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Dave in Denver:

I know the rebuilder who is selling the Weber. He had emailed me some info on it and other pianos, It is listed as 7' 2", case figured mahogany, rare pedal player grand, Duo Art, needs full restoration, serial number 67241 $500.

I can find out more info if you like. Contact me privately if so.

Will Truitt


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A 7"2" Weber Duo-Art sounds like a very rare piano. This particular grand may have started life as a Pianola then upgraded to an early Duo-Art, since the piano was manufactured one year before introduction of the Duo-Art. The very early Duo-Art grands (and likely Pianola grands before Duo-Art) had external pneumatic pumps housed in a cabinet of matching wood to the piano. Also, I have heard that Aeolian would sometimes upgrade/update the player system in its pianos in inventory. Reproducing piano technicians have written about seeing traces of Aeolian factory upgrades when doing re-builds.

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That is what I thought at first Turrin. It could have been an early conversion to a half-duo art (full duo art would require an electric pump). The owner/technician says there is no evidence of an upgrade. The fallboard states Pianola, yet the spool box, which is out of the piano, is a Duo Art spool box. Definitely a puzzling piano. My best guess is that the spool box was replaced at some point, but the piano is a straight themodist pianola powered by the fold down pumper peddles. Hopefully someone will take it on as a project.

My 1916 I am having restored was sent back to Aeolian in 1924 and upgraded to the current expression system, including the normal-soft-dance switch being added. I too have heard of pianos being sent in for upgrades, Given the cost of these instruments when new and the income of those who could afford them, I am not surprised.


Dave In Denver
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The latest on the restoration effort. The action is done, dampers are done. The key bushings all needed to be replaced. The restorer has done so, but needs to ease some tight bushings. Last year he inherited his father's piano business that includes rentals for venues, etc. Unfortunately he has been so busy with that effort he just hasn't been able to get to the bushings yet. The phrase so near, yet so far, comes to mind. The player components have been done for some time and ready to reinstall.


Dave In Denver
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Just a short update. The technician finished with the piano. It is now with the restorer doing the duo art player mechanism. I have been over and the piano sounds quite nice with the new Mapes strings. A beautiful tenor, a little growl in the bass, and good sustain. The new action (whippens, shanks, flanges, and Abel hammers) feels great. I would, on a scale of 1-10, put the touch at a 6. The installation of the restored player components is coming along well. While the project has been ongoing I have been accumulating rolls and am up to 600 of them now.


Dave In Denver
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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
I was tempted to keep the baby grand while this was going on, but I have another money-pit restoration ongoing - a 1947 Cadillac club coupe.

[Linked Image]



I can see why a 1947 Cadillac restoration would distract you. That is a lovely car. 1947 was the last Cadillac model year before tailfins were introduced, wasn't it?

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Yes, 1948 Cadillacs had the 1st little bumps on the fenders that would become fins. They were supposedly designed to be reminiscent of the twin tail on the P-38 fighter bomber. My 47 got some attention this year as well. I had the gas tank and sending unit replaced, and all the bushings in the rear suspension replaced (since they would be working back there anyway to do the gas tank).


Last edited by Dave in Denver; 01/05/18 11:30 AM.

Dave In Denver
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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
Just a short update. The technician finished with the piano. It is now with the restorer doing the duo art player mechanism. I have been over and the piano sounds quite nice with the new Mapes strings. A beautiful tenor, a little growl in the bass, and good sustain. The new action (whippens, shanks, flanges, and Abel hammers) feels great. I would, on a scale of 1-10, put the touch at a 6. The installation of the restored player components is coming along well. While the project has been ongoing I have been accumulating rolls and am up to 600 of them now.



Are you happy with the "touch at a 6"? Shouldn't it be a 10? Or will the player restorer do more with the action?


Eric Gloo
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Originally Posted by Eric Gloo

Are you happy with the "touch at a 6"? Shouldn't it be a 10? Or will the player restorer do more with the action?

I think what he means may be 6 on a scale of 1 = very light, 10 = very heavy.

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Eric, Joe is right, I meant a 6 as far as light to heavy touch. As far as being responsive and well regulated, I am quite happy with the action. There are still many months of work ahead, but I am looking forward to when the instrument finally makes it to my home.


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Glad to hear my confusion was just that...my confusion. smile


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Work is progressing on the player system. I was reading a thread in the forum on an article on the Steinway Spirio player system. Everything I have read has indicated this is the best of the electronic solenoid based systems available now. There was a comment that the system didn't seem to get as much out of a Steinway as live playing. It brought to mind this article on the old pneumatic reproducing systems and some of their advantages (and disadvantages) over the modern systems: The Truth About Reproducing Player Pianos


Dave In Denver
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Thanks for posting. I found the article very interesting since I work for a large international Pneumatics company based out of Japan. It's cool that my love for pianos and my professional life somewhat intersect.

