gone out of business. Very loud! Good exercise for the thigh muscles and great accompaniment for a nonmusician like me to bellow along with!


28 Jul 04 - 07:12 AM (#1235423)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: Flash Company

There is a guy called Paul Corin who has a Museum of Mechanical Music in Cornwall, He is extremely knowledgable about such things, and probably has a web site (Must confess, I've never looked for him!)


28 Jul 04 - 09:46 AM (#1235496)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: Roger the Skiffler

OK, these may be out of date but check them out:
Laguna Rolls, Lagoon Rd., Pagham, W.Sussex, PO21 4TH (Tel 0243 262041)
Cambridge Pianola Co., (F.T.Poole,MA,LLB)The Limes, Landbeach, Cambridge,CB4 4DR (Tel 01223 87=61348/861408)
Autoplayer Piano Co., 120 Albert St., Slough, BERKS., SL1 2AU (Tel 0753 78517)
QRS Music Rolls Inc. 1026 Niagara St Buffalo, NY USA 14213 (tel 716 885-4600 ("Duelling Banjos" was on their 1995 Xmas list!)


28 Jul 04 - 02:02 PM (#1235677)
Subject: RE: Seeking your knowledge of pianolas!
From: GUEST,leeneia

It is important to learn something about the history of the piano. After all these years, the piano's history if probably more importnat than anything about it. If it's been stored in a barn or garage, it has probably deteriorated badly.

The first thing to do is to play some of its lowest notes. If they sound like music, that is good. If they don't, give up, because they are the most stable notes on the piano.

If the low notes do sound good, I would ask a tuner/technician to look the piano over and advise whether it is worth buying.

Remember that the piano isn't just for playing rolls. You can play it yourself just like any other instrument. We had one when I was junior-high age, and we enjoyed it.