Cleaning the Soundboard, Part Two

After a not-really-adequate night’s sleep, and a morning of yardwork, I returned to the church to resume my battle with the soundboard, armed with a better pair of needle-nose pliers from the house (lesson #1: any ad hoc toolkit should include a pair of needle-nose pliers).

And, what do you know, the pliers from home worked like a charm – they have a more even gripping surface, all the way down to the point, which is where the action was happening. And the bolts seemed to have learned a lesson; it only took about a quarter-turn with the pliers for each, and they were loose enough to unscrew with the allen wrench the rest of the way. I made short work of those 45 bolts.

Unfortunately, it did me absolutely no good. Those bolts, I thought, held the top plate down, and if I removed the bolts I could remove the plate, and get at the part of the board I wanted to clean: the place(s) where the knobs and sliders make metal-on-metal contact with the guts of the board. But, as it turns out, the bolts don’t hold the plate down; they hold the guts up. The plate is attached to the rest of the metal box housing said guts. To get at the part of the soundboard’s interior that I wanted to, I’d have to take the entire fucking thing apart, which I’m certainly not qualified to do, and not stupid enough to attempt (almost, but not quite).

So, in the end, all I was able to do was clean off the dust that had accumulated under the multitudinous knobs (there was quite a bit) and clean the contact point of the sliders indirectly, by squeezing a few drops of alcohol down the slider with a Q-tip and running it back and forth a few times. I could have gotten all that done last night, without ever unscrewing a thing. Lesson #2, I guess.

The good news is that the soundcheck I did – after replacing and realigning all the knobs – sounded fine (it’s also good news that the board turned back on at all, and that all the channels still work). The real test will be tonight’s service, but I’m (mostly) confident that everything will sound fine.

And I bought a towel to keep the board covered with. Lesson #3.

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