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1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start #2841795
04/23/19 10:29 PM
04/23/19 10:29 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
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loukywells Offline OP
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New to piano forums! I have recently obtained a 1931 Story and Clark player piano, which I would love to restore. Problem is...I have no idea where to start or where to obtain information on this model. Is it worth restoring?

Last edited by loukywells; 04/23/19 10:30 PM.
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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2841817
04/24/19 01:46 AM
04/24/19 01:46 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 136
Hawai'i Island
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BigIslandGuy Online content
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Hi there. Your first step is to engage the services of an RPT (Registered Piano Technician), who can give you an accurate appraisal of its condition. Depending on how well it has been maintained, it might only need a little work or it might be so decrepit that it's not worth the expense. If you post a picture, some of the experts here might be able to tell you a little more.

Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: BigIslandGuy] #2842081
04/24/19 09:36 PM
04/24/19 09:36 PM
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loukywells Offline OP
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Stupid question...how do I post pics?

Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842093
04/24/19 10:05 PM
04/24/19 10:05 PM
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Hawai'i Island
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The only stupid question is the one not asked. smile If you go here, you'll be good to go.

Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842307
04/25/19 12:01 PM
04/25/19 12:01 PM
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Posts: 64
Colorado, USA
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Dave in Denver Offline
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If you are looking to restore the player system, that can be a major task. If so, I would suggest getting a copy of Player Piano: Servicing and Rebuilding by Arthur Reblitz. As far as an online resource for advice on the player, I would suggest the Mechanical Music Digest.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: BigIslandGuy] #2842464
04/25/19 08:47 PM
04/25/19 08:47 PM
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loukywells Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
Hi there. Your first step is to engage the services of an RPT (Registered Piano Technician), who can give you an accurate appraisal of its condition. Depending on how well it has been maintained, it might only need a little work or it might be so decrepit that it's not worth the expense. If you post a picture, some of the experts here might be able to tell you a little more.


Thanks BigIslandGuy! I did post some pics in the gallery so I hope it works.

[img]http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-clark-player-piano-worth-restoring.html[/img]

Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842470
04/25/19 09:32 PM
04/25/19 09:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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I suspect that you could by a new Yamaha Disklavier for what less than it would cost for a decent restoration of this piano. If you have several hundreds of hours of free time, plus a few thousand dollars for parts and materials, you might be able to do a passable job, although I would suggest that if you really want this to work, you start with something easier, like restoring a piano without a player first.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: BDB] #2842495
04/25/19 11:36 PM
04/25/19 11:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,097
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Online content
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Originally Posted by BDB
I suspect that you could by a new Yamaha Disklavier for what less than it would cost for a decent restoration of this piano. If you have several hundreds of hours of free time, plus a few thousand dollars for parts and materials, you might be able to do a passable job, although I would suggest that if you really want this to work, you start with something easier, like restoring a piano without a player first.

Agreed - and with buying a Disklavier or similar, you'll know what it will feel and sound like before spending the $$$. Plus, you'll have time to play rather than spend repairing etc.

And if you don't want the player piano facility, you could buy a very nice new, or fairly young piano for what it'll cost you.

But, attempting a restoration without experience, besides possibly being quite expensive, will leave you with what? - possibly a piano you don't like.

OR

You might be able to get a technician to service it and repair any obvious problems and have an old piano which will maybe sound reasonable - and while they are there, ask for an assessment of whether it's worth spending time or money on it. I suspect not.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842601
04/26/19 09:55 AM
04/26/19 09:55 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 879
Southwest
j&j Offline
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Piano restoration is difficult, complicated, and generally expensive. You have to start with a piano that’s actually worth the time, labor, and parts to warrant restoration. I learned piano on a Story & Clark upright so I understand the sentimental attachment. The key questions to ask the RPT is how much will this cost to restore and how good a piano will this be when it’s done? How will it sound? How will it be to play when I’m not using the player? Like backto_study_piano mentioned it’s probably not worth the effort or expense.


J & J
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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842618
04/26/19 10:43 AM
04/26/19 10:43 AM
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Posts: 389
North of Los Angeles
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Learux Offline
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No, just no.



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Schimmel SP-182T
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: Learux] #2842621
04/26/19 10:46 AM
04/26/19 10:46 AM
Joined: May 2001
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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Originally Posted by Learux
No, just no.


