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Les Paul Knobs

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The Full Article About Les Paul Knobs

Les Paul KnobsWhile rock, jazz, and blues are no more the best popular genres of music globally, the guitar is still a very persistent instrument in the sense that it’s around, it’s still cool, and it’s commonly used for popular music. There are plenty of models and brands, including different sorts of knobs that may or may not deal with your guitar. As we’ll mention in a second, there are a few different forms of potentiometers and knobs, and a number of them work better together than others. It begs the question of whether guitar knobs are universal or otherwise? Guitar knobs and pots are not universal, however, knobs and potentiometers, also called pots, only come in a few different types so it’s not hard to make the right choice of knobs. There are spline split shafts, solid shafts, and afterward coarse and fine spline split shafts. Different knobs will fit differently. If you’ve owned a few electric guitars in your life, you’ll know there is considerable variation in how they’re set up and how they work. Obviously, there are more similarities than differences, but one element that separates knobs is the bridge. It’s important to take a look at the variety of knobs and posts your instrument uses before buying one.

The Components Of Les Paul Knobs

When you get any new guitar, whether it’s your first, or you’re tenth, it can take a little bit of time to get used to the controls. The Les Paul is a little more complicated than an electric guitar, because it has two-tone and volume controls, whereas most other models only have one of each. So how do you use all the different controls properly to get the greatest tone? In this article view, we’ll go through an in-depth, step-by-step guide to using your Les Paul’s controls so you know clearly how to get the best off of your new guitar. So let’s get started.

The Les Paul Three Main Control Kinds

  • Pickup selector
  • Tone controls
  • Volume controls

The pickup selector allows you to either activate the bridge or neck pickups aside or in combination. The tone regulates allow you to adjust the brightness of your tone. The two-volume controls allow you to adjust how loud the guitar is. There are two volume controls and two tone controls, so a set every pickup.

Les Paul Knobs

Realizing A Les Paul’s Controls

Okay, so let’s go into a little more detail about what each of these different control types actually does.

Pickup Selector

This makes it possible for you to choose which pickup is activated. The Les Paul has two pickups, one near the bridge and the other near the neck. The position of these pickups dramatically affects how they sound. The bridge pickup sounds sharper and brighter, whilst the neck pickup sounds warmer and more mellow. Often, the bridge pickup is used for lead guitar and heavier styles with more gain because it allows you to puncture the sound of the remainder of the band. The neck pickup is regularly used for rhythm guitar and clean tones because it’s less harsh and bridge. Have a look at this post on the difference between bridge and neck pickups to get more information. Okay, so why does the Les Paul have a three-way pickup selector then? This is because you can either use the neck pickup alone, up to position aka rhythm, the bridge pickup alone, down position aka treble or both pickups together, middle position.

So to summarise:

  • Rhythm (up) Position = Neck Pickup = Warm Sound
  • Treble (down) Position = Bridge Pickup = Bright Sound
  • Middle position = Both Pickups = Balanced Tone

Les Paul Knobs

Tone And Volume Controls

The Les Paul is a little wide range than most electric guitars simply because it has two-tone knobs and two volume knobs. One set screw of tone and volume control is used to control the neck pickup, and the other is used to control the bridge pickup set screw. So if you were to stand with the guitar and look down, the top two knobs control the neck pickup, and all-time low two control the bridge pickup. The tone control is used to adjust what amount of treble output the pickup has. This simply means, how sharp and bright it sounds. Having more treble increases clarity and note separation, but way too much can make it sound a bit harsh. If you have the tone control on total, all the trebles will be sent to the amp. If you decrease the tone control, then less treble is sent out to the amp. The volume control is used to adjust how noisy each pickup is needless to say. But they also can affect the tone also. If you lower the volume, after that you’ll lose several of these, similar to what happens when you decrease the tone control.

Les Paul Knobs

Video Experience

How To Use The Controls

Okay, so now you know what each control does, how do you actually use them to get the very best tone. Well, one of the best aspects of a Les Paul, is the fact that you have independent tone and volume controls for every pickup. This allows you to use them in many different methods, for several effects and situations. So, keeping that in mind, let’s talk through the three best ways to use Les Paul’s controls:

  • For separate clean and crunch tones
  • For distinct rhythm and lead tones
  • Blending the tone of each pickup

Keep in mind that your amp settings will make a big impact too. Check into our complete guide to amp settings and controls for loads of tips.

1. For Separate Clean And Crunch Tones

You may also set up Les Paul’s controls to ensure that you have distinct clean and crunch tones. This does work in a similar way to the method described above. Clean tones usually sound best, when you use the neck pickup and have the tone control, rolled back to about halfway, and the volume control rolled back so it’s on around 3-4. This will take the distortion down a lot, even when you’re using plenty of gains on your amp. Hence, your tone will sound smooth and clean. Crunch tones work best when you use the bridge pickup. It keeps it sound brighter and sharper and gives it more bite so it actually sounds gritty and crunchy. You should have the volume and tone controls fully. Make certain your amp is set up in order that you have just enough gained to can make it sound gritty, but not too much that it sounds very distorted. You’re just trying to find some snap.

