As in all special fields, the challenge is to find suitable offers at all. There are only a few pianolas to be found on the private market. The purchase of private pianos as a layman is a special risk here and can only be recommended after prior consultation or expert guidance.
The best thing would be to compare different pianolas at the same place - because then it becomes clearer what the differences actually are and what is important. Since there is a piano in almost every pianola - except Vorsetzer - the knowledge and decision for the piano part and its interaction with the piano part is also very important for the later enjoyment.
Much more complex than the decision for a piano are the manifold questions. With a 65, 73 or 88 or any other music roll system? Which music rolls are available? With pedal or suction motor? As an attachment, cabinet or built-in instrument? A pedal piano, an art piano, a reproduction piano? Which brand, which manufacturer - which combination? Old original or modern version?
In short - we recommend that you inform yourself well in advance and seek advice from a competent source in order to make a good decision.
The reason for the complexity of the decision for a pianola is that each system only offers certain functions, and until now only the typical note rolls can be played, which means that only the respective repertoire is available. And since it is always very much about the music, this discussion and decision is very important.
In addition, the possible renovation costs of the different systems are of a similar order of magnitude, so that it is more important which Pianola system is purchased.
These questions provide an initial orientation.
- What is most important with the Pianola? (repertoire, appearance, functions, sound, technical condition, brand, price, operation, follow-up costs, ...)?
- Is the pianola mainly used as a self-playing piano, or as a hand-playing piano - and with what preferences?
- Which music style is preferred? (classical music, certain composers, opera and operetta music, marches and dances, hits, ragtime, jazz and blues, pop music, ...)?
- Should original recordings of the composers and pianists be listened to?
- Should an existing grand or upright piano be used further or in parallel?
- Should the pianola produce only the notes and the entire intonation and tempo control be done by the player?
- Should the Pianola play itself fully automatically?
- Should it be an old pneumatic-mechanical instrument, with electronic-digital extensions or a new system?
- What budget is available?
- Where will the Pianola be?
If the budget allows, the recommendation goes of course clearly in the direction of a reproduction piano like Welte-Mignon, Hupfeld DEA or Tri-Phonola, Philipps DUCA, AMPICO or Duo-Art built into a brand piano or brand grand piano. Here, the advantages of a high quality manual instrument are combined with the additional possibilities of a reproduction piano. The best of more than two worlds.
We support you with the information on our pages in your search and are happy to offer you advice on request.