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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Gibson bell knobs...why they suck and how to fix 'em

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Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 27th, 2019 02:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

I love the look of Gibson "reflector" bell-shaped knobs on a Les Paul or SG. The problem with them is twofold: they are shiny and slick, and they have a small diameter which conspire to make them difficult to rotate with the side of a finger. This is especially annoying with sweaty hands.

Many players swap these for TV/speed knobs because their larger diameter provides more leverage to rotate them with a finger. If you're unaware, the TV nickname comes from "top view".

I've always been a fan of the knobs Ibanez has used on their premium guitars since the early 80s: they have a knurled rubber jacket on them that provides supreme skid-proofness for the fingers. But putting Ibanez knobs on a Gibson breaks the Eleventh Commandment, so what to do?

I was working on a pressure washer pump and had my box of O-rings out, and BLING! the light bulb came on. All I needed to do is cut a shallow groove into the side of each knob and pop an O-ring on it. Since I don't have a guitar knob lathe, I removed the shaft from a castoff dime-sized pot and chucked it into the drill motor. I popped a knob on, spun the drill, and held a small triangle file against the rotating knob. I did this on all four knobs, and then followed up with a round needle file. Size 12 O-rings were the perfect size and they stay securely on the knobs.

This really works great.

You could do the same with plain (non-reflector) bell knobs too.

pic here

Leftee
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VA

May 27th, 2019 02:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Very cool, MacGyver!

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 27th, 2019 04:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, very clever. (not surprisingly ;^)


Tinkerer
Contributing Member
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San Diego, CA USA

May 27th, 2019 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Love this idea and the process- very cool!!!

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 28th, 2019 08:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

oooh oooh oooh! YES!!!
You could do more than one!
O-rings come in different colors!
I'm so happy right now!

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 28th, 2019 08:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

...you could do this with any knob!!!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 28th, 2019 11:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

My Ikea (or is it Scandinavian Designs?) rolling cabinet has knobs like that! (link)

They got cracked and crumbly after a few years, but a quick trip to the hardware store fixed that.

clickitude

twangdoodles

michigan usa

May 29th, 2019 07:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Nice solution! I've always just used rubber bands.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 07:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Mark, I am happy that I could light a candle rather than curse your darkness :o) Yeah, you could do this to any knob.

Te52, those look like they'd make decent guitar knobs!

Prior to this I tried rubber bands (the little silicone ones from the dentist for braces, etc.). Silicone lasts way longer than a typical rubber band.

I also tried several rubber-like clear adhesives, painted onto the knobs. That worked fairly well, but it looked like snot. Now that I think about it, it could be why other players' sit-in requests dropped off to zero :o)

These are the really great Ibanez knobs I mentioned earlier. They ain't cheap.

Equipped with a Goodyear all-terrain tire, baby!

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
May 29th, 2019 08:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

“you could do this with any knob!!!”

Not on my chicken heads “o) Which are my favorite. The bass freqs are getting a bit hard for me to hear in the mix and these knobs tell me where I am with a quick glance “o)

Still A great idea, black O rings with a silver zero marker line would work for me.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 08:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think it was the late great Joe Pass who liked having a chicken-head knob on the volume controls on all his guitars so he could see where it was as a glance.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 29th, 2019 03:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

"...Te52, those look like they'd make decent guitar knobs!..."

And it looks like somebody...

...agrees.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Gotta love an organization that's not afraid to use slices of bacon in their company logo!

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

This is my 2nd Rodeo

May 29th, 2019 04:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

You don't have a guitar knob lathe???




jeez.

You think you know a guy.


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

I do now!

Pic of the specialized implement

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

This is my 2nd Rodeo

May 29th, 2019 05:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's just like MY guitar knob lathe!



Doc Sarvis
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USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
May 29th, 2019 05:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

I did a similar thing with the push-pull pot on a Stratocaster. My wife got a pin from the NRA and the rubber donut that protects the envelope from the back side of the pin fits over the knob snugly and stays in place when I pull the pot. It would work on the Gibson knobs too.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 05:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

I need to find those flat rubber bands with the knurling on them (as used on the Ibanez knobbers).

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 29th, 2019 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Baby Jesus

loves me!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 1st, 2019 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know that some guitarists have used the rubber knob covers for effects pedals on guitar knobs to make volume swells easier. Probably not a fit on Gibson bell knobs, but might give somebody some...

...ideas.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 03:04 PM, Jun 1st, 2019)

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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Gibson bell knobs...why they suck and how to fix 'em




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