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Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? #1971601
10/10/12 10:22 PM
10/10/12 10:22 PM
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Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

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ClsscLib  Offline OP

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I'm getting frustrated with how slippery the plastic sharps are on my NP-11.

I'm thinking of taking some fine sandpaper or steel wool to them to see if that would help.

Have any of you ever tried doing that? How did it work?


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971611
10/10/12 10:42 PM
10/10/12 10:42 PM
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Melbourne, Australia
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I'd try a fine steel wool first and then progress to coarse if you need to. I wouldn't use sandpaper in case the black colour isn't solid all the way through the key. You wouldn't want a pale colour coming through on your black keys. I think it won't take much to get rid of the slick feeling - just don't go too rough. Steel wool should be pretty safe.

Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971616
10/10/12 10:58 PM
10/10/12 10:58 PM
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@ClsscLib,

Important note:

Be careful though to not let any of the stuff you are sanding off to fall into the keybed, between the keys, as this might cause a problem with the action.

Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971617
10/10/12 11:07 PM
10/10/12 11:07 PM
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Maybe start with something even softer just to be safe. Like those green scrubby pads maybe. Doesn't hurt to try things that are not abrasive enough, but too abrasive would stink.

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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971624
10/10/12 11:25 PM
10/10/12 11:25 PM
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Wales
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This should do it.
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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971628
10/10/12 11:44 PM
10/10/12 11:44 PM
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Denton Texas
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I'd just tread lightly (literally). I've found that the best texture for my personal taste is kind of a tiny "stippled" effect, whereas you're going to be creating small linear scratches. But you may get lucky and have them turn out feeling like wood grain. smile


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971657
10/11/12 02:43 AM
10/11/12 02:43 AM
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UK
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Maybe try the opposite and put a thin coat of something on top. Matt black chalkboard paint. Test with just one key first at the end, for adherence and finish. Better to test on something else completely though.

Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: spanishbuddha] #1971669
10/11/12 03:35 AM
10/11/12 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Maybe try the opposite and put a thin coat of something on top. Matt black chalkboard paint. Test with just one key first at the end, for adherence and finish. Better to test on something else completely though.


I would 2nd this advice above, as it's probably going to be better than risking messing up your keys by buffing/sanding them.

Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971678
10/11/12 04:33 AM
10/11/12 04:33 AM
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Northern England.
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Why not do something with your fingers instead? I`m not joking, I have this problem. Try some proprietary household stuff first. A bit of her moisturiser, soap, washing up liquid, disinfectant, bleach . . . ya better stop there . . . Bet you find something!


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971679
10/11/12 04:35 AM
10/11/12 04:35 AM
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Vught, The Netherlands
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How 'bout taking a cloth and soaking it club soda and wiping the keys with that.


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971698
10/11/12 06:16 AM
10/11/12 06:16 AM
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Suffolk, United Kingdom
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EssBrace Online content
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I think the problem with roughing up the keys is that the keys you play the most will go smooth again in quite a short time and the whole thing will end up looking like a right dog's dinner. I'd just live with it personally.


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971773
10/11/12 10:17 AM
10/11/12 10:17 AM
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Brazil
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fine advices... smile

yeah, it sometimes troubles me too.


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: EssBrace] #1971774
10/11/12 10:18 AM
10/11/12 10:18 AM
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Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I think the problem with roughing up the keys is that the keys you play the most will go smooth again in quite a short time and the whole thing will end up looking like a right dog's dinner. I'd just live with it personally.


"Living with it" is not acceptable. I need an improvement to this situation.

I use the NP11 as a travel/practice piano to keep my hand(s) in when I have to go on long business trips requiring air travel. Unfortunately, the black key slipperiness is so bad that the experience gets frustrating quickly to the point that it undercuts the practice value of using the NP11.

So, first of all, I don't use it so much that I'm likely to change the key surfaces much from constant wear. And if I do, I can just pull out the steel wool and have another go, right?

Second, I don't care what it looks like after the alterations. This is strictly a utility proposition. If it looks ugly, I won't care -- so long as in exchange it plays a bit better.

I've gotten enough use out of the NP11 by now that I think I've fully amortized the $150 or so acquisition cost. I'd like to improve it, but if I can't, I need to know that so that I consider other options. (There may be a PX350 and a flight case that are out there calling to me...).


