How To Fix A Tone Knob On A Guitar

A broken tone knob is no reason to cast your guitar into an early grave, and learning how to fix a guitar tone knob can keep your guitar from an early grave.  Replacing tone knobs on your guitar is a cheap, easy way to add some flair to your guitar.

To fix a volume knob on a guitar, you will need:

  • A guitar
  • A new knob
  • A shoestring
  • Allan wrench (not all knobs)
  1. Examine the damaged knob.  Most knobs don't require a screw to hold them in place, but check your guitar before starting. If there is a small screw on the side of the knob, use your Allen wrench to remove the screw. Turn the knob to make sure it flows freely. Prying an inhibited knob could break the pot inside of the guitar.
  2. Slide the shoestring under the knob. Slip the string between the guitar and the knob. Try to get the string as close to the center of the knob as possible. Don't force the string if it doesn't move.
  3. Remove the knob. Pull the string up, away from the guitar, in a straight line. Do not angle the string as you pull. It may take a stern pull, but don't use excessive force. Jerking the string, or pulling it sideways, may break the pot.
  4. Adjust the knobs. Turn all of the knobs in one direction, either open or closed. By lining up the knobs, you can see the natural resting place of the knob on the pot. Installing the new knob in the right position will give you more accurate control over the tone pot.
  5. Line up the knob. Find the correct angle to install the new knob, so that all of the knobs are uniform.
  6. Install the knob. Once the knob is in the correct potion, push the knob onto the stem of the tone pot. It will take a stern push, but don't force the knob onto the guitar. If the knob refuses to slide onto the post, review the parts to check that nothing is inhibiting the movement. Forcing the knob on can break the guitar's tone pot.
  7. Give the knob a test run. Turn the knob. It should move freely. Make sure you can't pull the knob off easily.

If the guitar makes unwanted noise while plugged in, it may be the tone pot and not the actual knob that needs replacing. Move the knob back and forth, slowly; if it crackles, then you probably need to replace the pot.

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