Clean And Crunch Controls

2. For Distinct Rhythm And Lead Tones

Let’s start with the most basic method to use Les Paul’s controls, and this is by creating separate rhythm and lead tones. If you’re playing a song that requires you to play chords and rhythm sections in the verses and choruses, but then you need to play lead sections such as, when soloing, then you can use the LP’s controls to create two different tones. For rhythm playing, your tone should be warm and mellow, so it doesn’t overshadow the singer. For lead playing, your guitar should sound brighter, sharper, and louder, so your solos can possibly be heard properly. If you intend to learn more about this topic, then look into this article we’ve written on the 3 differences between rhythm and lead guitar. So how do you dial in these separate tones? For the rhythm sections, you’ll want to use the neck pickup, and have the volume and tone controls that dictate your neck pickup, turned down a bit. This will make your tone quite mellow and warm, but still quite full. This makes it helpful for chords, without overpowering the singer or lead guitarist. For the lead sections, you should use the bridge pickup, and have the tone and volume on full. So, all you need to work on is switching between the pickups using the pickup selector when you need to go from a rhythm to a lead tone, and vice-versa.

Lead And Rhythm Controls

3. Using Both Pickups

Finally, you can also use both pickups together to dial in a signature tone. Like this of making use of your Les Paul can’t be described step-by-step, because it really is dependent on what kind of signature tone you want. However, there are a few tips to help you start.

  • Use the middle position of your pickup selector to activate both pickups
  • Turn the volume and condition to full for both pickups
  • To get a warmer tone, try reducing the volume on your bridge pickup
  • To get a brighter tone, try reducing the volume on your neck pickup
  • Then to tweak the brightness/ warmth even further, start using the tone controls
  • Start with one tone control at a time, make a small adjustment, play a number of notes or chords, and after that tweak again

This method can take a while, but it’s one of the most effective methods to use Les Paul’s controls to truly dial in the best tone. Be patient, and enjoy it!

Video Explanation

Related Questions

1. What Are The Other Types Of Effect Controls?

Pickup Switch

Guitar 6The first thing you do when changing your settings is choose the pickup. This could be either the neck pickup, bridge pickup, or middle pickup. The bridge pickup position produces a much thinner tone as the amplitude is less bass in the bridge position. This creates the sound ideal for doing riffs or playing guitar chords. The Neck position produces a thicker sound as the amplitude is more bass and higher Mids. This makes the sound ideal for single notes like solos as it thickness out the tone. The middle position is somewhere in-between. Let us say you like to play a solo but you are finding the tone a little too thick then you might want to switch into the middle pickup position. This also works the same for paying chords or riffing. Sometimes the bridge position can feel too thin and twangy, and so changing to the middle will tighten the tone right up.


Having the opportunity to switch from single coil to humbucker, the setup has humbuckers change that has four settings. The most affordable setting is a single-coil whilst the highest setting is a full humbucker. As you pass through the settings, you increase the intensity of the humbucker.

Kill Switch

A kill switch cuts the volume off when started up, when used successfully you can get some really cool effects.


You can have built-in effects like distortion that is fixed inside the guitar itself. This really cool modification but you will need to customize this yourself. Guitarist Alexi Laiho is known for having this particular setup.

2. What Are The Types Of Setting Options?

Four Knob Setup

A four-knob setup set screw will involve one tone and one volume knob for each pickup, totaling four knobs.

Three Knob Setup

Guitar 7A three-knob setup screw can vary depending upon what brand you get. For a dean and flying, V will include two volume knobs that control the volume output of each pickup, and afterward one tone control to alter the bridge and neck pickup together.

For a Fender, a three-knob setup will include two knobs for tone. This will include controlling one tone knobs for the neck pickup, and one tone knob for the middle and bridge pickup. Whilst there will be a volume knob that deals with all three pickups at the same time.

Two Knob Setup

A two-knob setup includes only having one volume and one tone knobs to modify both pickups. This is what we commonly see on Telecasters.

Push-Pull Setup

Push-pull knobs work slightly differently from the other controls we have discussed in posts here. These work by pulling, or pushing the knob will take to a different setting, and after that further settings can possibly be placed on modifying the selected setting. As an example, some guitars will have a setup where you pull the knob and it will switch the pickup from humbucker to single coil. Other guitars like the Fender S1 switching system design will change the selector when you pull it. This means if in the pull position you can alter the tone, and when in the push position you can alter the volume.

Final Review

And so there you go about these created posts on our website! That’s just how to use the tone knobs on a Les Paul! We hope you’ve found this topic and article helpful, thanks for reading, enjoy your experience!

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