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Clean Those Noisy Amp & Guitar Pots & Switches

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I've been putting off cleaning the pots in my '66 Blackface Vibrolux. Finally, I broke down and pulled the chassis and got to it.

If your pots are getting noisy & it doesn't help to spin em' back and forth real fast anymore, here's some tips:

First of all, get yourself some electrical cleaner & lube spray. It's gotta have lube too or your controls can seize up and/or wear excessively . There's lots of products out there, and many are really expensive (especially from the music gear places), however just about any electrical contact cleaner AND LUBE will last you forever as it only takes a little bit.

I keep emphasizing "AND LUBE" because electronic contact cleaners without lube, AKA "non-residue", also exist and are intended for non-moving parts & contact surfaces.

Alright, so whether you're pulling an old combo chassis or trying to access the pot ports in a head, first, ya gotta unplug everything. Next, even after unplugging BE VERY CAREFUL when handling the chassis, that you don't touch any bare wires, terminals or component leads in the guts area. Those electrolytic caps, that look like little cans or kinda like batteries, will hold a charge for a long time and can discharge into your finger. I once got zapped and later discovered a black hole in the end of my finger big enough to stick the car key in. Trippy!

Stand the chassis on one end, NEVER letting go of the top end, and spray a quick, tiny shot into the port of each pot, located near its hook-up terminals. After each shot, rotate the pot back and forth at least a dozen times. The spray stuff should foam a bit when you spray it in and show you that it's throughout the pot-- it doesn't take much. Also, be sure to insert the little tube into the spray nozzle-- you ain't polishing the furniture here! If your switches don't have a port in the main switch body, spray a little into the front at the base of the toggle, slider or whatever kinda switch it is.

Put everything back together and plug everything back in, i.e. reverb tank, speaker wire, power cord, etc. If you had to pull any tubes to access anything, remember to reinstall them exactly into the socket they were in.

Your amp will love you, and the crackly noises will be gone for a long time, depending upon where you live and how humid & smokey your amp's environment typically is.

Guitar pots and switches are cleaned the same way, and you don't have to worry about getting bitten by a capacitor in your guitar. They have tiny disk capacitors, but not the electrolytic cylindrical kind which store juice... and lots of it.


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