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Player Pianos (pianolas)


Essex Piano Gallery's highly skilled piano restorer, re-conditions Grand pianos, Upright pianos and Player pianos (pianolas).

Pianolas were once owned by people of high society (1890 - 1935) as they had the wealth to invest in a pianola, but not necessarily the skill to play.

The basic construction of a pianola is similar to a regular piano, and can be played like a regular piano, but has the advantage of being played automatically. It uses pedals beneath the keyboard so when operated the pianola plays itself using suction. The mechanism involved to do this is very complexed, and is known as the stack. This contains tubes, valves, exhausters, pneumatics and a tracker bar to name but a few. Un-restored pianolas can be problematic because the hundreds of feet of rubber tubing used perishes due to the ageing process. We now use neoprene tubing that doesn't degrade. The cloth on the pneumatics also suffers from the ageing process causing cracking and splitting and therefore loss of suction.

The Essex Piano Gallery has many years experience in carrying out all repairs and restoration to pianolas. We are given to understand that there are only approximately six pianola restorers left in the U.K.

The advantage of owning a pianola is that one doesn't need to be a pianist as it uses perforated paper music rolls. These paper rolls are readily available.

For any further information about pianolas (player pianos), please click here to contact us, or Tel: 01702 612260.

Rear of Stack prior to re-tubing without transmission and motor drive. Larger image.        Circa. 1920
Larger image.
Pianola Stack       Pianola
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