Gibson Guitar Board: Gibson" Branded Pots Suck - Gibson Guitar Board

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Gibson" Branded Pots Suck

#1 User is offline   Malchik 

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 05:33 PM

I have had such bad luck with Gibson pots. I have had three Les Paul Customs (two new) in the past few years and they all had scratchy pots. My new custom spec'd Les Paul Custom, a guitar that is only two weeks out of the factory, has two scratchy volume pots. It wasn't until practice that I had the volume to a point where the chatter became obvious. I have had Rickenbackers and cheap Ibanez's that have not failed in the pot department as much as Gibson has.
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#2 User is offline   Eracer_Team 

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:29 PM

Sounds awfully strange you'll had 3 guitars (that's 12pots in total) fail.

I'm sure there are a number of members here that had almost no failures.

Go to radio shack but some pot cleaner, maybe you're in a dusty humid climate
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#3 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:08 PM

View PostEracer_Team, on 11 September 2017 - 06:29 PM, said:

Sounds awfully strange you'll had 3 guitars (that's 12pots in total) fail.

I'm sure there are a number of members here that had almost no failures.

Go to radio shack but some pot cleaner, maybe you're in a dusty humid climate



I own 53 Gibsons and never had a pot failure on any of them. I don't know what to say to the OP, I have never had that issue and I have some Gibsons that are 40 years old with original pots.
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#4 User is offline   Malchik 

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:13 PM

View PostEracer_Team, on 11 September 2017 - 06:29 PM, said:

Sounds awfully strange you'll had 3 guitars (that's 12pots in total) fail.

I'm sure there are a number of members here that had almost no failures.

Go to radio shack but some pot cleaner, maybe you're in a dusty humid climate

No not every pot, in this case just the two volumes. This guitar is only two weeks old from the factory. My Black Beauty was dated the same year as ordered and it, too, had a scratchy pot. I have had many, many guitars but its always Gibsons that gives me poor volume pots.
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#5 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 05:06 AM

I have kind of noticed the same issues.

The other thing is the rate at which the volume tapers off. It can be pretty drastic, where the volume just drops out almost completely at like 4 or 5.

Bourne Pots solve my problems.
/Ray
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#6 User is offline   ReGuitar 

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 06:01 AM

Same issue here with both volume pots on my Les Paul.

I used a contact cleaner, now it's ok.
Guitars
2013 Gibson Les Paul Standard Trans Amber
2011 Gibson Explorer Cherry
Washburn C104SCE

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Fender HotRod Deluxe
Marshall DSL 40C

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'I believe guitars have soul.'
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#7 User is offline   NighthawkChris 

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 07:23 AM

Like others have said, get contact cleaner! Spray it good inside them there potentiometers (all of them while you're at it), then you should not hear the "noise" as you rotate the pot's shaft - which is actually intermittent contact occurring between wiper and resistive surface internal to pot. If you want to validate the resistance is what it should be (within % tolerance), good time to check as well, but may be a good idea to disconnect the entire pot from any peripheral circuitry not to measure something unwanted inadvertently. Other than that, if you still have issues with pot after properly treated with contact spray, then you should entertain switching out the offending potentiometer(s). They aren't expensive and are relatively simple thing to interchange in a guitar with the right tools (soldering iron, screwdriver, etc.) and knowledge. Worst case, buy the pot(s) online, then have guitar tech/luthier install them. That should save a few bucks on the deal. Best savings comes if you have knowledge to handle the simple passive electronics of a guitar - this way you only pay for potentiometer(s) and have joy of doing something for yourself :-) Good luck!
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#8 User is offline   american cheez 

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:11 PM

my studio pro developed a scratchy vol pot almost right away. but the classic i had, the explorer, vee, and the faded were good to go the entire time i owned them. of all the guitars i've ever owned, the studio pro is the only one i had this problem with. but afaicr, it is also the only one that had a circuit board in the cavity instead of a nest of wires. i tried contact cleaner, and it didn't work. one of these days i'll get it fixed. considering it's been well past 3 yrs now, i guess i should knuckle down and make it happen. hahahha
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#9 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:20 PM

