Improve visibility of knob positions?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MortenAP, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. MortenAP


    Dec 15, 2017
    I have an Ibanez SR500 (and a SR370 as backup).

    I am very happy about the active tone controls - I set up a nice sound on the amp with all bass controls in neutral and I can perform ALL sound changes between different tunes only on the bass.

    But.... The marks indicating knob positions are very subtle and almost impossible to see at low light.

    I like the metal knobs and want to keep them. Any ideas on how to make knob positions easier to see? 20190609_175217.jpg
  2. mark286

    mark286 Proud to be a Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Central New Jersey
    Those SR-series Ibanez basses are sweet.

    Are the knobs held on by friction or using a set screw? If a screw is used, you can re-index the knobs on the shaft so that the set screw points towards you -- it is bigger and easier to see.

    A touch of white paint on those existing markers might help too.
    HeavyDuty and Nashrakh like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I do it like that ^

    The knobs on my SR have a screw indent, so I associate certain positions with the direction of the screw. For example, my go-to position on the balance pot is when its screw is pointing toward the mounting screw of the neck pickup, and my second most used position points towards a specific bridge saddle.

    However, as you've noted, it's hard to see in low light conditions. I'm also looking for a solution. I'm thinking of stickers or maybe blips of paint for markers.
  4. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    Ideally you wouldn't be looking over at your knobs to adjust them. Normally its not a problem, but sometimes you're doing five things at once and having to make eye contact to signal your bandmates at the same time as adjusting your tone controls. That's why it's nice to have some kind of tactile indication of the position of your knob. Like an indentation or a bump that you can feel as soon as you touch the knob.
  5. MortenAP


    Dec 15, 2017
    Tommy V likes this.
  6. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    A drop of bright paint will make that knob marker pop.
    HeavyDuty likes this.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I read one TBr uses French White Nail Polish. Lasts for years. Reflects lots of light.
  8. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Alternate opinion:

    Volume and tone pots change the sound of the guitar. We detect this with our ears, not with our eyes. Using knobs with dots or numbers - or chicken heads!- leads to a lot of confusion because we have a tendency to go by the numbers (dots, chicken heads!) instead of our ears. The sounds we want to use change from venue to venue. So 9 in one place may be a 6 somewhere else. And in some venues it's impossible to achieve the desired tone or volume making all of this moot.

    Use your ears instead of your eyes. The data you judge your tone and volume by will be more accurate.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  9. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Ultimately I think you are correct, but some changes need to be made without making a sound, so you can't use your ears and maintain a professional appearance.

    The controls on my basses have center detentes, which I use for reference rather than looking down at my knobs. If later my ears tell me the sound is off, I'll make an additional adjustment as needed.

    If I were to look at the knobs, I would use the numbers in a relative instead of absolute sense anyway. In other words, I would first note where the controls are before making an adjustment rather than assuming I know exactly what settings are required. If I need a little boost I might bump the control by 1, and if I need a lot of boost I might bump the control by 3.

    Unfortunately not all controls behave linearly across there range, so moving from 2-3 might create a huge change, while moving from 4-10 might produce almost no change. Then it really helps if you can actually see the controls.
  10. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Another way to raise visibility with bling...
    Danny Gatton would insert cubic zirconia in the side markers on his neck. Any sliver of light would catch and shine brightly. I'm sure this can be done on your knobs, too. :)
  11. MortenAP


    Dec 15, 2017
    I totally agree - I know that before a certain tune I need to add some high end (in the break between tunes) so I cannot use my ears.

    I totally agree that thing changes from venue to venue but as I intend to setup my amp tone controls to my desired sound with the bass tone controls in neutral I am at least starting at almost the same point at any venue.
    Wasnex likes this.
  12. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    This might work for you.

  13. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    I never understand guys with P Basses or Telecasters who don't do this, yet I see it quite often.
    mark286 and Stumbo like this.
  14. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I dun no 'bout this, I don't think I'll be able to see where my knobs are with my ears. Can't I jus' put LEDs on the knobs?