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Old 02-21-2007, 11:15 PM   #1
suj
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Question 1981 Kay Les Paul - help for fixing switch + knobs

Hi guys, new to the forum - be gentle

Bought my very first electric guitar the other day, it's a 1981 Kay Les Paul. It's nice to play on and I got it very cheap, however I'd now like to get it back up to scratch.

The first problem is that the 3 knobs excluding the volume knob do not seem to be working, and also one of them seems loose and feels like it may come off if turned anti clockwise (- thought this just seems to be a case of tightening ?).

The second problem is that the pick up switch (at the top) for Rhythm / Treble / Both seems to be a little messed up. It seems as tho the both position is actualy the Up (rhythm) position and the middle is one of the others and it doesn't even stay flicked downwards...

Thirdly, I'm getting a crackling noise when actualy turning the volume knob. It's not really a huge issue but I'm assumign it shouldn't be there so would like to resolve all these issues.

Another small issue is the guy I bought the guitar from drilled a new whole for a hook for attatching a strap but this means he's left the previous hole open. What would you professionals () suggest I use to fill it, if anything.

Overall it's a great guitar and I'm enjoying playing it - even though at the moment I'm only going through my PC so not getting the full effect of having a proper amp, though I have a very good hifi setup so it makes up for that a little

I've left a pic for you guys as I'm assumign as forum viewers, you like pics!

Pic is here

Last edited by suj : 02-22-2007 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:21 PM   #2
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for the volume knob replace the pot probly. for the loose knobs just take the black knobs off and tighten the bolt thats on the pot and you should be good. i dont know if id try to fill the hole
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:23 PM   #3
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Getting new electronics and/or having all the old ones checked would probably fix the crackling etc. Old guitars, if not used regularly can get rust and crap in the switch and knobs. Mabye spray some WD-40 on them and twist them a lot and see if that helps any.

To fill the strap button hole.. Wood glue and saw-dust makes a pretty strong filler. Or just regular wood putty stuff would work. Black texta to make it unnoticable.. You can just leave it though it doesn't really affect anything.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:25 PM   #4
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if you dont know what your doing take it to a shop and have it checked out but you should definately change the pots and tighten em so they dont jiggle
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:58 AM   #5
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Every Les Paul copy I have ever owned has had the pickup switch problem you have described. They make replacement switches for retro-fitting, so I'd suggest you but a real Gibson pickup selector switch and have it installed, or if you can solder and keep track of it, put it in yourself.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:38 AM   #6
suj
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hi guys, thanks very much for the replies - you've been very helpful.

Strings_Maniac - i'll be searching ebay

carousel182 - i have thought about taking it to a shop but I'm worried about being told about problems that don't exist etc. I'm new to the guitar world so i don't know where to go and who's good and who's bad etc.

TheDev01dOne - I think you're right about it not being used for a while as the guy said he hadn't used it much as he'd bought a new one a year or something ago. Hopefully it's just stuff that can be sorted with WD40.

I guess my only question is how much do these pots cost and what do they look like? Also, how easily do the knobs come off, and what tools do I need to tighten them?

I also forgot to mention in my first post that, the jack for the guitar lead is very loose and wobbly, is this just a case of tightening too? If so, what tool/s ?
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:23 AM   #7
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Is it 81 or 82 in the thread title it says 81 but in the thread it says 82. enlighten me?
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:27 AM   #8
suj
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my appologies, typo in my post - the guy i bought it from said it's a 1981 - so 1981...

Last edited by suj : 02-22-2007 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:16 PM   #9
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WD-40 is a bit of a bad idea, think of putting some switch cleaner, bit i might recommend a set of completely new electronics, seeing all the probs u got. If not, replace the volume control, the selector switch, fill the bottom hole in with a dowel, and you should be fine. And i might recommend a Pignose for your amp of choice, as they are awesome. The 7-100 was sent from heaven.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:41 PM   #10
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thanks for reply woodenbandman.

