Keys to Salvation

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to my first keyboard. I sold my 1988 Ensoniq SQ-80 to a woman in Cupertino, CA named Allison who said she and her teenage son J were going to rehab it. After I shared the my history of the keyboard with her, she promised to keep me up to date with the overhaul. This morning I received a few messages from her!

“This lovely Ensoniq SQ-80 comes with a story. The original owner sold it to us, as it’s badly in need of loving care. He’s even written a farewell blog posting compete with late ‘80s teen keyboard pics!! Anyways – this has a complete strip down. Three decades of grime were removed from the front panel. The sliders and two tact switches were replaced with new. The firmware was flashed to the latest revision 1.80. We swapped out the very-dead battery for an exact replacement, and we repaired the floppy drive. All in an evening’s work. To do: rebuild the keybed and remove the yellow staining. Then – this will be good as it was and ready for decades more music.”

  • Firmware Upgrade
  • Battery Replacement!
  • Giving the Buttons a Bath
  • J & Circuitry
  • Main Panel
  • J Inspecting Parts
  • Cleaning Contacts
  • Inside Front Panel

“Once the keybed is rebuilt, the keys whitened and the aftertouch fixed, it’ll be almost as good as it was when new 😊

— Allie and J

What a wonderful treat it’s been to see my trusty machine come back to life! Many thanks to A&J for keeping me appraised of its rejuvenation. I assume the renovated keyboard will soon be put back up for sale. Will be interesting to see the next chapter in the life of this keyboard.