Please help! 1959 Precision pot repair or replacement (pre-cbs content)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lowjoe1, Mar 10, 2014.


  1. lowjoe1

    lowjoe1

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Location:
    tennessee
    Good evening, all. I've come here seeking advice on what my options are and how to proceed. During my last jam session with a buddy, the volume pot on my 1959 precision completely locked up. It simply wont turn at all. Even after taking off the pickguard, it wont turn. It is my main player, but keeping its value is also important to me, as I'm not made of money and may have to sell it someday. The pot code on the side reads:

    220-17
    304-5942

    Is there any way to repair it, or must I get a new one? If I must get a new one, does anyone have recommendations about what I should buy that wont mess up the rest of the 55 year old electronics? If it can be repaired, does anyone have suggestions on who might do a good job? Thanks in advance for ANY help you can give me.
  2. lowjoe1

    lowjoe1

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Location:
    tennessee
    Morning bump...
  3. eukatheude

    eukatheude

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Italy, Brescia
    You might want to try some electronics cleaning spray first of all.
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    If you have some experience with disassembling pots, I'd say very carefully take it apart to see exactly what is jamming it up. If not, bring it to a very well trained technician. Old pots can be repaired if the wafer is intact.
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  6. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Caig DeoxIT D5
  7. negativefx

    negativefx complete hack Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    +1 for Deoxit as a first attempt. Remove the pot from the plate if possible. Drench it in Deoxit and slowly try to loosen it up.

    Bring the pot to a repair shop if that doesn't fix it.

    Worst case, replace it with another 250K Log/Audio (A250K / 250KA / 250K Audio) pot. It's not going to make a difference in tone. I'd recommend getting a nice CTS pot from StewMac. You can request they test and ship a +/-1% tolerance on the pot as well... you'll pay a little more from StewMac than other vendors but with that type of service it's hard not to use them given their quality inventory.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Make sure to keep the old pot safe if you replace it. Obviously you have to have a working pot for the bass to be worth anything, but changing pots does affect the value, and those who are in the market for one of those babies would want the original pot even if it doesn't work.
  9. Cadfael

    Cadfael

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Location:
    Germany, EU
    Are there any experts in / arround Tennessee?

    JimmyM is absolutely right ... Every soldering mark and explaination lowers the value of this bass with original pots ...

    I recommend to look for an expert who might save the old pots. I would not try any pot cleaner without knowing the result ...
    If impossible and you have to replace the pots, save the pots in a plastic bag or similar.
  10. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    It's a spray cleaner, not a Brillo pad.
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    If at all possible, save the original pot. Deoxit may very well free it up. If not you may need to remove the pot cover and see if there is anything inside physically obstructing it.

    You are a brave man using a 59 P as your main axe.
  12. AGH

    AGH Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Disclosures:
    All of the stuff I got for free wore out!
  13. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    I wonder if there are any pots that will work with the original pot cans. That way a new pot will still have the original numbers.
  14. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Huntington WV
    Some time ago I had a pot lock up on an inexpensive bass that had been sitting my closet for a while. I sprayed it with pot cleaner, and that freed it up.

    These days I'd use Deoxit D5, as folks have suggested above.
  15. lowjoe1

    lowjoe1

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Location:
    tennessee
    Thanks for all the replies, I had never heard of the deoxit. As far as me using it as my main axe, why else would I have it? :)
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    Recording, playing at home, maybe a gig every once in a while if its not at a hole in the wall venue where it may be stolen or damaged. The same reason people dont use their classic car as a daily driver
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Why not have a good tech take the pot apart and replace the guts.
    If he is careful not to leave tools marks on the case, it would be a righteous repair.
    Also no change to the solder joints.
    I would still keep the guts.
  18. lowjoe1

    lowjoe1

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Location:
    tennessee
    I've been told this can't be done?...
  19. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    OP, if you go the DeoxIT route, go easy. Spray some in the hole, both directions if possible, quick bursts, as soon as it squirts take your finger off. Then WAIT a couple of minutes. Give it time to ooze around and penetrate. Then spray again and try to ease the knob right and left. Don't force it, just keep trying to ease it right and left.
  20. Pimmsley

    Pimmsley

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia

    I'm with you, I use my 64' jazz as my main axe too.. Life is short ;)

    Plus another vote for deoxit.
  21. PortlandBass77

    PortlandBass77

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Sell it on ebay?

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