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Rearranging Axis-49 Keys

June 6th, 2018
music, jammer  [html]
As I wrote before, the Axis-49 comes with a Harmonic Table layout, but I want to use it with Wicki-Hayden. I wrote some code to remap the keys, but the colors on the keys now made no sense. I decided to move the keys around into a better pattern.

I took out the four corner screws, letting me get the lid off:

Then I took out the screws holding the circuit board in:

The keys are held in with little plugs, which come out if you pull firmly:

Unfortunately I pulled a little too firmly on one of them, and broke the plug:

I needed to get it out with a needle-nose pliers. After that I was more careful, and if a peg seemed stuck I twisted it slightly. I initially thought this meant I had lost a note, and was trying to decide if I cared less about the highest or lowest note, but then I realized I don't need the transposition keys so took the plug from one of them to use as a spare.

After taking all the pegs out I could start to put things back together, following the parrern suggested here.

And here it is finished:

You can see the missing transposition key up top. The bottom is also not quite colored correctly; the Axis-49 comes with three fewer black keys than you need to make this layout, but I tried to have the wrong colors out of the way.

I think it's much clearer this way, and much easier to pick what key to play in.

Update 2018-07-26: with the kind of music I play having C centered doesn't make much sense since as you start adding sharps you run out of room. Since fiddle tunes average about two sharps (D) I went back and moved the white keys over a whole step. I now have a range from F to B (F, C, G, D, A, E, B) instead of Eb to A (Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A). There are also sections of the board where the range is slightly shifted: in the high registers you have one more sharp key, and in the low registers you have one more flat key. Of course you can always transpose in software, but I'd rather have the coloring of the keys reflect what I'm doing.

The dark/light blue keys haven't moved, but now are pairs of Bb instead of Ab.

(This is actually a second Axis-49. The first one was too old to go into 'selfless' mode, where each key sends a different number. Updating my MIDI program was tidy (commit) because this one identifies as AXIS-49 2A instead of AXIS-49 USB Keyboard, and now I can play seven octaves instead of three and a half. Not sure what I'll do with the other one yet.)

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