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Yes, interesting, but it was written a number of years ago. In that time all of the solenoid players have improved a great deal. Today a Steinway Spirio has no problem playing as loud as anyone would want. What is still true is the changes in technology that constantly make older solenoid systems become out dated. I service player systems that may be 15 years old and have to tell customers that we can’t get some of the parts to service them anymore......but then try taking a 15 year cell phone to Verizon and tell them its not working and you want them to repair it. They will look at you like you are a crazy person.

I always thought I would love to see at NAMM or a PTG convention a side by side comparison. They could have a Steinway Spirio, a Mason Hamlin Pianodisc, a Pianomation on a good piano, and examples of really high quality Ampico, Duo/Art, and Welte rebuilds. Have a concert where each one gets to play a few of their best recordings. May be even get some judges from one of the piano competitions and see what happens. And the winner is ???????

Larry Hofer
Hofer Piano Works
Corona Ca


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I doubt we'll ever see that happen, but I love the idea Larry!


Dave In Denver
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Originally Posted by Larry Hofer

I always thought I would love to see ... a side by side comparison. They could have a Steinway Spirio, a Mason Hamlin Pianodisc, a Pianomation on a good piano, and examples of really high quality Ampico, Duo/Art, and Welte rebuilds. Have a concert where each one gets to play a few of their best recordings. May be even get some judges from one of the piano competitions and see what happens. And the winner is ???????


Great idea! Add Disk Lavier, too!

As someone who purchased a player system about a year ago, I can say from personal experience that it's almost impossible to get an objective comparison of these products.

Even if you could find a show room installation of each product, you have the variables of the piano being played, its condition, quality of the player installation, acoustics of the show room, music selection...I could go on and on. And, show room floors are so inherently noisy that they hide product flaws and installation issues that become obvious once you have the player piano in the solitude of your home. I encountered both what I consider a product flaw and an installation issue, neither of which I could hear at their shop on the dealer's demo piano and eventually my own piano.

I ended up basing my decision on secondary issues, in other words, I made the optimistic assumption that all the modern products do a good job of playing piano. Then, it gets down to how much music content is available, its cost, how easy is it to play open source content, how good is the technical support, what is the prognosis for the company continuing to stay in business, etc. Dave-in-Denver opined that Spirio may be the best of the solenoid-based player systems, but if Spirio had been a choice for me, it would have taken a serious ding in my ratings due to Steinway's too-tightly-controlled access to non-Steinway curated content.

Buying a player piano that uses scrolls is no longer an off-the-shelf option, but I would love to hear a comparison between one of those and the best of of the modern systems.

John


1922 Steinway Model O, restored by Steinway Restoration Center, 2016. PianoDisc, installed 2017.
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John - a modern system that can play MIDI files certainly makes content easier to come by. I have been accumulating rolls for 4 years now for the day the piano is completed. Most of those came from Ebay a roll at a time. I have accumulated a bit over 600 rolls, mostly Duo Art (and a few standard 88 note rolls) and mostly classical recordings. I would estimate I have spent somewhere around $7,000 on the rolls so far. Unlike MIDI files, they also take storage space. I bought 3 new bookcases to accommodate the rolls. At this point I have room for 4 more rolls before I have to find a spot for yet another bookcase.


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Another delay while a new spring is made for the sostenuto mechanism. Meanwhile I am making a big change to the house for this piano. My home has hot water heat, and is cooled by an evaporative cooler. When the weather gets humid I have noticed the cooler cause large humidity swings. I am biting the bullet and having a new mini-split air conditioning system put in to replace the evaporative cooler. Head units in four parts of the house. It will keep the house more comfortable and keep humidity levels much more stable for the piano. :-)


Dave In Denver
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The project hit a delay when it was found the leather for the valves was too porous. The restorer had to get new leather in and I helped him recover the valve faces. Sadly and unexpectedly, the man who I'd come to see as my friend, and restorer, passed away unexpectedly Dick Krockel obituary

As this was his last project, and it has become near and dear to my heart, I am not going to let the project die. Art Reblitz has agreed to take on the balance of the restoration. I am determined this piano will live again.


Dave In Denver
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Sorry to hear about your friend’s passing.
Life is fleeting.


“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
― Duke Ellington
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