Akai EWI 4000
If you want me to guarantee these pieces are on right then I will install it for a ridiculously low fee of $25. Simply pack it securely, preferably in the original factory box packed inside an outer box with a layer of bubble wrap or shipping peanuts in between the boxes for added protection and pay insured shipping both ways. Installation Fee and return shipping costs must be paid in advance of installation. Failing that you're on your own and all I can do is give the very best instructions and advice I can offer which is what follows.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~You CAN do this!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here's what you need:
1) Patience. Sure, I'll be happy to sell you replacement pieces but I really don't want to. Please follow the instructions written here and use the videos so I won't have to set up a page for individual pieces.
2) Well lit, clean, neat, and comfortable work area.
3) Soft towels. These will be used to brace the EWI in different positions since it has protrusions which make it difficult (impossible) to lay flat on it's back. You need to move it around a lot and I've found towels quick and easy to shape to cradle the instrument securely.
4) Single edge razor blade or tweezers. If you choose to use a razor blade as you will see I do in the videos then use a dulled one. You won't be cutting with it, rather you'll be using it to lift the pieces from the backing material and place them into position. A new sharp one can very quickly slice through and damage the piece. Tweezers will work as well if you prefer but I'm used to razor blades so that's what you'll see in the videos. Use whatever you're most comfortable with but it needs to be small and flat as possible, you'll see why.
5) Cotton Swab. Yes, just one. You'll be using this only on a couple of the tight areas near the keys that overhang at the left hand notch. These are soft and won't leave deep scratches on the material.
7) A white cotton glove. VERY important. The final stage of applying each piece is to firmly press into place. DO NOT press and rub this material hard with your finger unless you intentionally want to add a brushed look to the material. Only light pressure should be applied with the fingertip as you place the piece into place. You just want to "float" them onto the surface. After it's in place put the glove on for firm pressure.
Here we go:
*Yes, my instructions are very detailed, long and wordy. If you prefer not to read it all then please at least watch the videos carefully before you install your kit.
My advice is to read ALL of this page and watch every video before you even begin.
*ALL pieces are measured just smaller than the parts of the instrument they cover so there is room for error. You don't have to be absolutely perfect with your placement. They are very close, anywhere from 1/32" to 1/8". PLEASE pay close attention in the videos to the outer edges of the applied pieces.
*This is made to be a permanent material. Once you stick it it's there. You CAN gently touch it to the surface VERY LIGHTLY then pull it away with no damage if you are off in your placement but once you press it firmly into place it's almost impossible to remove without stretching it so take your time. You will see in the videos a couple places I do this. Remember the don't have to be absolutely perfect!
*As you apply the pieces look straight down over the piece from above. In making the videos I had to stay out of the camera's view so I couldn't hold my head and eyes exactly as I usually would like but you can! Look at all edges. Allow the piece to "hover" until you're sure it's right. When you're sure gently lay it in place. Watch closely how I press from center out, ALWAYS working top to bottom (vertical motion) and NEVER left to right. This is the key (pun intended) to success and no wrinkles!
*Go slowly! Take your time. If you feel you just can't do this, ask a friend for help or even to do it for you. If you can't find anyone to do it for you and decide you don't want to do this yourself I will install the kit for $25 if you pay shipping both ways. This is the only guarantee I can offer and is very reasonable.
Be sure all surfaces are clean, dry, lint and dust free before you start. ANYTHING on the surface is going to show through once finished so clean it now. I suggest a damp lint free cloth to do this.
Now, BEFORE applying each piece, read the instructions for it through carefully and completely and watch the videos through a few times as well.
Video File Sizes:
Before you begin cut apart all the pieces and lay them out neatly. You may also wish to begin to peel just the corner of each piece you will put on so it is ready to go when you are ready to install it.
*For ALL steps from here to the end Cradle the EWI using towels as shown. This is EXTREMELY important. You don't want to be chasing a rolling EWI while trying to precisely position these pieces!
