An electric guitar's volume and tone controls provide the greatest versatility for players searching for that right sound. As a result, their heavy use often generates small problems such as hissing or squealing when the guitar is plugged into an amplifier. These problems, in general, are often quickly fixed for the experienced guitar player.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Clean rag
- Contact cleaner
- Soldering gun
Use a clean rag to grip each volume and control knob and slowly but firmly pop them off of their housings. Inspect each tone knob for nicks and cuts. Spray each knob's housing with contact cleaner to remove any debris or dust. This should eliminate any hum or hiss when turning the knobs while playing. Replace each knob after it is cleaned.
Remove the plate or pick guard that houses the volume and tone controls by removing the screws that hold it in place. This will reveal the volume and tone control pots. Use the contact cleaner on the underneath of the pots to remove dust and other debris. This will remove the majority of problems caused by tone and volume controls, such as hissing or grinding when the guitar is plugged into an amplifier.
Inspect the electrical connections to each tone pot and the volume control pot. If any connections are frayed or separated they will need to be soldered back into place. Use a soldering gun to connect any frayed or separated wires back to their housings. When in doubt, consult a professional at a local guitar shop. Incorrect soldering will ruin a guitar's electronics.
Volume and Tone Controls
Tips and warnings
- Contact your local guitar shops for tips and advice. Many salesmen are longtime players and serve as staff technicians.
- Be careful when using a soldering gun. Burns happen easily and electronics are damaged quickly by being attached to the wrong spot.
- Care must also be taken when dealing with the delicate electronic components of the guitar.
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