Friction-fit volume knobs?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Hi, I want to try to fix up my crappy Samick - the volume knob needs either fixing or replacing.

    The stupid volume knob will work only when set at 98%...not 97%, not 99%, not any other setting except one sweet spot. It's either 97% or NOTHING...

    I've tried cleaning it with pressurized contact cleaner and compressed air but that only lasts for a few hours, then it gets crapped up again.

    I want to remove the volume knob and replace it but I don't know how to remove it. The volume knob on the front isn't screwed to the rest of the volume control and I'm afraid to pull it off with pliers.

    From the inside, the volume control isn't screwed into place either.

    My friend says the volume knobs are "friction-fit" and you can just pull the things out. But then again, my friend has never done this kind of operation before.


    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do? I would like to try this myself first rather than taking it to a music store.

    The volume control is shot anyways so I can't really do much more damage to it.
  2. The knob actually has nothing to do with the problem you have. More than likely, it is the pot. It might be gunked up on the inside of the pot. It might even be broken and require replacing. They can be repaired, depending on the damage, but only temporarily. My squire volume pot was craked internally. I was able to glue it all back together until I get a new one. I've had to repair it twice now. Depending on how your bass is routed, you may need to take it to a tech. My Squier is a P bass, and the pots are screwed onto the pickguard. I pulled off the knob, unscrewed the pot, took off the pickguard, and I had access to the control pot. I had to take the pot apart (carefully, lots of small parts and wires) and glue all the pieces back together and reattatch the rod. The rod is what the knob is out on. It was a rather intense repair, but I had a good idea on what I was doing. Plus I had the tools.

    I don't really recommend repairing the control pots, seeing as they aren't expensive. Something like $2.75 at StewMac. You will need a soldering iron to solder all the wires to the pot.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    RG: Most of the time a friction fit knob can be removed by simply pulling straight up and slightly rocking the knob as you apply steady upward pressure.

    Sometime a stubborn knob will require that you use some sort of tool to apply the upward pressure by prying. Your top priority is to avoid marring the finish if you have to use a tool.

    A pair of screwdrivers (one on each side of knob) will work if you are VERY careful to keep a pad between the screwdriver tips and the body of the inst. to avoid finish damage and to provide a fulcrum point for the screwdrivers.

    As ChaosGear pointed out, Stew-Mac is a good source for repair parts. They do, however, have a minimum charge. The minimum charge ,I believe, is $25.00.

    Most guitar stores also carry control pots. Usually around $10.00 each from a store

    If you don't have a small pencil type soldering iron, you may as well order that at the same time along with a small roll or coil of ROSIN core solder. A small medical type hemostat (also available at S-M) is almost a necessity(sp?) to use as a heat sink and to hold everything in place while you do the soldering.

    Samicks usually have the ohm value of the pot stamped on the back of the pot. Passive basses usually use 250K ohms, audio taper.

    Soldering is an aquired skill. A TB search will yield plenty of useful info. A little practice on the old pot will be very worthwhile.

    If you aren't comfortable with the soldering, a simple pot replacement is not a major repair and should be relatively inexpensive at a repair shop.

    To buy everything that you need to replace one pot is not cost effective. However, when you make the initial investment in tools and supplies, future replacements and repairs become very cost effective.

    IMHO basic soldering skills are almost mandatory for anyone who plays an electric instrument.

    Hope this helps you. Good luck and give us a shout if you run into probs.

  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Knobs generally remove in one of two ways. If it is plastic, it is likely friction fit and in that case, just yank it off.

    If it is metal, then there is likely a set screw on the side of the knob. It will either have a small allen head screw or a standard blade screw driver set screw. Just loosen the set screw and it will come right off.

    But as mentioned, it is the Potentiometer that is bad, not the actual knob. Once you remove the knob, there will be a nut that tightens over the pot post to hold the pot in place. Remove that nut and lock washer and the pot should slide out of the hole in the bass (or pickgaurd, depending on your bass)

    Then touch a hot soldering iron to the wires where they contact the pot. This should melt the solder and the pot will then be free. Pay close attention to what wire goes where. You may even want to label them or draw yourself a little diagram if you have never attempted this sort of thing before.

    Use the old pot for a little practice soldering before re-assembling in reverse order.

    Soldering hint: Heat the surface and wire to be soldered, not the solder itself. If you actually touch the solder to the iron, it melts too quickly and not where you want it.

  5. I can't see any screws attached to the knob or on the inside compartment.

    How hard do I have to pull the knob? I am afraid - what if they glued the knob onto the pot?

    I've tried pulling really hard with my hand, just as a test and it didn't give.

  6. My uncle has a samick and the same thing happened. The knob is just a cover, slide a screw driver under it and tilt the blade to start it sliding the knob off. If done properly you won't scratch the body work. The actual volume pot is held on with a washer and nut and can be undone with a pair of pliers. The knob is fairly hard to remove, you can't just pull it off wth your hands. Even use some pliers if its being really naughty and won't budge. You can buy replacements from like Radio Shack/ Dick Smith Electronics etc if you break it. They're usually standard silver or black. large range. And cheap too. The pot itself would set you back about $2.

    Yes soldering is a must know. If you don't know and it seems too much of a hassle to learn (although to know how to solder is a great advantage, trust me!), then take it to a techie.


  7. My jazz drummer friend messes around with woodwork stuff and metalwork so I don't think replacing the pot will be a problem.

    It's just taking the thing apart that bugs me.

    Flipside though, how would I put the pot and knob back? Will I need to "hammer" it into place? If you could provide me with some steps or tips, that would be great.
  8. Hammering it would risk breaking the thing again. If your pots attatched to the pickguard, just slide the pot through the hole, put the lock washer and nut on and tighten it down. The knob should just slide right back down over the pot shaft. If your pots attatch to the body, and you have a control cover on the back of your bass, it's pretty much the same process. Slide the pot through the hole in the body, lock washer, nut, tighten, put on knob, done.

    If you have a problem getting the knob off, don't twist it, pull it, yank it, etc. Get some WD-40 and spray a little bit under the knob. Twisting or pulling it too hard will make it break. Thats how mine broke.

    Basically just reverse the order in which you took it apart.
    Hope this helps.

    P.S. don't be bugged about taking apart your bass. It is a pretty good learning experience. Knowing how and why your bass does what it does is valuable knowledge. A tech will do what everyone has said, and charge you for it.
  9. What kind of replacement pot should I ask for? The existing pot has no serial numbers or markings.

    Do they have difference resistances/conductivity? I just realized all I can do is walk into the local hardware store and say "I need a pot".

    Can anyone give me suggestions as to what to ask for?
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    R.G.: Most passive basses use a 250K pot. My washburn passive uses 250K pots so I'm pretty certain yours will be the same. Be certain that you get an audio taper pot.

    You probably wont find one at a regular hardware store.

    Your best bet is to go ahead and remove the pot so you can match it up at a music store. Be sure to make a sketch so you can wire the new one in just like the old one was wired. The insulation is usually a different color on each wire to make it easier to keep up with.

    Just be sure that the length of the shaft on the new pot is the same as the old one.