Can You Paint A Clavinova?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

It’s not uncommon for people to wonder whether painting a Clavinova or any digital piano for that matter, affects its performance. You may have owned a Clavinova for some time now, and got sick of its original design and color, or you may have found a Clavinova that you like but you’re having second thoughts about buying it because you don’t like the way it looks. 

Regardless of the reason why you would want to freshen your instrument, you may be wondering what type of paint should be used, as well as the do’s and don’ts when painting your Clavinova so as not to compromise its function and performance. 

Who Should Paint My Clavinova?

Generally, there are only two ways to go about this process. The majority would say that the best thing to do is to let someone else do it, specifically those who have the experience. 

However, if you’re more of the do-it-yourself type of person, there are some precautions that you will need to remember before you start painting your digital piano.

1. Seek Help From Professionals

If you don’t know how to go about the painting process on your own, the easiest option is to go to an auto body shop and let them do the work. The closest thing you can get to a durable factory finish is an automobile lacquer finish applied by experts. 

The most difficult thing about painting your digital piano is not the painting process itself. For most people, this is the enjoyable part. The problem arises in reassembling the parts back. That’s why seeking the help of experts is never the wrong choice. These people know how to properly disassemble the parts and return them in the exact same way it was removed. 

Depending on where you live, the cost varies. However, this will ensure that your instrument will be handled with the best care possible without damaging its hardware and functions. 

2. Do It Yourself

There are many ways to paint a Clavinova all by yourself. If you want to unleash the creative artist in you, then a DIY option is the way to go. The advantage of this method is that you can experiment with many different colors and styles since you’re basically the one doing the work, so you can stop whenever the outcome fits your liking. 

The overall process of painting a Clavinova – or any other digital piano is entirely simple. Painting can be a fun activity, but the main issue lies in disassembling and reassembling the piano parts back to their original state. If one thing goes wrong, it might affect the performance of your Clavinova, or worse, damage its parts entirely. You would have to be extra careful if you don’t have any prior experience opening up the instrument and if you easily forget which parts go where.

To start off, you would have to prepare the following materials:

  1. Primer
    • Pick a primer that will adhere to the surface you’re painting. Typically, metal or plastic
  2. Clear Lacquer
    • Use clear lacquer to stop the paint from chipping and ruining the instrument’s surface
  3. Appliance paint or any other type
    • Choose a color that suits your liking. Appliance paint gives off a hard finish when dried, and is easy to spray on surfaces
  4. Screwdrivers and other tools
    • To disassemble your digital piano
  5. Newspaper or any material
    • To prevent paint from getting everywhere
  6. Tape

How To Paint Your Clavinova

It’s important to read the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your Clavinova before painting it. 

You would have to understand that disassembling your digital piano and painting it will mean that the warranty will be voided. If that won’t be a problem for you, then you can go ahead and continue reading. Otherwise, you’ll have to reconsider if what you’re about to do is worth risking that warranty. 

1. Disassemble the Parts

Disassembling your piano is the first and most important step before you start painting it. You don’t want to take the chance of painting the keyboard’s functional components. 

To do this, start by removing all the loose knobs, dials, screws, and cables from your Clavinova. Then, place the loose hardware somewhere you’ll remember. You can store the screws, especially the tiny ones in a cup so you won’t lose them. 

Another important tip to remember when disassembling your digital piano’s components is to take a photo or video of the things you removed so it will be easy to remember which goes where once you reassemble the parts back. You also might want to consider putting a label on the screws and component parts to prevent interchanging them. 

2. Apply the Primer

Priming is very important before applying the paint. If you attempt to paint without layering it with a primer beforehand, it will certainly be difficult for the paint to adhere to the surface of your instrument. 

You can get drips or bald spots, and the paint will peel and flake more easily. Use a primer on your piano before painting it to avoid paint chips. Additionally, this will guarantee that your instrument has an even coating layer of paint. 

Start by giving the piano’s surface a thorough cleaning. Next, put an old piece of newspaper—or any other paper of your choice—beneath it to prevent the primer from spilling onto surfaces you don’t want it to be.

Finally, use painter’s tape to cover any surfaces on your digital piano that you don’t want to be painted. For instance, you don’t want any labels on the control panels that indicate what the knobs or buttons do to be painted on. So to protect them, it’s important to cover them with painter’s tape. 