By the sounds of it, a new set of electronics sounds a bit on the expensive side :/ I was hopign it may juut be loose connections / wires and a bit of TLC to get it up to scratch for the things I've stated.
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:10 PM   #11
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Hi, welcome to the forums!

I suggest taking the back panel off your guitar, and having a look inside for loose wiring. A lot of wiring diagrams can be found on the net, don't be put off! the electrics are really really simple! The jack cable can be tightened from the exterior with some pliers, same with all the pots. If the pots are faulty then just replace them with identical new ones, screw them on there etc. and solder them in.

Could you post some nice clear pictures of the innards?
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:28 PM   #12
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A new switch, pots and wiring shouldn't cost you much more than $25 (and that's Australia, so it should be EXTREMELY cheap). Do you know how to solder? It doesn't take a lot of effort and knowledge to replace all these.
EDIT: About a third of the way down this page, there's some Les Paul wiring kits. They range from about 22-37 pounds. Alpha pots are good quality, but the CTS brand kit would be a lot better quality. It's all down to how much you're willing to spend
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:36 PM   #13
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Depending on how much $$ you have at the moment I would suggest AT LEAST new pots and a new p'up selector (10-20$) and if you have a bit more MAYBE some new p'ups (30-150$). I would rewire it and go from there.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:04 PM   #14
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there was a great article from stewmac trade secerts newsletters about this type stuff.
http://www.stewmac.com/tradesecrets...s0018&clk=83975
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:25 PM   #15
suj
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You guys rock and thanks for the warm welcome.

I'm attempting to soak up all your advice

jcwear - your post fills me with confidence When you say innards what do you mean exactly? (me = total noob )

unfortunately, I've not done any proper soldering before the_random_hero, but the link you gave me looks really good and assuming the pots are messed up and the wiring is ok I'll defo go for the CTS brand I think.

livrockdie - cheers. I think pickups will probably come last. I'd like to get the other stuff sorted first.

I only paid 30 for the guitar so I'll probably upgrade them later on in the year, maybe in the summer. But for now I'm willing to spend a bit of cash fixing the probs. Still a great guitar tho

How easy do the turning knobs come off? Can I just pull them off or are they screwed on or what?
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:31 PM   #16
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You might either have push-on types (lever them off with a flat screwdriver CAREFULLY) or screw in types (they have a little hex or phillips screw on the side of the knob, just unscrew it and pull it off).
Thankfully, soldering is fair easy to get into. I know there's a good guide to it floating around here somewhere, I'll try and track a link down for you.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:33 PM   #17
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If you use a screwdriver to pry them off place a guitar pick between the screwdriver and your guitar. Also, use a wiggling motion, dont pry it like a crobar.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:50 PM   #18
suj
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Thanks for fast replies guys. I'll give that a go.

I've uploaded a pic of the electronics behind the knobs with the panel off. Check it out here.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the back panel off that sits behind the pick up switch. I got the screws off easy but the panel wouldn't lift, felt like it was stuck ? Is it held down by the pick up switch on the front of the body?

the pots are marked as follows:

Code:
top: A500KΩ OI left: A500KΩ right: B500KΩ OH OH bottom: B500KΩ OH


the left one is the loose one, it just looks like the nut needs tightening which i can do once i get the knob off.

Last edited by suj : 02-22-2007 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:45 PM   #19
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Those numbers mean you have 500Kohm pots (a common value for guitars with humbuckers), two of which are A curve, and the other being B curve. I can't remember off hand which one is which, but one on them is linear (straight line) and the other is logarithmic (exponential curve). The volumes would be the log pots. Just if you were wondering....

I'm not too familiar with LP style guitars, but I'm assuming there's a nut that is holding the plate and switch down. You will probably have to undo this to get the plate off. The same deal goes when you're trying to take your pots out.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:59 PM   #20
suj
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It's always good to have the info That's interesting.

So your saying in order to take the plate off the back of the guitar, i gota undo the pickup-switch from the front first ?
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