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Old 05-13-07, 07:37 AM   #1
wallythefish
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Removing/Replacing Knobs

I've just taken delivery of one-of-a-kind custom Les Paul from the Custom Shop (apparently just under the wire of the "we no longer take orders for individual guitars) with a body that is a custom shade of blue over the natural flame. All of the plastic on the guitar is white. When it was designed they put black top hat knobs on it, but since all of the other plastic is white, I am wondering whether white knobs would look better.

I bought white knobs on ebay (one set each of top hat and speed, just to try), but with this incredibly beautiful brand new guitar, the last thing I want to do is screw it up trying to get the original knobs off and the new ones on.

I'm thinking that this should be pretty easy, but I thought I'd ask this group before I touch anything.

Any thoughts on how I should do this without risk to any part of the guitar?

Thanks in advance
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Old 05-13-07, 07:45 AM   #2
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

You need to show pictures, you know it.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:49 AM   #3
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Anything you do to a guitar can go wrong, even just replacing knobs. I hear that a good method to remove knobs is by wrapping a shoelace around the shaft and it should come off easily.

If you are getting new knobs please read this thread first.

http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/sh...wpost&t=128637

BTW how come you got white plastic? I hear the light coloured plastic on Gibsons these days is at worst flesh pink and at best cream.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

I replaced the stock knobs on one of my Les Paul Customs yesterday with gold top hats (they look incredible with the guitar's red transparent flame top). I just had to pull the stock knobs off and it wasn't a big deal. Some of them were a bit stiff but came off with a firm pull. I understand your concerns though with a nice new guitar.

That blue finish sound nice!

Charles
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Old 05-13-07, 08:01 AM   #5
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

There is a tool I have for pulling car door panels off (the inside interior panel). It has a screwdriver handle and shaft, and at the end flares out wide and splits into a fork, open in the middle. The back side is a curved arch. It allows the down pressure to be spread over a wide area, and the pressure is "rolled" as you push down. I haven't used it on LP knobs, but I am thinking a thin sheet of rubber between it and guitar for extra precaution, and use it to break a stubborn knob loose, once you get a tight one to move, it will come, I would use that tool to initially break it. Just a last resort suggestion for a tough one. Tool is available at any auto body supply place.
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Old 05-13-07, 08:04 AM   #6
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Those knobs can be tough to pull off sometimes. I haven't gotten the shoelace thing to work. I ended up putting an old cotton t-shirt over them to protect the knobs and the top and pulling them off with pliers. The only other advice I can give is try to pull them straight off so you don't bend the shaft on the pot or anything like that (it would probably take a lot of force to do that anyway).
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Old 05-13-07, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

I watched an old luthier do this one.. and it works great!!!

Take a piece of cloth and wrap it under and around the knob. Holding the cloth so that it won't come off the knob...and then pull straight up. This method provides even pull pressure to the knob and even the most stubborn knob comes off easily.

You also don't run the risk of levering the knob off the guitar and leaving dings on the body or scratching the paint off the inside of the knob.

This is kinda like the shoestring method.. but the pull pressure is more evenly distributed around the whole knob.
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Old 05-13-07, 04:59 PM   #8
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Wally,

With the guitar lying flat on your PADDED workbench, table etc. take an old athletic type flat shoe lace and wrap it around the the shaft UNDER the knob.

Take both ends of the laces and pull upward while working the lace back and forth. Do this firmly and slowly and the knobs will come off.

You might also want to put a towel OVER the knobs so that when you do get the knob off it doesn't go flying acroos the room.

I've used this method for years and it never fails.

Good luck.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:41 AM   #9
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Thanks for all the advice - I think I'm almost brave enough to give this a try now. In response to a couple of items:

1. I'll post pictures of the body shortly. The fretboard has some custom inlay that can't be unveiled just yet, but that's not the exciting part.

2. The white binding and plastic does not have any pink tint in it - it looks pure white. I wasn't aware of the tinting problem, but I'm glad it did not occur on this guitar.

Many thanks again to those who replied.

Bill
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Old 05-14-07, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Quote:
Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
I watched an old luthier do this one.. and it works great!!!

Take a piece of cloth and wrap it under and around the knob. Holding the cloth so that it won't come off the knob...and then pull straight up. This method provides even pull pressure to the knob and even the most stubborn knob comes off easily.

You also don't run the risk of levering the knob off the guitar and leaving dings on the body or scratching the paint off the inside of the knob.

This is kinda like the shoestring method.. but the pull pressure is more evenly distributed around the whole knob.

