Friday, 16 November 2018

Defacing a Laptop Keyboard For Use With Ableton Live's Virtual Keyboard

I use the virtual keyboard in Ableton Live a lot - and I keep telling myself that I should tidy up and reorganise my working space so that I have room for a real keyboard, but...

The problem I have with the virtual keyboard is the black notes. Firstly, ALL of the keys on the laptop (Qwerty) keyboard are black (with white letters), and so although the two rows are pretty obvious, here's something that I did to my laptop to make it even easier to avoid pressing the Q and the R and (hardest of all) the I...

All I did was get one of the fine point fibre-tipped permanent pens and add a few bits of black to the anodised aluminium between the keys on the laptop keyboard:

And that's it. A quick, simple and very useful way to deface your laptop that makes using the virtual keyboard much easier. Yes, I know that there are various commercial keyboard overlays that also do this, but I already have other bits of black marker pen on my laptop anyway to indicate where the sockets are (I do the same with MIDI sockets so I don't have to go feeling around the back of synths...), and this cost nothing (except the use of the pen's ink), plus if I ever need to remove it, then a cotton bud and isopropanol should remove it easily.

What I'm not doing is correcting the characters, so A is not being replaced with C! Although F and G are correct, and H looks a bit like A. The D key being an E really annoys me every time, but I'm definitely not going to do this:

I know from seeing many synthesisers that are used live, that lots of people add various embellishment to their instruments - from tactile, glowing or coloured dots on keys for use in the dark, to set-list sheets, and even 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D'. etc., marked on the keys... Well, I have just extended this approach to my laptop. 

Note that I'm just showing you what I did to MY laptop. I'm not advocating, suggesting, or proposing that you should deface your laptop. What you do with your equipment is your responsibility. So you do any defacing like this at your own risk!


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