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Subject: Pianocorder won't play

Joe Price
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Date Posted: 13:55:37 10/05/20 Mon

I bought a pianocorder Spinet Piano last week from a local thrift store here in Tucson, Arizona. It worked in the store when I tested it, and when it was delivered on Friday, I tested it briefly with the one cassette it had, and it worked fine.

On Saturday, I tried to run it again, and the tape player shut off after a few seconds by itself as if the tape was stuck. There was no action in the piano itself. I tried it a few times again and the same thing happened. I tried it without the tape and it also shut off. All of the lights work (I believe) work: the one next to fine tuning and the one on the front of the tape deck.

Fast-forward and reverse generally work alright, although reverse has also shown the auto-shutoff problem.

The play button will lock in place, but I was able to get the tape to keep going by hold the play down a little. However, when I did this, I heard a somewhat dull knock/thud in the back of the piano as if someone hit the soundboard. The knock/thud has happened about three times, since I tried this more than once. Last night, I heard a discordant sound as if a number of adjoining notes played (lightly) at once, but I don't know if this was the result of string vibration as the result of another 'thud' or due to solenoids activating. In any case, there has been no activity in the piano itself.

Also, last night, I was able to get the tape player to run with the tape in it - it appeared to be running smoothly but there was nothing coming from the piano. I haven't been able to get to run smoothly again, except by holding the play button down further.

I emailed Mark Fontana (who I also see on this forum) and he provided some good info about the cassette player and I am tempted to try to upgrade kit, but I want to be sure that the problem is with the tape player and not the other components. It was playing until the tape player had trouble playing continuously.

I opened the bottom part of the piano (it's a spinet) up to see if I could see any issues or lose wiring (of course it was unplugged!). Using the diagrams from the troubleshooting manual I found online, I couldn't see anything obvious or any visible damage, although I couldn't see some of the components since they appear to be higher up in the system, behind the keyboard.

I don't know if the problem is that the tape player is not sending a signal or if the internal components have some problem. I hope that it's the tape player, since that would be easy to fix but I am doubtful since I can't seem to get any of the notes to play now.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions, or if they know of anyone in the Tucson area that might be able to look at it.


Joe Price

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