Can any guitar techs out there help fix my knob?
June 20, 2015 2:19 PM   Subscribe

How do I fix a volume knob on my Les Paul?

I like to consider myself a guitar player but when it comes to actually working on the hardware and messing around with knobs and screws and such I’m lost. The bridge volume knob on my Epi LP has been loose for a while and now it just falls off. This screw looking part that the volume knob was sitting on seems to be falling into the guitar body. I can pull it back up, but it just falls back in. Is this something I can fix or do I need to replace it?
posted by downtohisturtles to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
With one hand, take a pair of pliers and hold up the pointy thing and then use the other to tighten that flat nut that surrounds it. Works for me.
posted by 4ster at 2:44 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not so sure. Try tightening it and see if that does the trick.

But it looks to me like the shaft has actually come loose from the threaded collar, meaning the potentiometer is falling apart. Try removing the control plate on the back of your guitar and find the problem pot, I'm guessing there will be four metal tabs that were clipped onto the bottom of the threaded collar and holding to potentiometer together. You may need to remove the hex nut on the top of the guitar to free the collar and bend the tabs back over the base.

Otherwise, pots are relatively cheap and you can probably find one in most shops that sell guitars. If you have experience soldering, it's as simple as desoldering the existing wires and soldering them to the new potentiometer. If you don't have experience with soldering, just about any guitar shop that sells pots will also install them for a minimal cost.
posted by Woodroar at 2:58 PM on June 20, 2015

Response by poster: Tried tightening it. Doesn't seem to work. And I'm not very comfortable messing around with soldering so I guess I'll have to take it in.
posted by downtohisturtles at 3:49 PM on June 20, 2015

You can unscrew and remove the panel on the back of the guitar behind that switch without having to worry about soldering. You should be able to tell (or paste a picture here) whether the pot is smashed in.
posted by rhizome at 4:01 PM on June 20, 2015

Response by poster: OK, got the back open. This is the problem pot. As you can see it's disconnected from the body. Is there a safe and easy way to stick it back? Everything's working fine still in terms of the wiring.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2015

If you unscrew that hex nut on the front of the guitar, the threaded collar will come loose. At that point, you just slide it back over the shaft, hold everything as tightly together as possible, and bend those four metal tabs around it.
posted by Woodroar at 4:22 PM on June 20, 2015

Response by poster: You guys rock. That part is tight to the body again. Now the last problem is the knob itself. Is it supposed to be screwed in? If so I think the knob part is stripped. It just spins around and around and doesn't feel connected to the screw.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:41 PM on June 20, 2015

The top of the shaft is probably bent inwards a little. If you straighten it out, the knob should fit on tightly. Anything you can use to gently straighten it should work, like a screwdriver tip or even a toothpick.
posted by Woodroar at 4:48 PM on June 20, 2015

Response by poster: Straightened it a little and it seems to be working well. Thanks again everybody!
posted by downtohisturtles at 5:20 PM on June 20, 2015

In the event that you need to purchase new knobs, note that the Gibson Les Paul and the Epiphone Les Paul do not use the same size. The first guitar I purchased for myself was an Epi LP, and I discovered this fact when I tried to swap knobs onto my Gibson Les Paul Standard.
posted by EKStickland at 8:54 PM on June 20, 2015

Note that pot shafts can be fragile, and the prongs can shear with too much bending. Too much is sometimes surprisingly little.
I was going to say that if it starts to spin again, look into an adhesive, but as usual, their are more intense gearheads with better ideas. Teflon tape struck me as particularly clever.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 4:46 AM on June 21, 2015

The knob looks stripped. It's supposed to be pushed on, not screwed on, but it sounds like you've jury-rigged it for now.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:12 AM on June 22, 2015

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