Fixing broken keys on a keyboard. A piano-keyboard, not a QWERTY one, mind you.

A while back, I inhereted a rather versitile and fairly wonderful Yamaha keyboard. It lives in my den, to be practiced upon, fiddled with, and inflicted upon my roommates.

Unfortunately, last week, one of the keys broke. Now, that key (a B flat, by the way) just lies there, limp and defeated. It sits there, as if pressed, almost flush with the white natural keys, producing no noise when pressed. I can get it back in its normal position by lifting it up and pushing it backwards juuuuust right, a maneuver that is aesthetically appealing but does nothing truly valuable, for, when I press it, the key stays down, holding an endless B flat until pulled up or unplugged or the note decays away.

Now, I’m sure this has happened to someone else. I assume that, if you play a little hard or a keyboard that’s a little too crappy, voila: broken key. My question: is there any way to fix my B flat without taking this into a professional? I feel like doing some surgery. I just want some direction.

Real piano or electric?

In a real piano, the key attaches to a complicated looking wooden lever-thing which, if broken, can be glued back together. (An old friend of mine repairs player and other pianos, so I have seen the innards of many instruments, and seen how professionals fix them.)

Disassembling the piano to get to the parts is simpler than it may look, but I would not want to try to talk someone through it.

Electric keyboard? Damifino…

Also doable if it’s electric. If it’s under warranty, definitely take it in to a shop.

If it’s not under warranty, it’s also probably pretty easy to repair, depending. What’s the model of keyboard?

It’s electric and not under warranty. I actually inhereted it from a friend’s husband and have no idea how old it is. However, it’s a Yamaha SY 85 and it has not one, but two, pan flute voices. Let me tell you how often those come in handy.

Ah, not too bad then. You should, with a small degree of mechanical aptitude, be able to open the thing up by unscrewing the top of the “frame” from its base.

Be careful to not snap anything, but you should be able to remove each key without too much difficulty.

It’s likely that the spring under the key is either broken or has come unseated. You could buy a replacement spring at a, um, hardware store perhaps, or find someone selling parts for old keyboards.

I just found this site that’s selling keys+springs for about $20.

Take the same care opening this as you would a PC or other electronic device. If it were a newer, more expensive board I’d recommend taking it in to a shop to do, but this is a case where paying someone to do the repair might not be worth the cost.