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971780
10/11/12 10:25 AM
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After a little Googling, I found a thread about etching plexiglass where one of the last posts talks about using nail polish remover, which is full of solvents. That might make for very easy and precise application. As for testing, you could do with asking someone to send you a couple of old broken keys (I tossed a few out recently).

Someone also mentioned club soda. Probably any acidic soda such as Coke or Pepsi would probably also have an effect, but I imagine that the solvent approach would be better.

I certainly wouldn't try to add anything to the keys in the form of an extra coating as it will probably look very messy, and be erased quite quickly.

Somehow, I suspect that any homespun approach to this problem is likely to prove unsatisfactory in the long-term (as Essbrace suggests), but I'd be very interested to know if you have any success at all!


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971781
10/11/12 10:29 AM
10/11/12 10:29 AM
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Saddleworth UK
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Fairly well known that Rubenstein sometimes used hair spray on his keys to improve the grip. I'm not recommending it though!

Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: AshwayGap] #1971785
10/11/12 10:48 AM
10/11/12 10:48 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,928
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

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Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by AshwayGap
Fairly well known that Rubenstein sometimes used hair spray on his keys to improve the grip. I'm not recommending it though!


Did he do that only on the black keys, or on all keys?

I wouldn't expect this to be as much of an issue for the white keys.

But then I doubt Rubinstein often played an NP11. smile


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971893
10/11/12 02:37 PM
10/11/12 02:37 PM
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Atlanta GA USA
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by AshwayGap
Fairly well known that Rubenstein sometimes used hair spray on his keys to improve the grip. I'm not recommending it though!


Did he do that only on the black keys, or on all keys?


I challenge you to take some hair spray, aim it at the keyboard, and only hit the black keys. unless you plan on taping the white keys first (hmmm, that will make them stickier!)...


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: bfb] #1971896
10/11/12 02:43 PM
10/11/12 02:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,928
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

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Originally Posted by bfb
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by AshwayGap
Fairly well known that Rubenstein sometimes used hair spray on his keys to improve the grip. I'm not recommending it though!


Did he do that only on the black keys, or on all keys?


I challenge you to take some hair spray, aim it at the keyboard, and only hit the black keys. unless you plan on taping the white keys first (hmmm, that will make them stickier!)...


C'mon. The statement was that he *used* hair spray on the keys, not that he *sprayed* hairspray on the keys.

If I wanted the black keys stickier -- but not the white keys -- I might try spraying hair spray on a cloth, then wiping the tops of the black keys with the cloth.

In fact, now that you mention it, I may try that on the NP11.

Thanks for the tip!


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: ClsscLib] #1971900
10/11/12 02:54 PM
10/11/12 02:54 PM
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seriously...(well for me seriously..) wrap some masking tape around your four fingers on one hand- sticky side out. lightly.... LIGHTLY.. (cuz i'd hate to see you get your finger stuck to G#4 on a lightning fast passage).. touch each black key with the tape. see if that cuts down the slickness. we used to do that with footballs to get a better grip on them. and baseball bat handles.

or you could eat a jelly donut before playing.

am i OT?


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Re: Can anything be done about slippery plastic black keys? [Re: bfb] #1971913
10/11/12 03:23 PM
10/11/12 03:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,928
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

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Originally Posted by bfb
seriously...(well for me seriously..) wrap some masking tape around your four fingers on one hand- sticky side out. lightly.... LIGHTLY.. (cuz i'd hate to see you get your finger stuck to G#4 on a lightning fast passage).. touch each black key with the tape. see if that cuts down the slickness. we used to do that with footballs to get a better grip on them. and baseball bat handles.

or you could eat a jelly donut before playing.

am i OT?


Not at all.

To recap, we have two lines of attack suggested above.

The first is to roughen or abrade the black keys with something like fine steel wool or sandpaper.

The second is to apply something to the black keys to make them less slippery -- masking tape adhesive, hairspray, donut jelly filling, etc.

I'm inclined to believe that the first approach holds more promise of an improvement. Before I permanently scuff the keys, though, I'll probably try the second approach. Among other incentives, I'm feeling a strange crave for a jelly donut.

It seems to me that any tacky substance applied to the black keys is also going to end up on the white keys. I'd prefer to avoid that outcome if possible.

I'll report back after I've experimented a bit.


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