An (almost) new keyboard for my Prophet

Haible_Juergen#Tel2743 HJ2743 at
Tue Apr 2 21:05:00 CEST 1996


This weekend my Prophet 5 was kind of "born again".
It is astonishing what a few tiny pieces of rubber can accomplish -
but let me tell you one by one.

I always thought the keyboard action of my Prophet 5 was rather good;
at least in comparison to many other synths I have played. But when Rich
Marshall came to visit me last year, he said it could still be improoved
by replacing the bushings. Now he has sent me a set of these rubber
pieces, and last Saturday I disassembled the Prophet and replaced them.

It was a lot of work, mainly to remove the keyoard from the Prophet
(I wished they were built like Oberheims- sigh!). Then I removed the
black and white key caps (and also cleaned them by this occasion).
Now there was a decision to make: should I disassemble the keyboard
completely, or use a dentist tool to get hold of the old bushings.
The manual as well as Rich seemed to highly prefer the dentists tool method,
but I wasn't so sure. I decided to remove one key at least to see what I was
going to do, and things became much clearer then. Removing and replacing
the keys isn't that difficult at all, IMO. So I removed another four keys 
practiced removing the bushings on these keys. I found that with a thin
screwdriver it worked very well: pull the screwdriver between the metal and
the rubber, then cock the crecdriver a little to get susufficient friction 
srewdriver and rubber, and then carefully draw back the screwdriver and the
rubber with it.
As I found that the method worked, I removed the other bushings without
disassembling the keys. It worked fine on most of them. Two or three were
a little reluctant, but instead of cutting them to pieces and then removing 
parts (as suggested in the manual), I simply removed these few keys
like with the first ones. Easy.
I highly recommend this method, which is a mix of the manual's method 1 and 
If you haven't worked on a keyboard action before, replace a few keys
to learn what you are doing and to practice, and then you can do it blindly
(i.e. with keys in place) on most of the other ones.

The results - absolutely great!
A smooth and precise action. No more sound of metal striking hard on metal,
but all nicely softened by the rubber pieces as it obvoisly was intended
by the designers.
Rich, you have not promised too much - it is wonderful!
I think that many people simply don't know (I didn't either), how their 
keyboard action was when the instrument was new. You only get the impression
when you see the difference.

Is it worth the money? If you really *play* your synth with your hands (and 
only by Midi) it is worth it all for sure. "It all" means the money and the 
time for
work. As often, the work is by far the larger amount than the cash.
This set of bushings was a gift from Rich, so I didn't take much risk. But
I won't hesitate to buy another set - and I surely *will* as soon as I can 
a new keyboard for my OB-8. It's high time to replace the Obie's ugly
rubber contact keyboard ...


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