And if "no" doesn't convince you, I would add:

RUN away from this project. Even pros don't restore old players without a gun to their head.


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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842629
04/26/19 11:14 AM
04/26/19 11:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Georgia, USA
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
And if "no" doesn't convince you, I would add:

RUN away from this project. Even pros don't restore old players without a gun to their head.

Got a call a couple of years ago from a friend in the piano business. They said they had an old Chickering baby grand player piano they wanted to give me that had my name written all over it.

I declined the gift player piano, (with a thanks anyway to my friend, of course) although it would have been nice to have an old piano with my name written all over it... smile

Personally, I don't particularly like player pianos, but that is just me. Heck, I want to be the one playing it, or at least trying to.

Lots of good advice here. My advice? Advice is sort of like opinions... there are many and variable. Sometimes we have to make a mistake in order to learn a valuable lesson. Or, perhaps... dang, I should have taken their advice. smile

Good luck, and welcome to Piano World!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842638
04/26/19 11:42 AM
04/26/19 11:42 AM
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Posts: 27,328
Oakland
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What you do as a hobby project is unrelated to its economic value. Just be advised that this is not simple, that the parts and materials may be expensive and difficult to source, that it consists of two projects: restoring the piano, which is in relatively poor shape for its age, and restoring the player, and that if you screw up on either of those projects, the results will not be good.

A Registered Piano Technician is not necessarily someone you should consult about this. The testing that the Piano Technicians Guild does for that designation does not cover player pianos nor piano rebuilding. Someone who has those skills may or may not even be a member of the Piano Technicians Guild.

A better resource for information would be the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: j&j] #2842644
04/26/19 11:52 AM
04/26/19 11:52 AM
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Reseda, California
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by j&j
. You have to start with a piano that’s actually worth the time, labor, and parts to warrant restoration.


I disagree -- if your objective is to learn how to work on pianos, best start with a freebie junker on which to make your mistakes. Move up to pianos that still have a chance once you've got some skill and knowledge.


-- J.S.

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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2842654
04/26/19 12:22 PM
04/26/19 12:22 PM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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I forgot to mention one thing: Restoring this piano will require a considerable investment in tools and space.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: JohnSprung] #2842661
04/26/19 12:45 PM
04/26/19 12:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 879
Southwest
j&j Offline
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by j&j
. You have to start with a piano that’s actually worth the time, labor, and parts to warrant restoration.


I disagree -- if your objective is to learn how to work on pianos, best start with a freebie junker on which to make your mistakes. Move up to pianos that still have a chance once you've got some skill and knowledge.



I wasn’t aware the OP was looking to do the restoration himself. To learn restoration be sure to start on free junkards. For someone who wants a restoration done by someone else, make sure it’s worth the money before you start. A junk piano restored is still a junk piano.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2844715
05/03/19 08:03 AM
05/03/19 08:03 AM
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Chesterfield. MA
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Craig Hair Offline
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Aurthur Reblitz; Player Piano, Servicing and Rebuilding.
It sounds like you will need to get his other book as well; an introduction to normal piano repair.

Is this project worth it?
You will spend your time and money.
Your reward will be a sense of satisfaction and an entertaining contraption.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration
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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2844725
05/03/19 08:55 AM
05/03/19 08:55 AM
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Posts: 413
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I would suggest that you go to a technician that restores them and offer to work for free. He gets free labor, and you learn a craft.
-chris


Maker of Fine Piano Soundboards
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Lenoir City, Tennessee
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Re: 1931 Story & Clark Player - no idea where to start [Re: loukywells] #2844866
05/03/19 05:02 PM
05/03/19 05:02 PM
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Cookeville, Tennessee
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Sorry, I would not bother with a piano that has that much rust. It's a good indication that it has lived in that basement too long and seen far too much moisture. Tuning those rusty strings may be nearly impossible without breakage. I would expect other moisture related damage. I see much more worthy player piano projects on Facebook Marketplace everyday for free or very inexpensive.


Some of my keyboards:
1912 Ritmuller Art Case Grand, 1976 Baldwin Hamilton 243, 1973 Hammond C3, 1987 Yamaha HX-1, Casio PX-160, Casio PX-130, 3 Older Clavinovas, 2 pump organs, and an assortment of other toys.

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