Player Piano / Pianola Restoration

At The Piano Workshop we offer a complete restoration and rebuilding service for the pianola.

The Player Piano, or Pianola as it is often known, had its beginning in America in the late 1890’s and its heyday in the period of 1910 through to 1925. The Player Piano proved so popular during this time that 85% of all pianos made in America were player pianos. The player piano is a self playing piano that has a pneumatic mechanism whose power is generated by the operation of two foot pedals. This mechanism, which is powered by suction, plays notes that are triggered by perforations in paper rolls.

Sadly today there are a large number of these instruments in homes throughout the world that are left in a state of disrepair, not working and unable to function as they were originally built to perform.

If you have a player piano (pianola) that is not working or that is difficult to pedal or pump it is more than likely in need of rebuilding. This is because the player system is no longer air tight and has developed leaks and can no longer maintain the vacuum needed to power the instrument. This deterioration is assured, due to the characteristics of the materials used in player pianos (pianolas). Over the years these materials become porous and fragile and because of this, the instrument starts to fail.

The only way to correct this is to replace all the materials that are used. These materials include many different types of cloth, leather and rubber tubing. The rebuilding process is very involved work and requires the instrument to be totally dismantled, with all parts including bellows, pneumatics, valves, pouches and tubing to be recovered, replaced and cleaned using the same type of materials and glues that were originally used in the factory. Each part of the action also requires it to be individually regulated and tested throughout the restoration process to ensure airtightness.

The Piano Workshop has many years experience in carrying out all repairs and restoration to pianolas. So if you have a pianola in the family that is no longer playing as it once did, we are able to revive your non functioning pianola and enable it to make music once again.