How Do You Fix a Dead Key On a Keyboard? What Do I need?

In today’s post, you’ll learn how to fix a dead key on your keyboard. We’ll take a look at how to open a keyboard and all the necessary steps to make your instrument sound like new again!

So, how do you fix a dead key on a keyboard?

A short answer to that question is:

To fix a dead key on a keyboard you should open up the case. As you avoid messing with the electronic components, identify the unresponsive key and remove the entire octave. Draw with a pencil on the metal pads below the rubber strip. Clean up the keyboard to avoid the gathering of dust among the components and close it up.

Sometimes it can be a significant electronic problem and you may have to call customer support to get it fixed. But as you can see, sometimes it’s a simple DIY job.

Whatever you’re going through, this brief article will help you get your electronic or MIDI keyboard back in action. Let’s dive right in!

What Tools Do You Need to Fix a Dead Keyboard Key?

Fortunately, to fix a dead key on a keyboard, you won’t need many tools. You’ll probably find everything at home. For a quick fix, you’ll only need a screwdriver, a pencil, and a vacuum cleaner. Your keyboard’s make and model will determine whether you’ll need a Slot- or Phillips-head screwdriver.

Always choose long-bladed screwdrivers, as you never know how far and deep the screws can be. Moreover, this kind of screwdriver lets you make a smaller effort to unscrew firmly attached screws. As for pencils, any regular, school-like, B, or HB pencil will work. You’ll only use the graphite at its tip to stimulate conductivity since it helps renew the conductive coating on your keyboard’s mainboard. In this case, it doesn’t matter how dark or hard the graphite is. When it comes to vacuum cleaners, you’ll want to use the same attachment you’d use to clean a room’s corners or any tight spots. It’s called the Crevice Tool, and it has very likely come with your vacuum’s extension set.

The Crevice Tool. Source

Additionally, if you’ve spilled coffee, milk, or any sugary liquid on your keys, they’re probably unresponsive or sticky. In this case, you’ll also need alcohol, a Q-tip, and some paper cloth.

How Do You Open a Keyboard?

To open the keyboard, make sure to take out the batteries and detach the power cord. Identify which screws hold the bottom to the upper case. They are most likely accessible from underneath. Place the instrument with the keys facing down over an even surface and unfasten only the necessary screws.

The Case

Some keyboards have side pieces that hold top and bottom together, while others are very simple and straightforward. Similarly, if you have a dead key on an electronic piano, you might be looking at an extensive set of screws. While opening up your instrument, the goal is to make sure the electronics are not compromised, so be gentle while unscrewing the case. The top case may be the one holding the circuitry and most of the electronic bits. Therefore, leave it in place and flip the bottom case to make the keys face up again. Be extra careful not to detach any cables because damaged electronics will require service from the manufacturer.

The Keys

As you open it up, you’ll notice that the keyboard itself is made of groups of layered keys. Some keyboards allow you to remove an entire octave without affecting the ones nearby. This includes black and white keys in the same group. Other instruments may require you to remove two sets of white keys before accessing the black ones. However your keyboard is laid out, these layered sets are united by a few screws located at the keys’ top end. You mustn’t mix these screws with the ones removed at the opening of the case, as they may be different in size and shape. 

Identify the dead key’s octave or octaves if the problem happens in multiple keys, and unscrew it. Keep the screws together somewhere they won’t get lost. Some keyboards let you detach keys very easily, while others have a lock-in-place mechanism. In case your keys are from the latter kind, you might need an extra tool, like a butterknife, to help you click the lock and make the keys come out. Touch-sensitive keyboards will probably have an entirely different mechanism. You might find springs holding the keys’ backs or metal weights underneath them. To detach these, carefully study their functionality. Also, take pictures of the process if you feel like reassembling could be difficult. Whatever you need to do to remove the keys, be gentle and, when possible, hold the entire octave together as you remove it.

Source

How Do You Clean a Keyboard?

To clean a keyboard with a dead key, remove all dirt living between the keys and the electronics. You can blow compressed air underneath the keys, but a more definitive approach uses a vacuum cleaner. If your keys are sticky due to a liquid spill, a Q-tip with alcohol is the best alternative.

With the Vacuum

First, assess how dirty the insides of your instrument are. Perhaps your problem isn’t so much dirt as it is simply conductivity. We’ll get to that in a second. If your keyboard is filthy on the inside, which happens in a few models after some time, vacuum it up completely. You might have to repeat the disassembling process with the other octaves to ensure the entire unit is free from dust specs. As you vacuum inside the keyboard’s case, be careful not to pull any loose or broken pieces as you might need them later.

