Nickelodeons That Play Style 'A' Rolls
by Don Teach (040306 MMDigest)

I cannot predict the future of the player piano but I hope everyone in this group loves their piano (pianos) as much as I do.

I have been a lifelong collector of the player piano, with my focus on the nickelodeon piano.  I have some nice pianos, such as a Coinola X and a Coinola C-2 as well as a Seeburg G and Wurlitzer CX.  I have over 30 nickelodeon pianos in my collection, which I don't consider a large collection when compared to the large collections up in the northern part of the country.  I ate canned beans and cheap food for months while in college in order to buy a Mills Violano.  I still have it and it is a prized piece for me, although it is a common single Mills.  It was $1600.

I have visited several collections in the past 40 years that have had some super machines, such as the Wurlitzer PianOrchestra.  I was just at a collection, one of the largest in country, that has four PianOrchestras, three Hupfeld Violinas, and most of every "dream piano" someone could desire.  I had planned on spending a couple of hours at most, but I let eight hours slip by before I left the collection.

I have to say that the highlight of my visit was a beautiful Seeburg E with the xylophone.  It was the most pleasant machine just to turn on and listen to the music.  The 'A' roll that was on the Seeburg had a very listenable sound with nice arrangements.  I have always liked A-roll pianos so I am a bit prejudiced toward the 'A' roll.  In my own collection I tend to listen to a Seeburg K with flute pipes more than any other piano.

I realize that to many people these A-roll pianos may seem like high priced toys so that they can't justify spending the money.  I admit they cost more than the free 88-note player piano that you see so often.  I have often wondered why some of the people that collect the 88-note player piano don't just add a xylophone to their player piano.

There were many 'A' rolls cut, that were never issued as 88-note rolls, with some of the finest playing you will ever find.  So please consider adding the ever popular A-roll player piano to your want list.

Don Teach - Shreveport Music Co.
Shreveport, Louisiana
6 Mar 2004 11:02:09 -0600

teach_SeeburgKflute1.jpg (18 kb)
Seeburg K with flute pipes with a rare type of glass

teach_SeeburgKTeagle.jpg (21 kb)
Seeburg K with eagle art glass

teach_N-Wxylo1.jpg (17 kb)
Nelson-Wiggin playing the repeating xylophone

meyer_Engelhardt.jpg (23 kb)
Engelhardt 54-note cabinet nickelodeon

victorCoin.jpg (24 kb)
"Victor Coin" nickelodeon

teach_SeeburgExylo1.jpg (14 kb)
Seeburg E with xylophone

teach_CremonaGflute.jpg (12 kb)
Cremona G with flute pipes

teach_N-Wstyle7.jpg (12 kb)
Nelson-Wiggin A-roll piano with keyboard

10 March 2004