Tell me what the knobs do on my electric guitar...

Here is my Howard Roberts’ Fusion III guitar.

This is so embarrassing…

It’s kind of a mystery to me. I have owned this guitar for quite awhile, but I really don’t play electric much – I’m more of a classical guitar kind of fellow.
Surprisingly, even in its factory packaging, it didn’t come with any instructions.

When I fiddle with the knobs, there seems to be some interdependencies that confuse things.
From the linked picture, please identify the following controls:

  1. Top Left (in the picture) knob
  2. Top Right knob
  3. Bottom Left knob
  4. Bottom Right knob
  5. Positions of switch

(Yes, it sounds SWEET with flatwound strings, a Fender tube amp, and just a touch of reverb :cool: )

I don’t know for certain about your guitar, but the standard setup is to have one volume knob and one tone knob (low pass filter) for each pickup; the switch switches between the two pickups.

Assuming that your guitar uses the same controls, I assume that the volume knobs are closest to the midline of the guitar, with the volume knob for the neck pickup placed close to the bridge to help with swells (playing a note, then raising the volume.)

Oh yeah, the middle switch position on a standard Gibson three-position switch selects both pickups in parallel, usually in phase. Up (or towards the neck) will probably select the neck pickup; down (or towards the tailstock/jack) probably selects the bridge pickup.

You can test this by switching to one position or the other and tapping the pickup covers to see which one sounds louder through the amp.

Thanks for your ideas – a little bit of experimentation (tap tap…) shows that you are correct.

Things are laid out in a pretty funny fashion on this axe: the pickup switch goes vertically (from the guitarist’s POV). Top (towards the strings) turns on the neck pickup, bottom turns on the bridge pickup. Middle position turns them both on.

When one single pickup is on, it seems that the knobs close to the neck are both volume and the knobs farther from the neck are tone.

The knobs closer to the strings are fore the neck pickup.

Things get pretty strange when both pickups are on, though. Each knob seems to affect the settings of the others.

Actually, I couldn’t remember whether Gibson put the volume knobs closest to the strings or closest to the neck. I’m sure that Gibson’s layout is the industry standard, but some other manufacturers put them the other way.

By the way, the top picture on this link should be the wiring diagram for your guitar.

It can also be confusing because many volume controls on guitars also have an effect on tone. Volume all the way up is often a lot brighter/crisper than volume halfway. This may confuse you into thinking that a volume control is a tone control.

That should be easily fixable. Loosen the star nut and twist the switch, then tight it down again.

On my Gibson Les Paul, the top (toward the strings) knobs are volume, the bottom ones are tone.

the knob that goes up to 11 is for extra loud music :slight_smile:

That is a good design feature. Most people when they are on 10, they have like nowhere to go. With a knob that goes to 11 you can go one louder.