Player pianos, (aka; Automatic, Self-playing and Pianola), reed organs, coin pianos and other mechanical musical instruments are regaining popularity. No longer the stuff of cartoons, nor relegated to a back shelf of history.  Many people are discovering the entertainment value and satisfaction of owning and restoring these beautiful  and ingeniously built machines. To restore one of these instruments back to full working condition, is a wonderful accomplishment, with rewards that can last for many decades. 

Built for no other reason than to bring the sheer joy of piano music into every home, (and make piano companies of the era a large profit), a well played machine, in excellent condition, can be difficult to discern from a talented live pianist at the keys. This result is within the capacity of every player piano, no matter how expensive or cheap it may have been originally and it matters little if it is an 88 note standard, or a reproducing machine. Learning to control the expression of the machine, by using the hand controls and stylised pedalling, will reward you time and time again, with each new performance.

Removing the ghost from the machine: This site seeks to de-mystify the player piano, by explaining in plain language the history, structure, theory and inner working of the machine. Much is not covered in these pages, it is a massively extensive subject, but if you have specific questions or an inquiry that you cannot find the answer for (and it's player related), drop me a note in the 'Submit Player questions' section of this site. I will endeavor to answer all queries within 24 hours.

1928 Gulbransen Triano Registering and Reproducing Upright Player Piano. Fully re-built.  An unusual machine with carved pillars, mirror walnut case and (very uncommon for Gulbransen) a late model Recordo Reproducing system..

 Special Feature Article 

Follow the re-building of a glued Gulbransen stack and air motor in section 4, ' 'Re-building a Gulbransen Glued Stack and other info'

'Music is always changing and the changes are unpredictable'

Billy Sheehan 

Is it a PIANOLA ? 

Only if The AEOLIAN Co.built it.

'Pianola' is one of their brand names.

If AEOLIAN didn't build it... then it's a 


Maple Leaf Rag.mp3

The Music

All music clips on this site are produced by my Gulbransen Triano Player Piano. 

Unless otherwise stated.

Pianos fitted with internal player, were mostly built in the first 30 years of the twentieth century.  Millions were produced during the 1920's alone. Most American homes of this period would have been considered incomplete without a player piano in the parlour, and a good stock of popular rolls. They were built with honesty, using the finest materials, rare species of veneer, solid maples and tried and true manufacturing techniques. As such, they respond well to restoration. This era of piano building produced instruments of such high quality and clarity of tone,  today's manufacturers struggle to match them.

I have spent 18 years (retired in 2006 for health reasons), rebuilding  and repairing whole players and components. From case re-finishing to tuning, and it's one of the most interesting and diverse fields you'll ever find.  Literally hundreds of different makers flourished in the early decades of the 20th century, player pianos could be found on every continent. Many thousands of good restorable players still exist around the globe.

 Some may be purchased for as little as a dollar, or tens of thousands for a rare reproducing Grand.

Many of the player pianos featured on this site were purchased for under $50.00 and none were in working order....

Visitors to this site who already own a player piano, arm yourself with some quality ARTCRAFT rolls, and try to play the machine everyday. This helps to keep it in good working order, keeps the moths out, so to speak. Enjoy your player.

 'From the classics to ragtime, player piano music rolls to this day, continuing to be available new or second hand, from many sources, in every country of the world. Such was, and is, the popularity of the medium'

Aeolian * Apollo* Artistyle* Auto-piano* Baldwin*  Blüthner* Cable* Chickering* Davenport & Treacy *  Standard* Simplex* Amphion * Gulbransen* Lincoln * Pratt-Read * Wurlitzer * Wertheim * Stroud * Steck * Weber* Otto-Higel * Hupfeld *  Welte-Mignon * Kohler & Campbell * Kimball * Ampico * Zimmermann * Thürmer * Crown * Howard * Steinway * Browning *


and many more...

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