*Note - IF you choose to install the optional Lower Key Inset piece shown in step 4 then I would suggest removing the keys now and covering the exposed holes with a small piece of masking tape to prevent any dust from entering. Also, if your instrument isn't brand new it probably has dust there. I would suggest using a can of compressed air such as is used to clean computers and electronics to thoroughly remove any dust near these keys before removing them. To remove the keys simply remove the single screw holding each in place. Watch closely. There is a tiny black washer under each key that is very thin and will have to be removed as well then placed on top of the skin before you reinstall the keys. Remember these are not very tight so DO NOT over tighten when you put them back. They are made to be adjustable so just snug them into the position you want them. Also, if you over tighten these you can wrinkle the skin you placed under them so just tighten them enough to snugly seat them in place.
The first 3 pieces (mouthpiece, mouthpiece back, and control cover) are silver with all kits.
As you watch the videos pay close attention to how I put the glove on and then press the pieces with the very tip of my finger. Never use the flat pad part of your fingertip because this is too much area to press across at a time.
Just the tip!
1. Mouthpiece. This is the first piece I do because I normally like to start at the top and go to the bottom when I do anything. You may want to do steps 2 and 3 as they are somewhat easier and will give you a "feel" for this. Your decision. WATCH THE VIDEO CLOSELY not just once but maybe 3 or 4 times before you do yours. First, notice there are two very tiny notches at the top center of this piece. These are alignment notches I placed there to help guide the piece into position. As you align these notches to the angled bends of the mouthpiece (left to right) also be watching up and down (top to bottom) and center the piece that way as well. Remember once you lay it into place that's it so don't lay it onto the surface until you are sure!
It's very important as well to prop this end now on an extra towel as shown. This is because you will need to roll the instrument as you work it on and one side will be dangling loose as you roll it and you don't want lint from the towel to get on the exposed adhesive.
Notice how this single piece covers 5 angled panels total. Watch how I "hover" the piece as I align it BEFORE touching it to the surface. Again, watch the two notches AND the space at top and bottom and center it with the lines on the instrument. Once you're sure it's aligned and centered right to left and top to bottom then gently lay it in place. I like to describe this as "floating" it on. You'll notice I make a quick swipe just barely touching it to secure it.
After it's laying in position put the glove on then FIRMLY GRIP the instrument with the other hand. Hold it securely then begin pressing from center out top to bottom VERY slowly and incrementally working your way from center to the edge. This is extremely important! This is how you put it in place with no air bubbles underneath. As you reach each angled edge slow down even more and feel the edge. Also with your grip hand you will begin to roll the instrument so that the area you are pressing is always on top and you can see it well. As you roll it be sure not to allow the exposed adhesive on the other side touch the towel as this will leave lint which will show through. Again, work slowly top to bottom incrementally. Stop and watch the video again if you're unsure of anything before you press the sides down.
2. Mouthpiece Back. This piece is pretty easy but still don't rush. This is the first piece which shows me using a razor blade to guide the piece into position. A razor blade is very thin, much thinner than your finger and allows the piece to be "hovered" very close to the surface for precise alignment. Tweezers will also work but of course the technique would be slightly different. As I mentioned above if you choose to use a razor blade be sure it's slightly dulled and be careful not to slice the piece! Now that you have the piece on the blade, or tweezers you're ready to place it. The oval opening precisely aligns the piece. Watch close and again "hover" the piece over the surface until you are sure it's in position then very slowly lay it in place. Once in place press firmly in the same manner as above. center out top to bottom working your way to the edge.
3. Control Cover. Again, this is fairly simple because of the triangular opening that aligns the piece perfectly and precisely. Hover it, center it, float it on, press lightly, put on the glove, press into place.
4. Lower Key Inset. This piece is optional because it doesn't show much really but because of the reflective quality and the chrome keys it really adds flash! BUT, you gotta' remove the 3 adjustable lower keys to put it on so it's up to you. Again, be sure to thoroughly clean them first to avoid any dust or debris from getting inside the holes. Take the keys off by removing the three screws (one each) holding them. Notice these are not very tight. Once the key is off you'll see the small, thin black rubber washer. GENTLY remove this. Lay the pieces aside for reinstallation after the skin piece is in place.
Okay, this piece is a little tricky to put on. In fact it may very well be the most difficult in the whole kit but if you take your time it's not so bad. Watch the video. See how I hover it then place it. The MOST important thing to watch when aligning this piece is the 3 holes. If you get them aligned then the outer edges are perfect automatically. The thin, long edge near the holes is pesky. The static cling effect tries to pull this to the surface if you get too close so try to hold the piece at a slight angle so the thin edge won't stick prematurely. If it does then gently pull it away. If you damage it a little don't worry. This piece, especially that thin pesky edge, doesn't show a lot anyway.
