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Bastari & Kin Button Rubber Alternative

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I'm not a player (yet), but I love music and repairing instruments. So I picked up a 20 button Bastari at a local anitques shop for $20. One of the buttons was in a plastic bag, several others were ready to let go. Some sticky keys, some notes droning. I used hand glove leather for the missing directional stop valves. Some of the screening over the sound holes was punched through. I used the material from a paint filter for this.


I found the helpful fuel line rubber replacement instructions, but wasn't satisfied with the results. Tedrow's modifiction seems delinked and he said it was too time consuming anyway. After some thought, I used 3/8" sections of I.V. tubing to thread through the slot in the button tongue and then installed the buttons on the levers. This is a substantial improvement. The buttons can be more precisely positioned and stay in place, which prevents sticking caused by friction between the button and the hole. All side to side motion is prevented and back and forth motion is reduced. It does reduce the projection of the buttons above the end plate about 1/16", but I find the shorter travel preferable. Overall, the action is dramatically improved and this mirrors through to the sound.


An instrument should not get in the way of playing it. Now, all the mistakes will be my own.


Most anyone could do this and it is completely reversable. The material is high quality pvc and should be available to all. While I expect it to last decades, it might fall apart next week. Take the opportunity to straighten the button tongues if they're bent and make sure the levers are properly aligned. Thread the tube before cutting it to size and thread from the smoother side toward the sharper side. This operartion isn't easy, but after about 20, it gets easier. Sometimes, you just need to believe. I used needle nose pliers to install and position the buttons on the levers. An up and down rocking motion helps thread the lever through the tube where it passes through the button tongue. With the end plate in postion; if the button tilts inward, it needs to be moved further in on the lever. If it tilts out, it needs to be moved out.


Enjoy, and thanks for all your help.



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