With Alcohol

In case some beverage or sticky liquid was spilled over the keyboard, grab some rubbing alcohol and a few Q-tips. The alcohol you’ll find at home most commonly is a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% purified water. Remember, you’re dealing with an electronic device, so water is not very welcome. So, you’ll have to let the keyboard dry up before reassembling it. Unless you have access to 99% isopropyl alcohol, which is best for cleaning electronics, if there’s still some liquid by the time you open the keyboard, dry it with a paper cloth. Use the Q-tips to very carefully clean the keys and electronic components where the liquid was spilled. Clean it very thoroughly and let it dry for at least an hour.

If your problem was the dirt, it is most likely solved by now. But there’s another step you can take to make sure you won’t need to open the whole thing again. This will ensure key conductivity is effective. It is vital      if you had to rub alcohol over the keyboard’s mainboard.

How Do You Fix Key Contact in a Keyboard?

You can easily renew the conductivity of dead keyboard keys by drawing over the contact with a pencil. Identify the unresponsive keys, remove the rubber strip and slowly fill with graphite the area where the board and the rubbers meet. Take your time to avoid causing damage to the circuit board.

The rubber strip is connected to the circuit board through several incisions, which you have to detach one by one. Be careful not to rip the rubber apart, especially on older keyboards. After you remove it, you’ll see two metal pads per key. You’ll find similarly shaped tips inside the rubber strip. All these must be drawn over with a pencil. The goal here is to create a graphite coat for every connection. Do not blow the excess away because it will help with the contact between the two different materials.

The rubber strip. Source

If you have a large set of unresponsive keys, consider applying this process to the whole keyboard. This will ensure you get an even response from the entire instrument. Just be careful and don’t rush the process because a sloppy move can mean a scratch or dent on the board.

Reassembly

If you’ve come this far and you don’t see any broken keys or electronics, you can reassemble the keyboard. To do so, follow the steps inversely. Reconnect the rubber to the mainboard, layer the keys, and screw them back in place. Align both the top and bottom cases and tighten up the screws. If your instrument is dry, plug it to power or insert the batteries. Your keys should be ready and functional again.

In case they’re not functional, call customer support or the local music store. They’ll assist you in finding a specialized technician to solve your keyboard’s electronic issues.

How Do You Replace Broken Keys on a Keyboard?

Sometimes your keys get stuck because they’re broken. In this case, you’ll need to buy replacement keys. To replace broken keys, identify the mechanism holding them in place. You might need a screwdriver and a butter knife to get them out. In a layered set of keys, replace the entire layer.

If you can’t find the exact replacement keys for your instrument, look for pieces with the same specifications. If you’re not sure which is the best model to buy, visit your local music store. Whatever you do, do not attempt to glue the pieces back together. A badly revamped key may cause nearby keys to malfunction, resulting in a bigger problem.

How To Replace Keys On ALL Yamaha Keyboards FAST!

 

Conclusion

Dead keys are a nightmare for any keyboard player. Not even expensive instruments are totally free from giving you this kind of headache. After all, sometimes all it takes is a bit of carelessness—a spilled drink, a hit too hard, or maybe just some time without playing it.

Whatever the reason, we hope this article helped you save some repair money! Just remember to put all your screws back in their correct places and to let your keyboard dry for as long as you can before connecting it back to power. Also worth noting, do not attempt to reconstruct broken keys.

Readings You May Like:

Guitar/Amp Focused:

Can I Put Nylon Strings on a Steel-string Guitar?

Do Electric Guitars Sound Good Unplugged?

Buying Your First Guitar: 2 Things To Know

Are Tube Amps Worth It? (Tube vs Solid-State Amps)

How Often Does A Guitar Need a Setup?

Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?

 

How often guitar necks need reset?

Can You Play Two Guitars Through One Amp?

Can a 6 String Bass Be Tuned Like A Guitar?

Can I leave My Guitar Tuned Down a Step? Yes, But Is It Safe?

Should I Learn 4, 5 Or 6 String Bass Guitar & Why?

How To Know If your Guitar Amp Is Broken?

How To Fix Distorted Bass Guitar Sound?

 

Do Fender Guitars Appreciate In Value?

Should You Put Stickers On A Bass Guitar?

How Acoustic And Electric Guitars Are Made?

Is Electric Guitar Too Loud for an Apartment?

Does a Preamp Improve Sound Quality?

If I Learn Acoustic Guitar Can I Play Electric Guitar?

How Many Hours A Day Should You Practice Bass Guitar?

Do I need an AMP/DAC To Run Bookshelf Speakers?

How to Record Electric Guitar Into Logic Pro X?

Do headphones get worse with age?

