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What's the secret to installing Gibson knobs without ruining the pots?

macula56

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,692
Note that there are 2 different knurl sizes/

- USA CTS standard is 24 spline
- Alphas and some others are 18 spline

Make sure your knobs match the pots.

You should try supporting your pots by holding them from the back while you push the knob on.

Ya beat me to it. This is very important to match.
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,793
Here's an update.

I bought a bag of replacement pots to continue trying to get a set installed, thinking I might go through more of them before things were done. But these replacement TAOT-rebranded pots take the knobs without fuss or issue - they went on easily.

The TOAT-rebranded pots feel and sound a bit different than the CTS-branded ones that didn't work-out. The CTS-branded pots that didn't take the knobs and become messed-up or fell apart while trying to install them have more resistance to being turned, they turn smoother, and they turn a lot more quietly. The TAOT-rebranded pots turn easier (though still smoothly and with a bit of resistance), and make more sweep-noise while being turned.

The ones that fell apart felt like potentiometer royalty... until they fell apart or separated enough in the base that they felt like garbage after having knobs put on them. The new ones work well, but they don't feel as posh to turn.

Yet... they're both CTS 450S pots.

Top: TOAT rebranded CTS 450S - turn with less resistance, make more turning noise - accepted knobs easily
Bottom: CTS 450S - turn with more resistance, make less turning noise - didn't accept knobs, fell apart on me



Right: TOAT rebranded CTS 450S - turn with less resistance, make more turning noise - accepted knobs easily
Left: CTS 450S - turn with more resistance, make less turning noise - didn't accept knobs, fell apart on me




I notice that the TAOT-rebranded 450S pot's teeth are recessed at the top of the split-shaft, while the CTS-branded 450S isn't.

Because I did manage to get one of the CTS-branded pots installed on my Les Paul Studio without it becoming broken (despite having to bend and re-bend the split-shaft sides multiple times), I've left that one on while replacing the remaining 3 with the TAOTs. They turn similarly enough that it won't bother me.
TAOT CTS pots are just rebranded CTS pots that are matched for resistance. There aren't any dimensional changes that would make knobs easier to install. Where did you buy the "regular" CTS pots? Amazon by chance?
 

timibucktwo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
954
Maybe match the knobs diameter to the pots diameter, also the teeth count. When you put in the pot- just snug it up so it turns easy. If I over tighten the pot it moves Ruff.
If too wide the splines can be
GENTLY used to squeeze the spines a
CH to get the knobs to slide on snug.
Wheew. Imhe.
This is what I’ve found, slightly pinch in the slotted tip of the knurled post on the pot first, then push on knob while supporting the cover of the pot by pressing thumb against the bottom of the pot while pushing the new knob on; also you can feel whether or not you’re lined up correctly as far as matching the knurled surface of both pot & knob before pushing it down all the way.
Hope I’ve explained it in a way that makes sense, would be easier to show how than describing it.
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,941
I saw a trick on a you tube video which I haven't yet tried myself.

The guy on the video used a solder iron to heat up the shaft of the pot enough to soften the plastic on the knob, to then go ahead and slide it on the shaft.

In the video he was demonstrating making the wrong spline knobs being made to work. (Making what he had at the moment work, rather than waiting for new parts to arrive)

One of these days I'll try it.
 
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jaguarillo68

Member
Messages
453
Yeah, when you put the knob on it'll fit or it won't.
I took 4 knobs off a 50's Kay. I protected the Finnish with a t-shirt and used a hot moist towel to heat the knobs. After they cooled they came off nice n smooth.:aok
 

Janus Alfador

Member
Messages
693
TAOT CTS pots are just rebranded CTS pots that are matched for resistance. There aren't any dimensional changes that would make knobs easier to install. Where did you buy the "regular" CTS pots? Amazon by chance?
I bought them from a local person who sells upgrade assemblies for LPs. They said they've installed them on hundreds of LPSes, but I think they've mostly dealt with Epiphones. They thought that my Gibson LPS would have a thin maple cap and should need short-shaft pots and insisted Gibson LPS have thin maple caps despite my telling them mine doesn't. Since I had the pickups out of my LPS, I was able to show them that the maple cap is thick (because it shows through the paint in the pickup sockets). And the short-shaft pots they gave me initially correspondingly didn't work. But they insisted that they've installed short-shafts in many Gibsons LPSes and that my Gibson Studio must have a Standard's cap - which makes me think they are familiar with Epiphone but not Gibson Studios.

Their pots look identical to the TAOTs, except for missing the recess around the top of the split-shaft. And their pots do feel great - they're smoother, with more turning resistance, and quieter-turning than the TAOT. They're definitely premium-grade pots and feel more premium than the TAOT. They just don't take the Gibson LPS knobs properly, which is a shame.
 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,746
This is what I’ve found, slightly pinch in the slotted tip of the knurled post on the pot first
The guy on the video used a solder iron to heat up the shaft of the pot enough to soften the plastic on the knob, to then go ahead and slide it on the shaft.
sorry, strong thumbs-down to both of these ideas.

especially if the split shaft is aluminum instead of brass, there's almost no margin between "bent in slightly" and "snapped right off" :cry:

as for heating up the shaft to melt on a non-fitting knob, only do that if you're ready to use a hacksaw to get it off of there again :FM
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,746
I bought them from a local person who sells upgrade assemblies for LPs. They said they've installed them on hundreds of LPSes, but I think they've mostly dealt with Epiphones.
yeah, sounds like they may be using non-standard size CTS pots! it's pretty obvious from your video that they're not the same size.

PRS is like that, they use nice CTS with fine splines that look the same but they're spec'ed with a split shaft that's too big for anything but their own plastic knobs.

either way, my vote is for the dimarzio CTS, they're very nice low torque pots with the c-clip to keep them from getting pushed through and will in fact fit regular gibson knobs cleanly.
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,941
sorry, strong thumbs-down to both of these ideas.

especially if the split shaft is aluminum instead of brass, there's almost no margin between "bent in slightly" and "snapped right off" :cry:

as for heating up the shaft to melt on a non-fitting knob, only do that if you're ready to use a hacksaw to get it off of there again :FM
Yeah but....

The guy on UTube made it look so easy
 
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