BE SURE you have the square part of the holes in position to clear the key support ridges. The holes must clear these or it is impossible for it to be placed without wrinkles. As I mentioned, if you do make a mistake don't worry. Just do your best, press it into place as best you can. Again, the only way I will guarantee any of these pieces are applied perfectly is if I do the installation for you.
5. Reinstall Lower Keys if you installed the key inset piece. Video just shows the keys after reinstalling. I'm not in any way trained by Akai so I offer no video of me doing this and my advice is just my opinion, nothing more. Remove and install these at your own risk. First carefully put the thin black washer in place then the key then reinstall the screw as you position the key to your liking. Repeat for the two remaining keys. As I mentioned above tighten only snug enough to keep the key in place. If you over-tighten it will twist the skin you just put on.
6. Left Side. Don't panic! In my opinion the sides are the easiest part of the whole job! There, feel better? ha ha Ok, first be sure the side is very clean! Any lint, dust, hair, eyelash, ANYTHING on the surface there now is still going to be there after the skin is on so clean it NOW!
First lay the instrument as shown on the towel so that it's cradled comfortably and securely. Now lay the piece on the side, be sure you peel away the correct piece for the side as the two sides are quite different. Peel the backing off carefully, this is probably the hardest part of installing this piece so be careful. hold it firmly on each end but do NOT pull it so tight you stretch it! You just need it flat and held securely so that it doesn't touch down unevenly. The side of the instrument is slightly arced so the material will touch along the center first, be aware of this.
Now holding the material at the ends and hovering over the surface you want to watch closely where the cutout is where your hand position is while playing. The material doesn't cover the entire surface (silvery gold colored painted metal) instead I cut this material inset slightly so it will not over hang and also so it will be much easier to position and install. The skin will go approximately 1mm to 2mm to the inside near the hand notch and approximately 2mm+ along the long straight back (bottom as shown) edge. Here are close-up photos showing the exact positions of the material in relation to the EWI's body panels:
Middle (Hand Notch)
Notice the material will overlap onto the front of the EWI. No need to worry about this now, just be aware it's made that way. Once you're certain the positioning is correct and WITHOUT stretching the material, gently lay it flat on the surface and as you see me do in the video very lightly press along the length of the piece from the mouthpiece to bottom in the center of the piece. STOP, put on the glove. Now pres into place using long strokes (mouthpiece to bottom) working from center to edge.
Just as with the mouthpiece this piece overlaps/goes over the rounded surface. Slow down and mash firmly continuing the long mouthpiece to bottom strokes. Pay close attention in the video how I even stop to show the overlap as I'm working it around the corner. Take your time, no rush. This feature (covering the rounded corner) really adds flash and is an important part of the look. Also, if you ordered the ornament set they slightly overlap onto the front as well creating the illusion of a less "squared" object.
7. Right Side. Same as left side. Here are close-ups showing the right side spacing:
8. Bottom Front. This piece is fairly simple to install as are all the pieces from here on. Just watch the video and pay attention to how I hold, hover and float the piece into place. Look closely at the photos below of the spacing. Basically this piece is centered on the panel. Close-up 2 shows the spacing you want to watch closely. There is a slight arch there that separates this section from the key panel. Again, I made the piece inset so do not allow it to touch the arch line. It's very close here, approximately 1mm below the arch as shown.
9. Top Key Arch. This piece can be a little tricky. This is because it is made to overlap both side panel pieces, goes around the arch over the key panel AND at the same time must be centered because the very top piece will align with it. Look closely at the photos and watch the video carefully before proceeding. Notice how I hold the piece with the razor blade at the top so that it will float down to the surface evenly.
If it doesn't align perfectly with the side piece overlaps don't worry. The main thing to watch is that you do NOT allow it to overlap into the arched beveled key panel area. it must stay on the flat area OVER this arch. Also make sure it is centered (left to right) as best you can. Mine is slightly off centered to the right if you notice. This is no problem, I made it this way so a slight error in application is okay.