Thanks, I have to do the same thing as well
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Old 05-14-07, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

I use 2 spoons on each side to pry with a cloth underneath. Equal leverage, smooth surface.....works like a charm
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Old 05-14-07, 06:15 PM   #12
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Since no one has hounded you for almost half a day, please allow me - !
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Old 05-21-07, 04:49 AM   #13
wallythefish
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Here's an attempt at uploading the photos - first one is from the Custom Shop during the final finishing stage, the second is the finished product.

Comments are welcomed!

http://s188.photobucket.com/albums/z...t=DSC_2197.jpg

http://s188.photobucket.com/albums/z...=DLPCustom.jpg
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Old 05-21-07, 05:14 AM   #14
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

looks nice!!!

Les Strat - I respectfully disagree with your spoon method. The spoons will transfer all the pressure to the small area of contact between the spoon and top. Even with a cloth, you could easily generate enough force to make a depression/dent in the guitar top.

The issue is how to remove the knobs without touching the top.

Last edited by toxpert : 05-21-07 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 05-21-07, 05:32 AM   #15
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Quote:
Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
Take a piece of cloth and wrap it under and around the knob. Holding the cloth so that it won't come off the knob...and then pull straight up. This method provides even pull pressure to the knob and even the most stubborn knob comes off easily.
So you wrap a piece of cloth around your knob and pull until it comes off.
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Old 05-21-07, 05:37 AM   #16
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

I should have mentioned - since this photo was taken I successfully changed the knobs using a variation on the "shoelace" method. I used a ribbon that was a little wider than a shoelace and it worked flawlessly.
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Old 05-21-07, 05:59 AM   #17
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Isn't the force needed to remove the knobs greatly exaggerated here? And since a shoelace (or something similar) doesn't actually add momentum to the force from the arm, removing the knob with your fingers should be equally easy/hard.

But using your fingers you can rest your palm against the maple top creating a lever thus more force.

The fingers have always worked for me (hahaha)...
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I'm sure only Axel knows if they have wax potting. He knows stuff that Gibson don't even know about there own guitars. Like an angel from Les Paul Heaven!
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Old 05-21-07, 06:04 AM   #18
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Sorry, my english isn't good enough to explain what I meant. I hope you guys like riddles.
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I'm sure only Axel knows if they have wax potting. He knows stuff that Gibson don't even know about there own guitars. Like an angel from Les Paul Heaven!
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Old 05-21-07, 06:47 AM   #19
wallythefish
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

I found the "shoelace" method to be preferable given my anxiety about potentially damaging the finish of the body in some way. Yes, the force needed was not that great (although it varied from knob to knob). The shoelace method didn't require anything to touch the body itself (versus a spoon or something similar), and it provided a good way of grasping the know so that the knob itself wasn't damaged.

After doing it the first time I am now much more comfortable in removing/replacing the knobs - I suppose it was fear of the unknown that caused the initial anxiety.
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Old 05-21-07, 08:12 AM   #20
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Quote:
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looks nice!!!

Les Strat - I respectfully disagree with your spoon method. The spoons will transfer all the pressure to the small area of contact between the spoon and top. Even with a cloth, you could easily generate enough force to make a depression/dent in the guitar top.

The issue is how to remove the knobs without touching the top.

I've have changed knobs dozens of times rhtough the years and never had a problem, but I always use a cloth underneath. If your maple cap is that soft, you have other issues besides changing knobs.
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Old 05-21-07, 08:42 AM   #21
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Quote:
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Comments are welcomed!
That is a cool look, very one-of-a-kindish. I'll bet reflector knobs or gold hardware would compliment that blue, too.
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Old 05-21-07, 09:41 AM   #22
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Any mods I do I use a specialist tool called " A Guitar Tech" Never fails! ;)
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Old 05-21-07, 12:19 PM   #23
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

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I've have changed knobs dozens of times rhtough the years and never had a problem, but I always use a cloth underneath. If your maple cap is that soft, you have other issues besides changing knobs.
An issue like "a nitrocellulose finish?"
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Old 05-21-07, 02:31 PM   #24
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

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An issue like "a nitrocellulose finish?"
Hey, it works for me. YMMV.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:17 AM   #25
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

Whatever you do, don't pull *too* hard...

I was trying to change a knob on mine and when I gave it a tug, the knob came off alright...

With the the shaft from the volume pot attached to it.



Yep. Bummer. But, the pots were old and dirty anyway, so no biggy. Just a word of caution.
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Old 05-31-07, 11:27 AM   #26
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Re: Removing/Replacing Knobs

any thin cloth will do....I just put it under and around the base of the knobs,until it is all the way around.pull together and then gently up.workd every time.I relaced the knobs on my class 5 w/creme over the gold.
looks nice now.
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