Knobs: They absolutely must be out of the way

digitalMagnetics

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EDIT: This post is in the wrong forum. That's my bad. I meant to publish it elsewhere and am frankly unsure how I accidentally posted it here. I'd delete or move it, but I don't know how. Mods, feel free to do your thing.

I've got a guitar-related pet peeve that I suspect is pretty uncommon, but I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I absolutely cannot stand it when I play an electric guitar where the knobs or the switch is in the way of my strumming/picking hand. So for me...

Stratocaster = absolute worst guitar for strumming comfort
Gibson anything = absolute best guitar for strumming comfort

With Strats, the volume knob and the switch positions make it impossible for me to play normally. I have to contort my hand in all sorts of weird and uncomfortable ways just to play the simplest things. It's the main reason I've given up on Strats.

Gibson does it right. All the knobs and switches are out of the way like they should be. Thank you, Gibson, for giving my strumming hand the respect it so deserves! Now just fix your weak headstock joints and build guitars that actually stay in tune. But I digress...

Teles don't have the most ideal control layout for me (I hit the switch when it's in the neck position), but I can live with it.

Sad example: I recently played a Reverend Sensei 290. It's probably the best sounding out-of-the-box P-90 guitar I've ever played. Comfortable neck, too. But the volume knob is right under where my picking hand goes. Seriously? What the hell?!?! I wanted to love this guitar, but nah. Can't deal with the discomfort in my right hand.

I mean, I know some people like to do volume swells with their pinkies. Ok. To me, it's just totally not worth it to hit the volume knob with my hand all the time or modify my technique such that playing the guitar becomes annoyingly uncomfortable.

Does anyone else care about this as much as I do, or am I the weirdo here?
 

SixStringSlinger

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I think everyone cares if/when there's a problem. It's just not everyone can agree on what's a problem.

I "grew up" playing a Strat, and have not one single problem like you describe. The control layout is typical.

I got a Les Paul about a year ago. I knock the selector switch all the time.

As far as I can see, it's just a matter of getting used to it.
 

runstendt

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The only issue along these lines that I ever really had was the location of the pickup switch on my Gretsch Pro-Jet. It's similar to where it is on a Les Paul, and one night while doing my best Pete Townshend impression I impaled my hand on the switch midway through the opening song of the night. Then again, it certainly was not the guitar's fault that I gloriously messed up a windmill chord.
 

SixStringSlinger

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The only issue along these lines that I ever really had was the location of the pickup switch on my Gretsch Pro-Jet. It's similar to where it is on a Les Paul, and one night while doing my best Pete Townshend impression I impaled my hand on the switch midway through the opening song of the night. Then again, it certainly was not the guitar's fault that I gloriously messed up a windmill chord.

Did you at least bleed on the guitar? Was the guitar white? Please tell me it was white.
 

pinchegil

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I never adjust the tone while playing a song I just use volume, why not a broadcaster with no controls, with volume and eq pedals, of course I play in duet or trios so there isn't a whole lot of work to blend into the mix
 

Chicago Matt

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For me,
The stratocaster is the best design. I've been playing one for over 40 years and the knobs never get in the way. I don't feel my style is cramped in the least. And I love having an amp cranked to the sweet spot and adjusting gain and distortion with the Strat's volume knob. And I can hit it quick with my pinky. I love many guitars. It's what you get used to. Different strokes, right?
 

Boreas

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It really isn't solely the position of the knobs. Much of the comfort you mention is likely due to your preference for strings being higher off of the top of the guitar. If you take a Fender, insert a significant neck shim, and use a tall T-O-M style bridge, you may find the comfort you desire. The plane of the strings basically is raised above most of the knobs and switches. But be prepared to rethink how your pickups are mounted. Gibson pickup rings are not only there just for looks.

I like to fingerpick my electrics. I would rather use a Gibson than a Fender for fingerpicking because of that higher string plane. I prefer the Gibsons for flatpicking as well. I prefer the Fenders for strumming. But I can still use both. Luckily, many of us can afford both brands and designs.
 

Dan German

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Strat three knob doesn’t work for me, either. Obviously, it works for a lot of people, but I’m not one of them. To be honest, the Tele controls aren’t perfect for me, either. I bend the selector switch away from me (and use a Strat tip) so that I don’t knock it. I tried reverse control plate, but that puts the knobs in the way of my flailing hand. The knobs (two) on my Danelectro are down and away, and there’s no pickup switch, so that’s fine. Interestingly, my favourite layout lately is my IYV Mustang-ish. The knobs are out of the way, and the Mustang-style pickup switches above the low E (on-off on this guitar) are much easier to work than I expected, and I’ve become a fan.
 

billy logan

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On a T-type solid-body the knobs could beneficially re-locate their sorry asses to ergonomically-angled* craters away from strumming danger. The pickup selector too. I'm picturing craters on the corner between the top and the side.

