Korg 01/WFd Restoration

About 2 years ago a friend of mine gave me his old keyboard. He is a fantastic player and had long left this guy behind. This was his first real instrument which he bought new back in the early nineties; a Korg 01/WFd. 

The Korg 01/Wfd back in business

During its time of engagement it saw plenty of action and it’s fair share of wear and tear. Gaffer tape covered the brand logos, the action of the keys was slow and sticky (build up of dust and smoke), the LCD screen backlight had burned out over time making the display hard to read, a few buttons including the parameter down button were not working any more, and the second octave D key was partly broken, leaving it sticking up quite a few millimetres over the rest of the keys.

Busted D

As you can imagine: Not really the awesome to play or edit sounds. 

So I turned to dear Internet for wisdom and found this great site: Online Guide to the Korg 01/W with heaps of info and tips. 

Motivated to bring the guy back to life and have a nice instrument to learn on, I started by heading down to the local hardware shop, bought Silicon spray (lubricate the key movements), then ordered a new key online. I then proceeded to take the Korg apart piece by piece, photo documenting I went so as not to forget how it all fits together. 

Once the keys were cleaned playing nicely, the next thing was to replace the screen backlight, the buttons, and the battery. 

Underside with main board out

I removed all the buttons by de-soldering each from the boards and soldering the new ones on. 

The screen backlight was fun, there was no way to tell which side of the flat panel was the illuminous side. So I took a guess, soldered it in too, then reassembled the whole thing complete. Total time for dismantle, buttons and backlight, reassemble: ~3 hours. 

Surprise! Backlight is in upside down. I could see light coming up from around the edges of the display, but otherwise it was dark as ever. And real life being what it is I didn’t get a chance to dive right back in and fix it; it must have been about a week before I could make the time. But once I got back in and turned that little light panel up the right way, the display looked killer. 

Display glowing once again

The last job was getting all the gaffer tape off and believe me, that was not easy. 20 odd years of fusing itself to the textured metal surface proved similar to peeling the white lines off a bitumen highway. If you have ever tried that. Probably not, I haven’t, probably nobody apart from road construction workers have. Which you could well be, so maybe you know full well what I’m talking. 

Anyway, long story short, a few people on Google/Internet/Duck duck go, mentioned WD40 as a useful solvent for cutting through the adhesive of gaffer. And Boy George were they right! A bit of patience and much WD40 took that nasty trash right off. 

So finally, after many hours spread over many months (about 14), very rewarding to have brought this old dog back up to spec. 

As you can see in this video, it’s playing rather well now: 

More images:

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4 thoughts on “Korg 01/WFd Restoration

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  1. Had a 01/Wfd from new early nineties cost £1600 ish. Worth evey penny. Appears on many CD’s Still use it. Also have a Korg M50,full Kbd, but I do love the 01. Need to replace the display though. Easy to dismantle. Easy to resport. Sprayed contact cleaner on the switches. Brill.

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