Who actually likes/prefers Speed Knobs over Top Hats?

yamariv

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
1,747
Reaction score
1,164
Personally I don't understand the speed knob thing on my Les Paul Standard and Signature T....I never knew any better until I got my Junior which has the black top hats on it. The Junior forces you to play around with your volume and tone (for obvious reasons) so I really found the top hat hooked nicely around my pinky and was super easy to adjust while playing....

So now jump back to my full LP's and those "speed" knobs seem gigantic to me and just plain in the way....My pinky just doesn't feel comfortable at all adjusting the big knobs on the fly.

Fast forward a week and I ordered set of gold top hats for both my Standard and T. I installed them on my Standard yesterday with some nice nickel pointers and absolutely love the feel! Also, I just find the top hats look so much nicer, less bulky sleek and vintage looking. Can't believe I waited this long to change them out!:dude:
 

AlanH

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
663
Reaction score
602
I'm the opposite. I don't really use my volume and tone controls "in play" on my two Gibsons without speed knobs. I should probably swap them...
 

Veeing Fly

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
915
Reaction score
852
I do! Reflectors come in second, and top hats come third. Hey, you asked!
 

Birdseyeview

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
581
Reaction score
249
Ditto, I cannot stand the look or feel of Speed Knobs. They simply lack in appearance, and do not enhance my ability to make easy adjustments mid song.

Reflector, vintage style top hats, then speed knobs, in that order (for me).
 

yamariv

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
1,747
Reaction score
1,164
I do! Reflectors come in second, and top hats come third. Hey, you asked!

Lol, yes I did ask!

What do you Speed knob lovers like about them? Do you find they are easier to use if so why? Or do you just like the looks?
 

Fritz

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2015
Messages
5,205
Reaction score
5,895
I think I tend to prefer whichever I'm used to at the time. I like both depending on the Gibson model I'm using. But in every case with a Gibson I use knob pointers, and I will install them if they don't come with the guitar.

I can't even imagine a Fender Stratocaster having speed knobs. That's just wrong.
 

AlanH

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
663
Reaction score
602
Lol, yes I did ask!

What do you Speed knob lovers like about them? Do you find they are easier to use if so why? Or do you just like the looks?

For me it's because I don't have to look down, grab with an index finger and thumb and then struggle to turn them. They just seem to be freer in movement and they have a grippy edge. Top hats and reflectors seem to slow me down so I don't tend to use them "in play". Maybe that's why speed knobs are called speed knobs but I accept that the other types are more attractive.

I don't like the look of them on an SG though so I might try witch hats which, while smaller, look to have a lot of grip and they look nice on an SG. The black top hats on my SG have a slippy surface.
 

Burst Boy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
657
Reaction score
397
I don't have a problem with either and don't think much about it. When I need to adjust I turn knobs. I tend not to use my pinky so maybe this is why both types aren't much different to me. I do a lot of 'on the fly' adjusting with my LPs so have just adapted, plain and simple.
 

HeartString

>>>RSIYH<<<
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
11,419
Reaction score
35,457
for functionality - speed knobs for show-reflectors for sure
 

Bobby Mahogany

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
31,034
Reaction score
53,369
For me it's Bell Knobs for 50's look and Reflectors for 60's looks!
Pointers are both nice looking and helping in the volume/tone adjustment.

I don't like speed knobs (which I removed form my '92) neither for looks or usability.
Over all, the "Tractor wheels speed knobs" are the ugliest!
:thumb:

I know Bell Knobs, Reflectors, Speed Knobs, Which Hats Knobs.
I will humbly admit I don't get the "Top hats" appellation vs "Reflectors".
Aren't Top Hats Reflectors?
:dunno:
 

GitFiddle

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Messages
11,164
Reaction score
14,164
For functionality and ease of use when gigging, speed knobs are the best for me. Since switching from 20 years of Strats and SS amps, to LPs and vintage tube amps, I ride my volumes and tones all the time.

The smooth curve on the small top hats just has no traction. If my hands are dry I can't tell if a top hat even turns or not. The speed knobs are much easier to turn without looking. The bigger circumference provides more leverage too.

For looks, the top hats win out over speed knobs. That's why I compromise and put reflectors on most of my LPs. They look good and have a bit more traction than top hats. I read somewhere that some pro player, may have been someone like Dimebag, would heat up a paper clip and melt little grooves into the sides of a top hat, to give it more traction.
 

RichBrew

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
5,022
Reaction score
7,661
I had the neck pickup volume knob on a Les Paul disintegrate whilst playing live (it was cracked beforehand), and thus would have been grateful for anything from then on. My point is, I just don't care what the things look like as anything is better than nothing.

RichBrew
 

Donal

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
13,437
Reaction score
12,710
Top Hats (with pointers) just look so sexy on most LPs.

s2GNGBX.jpg


I have one single exception where I did not swap them out. :naughty:

WbPqMDk.jpg
 

Bend'n'Slide

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Messages
857
Reaction score
1,785
I claim no great expertise as I've not had my Les Paul all that long but I took the good speedknobs off my Trad earlier in the year to fit nickel pointers and amber top hats, only to discover that I actually didn't like the top hats all that much...!

Aesthetically, I really liked the classic 'Burst look of the pointers and top hats on a Light Burst trad but I found that I'd already developed a technique of rolling the knobs with the side of my right hand held straight and just simple vertical up or down movement of my whole hand and I just couldn't make it work with the top hats — so I ended up changing them back! (but kept the pointers on).

I might try again with the more vintage-type top hats that don't sit so low on the pot shafts. If the whole knob sits further off the top of the guitar then I might be more likely to achieve the same technique using the edge of the base of the knobs. We'll see...

And all of this from a long-time Strat player and those Fender knobs ain't so different to top hats!
 

nadzab

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
280
Reaction score
165
Top hats for looks, speed knobs for ease of use. I will say that speed knobs were the rage when I started playing in the '80s, so I have a soft spot for them even though they're not as attractive as other styles.
 

sdny

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
113
Reaction score
75
I like speed knobs, especially the notched ones.
 

Thunder Dump

That tickles
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
5,294
Reaction score
8,686
For looks: Reflectors > Top Hats > Speed Knobs
For function: Speed Knobs > Reflectors > Top Hats
 

C_Becker

Dat Gibson smell
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
2,133
Reaction score
2,212
I do. Speed knobs look best to me and are good to use. So win/win for me.
 

TheX

#pronounless
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
42,370
Reaction score
100,908
I like and have both. Mine is not a binary world...things can land in the middle.
 

Latest Threads



Top