Some things are better left dead. Is this one of them?
September 19, 2010 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Is it worth the effort/cost to try to repair a 20-year-old Korg digital piano? It was recently discovered to produce barely any audible sound from both the speakers and the headphone jack. Not looking to recoup any cost from it, just looking to avoid putting a lot of $ into it, in order to make it donation-worthy.

I don't have the model number handy. When purchased sometime back in 1989 or '90, it was top-of-the-line for digital console pianos (weighted full-size keyboard, built-in speakers, a real purdy stand) or just abouts. I think we paid ~$2,000 for it.

A good friend took it in for me when I moved from Boston to CA. I'm out here for permanently now, probably, and it's time for something else to take up the space he's so generously given it for the past 10 years. I'm sure it's been well taken care of (he was a bit of a musician himself) but it was just recently powered up after what may have been a long haitus.

Seeing as it's both the speakers and the headphone jack having the problem, I'm guessing it's an amplifier problem, or maybe the AC/DC converter.

My 'plan' for it is to donate it. I'm willing to spend... sigh, I dunno, a couple hundred bucks? in order to have it looked at & repaired. Does that sound like something that's in the realm of possibility?
posted by armoir from antproof case to Technology (4 answers total)
A twenty-year-old digital piano is probably only worth a couple hundred bucks, tops. I wouldn't put much into repairing it, TBH.

That said, if it's still making some sound, but it's just quiet, it's very probably a very easy fix -- probably just a loose connection that needs some solder.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:48 PM on September 19, 2010

I can't speak to the specifics of repairing the piano, but if your sole aim in doing so, as you say, is to make the instrument donation-worthy, then I suspect you might be worrying about this needlessly. In a big city like Boston, there are probably any number of starving student musicians who would gladly take in an instrument like the one you're describing, as-is, and undertake to get it fixed on their own.

Assuming you don't need the tax deduction or anything, I'd say consider posting an ad to the free section of Craigslist, or to Freecycle Boston, describing the piano in detail and mentioning that you'd like it to be picked up by someone who can repair and use it. I'm betting you'll have 10-20 very eager responses within the hour.
posted by Bardolph at 5:56 PM on September 19, 2010

Also, if it's got MIDI sockets on the back, then it is useful as a controller for other synths and computers - very useful!
posted by cogat at 6:14 PM on September 19, 2010

Yes - a full weighted keyboard with working MIDI output is a salable item, even if it has no built-in sounds. (There are lots of off-the-shelf controller keyboards like this, from little two-octave home-studio input devices up to 88-key weighted.)

What'd kill its value would be dead KEYS. It's often quite easy for a slightly handy person to fix a dud contact or repair a snapped weight-mechanism cord or something, but all-keys-working is much more desirable.

Presuming the MIDI works, if I were listing it on eBay, I'd call it "Korg [model name] controller keyboard" and explain why it doesn't quite qualify as an actual digital piano any more in the listing :-).
posted by dansdata at 7:50 PM on September 19, 2010

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