Saturday, September 15, 2007

More HP1700

Out of all the things I write about, I see that most of my readers are searching for information about the Roland HP1700 digital piano. I played a 1700 for many years before retiring it and purchasing a Yamaha P90.

I gave away my battered 1700 to a pianoless friend. In honor of this piano and for all you other 1700 fans, I post these pictures for you, taken in my old apartment that I left in July 2007 after 14 years of residency.

One more thing. This blog accepts anonymous comments. Please post your comments why you like the HP 1700 so much, what you were hoping to find, and what kind of info you would like to know about the HP1700. Thanks.

I had previously mentioned that this piano had gone out on me during a gig. I failed to even attempt to turn it on until the day I was giving it away.

It came right on.

I'm thinking we had one too many drinks on the piano, and the condensation caused it to temporarily shut down. After it had a chance to dry it was just fine.


At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 15 year old 1700 that I need to work on. Some of the buttons no longer work. I can't figure out how to open it up, either from the top or bottom. Every screw I remove doesn't do anything. Any advice? Thanks.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Great question anonymous! I had the same problem until my tech showed me how to do this. I had to mark the screws once I learned. Once he showed me I couldn't determine why I couldn't figure it out on my own.

On the the extreme right and left sides of the keyboard on the bottom, if I remember right there are 4 screws that go from front to back, and that's all you have to undo.

If you take off the keys be sure to remove the front bar that runs across the front of the keyboard, and the screws for that run along the bottom of that bar.

All the white keys are labeled as to where they fall in the scale(g, f#, etc)so it doesn't matter how you put them back as long as you respect the scale.

The black keys are a little trickier-there are two or three different kinds.

When taking out the keys push the key back with your thumb and then push up, and then the key should pop right out.

When you take out the keys observe the spring assembly on the bottom of the key...sometimes I've had the spring assembly disassemble on me when I take it out. It's a small matter to reassemble as long as you see how the assembly works.

Good luck! Hope this helps!

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, it does help. However, do I have to remove the keys if all I need to do is fix one of the buttons on the piano?

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Brian said...

You won't need to remove the keys if you are just replacing buttons.

You only need to remove the keys when you ever have to replace the rubber grommets underneath the keys. You'll know when you need to do this, because the note will sound at full volume no matter how softly you hit the key.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Teach2010 said...

My 1700 has problems; it plays notes full velocity no matter how lightly the key is touched. Any idea where I could get a few of these replacement rubber 'grommets' (my technician calls them 'contact strips')? My 1700 is sitting in a repair depot in Richmond, BC for almost 2 months now because they've got no replacement parts for it. Sucks!!

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Brian said...


Contact strip is the proper name for them, and you can get them at any dealer that sells Roland keyboards. They generally run about 10-12 dollars and they cover about an octave.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous JeremyD said...

We used to have an HP1700 at our church (I spent many hours playing on that piano with an MT-100 sequencer). On several occasions it developed a "click" noise when the keys were released. A service tech came out and smeared some kind of silicone stuff on a little plastic part underneath each key that was clicking.

Now a friend has a different HP-series keyboard (HP1800?) with a similar problem. Any idea where I can find this silicone "goop"? I'm sure I could handle the repair if I can just find this stuff (or something similar).

Also, thanks for the tip about the contact strips -- he has one failing key that I'll need to fix.

This is the only website I've run across so far that had any info at all about the HP1700, so thank you!


At 11:18 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Thanks for the commnents Jeremy. Regarding key clicking, you've stumped me! I played the heck out of that keyboard for over 10 years and never had anymore than the usual running noise from the keys. I wouldn't describe it as a 'click'...I imagine that perhaps there could be some plastic on plastic that would be making that sound, but I would be slow to recommend anything to put on it. If you find out what it is come back and post it here!

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Rita Roquette de Vasconcellos said...

I have been looking for anything that can help me with my old HP1700 and found this page. Thank you!
My problem is when i am playing i hear some 'strange' noises like POW WOW'S ... kind of electrical shocks.
honestly it seems like electricity sound shocks. sorry for trying to translate sound with words.
can you help me? trying to find the 4 screws to open the piano 2. maybe it's dust? humidity?
Thank you
Best regards from Portugal

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Hi Rita,

I'm glad you found the page! And thanks for your comments.

I'm not sure what the issue may be.

Let me ask you-is the same note that makes this unusual sound? Or does it happen no matter which note you play? And how old is the unit? These were 1st avaiable in the US around 1993 when I got mine.

The only thing that comes to mind may be that the contact strip needs to be replaced.

At 3:46 AM, Blogger Rita Roquette de Vasconcellos said...

