I got this old semi-hollow with F-holes, like Gibson ES-335. The top volume (for neck?) is really scratchy when I turn it. I have a can of DeoxIT D5 spray with the little red straw. I'm wondering how to apply it.

I've read of some just removing the knob and letting the stuff drip down the shaft hoping it gets into the pot where the "wiper" moves, but I'm not sure how effective this is. Also, this guitar has some value and I don't want to have a bunch of this stuff dripping around inside of it willy-nilly, as I'm worried that might do something bad (?)

Is there a pretty good way to get this stuff into the volume pot without removing the pot? If I should remove the pot, is there a good video or something on how to remove & re-insert the volume pot through the F-holes?


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It should drip down through the pot at the knob post, I've done it that way before but you may have to try it a couple of times.

If you have to remove the pot, tie a long string securely to the post before removing, pull it out through the F hole, be really careful you don't pull the string through, you need it to pull the pot back into place...That's how they are put in at the factory. I took some out of an Ibanez to clean them 3 or 4 years ago (yeah he paid for it, I'm not going through that hassle cheap) and they still had a short string tied to the guitar jack from the factory build. They pull the pots through then untie the string, but the one in the guitar jack can't be removed so they clip it off and drop it back inside. Some thin wire will work too, I prefer string. You can also tie something to the other end like a large plastic washer to be sure it won't pull out of the guitar while you work on it, that's what I did.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
^ pretty much what I was gonna say
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Well, I tried spraying the shaft and it does not look like much if any got through to the main part of the pot, it just sits on top around the nut that holds the pot on the body. I tried loosening the nut and spraying, still did not see how any of this stuff would get into the wiper area where needed just from spraying the shaft. Did not help.

I was thinking there might be a way to feed the red straw through the F-hole into the wiper area of the pot, if I knew where that opening was in relation to the F-hole, and that might be easier than removing the pot through the F-hole. And if the orientation was not right (like the opening was on the opposite side of the pot from where the F-hole is), then can't I just loosen the top nut enough to turn the pot in place 180 degrees, then feed the straw through the F-hole into the opening and spray, then turn the pot back to the original orientation and tighten the nut?

That might sound more complicated than removing it, but here's my worry: If I did try to remove one volume pot (neck) through the F-hole, would it really come all the way out without me removing the other pots & the input jack, since they have wires connecting them? Can I be sure there's enough slack on those wires to let the neck volume pot leave through the F-hole without removing anything else?

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Okay, problem solved. Here's what I did, it was pretty easy:

First, I used combination of flashlight, small mirror and fingers (touch) to figure out the orientation of the pot -- the wiring side, and thus the wiper opening, was facing the pickups, about 90 degrees from where I need it.

I removing volume knob, then tied string around the shaft. I did not need this string, it was "just in case" I accidentally took the nut off all the way so the pot fell into the guitar cavity.

Next, I partially unscrewed the nut, but not all the way off the threads. This held the pot so it would not fall into the body cavity, but I could still turn it.

I then used my fingers through F-hole to rotate pot about 90 degrees clockwise so wiper opening would be facing F-hole. With one end of the red DeOxit straw firmly pushed into the DeOxit nozzle, I fed the other end of the straw through the F-hole and shoved it in the area of the three pot contacts were soldered to wires, knowing roughly where the opening should be. When it felt right, I gave the nozzle a squeeze.

Holding the body of the pot so it would not rotate, I then rotated the shaft of the pot to move the volume wiper through the full range of motion. I did this a dozen or two dozen times.

I then plugged it in and tested it, still scratchy.

Unplug it (important step) then feed red straw through for second shot of DeOxit, then again rotate wiper through full range of motion over and over for a bit.

Plugged it in, tested, all scratchiness gone.

Rotate pot back to original orientation, tighten nut, remove string, put knob back on, all better.

The other volume pot had a bit of scratchiness, not enough to really bother me, but I figured I may as well deal with that, too. Same process, but this pot had to be rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Again, took two tries to eliminate scratchiness.

Untying the string proved to be one of the hardest steps, I think I might try using wire in the future.

I also took off my pick guard to make it easier to reach into the F-hole and re-orient the pots, but I'm pretty sure I could have done this without that step.

I noticed my 3-way switch was also a bit scratchy. Had no clue where to spray DeOxit to address that, but putting it on the shaft did not help, so I again fed red straw into body cavity through F-hole and sprayed it around the interior parts of the switch, and it seems to have helped.

Fortunately the tone pots are not scratchy at all, they'd be harder to reach, might not be able to use this technique on them.

If you have an issue with scratchy pots that are near an F-hole, I think this is the easiest way to DeOxit them. If you don't know where the wiper opening is in a pot, I suggest looking at some online pics (or an actual pot if you have a spare lying around) as it will make it pretty easy to feed the straw into the right place using just the sense of touch.

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