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Tone knob on P-Bass stuck and won't come off

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MovingPitchers, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. I want to switch pickguards on my Precision but the tone knob is stuck on the pot.

    I took off the tightening screw on the side but it's still stuck. I don't want to break the pot unless I have no other choice.

    Any suggestions?
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    First, double check to make sure the knob does not have TWO set screws! Once sure of that, take the set screw completely out to make sure it's not contacting anything. (I think you've done that) Finally pry the knob up trying not to damage anything. Using a couple of spoons can work as pry bars to get it started. Other than that there isn't much you can do. You could squirt a bit of WD 40 or better control cleaner (kind with pot lube) in the screw hole to help loosen it.

    Basically it just comes down to one more application of the rule!

    Rule: If it sticks. Force it. If it breaks, it was probably bad anyway. :)
    JLS and brendanbassix like this.
  3. If the screw is completely loose and you have feeler gauges just slide whatever one will fit (the thicker the better) under try to pry it off

    *or use a guitar pick
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You can always heat it with the tip of a soldering iron...works sometimes.

  5. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    I have used a pair of diagonal cutters underneath the knob. Squeeze together and it gently pushes up without putting much pressure on guitar.
    JLS likes this.
  6. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Use two spoons. One placed on both sides underneath the knob. Push down on the other side of both spoons (the thicker the spoon handles, the better). The knob should pop off because you have leverage this way. This is how I remove Strat knobs all the time.
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    With knobs that have a set screw, when tightened the screw sometimes forms a bit of a burr on the pot shaft. That can make the knob hard to remove. With the set screw entirely removed, try turning the knob past the stop point and screw it off that way. Doesn't always work, but worth a try. Just don't force it too much or you may damage the pot.
    JLS, RSBBass, 96tbird and 1 other person like this.
  8. Yeah I tried that method. Even a credit card or something works on those but the P-Bass Chrome knobs are something else.

    It feels like there's something else keeping the knob attached to the pot even with the set screw completely removed. :(
  9. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    First, as has been mentioned, make sure there is not another set screw in the knob.

    If not i'm betting corrosion. Get some good penetrating oil and apply it to the pot shaft between the knob and guard. Pisition the guard so the knob is pointing down to aid the oil in working. Let it stand for a good half hour before you try to pull the knob, then use a lever or wedge to force the knob upward.
  10. I haven't done a thorough check yet but I'll see if there's another set screw...though IDK why anyone would two in there.
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    It's an old mechanics trick from back when vibration used to be a serious issue with reciprocating engines, bad enough to shake a single grub screw loose. Could have been an iffy hole with a loose fit so a single screw would not stay tight, or any number of reasons, or no reason at all. It's just aomething else to eliminate. If the problem is not galvanic corrosion or a distorted shaft/knob then it has to be something mechanical holding them together.
  12. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I just tried this. The knobs on my Peavey Cirrus would not budge, and this method worked! :hyper:
  13. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    There is a technique for removing knobs that I learned here a few years ago. Prying at them with metal objects can put uneven pressure on the knob, making it bind up and difficult to remove, and you could damage the body of the guitar or the pickguard.

    Instead, use your polishing cloth to remove a stuck knob. Slide the edge of the cloth under the knob. You should be able to get the cloth under the entire knob. Twist the cloth over the knob so that it tightens around the knob, and pull straight up. The knob should pop off, assuming there is no set screw holding it in place.

    It takes a little practice, but this polishing cloth trick has helped me many time.
    96tbird likes this.
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Favorite method for push on knobs. Doesn't leave pry marks and dents. But for set screw knobs rotating them like @Turnaround says is the best way to get them off because it clears the burr off the shaft as well as any corrosion.
    wvbass likes this.
  15. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    I use an old shoelace... run it under both sides of the knob, then pull straight up.... .just don't hit yourself in the forehead.... don't ask how I know.
    96tbird, Lownote38 and wvbass like this.
  16. Skydog6653


    Aug 31, 2016
    Before you pry/pull too hard, stop and think what holds that shaft in the pot. Very little. Before spraying anything, remember it's probably going to find its way into the pot itself; make sure it's compatible. Let it soak, preferably upside down for awhile.
  17. WannaJazz

    WannaJazz Supporting Member

    May 7, 2010
  18. Skydog6653


    Aug 31, 2016
    This might work too, with a small variation.
    96tbird and wvbass like this.

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