Odd how it pops up frequently for some people and not for others. I have owned 11 different Gibsons over the years and never had a scratchy pot on any of them. Environment might have more to do with it than we think. I have always lived where it was fairly humid (except winters up north where constant heating dried out the air) most of the year. [confused]
2017 Custom Shop 356 Mahogany/Maple Antique Natural
2017 Les Paul Standard T Honeyburst
2013 L5-CES Natural (Maple/Spruce)
2013 Les Paul Custom Lite (Mahogany/Maple) Ebony
2007 Taylor Solid Body Custom (Sapele/Walnut)
2010 Fender Telecaster (Ash)
2006 Taylor Grand Symphony (Rosewood/Spruce)
1981 Ovation Balladeer
1963 Walthari Mittenwald Classical
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Blackstar HT-5R (1 X 10) Combo
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#10 User is offline   american cheez 

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:50 PM

humidity where i am now is pretty bad (delaware)

toronto was humid, but nowhere near this. the winters there were cold and longer. through it all, my gibbies were the most stable of all the guitars i owned. but my fenders were...not like that at all. one of the strats was so bad i sold it, even though when it was right, it was the sweetest strat i ever had. but the neck danced around every time the weather changed.
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#11 User is offline   Riffster 

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:03 AM

I can be a little static too. Sometimes all you need to do is turn the pot several times and the scratching goes away.

Gibson uses CTS pots and having modified several guitars I can tell you that Gibson pots are no better or worse than the standard CTS pot.
Struck by the arrow of weakness on the guilded path to forgiveness
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#12 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 12:40 PM

I live in Pennsylvania, just north of Baltimore, and I have no issues with the pots on my guitars. It is fairly humid here all year round so if that plays into it, I guess I am lucky. My guitar room is humidity controlled so that may help too.
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#13 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

I live in South Central Kansas, where "weather" changes daily, or even hourly! "Dust" is more a problem,
than "humidity"...though, we do have a lot of humidity, as well. Especially, in the Spring, and Summer.

But, my "pots" aren't particularly scratchy, at one particular time or another, weather wise. They do
tend to get scratchy, to some degree, if they've not been used, in some time. But, a quick spray of
good old contact cleaner, or even just turning them back and forth, several times, eliminates that
"static" or stickiness. Same with pickup selector switches, more often than not. I think, in 50+
years, of Gibson, Fender, Ric, Gretsch, and Epiphone (USA or Asian) ownership, I've only had to relplace
1 selector switch! And, that was on a Gibson Les Paul Studio (Gold Top), that was made right after
the big flood, in Nashville, several years ago. Otherwise, it's been "normal maintenance" only, for
all my guitars.

Amp pots, have been, essentially, the same. So...??? [unsure]

CB
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#14 User is offline   Malchik 

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:28 PM

So I flushed out all four pots with contact cleaner and spun the knobs about a hundred times each and still get a very audible crackle when turning the volume down from about two to zero. Also the neck treble scratches a lot, too. The only pot that seems to work is the bridge tone control.
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#15 User is offline   NighthawkChris 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:15 AM

If you get crackle after cleaning - given these were cleaned out correctly - then you have continuity issue. It is a simple thing here... Guitar electronics are vastly more simple than what I work with every day as I handle micro-controller programming and the sort - and have excellent in the field experience soldering on even SMT components on PCB's. I know what I am talking about, so if you can simply swap out the pots with some other brand than Gibson apparently, then you can validate what the real issue may be. I agree that it may be possible you have a bad batch of potentiometers from the assembly of the instrument. After all, these potentiometers are mechanical and inherently imperfect to some extent - as all electronics typically.

How did you clean these? Have you taken them out of the guitar first, then sprayed the internals thoroughly? You usually can slightly see the wiper make contact with the resistive material as you rotate the shaft and this is where you want to assuredly land the contact spray. Do not be insulted by this explanation, I have no idea of your technical experience with these types of things. I start from simplest issue and work my way to the most complicated.
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#16 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:43 AM

My experiences say that potentiometers or switches are not to blame. Outgassing of the nitro finishes is the culprit.