More distance, admittedly, but more ergonomic. Forearms and hands move in arcs. [edit to capitalize for emphasis>] IF YOU ARE HUMAN

I leave that first volume knob position empty on my Strat. I try for extreme tone contrast by picking at the octave for round sounds, then right at the bridge for trebly. (also pick shoulder vs. pick point; pick at angle to string vs. pick flat to string)

*instead of your hand conforming to the status quo 90-degree angle of the knobs, the re-located knobs could be at an angle pointing more at the floor.

VOLUME SWELLS :( would be out, though. Maybe create a textured, low-profile volume knob and locate it "just so" for the pinkie crescendos. Or volume pedal.

edit - While I'm at it, how about some blankety-blank differentiation between the volume and tone knobs? Visual, location, tactile. Hunh? Like, it would be groovy if there was more differentiation between the actuation process on a Taser and the actuator on a pistol.
 
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nojazzhere

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EDIT: This post is in the wrong forum. That's my bad. I meant to publish it elsewhere and am frankly unsure how I accidentally posted it here. I'd delete or move it, but I don't know how. Mods, feel free to do your thing.

I've got a guitar-related pet peeve that I suspect is pretty uncommon, but I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I absolutely cannot stand it when I play an electric guitar where the knobs or the switch is in the way of my strumming/picking hand. So for me...

Stratocaster = absolute worst guitar for strumming comfort
Gibson anything = absolute best guitar for strumming comfort

With Strats, the volume knob and the switch positions make it impossible for me to play normally. I have to contort my hand in all sorts of weird and uncomfortable ways just to play the simplest things. It's the main reason I've given up on Strats.

Gibson does it right. All the knobs and switches are out of the way like they should be. Thank you, Gibson, for giving my strumming hand the respect it so deserves! Now just fix your weak headstock joints and build guitars that actually stay in tune. But I digress...

Teles don't have the most ideal control layout for me (I hit the switch when it's in the neck position), but I can live with it.

Sad example: I recently played a Reverend Sensei 290. It's probably the best sounding out-of-the-box P-90 guitar I've ever played. Comfortable neck, too. But the volume knob is right under where my picking hand goes. Seriously? What the hell?!?! I wanted to love this guitar, but nah. Can't deal with the discomfort in my right hand.

I mean, I know some people like to do volume swells with their pinkies. Ok. To me, it's just totally not worth it to hit the volume knob with my hand all the time or modify my technique such that playing the guitar becomes annoyingly uncomfortable.

Does anyone else care about this as much as I do, or am I the weirdo here?
I agree on the Stratocaster knob problem. In fact, when I played Strats regularly, I always removed the "upper" (close to bridge) knob and pot, wired the two remaining knobs as master volume/master tone to all three p/ups, and solved two issues with one "blow". As someone else mentioned, I also bent the p/up selector switch slightly downward.
I find the Telecaster layout to be almost perfect as it is. You must be a "wild" strummer!!!! ;)
 

memorex

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I reverse the control plates on my Teles because I like to do pinky swells and wahs. It puts the controls right where they need to be, but it also puts them in the easiest place to accidentally hit the volume pot while picking. You get used to reaching down and checking it often, it's no big deal.
 

Boreas

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On a T-type solid-body the knobs could beneficially re-locate their sorry asses to ergonomically-angled* craters away from strumming danger. The pickup selector too. I'm picturing craters on the corner between the top and the side.

More distance, admittedly, but more ergonomic. Forearms and hands move in arcs. If you're human.

I leave that first volume knob position empty on my Strat. I try for extreme tone contrast by picking at the octave for round sounds, then right at the bridge for trebly. (also pick shoulder vs. pick point; pick at angle to string vs. pick flat to string)

*instead of your hand conforming to the status quo 90-degree angle of the knobs, the re-located knobs could be at an angle pointing more at the floor.

VOLUME SWELLS :( would be out, though. Maybe create a textured, low-profile volume knob and locate it "just so" for the pinkie crescendos. Or volume pedal.

edit - While I'm at it, how about some blankety-blank differentiation between the volume and tone knobs? Visual, location, tactile. Hunh? Like, it would be groovy if there was more differentiation between the actuation process on a Taser and the actuator on a pistol.

Keep in mind, you are the MASTER of your knob selection!! I put on whatever works best for me.
 

Boreas

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Another factor here is the torque of the pots. Some people love lo-torque pots, but if a fly lands on them, they now control your tone! I prefer stiffer pots because to me, they feel like they are higher quality (subjective) and more resistant to errant touches (objective), flies, and thrown beer bottles..
 

tanplastic

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There are many things I could (and should!) improve about my playing. My right hand technique is fine, however :).
"I have to contort my hand in all sorts of weird and uncomfortable ways just to play the simplest things."
Sounds like you are experiencing something that can be fixed with effort rather than a crippling design flaw of the instrument.
May I ask how long you have been playing?
 

billy logan

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Buddy Guy, playing at Le Coq d'Or in Toronto in '71, knocked the pickup selector switch out of the desired position a few times. I guess he should have been home, feeling bad about his right-hand technique, instead of performing.
 




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