Classic Strat Volume placement (hate it)

In every Strat type guitar I have, the Volume dial is always in the way of my picking hand. I understand this can be useful for volume swells… But that’s it…

I hate it with a passion, just like the button on my mouse that takes me back a page, how annoying!
Why is it so close?


I have the same problem, I always bump it while playing. I’ve always just modded for a master volume and master tone with the lower 2 holes. You can just cover the hole or if it bothers you buy/cut a custom guard! It’s an essestial strat mod for me haha


I know what you mean! I think I have learned to lift my pinky a little bit when I get in that area:

(sorry for the potatovision)

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Not a problem to me. I’ve never accidentally hit it or dialed it up/down while playing. It’s a common complaint for some people, though. I must depend a lot on your strumming motion.

Probably modding your Strat is an alternative. I’d probably seek Strat alternatives with other manufactuers (Ibanez AZ series, for instance) who have “corrected” that problem.

It’s a personal thing, I don’t think it’s a problem, it’s a feature.

I so agree lol. Perfect spot is in between the standard Vol and next tone imo.

I’m so glad that this is A Thing for a lot of ‘real’ players because it has driven me MAD since I first started learning.

I like the idea of removing it and just doing universal volume and tone pots with a custom pick guard.

Its probably the number 1 reason on why I don’t own a strat.

I’m a looong-time strat player and learned almost immediately to fan my fingers out to avoid the volume knob. When I dove into CtC techniques that right-hand posture no longer worked for me, so I had to find another way. My solution is to place a small o-ring under the volume knob which stiffens its motion enough to tolerate the finger bumps. I’ve never used it for volume swells (I prefer a vol pedal) so this doesn’t cause any other playing issues for me.


That’s a brilliant, non-invasive solution!


I had the same issue and I ended up removing the plastic dial.
Now there’s just the small metallic knob - the chances of hitting that are lower. I did hit it a couple of times at first, and it hurt like hell so my pinky learned to avoid it for good :smile: Negative reinforcement hah

Doing some googling inspired by @Grrrtarist’s comment, it appears other popular solutions are felt or layers of tape under the knob.

In all fairness, I stole the o-ring idea from Paul Gilbert, who said in an interview that he used this trick to avoid changing his stomp box settings when he pressed the foot switch. I prefer multi-fx units to pedals, but it still works on the knob-bump problem wherever the knob may be. I do this on all my guitars now.


@rileyjohn93 I’d like to do this exact same mod on my strat…but I’ve never done any of this type of adjustment on any of my guitars (I’m woefully ignorant about repairs and mods and such - I’ve never even replaced a pickup.) It seems like it shouldn’t be too complicated. Do you know of a good guide posted anywhere? I’m also cool with leaving the ‘middle’ knob as the tone knob, and having the outer one be the volume…I think.

The video below doesn’t deal with this specific mod, but it has very good general info about soldering (presented in the context of guitar wiring). If you haven’t soldered any wiring before, check this out as your first step:

Edit: Another good one. This guy’s approach of heating the components a longer time without such a high heat is more in line with how I was taught, but the video above makes good points about heating with higher heat for a shorter time. Video below also gets into how to remove solder:

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Terrific, thank you!

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I think I want to copy this idea - do you remember the dimensions of the o-ring that you are using? might as well ask and not reivent the wheel :slight_smile:


There is some wiggle room on this. As long as the o-ring is large enough to fit over the pot shaft and smaller than the knob diameter, you can probably make it work. The desired resistance is controlled by how tightly the knob is pressed down on the shaft, contacting and compressing the ring against the pick guard. Strat knobs have a raised edge on the bottom that contains a larger ring well.
I found that adding a thin film of oil or lithium grease to the ring first can give smoother action and a wider range of usable pressure when adding the knob. Otherwise it can be tricky to get the right amount of knob pressure on the ring for the desired resistance.


Just found this (weird!) video of YJM. What was that about?

Anyway, at around 0:58 he starts an ascending run and you can clearly see how he moved his right hand pinky out of the way of the volume knob

Note: the video owner does not allow embeds


I picked up the stratocaster I learned how to play on years ago and discovered that as I move up the strings using USX my fingers bump into the volume knob and pickup switch. I am 100% certain that this is the reason I taught myself to play with a DSX motion because it lets my heavily pronate my arm so that I my fingers go over rather than into the volume knob. Does anyone else find their guitar technique dictated by the shape or style of guitar they use?

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@Leftycat I decided to move your post here as there is a fairly extensive discussion on the volume knob issue - hope this will be helpful/ interesting!

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