Pianotech

  • 1.  Chickering player grand

    Posted 23 days ago

    Encountered an old Chickering player grand this week.  Could not locate the serial number.  The player "stack" and controls were in a drawer under the keyboard.   Looked to have been rebuilt at some juncture.  Cheek block screws were accessed via a little decorative rubber "button" on top of the block.  I'm "guessing" the keyslip was attached in similar fashion, but the rubber buttons which I suspect were hiding the screws had rotted and were "decapitated".   The player mechanism has been converted to electric motor at some point as well. Fortunately, I did not need to pull the action in order to retrieve the pencils that were causing action problems; but for future reference:

    1)  Can I drill these rubber buttons out to access the keyslip screws, or is there a better approach?

    2)  What issues may be lurking when attempting to pull the action? 



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    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    740-517-7636
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  • 2.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Member
    Posted 23 days ago
    Timothy,

    Chickerings most often have Ampico reproducer (player) systems. The pneumatic player is operated using an electric motor. The keyslip screws can be accessed through openings in the drawer. You may need to move the drawer slightly out (or not) to line the openings up with the screw heads. Work from underneath the keybed and drawer with a good light.  I'm sure that others will chime in with more tips.

    Deb





  • 3.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Posted 21 days ago
    Thanks for the tip, Deb.   This is the first one of these I've encountered, and I'm a bit unsure of it's design.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    740-517-7636
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Posted 23 days ago
      |   view attached
    The serial number  on Chickerings from that era are stenciled on the side of a plate strut as shown in photo. This is a 1926 Chickering with Ampico. The bottom number (52) is the model number.  If it is missing, possibly the plate was refinished.





  • 5.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 22 days ago
    I have a Chickering BROTHERS player grand, not the same people as Chickering & Sons, but the same family! The Serial number on my piano is stamped into the bass end of the soundboard. If the soundboard is covered in dust, you might not see it (it took me some time to find it, and only after I saw a photo of a similar piano numbered there too-a little dusting, and voila!) The check blocks on mine are similarly fastened. Most Player Grands use an electrically powered vacuum pump, so I don't understand your statement that it was "converted." The reproducing player mechanism requires a steady source of vacuum for the modifying coding to work properly.
    David Dewey





  • 6.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hello David,

    This is the first Chickering player grand I've encountered.  Having worked on many old player uprights, and without finding a serial number to date it; I "assumed" that it must have started out life as a "pump" player.  I've only worked on one other player grand (a Steinway if I remember correctly), and the player had been removed prior to my involvement.

    My concern is whether or not any of the player mechanism could interfere with pulling the action; or if pulling the action could damage any of the player functions.   I have no idea regarding the layout of the player mechanism in this piano; and I want to be sure that I do no harm if/or when the action requires removal.
    Thanks.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    740-517-7636
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  • 7.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Posted 21 days ago
    I think the plate has been refinished.  Didn't notice a serial number on it.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    740-517-7636
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Chickering player grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago

    Timothy, 

      It depends on which player is in it. If it's an Ampico or a Welte usually (emphasis on "usually") the action just slides out. On some the hammer lift rail pneumatic is part of the action, so you have to disconnect the hose to it, most often from under the piano. Since the roll drawer is under the keys, it's not likely a Duo-Art as those usually have the roll box above the keys---those are quite complex to pull the action.   Have you figured out if it's a Chickering & Sons, or a Chickering Brothers? I had originally thought my serial number was lost when the plate was touched up, so was very happy to find it on the soundboard under dust.   There is an on-line player piano group who can help you with the player questions. 

    David D.