Thanks a lot for answering. The Roland is old on time but new in use because it was an uncle's present. he never used it very much. Maybe 10? 12 years? i really don't know.
I am with a friend now trying to unscrew but i am still not sure wich screws to open
i don't know what you mean by contact strips. I supose i have to take the cover anyway?
Thank you
Best regards

At 4:16 AM, Blogger Rita Roquette de Vasconcellos said...

We made it!
Kind of magic.
We just opened the 'lid' /cover...questioned ourselves about what could be the problem.Did'nt think we could fixed it.
Closed and ... everything is ok now.
Thank you for your time.
best regards
Rit a

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi brian,

Could you tell me the model of te spare part concerning the rubber strips? could you give other models which use the same piece?

Best regards from Brasil, Belo Horizonte


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brian! I have some black keys sticking. Thanks to your advice I was able to get them off, and the only explanation can be that the spring is not quite doing it's job.
Would this be right?
Also, are the springs for the black keys the same as for the white ones?
2 other tips.
If people are have issues removing the top cover, remember that it is hinged on the back.
To remove the Keys, I had to push a little round locking bit in with an X screw driver underneath to allow the white keys to slide Forward, and the black keys back.
I could not have gotten the keys off with out your tips.
Please help re springs or...
Thanks Brian

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Hey Stu,

I'm sorry first of all for not answering your question sooner. I hope that you were able to get an answer. I haven't been getting email notifications of comments to this blog.

And thank you for the reminder that the system hinges from the back.

Having dealt with sticky keys before, on other keyboards, my first thought would be that something is definitely worn on the key assembly. In an attempt to faithfully reproduce a piano feel, these key assemblies are quite complex, and you will notice the weight that gives the weighted feel action to these keys. You might try adjusting the spring to see if that would help. Also try adjust some other variables within the key that you might notice that don't come to my mind on the assembly.

There are only 3 times I've had to take a keyboard in for sticking key issues. One was a dropped keyboard, one was a older Roland synth that had excessive factory glue over spray, and the most recent was my Yamaha P90. The P90 has a comparable weighted key assembly that the 1700 has. The tech had to replace the entire key assembly. In this case it was just a wear and tear issue. I've had that P90 since 2007 or so.

Incidentally I haven't had any contact strip repair issues come up with the P90.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Jon McDonough said...

Hi Brian!

I have a Roland HP-1700 that was given to me as a gift. There's about 8 white keys that stay down (stick) when played. They all play their individual notes and there seems to be no issue with the touch sensitivity. I can play soft or loud only once though until the key sticks.

I've been able to open it up and remove some of the affected keys. There's no obvious debris and the springs seem to be working just as well as the springs on "good" keys. Any tips? Should I try and stretch the strings out a bit to make them stronger? Any help is greatly appreciated as I can't wait to get back to playing. Thanks in advance.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Brian said...

It sounds like the keys are physically staying in the 'down' position after you play them? You can try working with the springs...the first thought that comes to mine is that the keys will likely need to be replaced. I bought my 1700 new in 1993, so these buggers are getting up there in age now. You can try to play with the springs, but if that doesn't help or gets worse try replacing one of the keys and see if that fixes it.

Wish I would have held onto mine. I like the surface on the top, I used to keep my computer there. Not many keyboards you can do that with now..

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Jon McDonough said...

Ok thanks. After a lot of research, I picked up some Lucas white teflon grease and applied it to the key guides after thoroughly cleaning each surface. I did end up taking one of the springs and stretching it, but to no avail. I really wish I could resolve this on my own instead of paying a huge cost at a repair shop. Do you know of any good lubricants to use? If I can't get them moving in the next couple of days, I'll take your advice and order new keys.

Thanks again.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Jon McDonough said...

Just wanted to give you an update on my progress and so that other readers might be able to find more info.

After exhaustive research, phone calls, forum reviews, my brother helped me realize what the actual problem was with my keyboard. Let me first say that he's a machinist. I had him over so we could look at the techniques/lubricants I was using. After much frustration he realized that the key guides (removeable black grommets under each key that help it rise/lower while reducing sideways movement) had actually swelled. Having no idea that plastic could change form that much, I'm was impressed. I borrowed a set of his calipers and ended up sanding down .005-.008". And it made all of the difference.

I still applied a minimal amount of Dow Corning #7 release compound for less friction, and now all of my keys are working perfectly! The Roland was bought near Phoenix, AZ. and we have crazy high temps during our summer months. My guess is that it was stored in a non-temperature controlled enviornment for a year or two. The fact that the guides already had built up moisture around them (pre-existing lube), and had been exposed to extreme period for a lengthy period of time caused the plastic to swell. Hopefully this info is helpful to others that might have been in a similar situation with sticking keys.


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