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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The electric guitar's volume control has acted as an On/Off switch for most of my guitar playing life. However, I have recently changed some things and now when I "roll the volume back on the guitar" the signal goes from usefully distorted to usefully clean and vice versa. I realize most of you are probably thinking "welcome to Guitar 101 (Remedial)" and you would be right.

The "usefully clean" tone is awfully close to rolling the volume control completely off. It would be convenient to have a tactile marker, like a minimally resistive detent, on the guitars volume control to let the player know where the boundary between "1" and "Off" lies.

Do any production model guitars have a feature like this, that you are aware of?
 

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I was thinking about this last night... and wondering how you could do it. If you knew the resistance of the pot at the "sweet spot" where it cleans up the way you like, you could add a resistor of that value between the grounded leg and ground. So when you rolled it all the way down it would not completely shunt the signal to ground. If you did want the ability to shut the volume all the way off you could use a push/pull pot to kill the volume. Just brainstorming here... but its a thought.
 

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I was thinking about this last night... and wondering how you could do it. If you knew the resistance of the pot at the "sweet spot" where it cleans up the way you like, you could add a resistor of that value between the grounded leg and ground. So when you rolled it all the way down it would not completely shunt the signal to ground. If you did want the ability to shut the volume all the way off you could use a push/pull pot to kill the volume. Just brainstorming here... but its a thought.
That's an interesting idea. I may have to play around with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You guys have good ideas. The detent would be analogous to a "rumble strip" on the highway. It tells you, "past this point there is no more road." The detent would tell you, "past this point there is no more sound." Out of all the senses, "feeling" that point on the guitar's volume control would be the most reliable way of doing this.
 

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You guys have good ideas. The detent would be analogous to a "rumble strip" on the highway. It tells you, "past this point there is no more road." The detent would tell you, "past this point there is no more sound." Out of all the senses, "feeling" that point on the guitar's volume control would be the most reliable way of doing this.
Hmmm... I know what you mean, but you would have to custom build a pot like that... Not that it couldn't be done though! A recessed spring loaded ball bearing under the volume knob and small hole drilled in a pickguard (for the detent) would do the trick, if a person wanted to experiment with the idea. You would just have to play with the rotational position of the pot and get the detent in your sweet spot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmmm... I know what you mean, but you would have to custom build a pot like that... Not that it couldn't be done though! A recessed spring loaded ball bearing under the volume knob and small hole drilled in a pickguard (for the detent) would do the trick, if a person wanted to experiment with the idea. You would just have to play with the rotational position of the pot and get the detent in your sweet spot.
Thank you! That sounds like what I'm after!
I will be keeping this one on the back burner...possibly for a really long time...:plain:
 

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Thank you! That sounds like what I'm after!
I will be keeping this one on the back burner...possibly for a really long time...:plain:
Is a cool idea... Sometimes its just fun to have a challenge too!

I looked around on the web a bit yesterday and found multiple detent pots, but the only single detent pots I could find were ones with the detent exactly in the center, as in a "balance" knob on your stereo system.

Found some multiple detent knobs (link below) and wondered if it would be possible to fill all of the positioning holes except one (set of 3)? The beauty of that particular method is that the knob is where it all happens, so it could be adapted to any pot with the right sized threaded shaft.

http://www.ehcknobs.com/pdfs/Detent Knob.pdf

On a side note... They have quite a selection of knobs!

Control Knobs Home - EHCKnobs.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is a cool idea... Sometimes its just fun to have a challenge too!

I looked around on the web a bit yesterday and found multiple detent pots, but the only single detent pots I could find were ones with the detent exactly in the center, as in a "balance" knob on your stereo system.

Found some multiple detent knobs (link below) and wondered if it would be possible to fill all of the positioning holes except one (set of 3)? The beauty of that particular method is that the knob is where it all happens, so it could be adapted to any pot with the right sized threaded shaft.

http://www.ehcknobs.com/pdfs/Detent Knob.pdf

On a side note... They have quite a selection of knobs!

Control Knobs Home - EHCKnobs.com
Challenges can be fun and fortunately different challenges are fun for different people. At the heart of this, the guitar amplifiers preamp is the critical piece to making a "useful clean" and "useful distortion" on the same channel work. It has to be turned up a bit though. I have a volume pedal in the FX loop attenuating the signal before it reaches the power amp. This what I meant by changing things around. In a round about way, this is more about amplifiers, but the volume control on the guitar is the first "gate" the signal being sent to the amplifier goes through, and is conveniently close to the hand.

The brain perceives distorted guitar tones differently than clean guitar tones and I do not know all the reasons why. Distortion tends to be perceived as too loud. (Ask any high school jazz band teacher.) I think if the brain/ear hears a clean tone gradually become distorted and vice versa it will be perceived as 1 sound that changes rather than 2 different/separate sounds. I want to navigate this broad tonal spectrum without "running off the road," hence the detent idea.

The challenge of making this work on a technical level is where I am not at my best.

They really do have an enormous selection of knobs! :surprise:
 

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What comes to mind is the little metal indicator things (idk what the technical term is) under some Gibson top hat knobs...



If you could glue something to the metal piece (or just bend it so it touches, or make a similar type of piece, etc.) so there would be constant contact with the knob, then file out a small indent on the knob itself, the sweet spot could be felt and you could still turn it all the way down. Not the most scientific approach for sure, but all my caveman brain can muster up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What comes to mind is the little metal indicator things (idk what the technical term is) under some Gibson top hat knobs...



If you could glue something to the metal piece (or just bend it so it touches, or make a similar type of piece, etc.) so there would be constant contact with the knob, then file out a small indent on the knob itself, the sweet spot could be felt and you could still turn it all the way down. Not the most scientific approach for sure, but all my caveman brain can muster up.
I was thinking along these lines too. If I had a Gibson with those knobs, a homemade solution could probably be reached. That is a good example of putting information on the volume controls in an accurate way. My idea was to use the sense of touch to provide all the information rather than take my eyes away from the fretboard. Since my hand will be turning the volume control anyways, that subtle "bump" would effectively do that.

Tactile controls could be rather useful in other ways too. Luminlays were invented because venues can be dark. Our sense of touch does not need light or even sound to be useful. Thought for food.
 

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Might grab one to try.. a little pricey but think itd be worth it if it does what it says. Wish there were more styles but the no numbers / words like its kinda growin on me
 
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