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Keytop Color Difference

  • 1.  Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-02-2018 23:11
    Young Chang action in for new brackets with about seven keytops throughout that are much whiter than the others.  Has anyone been successful in purposely 'yellowing' plastic keytops to any degree - chemically, with light, or heat, or are we looking at changing out the whole set so they all match?
    Further, does anyone know why this even happens, to some and not all the keytops?  Looking closely at the part of the keytop that never got any light on them (the last 1/8" under the fallboard when up), you can see they were all probably once white.  Most keytops yellowed in time, most likely from exposure to light, but seven stayed white - must have come from different manufacturing batches?
    Any and all suggestions, conjecture, ponderment, and direction welcome.
    Thanks.

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    Chuck Christus
    Flagler Beach, FL
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  • 2.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 02:25
    I have had very good luck using alcohol based wood dyes to tint key top material.  You have to use a very dilute solution and paint it on smoothly but you can match the color.

    The type of material affects the bonding and penetration of the stain and it will wash off or wear off, but you can stain it.  Golden oak stain works well.

    You could also age key tops with a UV light source like a black light bulb or just leave them in the sun.

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 3.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 04:03
    To add fuel to the fire, I just opened a set of new tops direct from Yamaha and found two different shades within one set of 7 pieces!  They claim they had no knowledge but were happy to know about it and will investigate.  They will send replacements.

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    Mike Kurta, RPT
    N. Michigan chapter
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  • 4.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 08:16
    I had the very same problem with a YC Weber I bought last year.  Had to replace all the naturals, unfortunately.

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    Kent Burnside, RPT
    Franklin TN
    615.430.0653
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  • 5.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 11:32
    Charles,
    Can the yellow be sanded out? I recently had to refinish a set of keys on a Yamaha WX7 with "Ivoritis (dark stains on many keys).
    I used a random orbital sander with 400 grit to take off the discolored layer, and finished with 600, 1500, and 2000 grit papers, and then some plastic polish.

    Would a similar process work on your keys? I guess it depends on how deep the yellowing is.

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    Scott Cole
    Talent OR
    541-601-9033
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  • 6.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 23:01
    Thanks so far to the repliers.
    As Mike said, it's not a problem exclusive to one piano manufacturer.  Never had a problem with Yamaha keytops though, at least the new 'ivorite' they used to send (having done a couple hundred sets of ivoritis-inflicted tops when Yamaha still covered that); maybe you were talking about the newer plastic sets(?)  But I've seen this on other pianos too, didn't mean to single out YC.
    Although maybe Kent could have sent me his discarded yellow old tops from his Weber (just kidding).
    I tried sanding already and got nowhere - absolutely no change in shading, but I'm glad you got good results, Scott, from sanding the ivorite tops you encountered (I wasn't sure that could even work on ivorite tops, in fact I think I remember being told it's only temporary and the staining might come back - hope I'm wrong).
    I'm inclined to try Blaine's suggestions, thanks, as I have some tints, stains, and dyes I can work with, and we usually have plenty of sunshine here as well.
    Last resort I guess we're putting new keytops on.  If I didn't take classes from Mike and make some jigs like his, I'd send them on up to him in Michigan.
    Thanks again for the input guys, very grateful.
    Chuck

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    Chuck Christus
    Flagler Beach, FL
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  • 7.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 23:04
    Oh yeah...
    I contacted Vincent Choi at Young Chang, who replied (very promptly I might add) that this is no longer a warranty issue.
    Chuck

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    Chuck Christus
    Flagler Beach, FL
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  • 8.  RE: Keytop Color Difference

    Posted 07-03-2018 23:08
    But, did they have the different shades? Aside from the labor, at least you'd have a match, and they're not that expensive. I used to have the various shades, but they got lost in a move.
    Paul McCloud
    San Diego



    Oh yeah...
    I contacted Vincent Choi at Young Chang, who replied (very promptly I might add) that this is no longer a warranty issue.
    Chuck

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    Chuck Christus
    Flagler Beach, FL