Player piano music rolls were standardized in 1911. At the same time, all manufacturers agreed on one scale design for the trackerbar in an 88-note player piano. Since that time, the holes in the trackerbar have been spaced at 9 holes to the inch (on center). The width of the paper was standardized at 11-1/4".
As roll manufacturers responded to the wishes of their customers, Jumbo Roll were introduced. The only difference between a Jumbo Roll and a Regular Roll is the size of the Flanges on the ends of the roll and the amount of paper wound onto the roll. (See Graphic)
Prior to 1911, and for some time afterwards, there were player pianos and other mechanical musical instruments that had a trackerbar with 65 holes. The holes in the trackerbar of those instruments are spaced 6 to the inch (on center). The paper width was also 11-1/4". However, the rolls typically had pins that protruded from the ends of the roll, making them easy to distinguish from the regular 88-note music rolls.
With the introduction of the Reproducing Player Piano (which is explained in detail on other pages at this site), a certain amount of confusion began to surface because the rolls for those instruments were not compatible with the regular 88-note player piano. Reproducing rolls are easy to distinguish from regular 88-note rolls because they have numerous perforations at the very edges of the roll. When played on a regular 88-note player piano, they cause extraneous notes to play that are obviously not part of the musical score. Normally, reproducing rolls are well marked as such, and have the names; Duo-Art, Ampico, or Welte-Mignon written on the roll box.
Starting around 1965 and ending in the late 1980's, two player piano makers, Kimball and Wurlitzer, introduced a spinet sized player piano. Because of size limitations, the spoolbox in these instruments are smaller in width that the standard console, upright and grand player pianos. As a result, these instruments cannot accept the rolls with the large flanges.
If you have any questions about roll types and/or sizes that aren't answered above, please write to John A. Tuttle at 'John A Tuttle'.
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