 

Headphones & Studio Monitors:

Do headphones get worse with age?

Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

Does Heat Damage Headphones?

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Good For Music Production?

Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?

Why do headphones & cables get sticky?

 

Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

How Do I know If My Studio Monitor Is Blown?

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

Do You Need Music Amplifier For Studio Monitors or Studio Headphones?

Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?

Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?

FarField, MidField & NearField Monitors – Their Uses, Pros & Cons

 

MIDI & Synths:

Should I Buy A MIDI Keyboard Or Synth? (Are Synths Worth It Anymore?)

Why Is Audio Gear So Expensive? (Especially Synths)

Top 12 Synth Brands 2022 – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers

11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 2022

Should I Buy MIDI Controller Or Keyboard? Cons, Pros & Tips

 

Recommended Gear:

Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors 2022 On Any Budget

Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors 2022 For Home Recording

Best Biggest Studio Monitors 2022 (FarField Monitors)

Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 2022

Top 10 Analog Compressors For Mixing & Mastering (On Any Budget)

Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Under 150$, 200$, 300$ 400$ (Any Budget)

 

Top 12 Hardware Equalizers 2022 (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 2022

Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 6 Ribbon Mics 2022 On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)

Top 6 Cheap Dynamic Mics For Vocals Under 50$, 100$, 200$ & 300$

 

Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals 2022 (On Any Budget)

6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$ (2022)

Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 12 Acoustic Drums 2022 (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)

 

Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins 2022 (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2022 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins 2022 (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep 2022 (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)

 

Top 20 Synthwave Plugins 2022 (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 15 Plugins 2022 For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2022 (And 4 FREE Tools)

Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop 2022 (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 2022

 

EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins 2022 For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins 2022 (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In 2022 | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins 2022 (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal 2022 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)

 

Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2022 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2022

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 2022

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins 2022 For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best FREE Tools)

 

Reverb & Delay Plugins:

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins 2022 | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 2022

 

Metering Plugins:

Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins Of 2022 – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins 2022 To See The Waveforms

Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software 2022 (+ Best FREE App)

 

Amps & Preamp Plugins:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

 

Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT 2022 (And 4 Freebies)

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Best Guitars & Drums)

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt 2022 (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)

 

Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries 2022 For Various Instruments

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022 (No VSTs)

 

Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility Plugins:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 2022

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins 2022 To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

 

Instrument Plugins: 

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins 2022 (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins 2022 Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins 2022 (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins 2022 (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)

 

Top 6 Sampler Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 2022

Top 12 Sub Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique 2022 (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)

 

9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins 2022 (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins 2022 (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins In 2022 (And FREE Plugins)

 

Top 8 Piano Plugins 2022 (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2022 (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners 2022 (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)

 

The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

Top 13 Synth Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)

Top 13 Sequencer Plugins 2022 (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians 2022 (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)

 

 

Processing & Sound Design Plugins:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins 2022 (PAID & FREE)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)

Top 12 Saturation Plugins In 2022 (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)

Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins 2022 For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)

 

Top 6 Limiter Plugins 2022 For Precise Mastering & Mixing

The 8 Best Filter Plugins 2022 For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)

6 Best Autotune Plugins 2022 To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)

 

Top 6 Flanger Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning 2022 (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins 2022 (Best Old & Modern Picks)

 

Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 2022

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins In 2022 For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins 2022 (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins 2022 That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Free Plugins)

 

Top 11 Distortion Plugins 2022 (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins 2022 | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins of 2022 | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..

 

Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins 2022 (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins in 2022 | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins 2022 | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins Of 2022

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2022

 

Recording, Mixing, Mastering & Restoration

Complete Guide To Limiter: How To Use It (+ Best Plugins & Analog Limiters)

How To Use Auto-tune & Pitch Correction In Cubase?

Full Guide To Comb Filtering & Resonator – What Is It & How It works?

How Loud Should Subbass Be?

Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?

How to Fix It & Avoid Phase Cancellation In Music?

Should Drums Be in Mono or Stereo? (Kick, Snare, Clap and Percussions)

 

Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters

4 Ways To Remove Noise From Your Recordings (+ How To Prevent It)

How Loud Should a Mix Be Before Mastering? Recording, Mixing & Levels

6 Unique Tips How To Improve Your Vocal Recordings

How And When To Use Algorithmic And Convolution Reverb In Your Mix?

Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes

5 Quick Ways To Make Vocals Sound Better (Mixing Guide)

How To Use Upward & Downward Compression in Your Mix?

 

PC:

What PC, RAM & CPU Do I Need For Music Production In 2022?

Don`t copy text!