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BK-9's: What wears out first?

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  • Karma:
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BK-9's: What wears out first? #6474
Question as in the subject... For those of you that have many hours on your BK-9's, what has failed or worn out, that you needed to replace?

I remember Diki posting that he stocked up on a few key parts because availability was limited. Can't remember what those parts were right now. Bottom line, if the BK-9 is going to be Roland's Last Great Arranger, I would like to know what I'll need to "keep it flying." If you've fixed or replaced anything, please share your experience!
7 months 2 weeks ago

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BK-9's: What wears out first? #6483
A lot will depend on how you treat and transport your BK-9.

In my case, I use a hard shell case, so physical damage is not a factor so far. The only two issues I've had are that firstly, the pitch bend lever wears out VERY easily. Bear in mind, I use mine a LOT. A very lot! I'm old school, mostly use SMF's and MP3's and use the bender for just about every solo sound there is other than pianos and organs. So, compared to the average arranger user in style mode, who's LH is tied up playing the chords most of the time, I use the bender probably hundreds of times more. But, compared to other Roland products I've had over the years, the Chinese ones in the BK-9 aren't very durable. I'm on my third on my main BK-9 and 2nd on the spare. Also had to replace a friend's BK-9 bender too.

However, these are still widely available, being the same part for quite a few Roland keyboards (FA, other BK's etc.). So, not that big an issue, changing them out is simple and requires no soldering. But I would definitely order a spare, just in case. They aren't that much, about $40US or thereabouts.

The bigger problem is that, being a beach musician quite a lot, a few of my faders are playing up, and that part (the main fader board, the faders aren't available from Roland individually) is long out of production. So far, liberal application of fader lube/cleaner (NEVER use spray contact cleaner!) has kept it working acceptably, but it's only a matter of time... I may have to cannibalize my home BK-9 for the gig one. I am investigating whether a direct replacement for the individual faders can be sourced from a repair shop and soldered in, but so far no positive results. I'll post if I find a source.

However, I tend to work on my Performances so they need no tweaking on the gig, so I can make do if the faders start acting up, jumping values or not changing values. It''s only a couple of them, but it's a PITA if I need to do a Hammond gig. I keep a few Performances ready to go with standard B3 registrations if I end up in a pickle and need registrations the drawbars won't physically call up.

In fairness, my G70 after 12 years of beach playing developed a similar problem, but it's a shame the BK-9 took a few less years. As I age, and as Roland seem to have ceased new arranger production (at least of 76's, which I consider a must have), I am fairly content with what I have. I do have a spare, so if my beach BK-9 dies, the house one can take over. With luck, they will last longer than me!

But there ARE things you can do to help that longevity. If gigging, a hard case is a must. Sooner or later, something WILL fall on the case. A soft one won't ensure the keyboard's survival. I regularly clean and wipe down the arranger, a clean machine is a working machine!

I also try to use right angle jacks into the sockets on the back. You'd be surprised at how much stress straight out ones can put on fragile PCB mounted jacks when supporting heavy cables. I use high quality main out audio cables, and with that quality comes weight. A right angle 1/4" jack doesn't put anywhere near as much stress on the socket. Same with sustain and expression sockets. Treat these gently, try not to forget to unplug them all before you lift the keyboard to put away (who hasn't done THAT at least once?!) and don't push the keyboard up against the stand so jacks are stressed.

You know, the basic standard things....

Oh, BTW, NEVER use a cloth cover. They won't protect from spilled liquids, and unless regularly washed, end up generating as much dust as they prevent! Use a vinyl one, or heavy plastic. You DO have a keyboard cover, don't you??? :huh:

But, touch wood, other than the outlined issues, so far my gig BK-9 has been bombproof. For something that light, it has held up well to a punishing schedule in a punishing marine environment, hot, humid and salty (FL Gulf coast). I've got other gear that hasn't fared as well!
7 months 1 week ago Last edit: 7 months 1 week ago by Diki.
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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