All the "cheap" standard value "mini" pots and switches that came stock with my Ibanez instruments in 1980 and 1987, let alone those from 2014, still work fine. I also never had any trouble with pots and switches in Fenders. In contrary, pots and switches of some of my brand-new Gibsons took lots of cleaning during the first few months, that is spraying contact cleaner and blowing out with compressed air. Gibson USA instruments with glossy finishes were affected the most. The serial numbers used until 2013 along with the QC/packing slip revealed the context. The less time had passed between neck stamp date and date of packaging, the more the pots and switches were prone to make crackling noises or intermittent total losses of contact.

When the finish comes closer to its steady state, contact problems stop getting worse. Fortunately I managed in all cases - and there were quite bad ones - without replacing any parts. Cleaning always did the trick.

Anyway, when the most severe early finish outgassing has come to an end, I think there is nothing wrong with using original Gibson pots and Switchcraft switches for replacement. I believe as long as deposits from the finish may occur at the contact surfaces, parts of other brands will be affected, too.
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#17 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:51 AM

Never had this problem with any of my Gibson guitars. The only guitar I have with scratchy pots is my first guitar, an Epi LP 100 that is now 23 years old and probably needs new pots. They lasted about 10 years of heavy gigging without becoming scratchy. It's been retired from gigging now for 13 years.
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#18 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

View Postcody78, on 15 September 2017 - 08:51 AM, said:

Never had this problem with any of my Gibson guitars. The only guitar I have with scratchy pots is my first guitar, an Epi LP 100 that is now 23 years old and probably needs new pots. They lasted about 10 years of heavy gigging without becoming scratchy. It's been retired from gigging now for 13 years.

Then you are a lucky one whose Gibson guitars had enough time for gassing out before the electric parts were mounted. I wasn't. By the way, the stock pots of the 1973 Gibson L6-S I bought used but virtually unplayed in 2012 are fine. Was it more time for gassing out, a different finish recipe, or both?

By the way, retiring can be adverse for pots and switches, too. No friction means no abrasion of corrosive layers. Just saying...
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#19 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:21 AM

View Postcapmaster, on 15 September 2017 - 09:25 AM, said:

Then you are a lucky one whose Gibson guitars had enough time for gassing out before the electric parts were mounted. I wasn't. By the way, the stock pots of the 1973 Gibson L6-S I bought used but virtually unplayed in 2012 are fine. Was it more time for gassing out, a different finish recipe, or both?

By the way, retiring can be adverse for pots and switches, too. No friction means no abrasion of corrosive layers. Just saying...


Interesting about your L6-S and glad it's all good. Yeah, you are right about retiring guitars making switches and pots worse, my old Epi did become worse having not played it too much over the past few years.
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#20 User is offline   NighthawkChris 

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 02:00 PM

Ah, yes if there is something during manufacturing like the outgassing that occurs during the finishing stage of the production process where some stuff contaminates the potentiometers, this IMHO would warrant replacement of these affected potentiometers; here, contact spray may not cure the illness so to speak. Either way, potentiometers aren't expensive, but if you don't know how to solder and you just spend LP money on a new guitar, then the fact that these potentiometers are released to customer in a contaminated state, that would irritate the heck out of me! I don't want to have to take my new guitar apart that I spent thousands for! I don't mind if I can spray these out with contact spray and alleviate the issue, but to have to replace these outright because they are essentially damaged-like is unacceptable. Overall, I feel the OP's pain on this. I hope there is an acceptable solution that can be reached for the OP where they do not have to touch a thing inside this LP Custom. Like I was mentioning about LP money (LP Custom money to be exact), you shouldn't have to touch a thing inside the body to address manufacturing/QC related issues. You should plug it in and right away, it is ready to go for quite some time before needing significant services performed to it whatever it may be - not talking about setups and stuff as these always should be checked for personal preference to playability.
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