Apply a coat of primer using long, smooth strokes. Make sure to thoroughly coat every surface and into every crevice. You run the risk of the paint not adhering properly to the surface when the primer is not thoroughly applied.

Following the application of your first coat of primer, apply your second coat in the same manner, and then wait for it to completely dry before moving on to the painting stage.

Another important tip to remember is that when you’re applying a primer, you should consider wearing gloves and a mask because the smell can be quite strong. You wouldn’t want to inhale all those chemicals. 

3. Start Painting

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, it’s now time to start painting. Start by painting on your Clavinova with long, even strokes and add color in thin coats, letting each coat completely dry before applying the next. It’s very important for each coating to dry before applying the next.

If you’re using spray paint, make sure that you shake the can thoroughly before using it so you can mix the paint properly. 

You may always lightly sand between coats of paint to smooth out any defects. Make sure to thoroughly coat every surface and into every nook. You can coat your digital piano several times depending on the instructions on your can of paint. 

4. Finish with A Clear Lacquer

Take extra time to apply the clear lacquer on your digital piano. The paint will be protected by the lacquer for years to come, which will also give the instrument a lovely finish.

You don’t want all the effort you’ve just put in to go to waste in a few years. To ensure that your new layer of paint will last longer, make sure that you apply the lacquer using long, even coats, following the same painting technique.

Double-check to ensure that you covered all surfaces, or you run the danger of the paint chipping in those spots where you didn’t apply the lacquer. You can apply several coats as long as you remain guided by the instructions stated in the can. 

Allow the lacquer to set for a number of hours or as directed on the can. Also, give this final step a bit more time because this is one of the most important steps to do. To prevent anything from chipping off during reassembly, you want to ensure that all the layers have properly dried and bonded.

5. Reassemble the Parts

Reassembling the parts to their original state is the nightmare that comes when painting your Clavinova. After your digital piano has been repainted and given a coat of lacquer, you can begin cautiously putting it back together.

Use the photos or videos you took earlier as a guide. If you’re not sure where each item goes, try matching up the screw holes and shapes until everything fits snuggly. 

Replace the buttons and sliders after replacing the hardware that can be replaced. Then, join the cables and secure everything with its proper screws.

Important Tips When Painting Your Clavinova

  • The majority of individuals suggest Appliance Paint because it is simple to spray onto surfaces and produces an even, durable finish. When painting, the secret is to use multiple light coats that are just thick enough to create a coating on the surface.
  • Before painting, sand any parts that have a gloss finish with #600 wet-and-dry paper. A matte surface is one on which the paint will adhere better; a gloss surface will not.
  • Each coat should be allowed to cure completely before the surface is flattened with #600 wet and dry sandpaper. Sand each coat smooth before you apply the next since paint does not cover surface flaws; in fact, it actually makes them easier to notice.
  • Never sand the very last coat. But if the last coat is a disaster, sand it smooth and add another coat. Just be cautious not to sand the final one. The secret is to apply just the right amount of paint. If you use too much, the pain will run or sag. If you use too little paint, you will get a rough finish. 
  • After each coat of paint, be sure to sand off any flaws or dust particles. The next coat won’t conceal them.
  • Make a note of everything you do, including the size and location of every screw you remove, every connector you unplug, every tab you release, etc.
  • Go to a nearby sign maker if you want graphics done. Most people are able to cut vinyl and apply it over paint. The vinyl, which is designed for outdoor signs, will never wear out on a piano.
  • Be prepared to put in more effort if you embark on this task and want your piano to appear as though it was fresh from the store. Do not rush. Painting takes time, therefore a hasty job would lead to a rushed outcome.
  • Don’t discount the benefits of lacquer; it will give your piano a glossy finish and, most importantly, will protect it, which is essential if you want to avoid paint chips on it.

Key Takeaway

Generally speaking, you may paint your digital piano and give it a dazzling new look with a fresh coat of paint if you take the right measures. But if your keyboard is brand-new and covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll have to say goodbye to your warranty because it will be voided once you disassemble the parts and cover it with paint. 

The best people to get the job done are those who have the experience to do so. If you want your Calvinova painted, seek help from the experts. But if you prefer a DIY approach, just be guided with each step and take the time to read each tip to ensure that you do the job correctly without compromising your digital piano’s functions and performance.