What Control Knobs are Right for My Guitar?

What Control Knobs are Right for My Guitar?

Control knobs seem rather insignificant to most guitarists, but they are more important than you think. They are the connection between your hand and setting the perfect volume or tone for a particular song or part of a song. They also play a major part in how cool your guitar looks, which to many image-led players is even more important.

So, let’s find out what control knobs would be a great choice for your guitar, starting with…

Are you using your Volume and Tone Knobs effectively?

Seems like a silly question, but in my experience, a large number of guitarists leave all their control knobs set to 10 all of the time. Nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing, but if you learn how to use your control knobs effectively, you will open up a whole new world of both tonal variations and levels of overdrive that you never knew existed. Plus, it makes the guitar even more fun to play, if that’s possible.

Depending on the pots you have installed on your guitar and what amp or overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal you use, lowering the volume should not only clean up your tone but create a sound that you probably couldn’t get any other way. Try it out, especially if you have a Tone Bender type fuzz, which I personally think does this better than any other pedal.

To find out more about pots, check out ‘Changing the Pots on Your Guitar is Easier than you think’.

As for the tone knob (or knobs), they are there for a reason, so use them! The number of times I have seen guitarists in cover bands playing ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ with a Les Paul who proudly change to the neck pickup before they play the intro, but leave the tone on 10. That is only half the sound, rolling the tone back will give you ‘The’ sound, so close, yet so far!

So experiment, next time you are learning a song, spend a few minutes checking out the pickup positions, as well as adjusting both the volume and tone knobs to see how close you can get to the sound. Keep doing this and over time, you will instinctively know how to set your guitar for any song or section you are playing.

Next, let’s take a look at…

The Different Styles of Control Knobs

The are three common variations, Bell, Speed, and Domed.

Bell Knobs, also called UFO or Hat knobs are commonly found on Strats and some Les Pauls. On Strats, they are usually a solid color with embossed numbers, on Les Pauls, they are usually clear with the numbers and the color painted on the inside.

Speed Knobs are chunkier and many guitarists find them easier to use than Bell Knobs. They are about the same width as a bell knob but have no taper. They are usually constructed from plastic and have the numbers and color painted on the inside.

And finally, we have Domed Knobs, which I personally find the hardest to quickly and precisely adjust. They are commonly found on Telecasters and a number of Super Strats. Domed Knobs are usually made of metal or plastic and have a knarled edge making them easier to grip with sweaty fingers.


Next, let’s find out about…

The Different Types of Potentiometer Shafts

Your control knobs need to fit your guitar perfectly or you won’t get the control you need. Therefore, you need to find out what type you have.

Pots come in two basic styles, Split-shaft and Solid-shaft. Keeping things simple, Push on knobs go on Split-shaft pots, Screw on knobs (those that have a small screw in the side of the control knob) go on Solid-shaft Pots.

However, it isn’t quite as simple as that. Depending on where your pot was manufactured it will either have 24 splines (US CTS Pots) or 18 splines (Import pots). Control knobs that fit a 24-spline pot shaft will not perfectly fit on an 18-spline version, and vice versa. However, there are universal control knobs available that will fit on both.

Some Strat control knobs and most Dome knobs are screw mounted and will therefore need to be attached to a Solid-shaft pot. However, they can be attached to a Split-shift pot if you screw into the side of one of the shafts, not where they meet.

Now that you know everything there is to know about Control Knobs, let’s move on and take a look at some super cool control knob options that will give your guitar the look you’ve always wanted.

Metal Knobs

If you want to add a bit of bling to your guitar, some of my favorite metal bell knob options currently available include the Guyker CKB020X Green Turquoise Metal Control Volume Knob and the Guyker CKB020 Metal Control Volume Knob Hat Type Opal Stone Surface.

Or, if you prefer a domed design, how about the Guyker CKB010 Flat Top Knobs Bronze/Antique Brass Bullet Case Style or the Guyker CKB011 High Grade Copper Electric Guitar Gear Knobs Dual Color Option.

There are so many great-looking options available, that it’s probably best to check out the Guyker Metal Control Knobs collection to find the ones that perfectly match your style and your guitar.

Wood Knobs

Looking for a more natural material than plastic, then wood is a great option, such as these supercool Guyker WK008 Fireworks Surface Potentiometer Knobs, these Guyker Adjustable Natural Wood Copper Shaft Knobs or these Guyker WK009 Tree Of Life Surface Potentiometer Knob.

As with the metal control knobs, there’s such a large selection available, that you should check out the Guyker Wood Control Knobs collection for the best option for your guitar.

Plastic Knobs

Bored of the same old boring white knobs you find on every guitar, then check out the Guyker NKB-001 Potentiometer Knob Set Purple Emerald for a touch of elegance and personality.

Wrapping it up

There are a massive number of great-looking control knob options on the market, so why stick with the ones that every other guitarist has on their guitar. Your playing is all about expressing yourself musically, so express your style as well, by swopping out those tired-looking control knobs for something far more fun, funky, and you!

 


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