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 Post subject: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 220
Does anyone have an opinion on dealing with noisy/scratchy pots on my 4001? I was never a fan of contact cleaner, but maybe that's the way to go.

Thanks for any input.


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
Actually what you need is contact cleaner/LUBRICANT, not plain contact cleaner, otherwise the pot will feel a bit loose and scratchy afterwards, because it can wash out too much of the grease from the shaft... maybe that's why you aren't a fan of contact cleaner :-). It's the best thing to try first though.

DO NOT change out the pots, not unless you're absolutely sure they're worn out, which is fairly unusual even for volume controls on guitars where the player uses them for swells. Too many techs change out perfectly good original pots that just need a little cleaning and often replace them with cheap crap modern ones (even the current CTS production aren't as well-made as the older ones) or do a rough job of the soldering... totally unnecessary and a waste of money and good parts.

Something else you should also check is that it's not being caused by a DC leak from your amp's input stage or a pedal with a failing blocking cap - this will make the pots scratchy no matter how much you clean them or even replace them (really!). The easiest way to check if it's this is to go through some sort of buffered pedal (eg a Boss TU-2 Tuner or most other pedals with 'soft' switching) immediately after the guitar, which will block the DC leak - if the problem then goes away you know it's not the pots that are the cause.


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:51 am
Posts: 3362
Location: Atlanta, GA
Should you feel the need to change out one or more pots, genuine RIC replacements are available in the Boutique section of this website.


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:07 am
Posts: 3848
Radio shack part number 64-4315. My 4002 had not been out for quite awhile, and I needed to get it out to sub for our usual bass player today who went to see his grandchildren. Use the little plastic tube that comes with it and use only ever the slightest amount inside the pot. For the jacks, spray the slightest bit on a cord plug (away from the guitar) and insert it back and forth several times. The cleaner/lubricant will get to all the parts of the jacks, without risking soaking the wood with the fluid or risking getting it all over your guitar.


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 577
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I use Radio Shack Tuner Cleaner to clean scratchy pots. It is now called Nexxtech Tuner Cleaner. Works like a charm.


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 8:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 220
Thanks, smart people! I have a can of "DeoxIT" that I figured to be pretty good stuff. Looking at the can, I see that it has no lubricant at all (although they may sell a cleaner/lubricant product, that's not what I have).

The Radio Shack product looks like the right formula to use.

PS: Extra points for the DC leakage treatise, BlueAngel! :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
No problem! It's not at all obvious unless you've come across it before, and can be very baffling - I've seen people change out a whole set of pots and think they've been sold a bad set because the new ones do it too. It's most common on tube amps with a direct-coupled input stage (changing the V1 tube normally cures it), but I've come across it with solid-state amps and pedals too occasionally.

I'm a professional tech and one thing that really annoys me about some others is their keenness to charge money to replace parts when it isn't necessary or when the problem hasn't been properly identified. It's maddening to look inside some nice old vintage guitar or amp and find all the pots have been replaced with nasty far-east crap, often done badly, and the originals - which probably just needed a clean, or were nothing to do with the problem at all - tossed in the trash.

(The same applies to needless replacement of machineheads, often permanently altering the guitar, when most tuning issues are caused by bad stringing and poorly cut nuts.)


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 Post subject: Re: Noisy pots
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:07 am
Posts: 3848
Here, Here! Yes indeed!
There are only three ways to keep a guitar or any other electronic gear in good shape:
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance!

There is no reason for a real, as in CTS or other reputable brand, pot to "wear out," or most other "solid-state" parts. The only things I have ever had to replace are tubes, since the purpose of a cathode is to deplete itself of electrons, and capacitors as the dielectric disintegrates over time with heat.


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