Secret life of the volume control knob

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Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by mezcalhead » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:41 am

So are four spokes correct for a pre-CBS volume knob, as this seller states?

My '59 certainly has three spokes. The only other JM I've got with original knobs has them stuck so firmly to the shaft that I daren't pry them off.

What say you all?
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by Jay » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:03 pm

I can take a look at my 2-61 when I get home and see how many there are...

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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by fullerplast » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:47 pm

Three spoke are correct for pre-CBS. The 4 spoke knob used to be definitive for 70s issue, reissue, or aftermarket, until relatively recently when the AV started reissuing the correct 3 spoke. It muddies the waters,  the more accurate the AV gets, the harder it is to tell the difference. The one exception I know of this is the early 80s USA Bullet... they used 3 spoke knobs (for some reason), they are often yellowed and the paint in the lettering wears off very easily.  I've often wondered if they were leftovers, I've heard the rumours of Bullets using leftover Tele necks, Mustang pickups, etc.

P.S. Stewmac has a really cool puller that pulls the knobs off solid shaft pots without damaging the pickguard. Its ingenious, but somewhat expensive last I looked.
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by mezcalhead » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:20 am

Right, so that guy's asking $150 for a reissue knob or a 70s strat knob .. weren't the JMs all witch hats by then?

I'm going to send that particular JM (it's the sunburst '62) for a proper setup at some point, so I'll just ask the tech to sort the knobs out then. I wouldn't mind, but they're pointing in the wrong direction .. the volume pot maxes out when the knob says 6.
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by Jim Shine » Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:02 am

Yeah, the 3 spoke was correct up into the early 80's. The 4 spoke came in around 1981 I believe. The black knobs on late 70's Strats are kind of a cool hybrid. They are the 3 spoke body with the later larger font. Those Bullets supposedly had not had the embossing painted. The story was back then each knob was hand painted. To cut costs on the guitar they just used them bare. You can spot those knobs as they have the larger font.

I have heard from a few sources over the years Kluson made these knobs for Fender. It could be true as the style changed around the very same timeframe Kluson went out of business (1980-1981).
Last edited by Jim Shine on Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by fullerplast » Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:25 am

I've got a set of those black 3 spoke 70s knobs.
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by fullerplast » Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:52 am

I have heard from a few sources over the years Kluson made these knobs for Fender. It could be true as the style changed around the very same timeframe Kluson went out of business (1980-1981).


Interestingly, the earliest bullet (with the rosewood board) had double line Klusons on it too... despite the fact other Fenders had been using the F-tuners for more than a decade.
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by Jim Shine » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:29 am

Yeah, because they were cheaper than the Schaller F tuners. They were still in production right up to that point. You see them on early Peavey T series guitars as well. I also have seen them on some Charvels and they were sold by Schecter in replacement parts form. Look at an early Schecter catalog and you will see real Klusons.

Kluson history may very well fade into obscurity. They were like Gotoh or Schaller is today. They OEM'ed parts for all the big names. Lots of Gibson hardware too. You had companies like fender and Gibson who really carried Kluson leaving for import brands as well as another now obscure US company caled APM (they made all the brass parts and many of the early 80's Fender bridges like the Freeflytes and "The $trat"). Kluson folded due to the lack of business.

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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by fullerplast » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:01 pm

I've even seen them on the lowly Peavy T-15, but they were six-on-a-plate double lines.

Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth to be the supplier for the two biggest US guitar companies, then go belly-up for lack of business?  :-[
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by mezcalhead » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:36 pm

Jim, you really ought to write a book on this stuff someday, to keep it from "fading into obscurity" ..  :)
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Re: Secret life of the volume control knob

Post by Jim Shine » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:51 pm

There was an older gentleman that contacted me maybe 5 years ago. He was writing a book about Kluson. He confirmed much of what I had heard and told me a few things I never knew. I sent him pics of odd Kluson tuners and never heard back from him. I often wonder if he passed on or if the book is still being written.

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