Of course, once it's down gently press it firmly into place after putting the soft glove on.
10. Top. This piece now has a bottom arch to align with vertically and the EWI lines on the left to right to align with so it's fairly simple. Just watch the videos and see how I hold, hover and float the piece on and be sure to put the soft glove on before pressing into place.
11. Top Right. This piece and it's mirrored left side twin are very easy but be sure they're centered. I allowed a lot of room for error on these pieces because there are not only angled lines but a slight twist in the surface here. Center it as best you can. Notice how it also took me a few tries to get the best holding position before I felt good with it. Take your time, there's no rush. Just hover it, get it centered and positioned to your liking and again float it on then press into place with the glove on.
12. Top Left. Same as above.
13. Battery Cover. Now, flip the EWI over and position as shown in the video. Prop the end up with a towel so that you san see it well. Simple piece to put on really. Hold it securely with the blade as shown, hover it until you're sure it's spaced well and float it into place. Press firmly in place with gloved finger.
14. Bottom End. Easiest piece of all. Has a circle cutout that makes it nearly impossible to position incorrectly. Notice I said "nearly". ha ha just watch the outside edges and center and place. Again, press firmly into place with the gloved finger.
15. Left Hand Cutaway. Okay, these last two pieces of the basic kit are fairly simple but a little tricky too. Just follow closely how I put these on in the video and you'll be fine. They are cut with very little inset so be sure you center them as closely as possible. Pay VERY close attention to the notches that flow around the keys. This is your guide. Center the notches (right to left) as you also pay attention to center the piece lengthwise on this area and it cannot be positioned incorrectly. Hold, hover, and float onto the surface then put on the glove and press. Use a cotton swab to press in the tight area close to the keys.
16. Right Hand Cutaway. Almost exactly the same as the left side but this side of course has the two glowing LED button notches. Center with these buttons while centering vertically and then, of course, hold, hover, and float onto the surface, put on the glove and press.
Optional Key Panel Pieces:
(Included with all kits)
Video File Sizes:
1. Middle. Once again, fairly easy application here but I'll point out my observations. This piece is made with VERY close tolerances. It follows the lines of the keys and tapers off up and down following the key panel on each side. Watch the video. Take your time. I use a blade again with this piece. I suggest you do as well or at least tweezers. Hover a while, no rush. Be sure it's centered and not touching a key and is aligned on all edges, float on and press.
2. Top. Two things to watch for here. First is the bevel at the top of the arch. DO NOT let this piece touch the bevel. This material cannot conform to small tight bends and if you touch that bevel you'll have problems with this piece staying in place. It will also become a dust trap. Stay on the FLAT part of the key panel. Second, look closely at the video. This piece comes very close to the finger button but does NOT touch it. Center it as best you can while being aware of those two things. Hover, and float onto the surface then put on the glove and press.
3. Bottom. If you ordered one of the flame ornament kits a flame will go here as well. Personally I much prefer the flame here without the gold or cover skin piece but you can look at all the pictures and decide for yourself which you prefer. If you choose to add this piece be careful. It has a top and bottom although it is a little hard to tell which is which. The bottom of this piece has a very slight arch to match the panel. Probably no big deal if you do happen to put it on upside down but it's made to go right side up of course :-) Hold, hover, and float onto the surface then put on the glove and press.
Video File Sizes:
1. Side. Instructions to follow...
2. Top Arch. Instructions to follow...
3. Top. Instructions to follow...
4. Bottom. Instructions to follow...
5. Bottom Initial. Instructions to follow...
1 Color Flame Ornaments:
Video File Sizes:
1. Sides. Instructions to follow...
2. Bottom 1. Instructions to follow...
3. Bottom 2. Instructions to follow...
4. Top. Instructions to follow...
2 Color Flame Ornaments:
Video File Sizes:
1. Sides Base. Instructions to follow...
2. Sides Top. Instructions to follow...
3. Bottom 1. Instructions to follow...
4. Bottom 2. Instructions to follow...
5. Top. Instructions to follow...
Well, that's it... You're finished!
So, what are you waiting for? Take some pictures (flash off please!!!!) and send them to me fast!!!!!!! Or better yet go perform and have someone shoot some video and send me that!