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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by icecycle66, Apr 9, 2012.
What's so fast about speed knobs?
Slept in the math/geometry class?
Haven't ever seen a vintage speedometer?
Well, neither is probably the "right" answer, but both make sense .
To an engineer anyway.
I'm not entirely sure why "speed" was chosen to describe the knob type. They are large and generally accessible with minimal movement from standard playing position, so that's a possible reason. They are also numbered, allowing for one to quickly change between familiar volume levels without needing to listen and continue to micro-adjust, so that could be another reason.
Another possible (but highly improbable) explanation is that the original "speed" knobs were actually a crystalline amphetamine, and as the player sweat, he would absorb it into the blood stream, making his playing faster and more intense. This, in turn, brought about speed metal.
That's the story I'm going with.
Nigel Spee was the first maker to add position numbers to the control knobs on his instrument. It wasn't a guitar or a bass though - it was his invention, the electric zither. Ever since then the kind of numbered control knob he invented has been known as a speed knob - a corruption of the original term Spee'd knob, meaning a knob to which numbers have been added.