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Vox Continental V301E key stuck low

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  • Vox Continental V301E key stuck low

    Hi all,

    I just got a Continental V301E, and one of the D# keys is stuck low. It's not stuck so low that it makes sound when it shouldn't, but when I press it down enough to make it sound, it presses down the E next to it. Is fixing this issue just a matter of pulling the keys out and reseating them, or is it more complicated than that? I found this video on how to remove the keys. Does this seem right?

    My usual MO on other projects would be to just try it and see what happens, but I'm a little scared to on such a classic from the 60s, so I figured I'd ask here first. 😅

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Yes, I would start by pulling out those keys, and taking a look to see if anything looks bent or if anything that doesn't belong there is stuck between those keys. Sometimes things drop between the keys and cause issues. I've found coins in old keyboards, guitar picks, etc.

    Alan
    Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music."
    See a preview: ClassicKeysBook.com
    Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/
    Buy it now: www.amazon.com/dp/1574417762

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Alan. Update!

      I took the key off, and I think I see the problem. No real debris in the way, but looks like the keycap got pressed down a little too hard, hence why it's lower than the others. And as a result, it went between the support braces, bending the key outward. This would also I believe explain the other issue I was having where it would press down the E it's next to.

      So my next problem is how to bend it back to its original width. I'm thinking about setting the cap properly on the metal pivot, and just epoxying it back in place. Does that seem reasonable? I also considered gently heating it with a heat gun, and pressing inward until it softens, but that makes me quite nervous, and I don't have a particularly successful track record with that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MRiddickW View Post
        Thanks Alan. Update!

        I took the key off, and I think I see the problem. No real debris in the way, but looks like the keycap got pressed down a little too hard, hence why it's lower than the others. And as a result, it went between the support braces, bending the key outward. This would also I believe explain the other issue I was having where it would press down the E it's next to.

        So my next problem is how to bend it back to its original width. I'm thinking about setting the cap properly on the metal pivot, and just epoxying it back in place. Does that seem reasonable? I also considered gently heating it with a heat gun, and pressing inward until it softens, but that makes me quite nervous, and I don't have a particularly successful track record with that.
        Both those methods make me a bit nervous. After 50+ years, those key caps are quite brittle, and doing anything to try to bend it back into its original shape seems risky. Is it possible that a bit of very careful sanding on its outer edge would allow it to be played without catching on its neighbor? And if you did that, would the sanded area be low enough on the key cap that it wouldn't show? The heat gun scares me. If you decided to try that, might you try using a hair dryer first, just to make it far less likely to overheat it.

        Occasionally V301E key caps are available on eBay. But Vox used a couple of different key caps on those organs. So you would want good photos and dimensions to compare with yours.

        When you say it was pushed down too far, is the keystop (the inverted L-shaped piece that stops the key's downward travel broken or is the short leg bent downward? If it's bent you can VERY CAREFULLY bend it back to a horizontal position. (Did I say VERY carefully? Don't break it!) If it's broken, it's a bigger problem that needs to be fixed.

        Alan
        Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music."
        See a preview: ClassicKeysBook.com
        Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/
        Buy it now: www.amazon.com/dp/1574417762

        Comment


        • #5
          Sorry, my previous description was a bit hasty in an attempt to run out the door to a more equipped shop. To clarify, the metal pivoting bracket is straight as ever and totally fine (as is the keystop). What it looks like to me is that the cap was pressed further down onto that bracket than it should have been; you can see this by noting the difference in distance between the bottom of the cap and the bottom of the bracket in the first picture of my previous post. C# (correct) on top, D# (problem) on bottom.

          Then, I believe as a result of being pressed down onto the bracket too far, the bracket went between the support braces inside the keycap (second picture), spreading the cap apart (third picture). That third picture is with the bracket between the two support braces (different angle of those in this post). Once I seated the cap on the bracket correctly, it immediately spring back significantly. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it like that, and I went ahead and epoxied the cap in position and clamped it like my initial idea (I did that before I saw your post). All the pressure required was from two tiny model maker spring clamps to straighten those sides out, and held in place with structural epoxy (not JB Weld, but in that direction). I feel fairly confident that clamping it closed won't be too much stress on the plastic to cause it to crack, but I guess check back in with me in a few years and we'll see how it goes.

          Matt

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          • Alenhoff
            Alenhoff commented
            Editing a comment
            It sounds like you've found a good solution. If it works, it's good! (And if it ever fails, you should be able to find a replacement key cap from someone with a parts organ.)

            Alan
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