How To Fix Noisy Guitar Knobs? Volume And Tone Knobs Cleanup

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By Guitar Pick Reviews

When your guitar knobs make noise when turning, it can ruin performances. Especially if you’re the type of player that switches volume and tone settings for different parts of your show. It can also be annoying in practice and can make a guitar difficult to sell. However, it’s usually a pretty simple issue to fix, given that you’ve got even a slight bit of technical know-how. Here are a few tips for fixing noisy guitar knobs.

noisy volume and tone guitar knobs on a custom pickuard
Guitar knobs on a custom pickguard

What Causes the Problem

Noisy volume knobs usually occur due to poor connectivity on the part of the volume pots, which regulate the amount of sound that your guitar outputs, the tone, etc. Old wires, or wires that are rusting or corroding, will often not contact correctly and cause noise. What you need to do to fix the problem, then, is to improve the connectivity, and this requires getting at the pots of your guitar. On most guitars, there’s a panel on the back that you can easily remove to see the pots, which should be pretty easy to spot. Grab a Phillips head screwdriver and take the backing off.

Fixing the Existing Volume Pots

To fix the pots that are already on your guitar, you need to get some DeoxIt or a similar compound. Deoxydizing agents improve the conductivity of electrical equipment, a category that your electric guitar certainly falls into. Spray some of this onto the volume pots and the wiring, and let it sit for a while before attempting to play the guitar. Follow the directions on the bottle as closely as you can, and in many cases, the days of experiencing noisy guitar knobs will be behind you in no time.

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replacing noisy guitar knobs

Replacing the Pots

If that doesn’t work, you probably need to replace the pots in your guitar. This isn’t extremely difficult if you’ve got experience with soldering, but you need to make sure that you buy the correct pots for your guitar. Replacing the pots can also be considered a guitar upgrade, and a very easy one, too. Check the Ohm rating, as it’ll vary depending on the pickups of your guitar. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, any music store that offers repair services should be able to take care of it without charging you too much. To save some cash, buy the pots before bringing the guitar in.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the guitar pots are usually ignored until they start having problems. The fact is, that like other guitar parts, it requires some maintenance to keep them in good shape. The good news is that it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time every year or so.

Do you have any other tips for diagnosing and fixing noisy guitar volume knobs? Post in our comments section below.

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