How it works?

The paper strip musical mechanism works very differently from the cylinder (crank or string) mechanism. While the cylinder mechanism sounds by means of a cylinder activated by a key or a crank that turns continuously to sound the tines of a comb, the paper strip mechanism works by inserting a perforated strip of paper, which contains encoded musical information, in the same way as a pianola.

The advantages of this mechanism are:

The duration can be much longer than a cylinder one, which at most admits between 18 and 40 seconds.

Almost any melody can be played, more than with a cylinder mechanism.

Different melodies can be played with the same mechanism.

It can be a perfect gift for a musician or for a person who is just starting to study music, as they will be able to compose and play their own melodies.

As a trade-off, while the cylinder mechanisms simply play while the cylinder rotates, with the paper ones you need to insert the paper strip every time you want to play the song. The paper is not damaged while passing through the mechanism, since the function of this is to drag with the holes some small metal pins that are inside the mechanism, which collide against a comb, making it vibrate and producing the sound.

This mechanism can be placed in larger boxes, since the mechanism is larger than the crank or rope, occupying the entire inside of the box.

If you are looking for a specific melody with this type of mechanism, you can access our melody search engine. If once you have searched for the melody, results appear, you will be able to distinguish the ones that can be performed on a paper strip mechanism by means of the above picture.

If you already have a box with this type of mechanism and you only want to buy the melody, you must first know how many notes your mechanism has, and buy the melody that has the same number of notes. This information appears both in the list of tunes and in the tab of each tune.

20 notes mechanism

If you wish to purchase this mechanism without any custom tune, as a gift for a musician, click here to access all the boxes that accept this type of mechanism, and once inside the product page, select "Paper strips" in Step 1; "I do not want any custom tune" in Step 2; and select the number of notes of the mechanism. We recommend the 30-note mechanism in this case as it can accommodate many more songs than the 20-note mechanism.

30 notes mechanism

We have two different paper strip musical mechanisms. Their size, sound and operation are identical, but the number of notes they can play differs: 20 or 30. This information is not relevant when purchasing a custom tune, as we take care of determining which type of mechanism best suits your song.

If you are a musician, you can see in this link how to make a tune on a paper strip mechanism.

The paper strip musical mechanism is the most complex mechanical device we have. It consists of a metal structure, a front opening to feed the mechanism with the paper strip and a crank that when turned clockwise transmits the force through several gears to two rollers that rotate in opposite directions together, dragging the paper and passing the holes over a row of metal tines that, when dragged, rotate and pluck the tine of a comb, producing the sound of each note.