Capacitors...What's the Difference?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by alvagoldbook, May 21, 2007.

  1. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    what's the difference between a .022 and a .047 uf capacitor? What kind of capacitor should be used on a single coil? What kind should be used on a humbucker? Can anyone weigh in on this?
     
  2. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    .022 is what most humbucking pickup tone control circuits use because humbuckers aren't as bright as single coils. .047 are used with a lot of single coil circuits because they roll off more high end. As single coil pickups are brighter sounding.
     
  3. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    That sums it up pretty well. It might be worth noting it's the resistive value, not the number of coils, that matter, so you'd use a .022 with a P-90. Maybe a better "rule" is .022 for Gibson, .047 for Fender. It's a rule that's often broken however - some newer Fenders use .022s, and many Gibson players like .015 and lower values for a honkier "woman tone".
     
  4. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    I agree - In fact, I had an overly bright Gibson LP Standard that sounded great with a "Fender cap".
     
  5. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    thanks guys. that clears things up for me. I knew that a different cap had more resistive value then another, but I just figured something with a larger number equaled more resistive value. makes sense to a noob. I've wired my own stuff before, but always simple stuff like pickup replacement. wiring something from scratch will be new territory for me.
     
  6. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

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    The higher the capacitance, the more the highs are attenuated or pulled to ground. I like a 0.022uF for LP Bridge pickups and 0.015uF the LP necks. Just really opens the neck up and keeps it from being too muddy.

    I also find 0.022uF just fine for my SC strats. Keep in mind it's not only the total highs that can be attenuated with the tone control fully rolled back, but at what rate or taper you would like that to happen as to what cap is used. I like a subtle rolloff and the ability to really dial in just the right amount so I stick with 0.022uF; 0.047uf will roll off more highs much quicker.

    Some quality readily available caps:

    -Sprague Orange Drops (715P/716P)
    -Mallory 150's
    -Jensen PIO
    -Hovlands
     
  7. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Bottom line is you really have to hear them in use. The larger value will lop off more of the top end (a wider "portion" of the upper frequencies, if you will) than the smaller value. So for some, a .047 leaves one with too mucky a tone ...useless for me. While a .022 starts attenuating the highs "higher" in the frequency spectrum than the .047 ...just the "higher highs" if you will. This is more useful a tone knob to me since my goal is just to take off the upper bite, but not alter the tone too much. So I'm in the .022 camp for single coils.

    FWIW, I'm also in the .022/bridge and .015/neck camp for my LP again for the reason stated above. So when I start rolling off the tone knobs, I'm only rolling off the "upper shelf" of the highs, resulting in more of the original frequencies coming through and just the "bite" getting cut.

    Oh, and the other thing you also have to account for is that different caps have a different "slope" in which they attenuate. Say one cap starts cutting at a given frequency and continue to cut at, oh, 6db per octave. Another cap of the same value can cut at the same frequency, but will continue to cut at 12db per octave --a steeper slope. You can guess that these two caps will sound/respond different to you as you roll that knob. So again, try them (alligator clips are your friend) and play a while before you a/b (dang, that was verbose ...sorry if I mucked that up :) ).

    Edward
     
  8. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    Sorry, only one pole to a customer! All capacitors produce a -6dB rolloff, no more, no less.
     
  9. Janglin_Jack

    Janglin_Jack Member

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    I have used .022uf in Strats and Teles, I have also used .047 - currently using .047 in my Tele and .022 in my Strat.

    I like .015 for the Neck and .022 Bridge for my LP.

    Jack
     
  10. gkoelling

    gkoelling Supporting Member

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    alva,

    Here's a thread I started a while back that has some info that may help. I had a lot of the same questions.

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=234164

    I still haven't made up my mind.

    Good Luck
     
  11. da-boogieman

    da-boogieman Member

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    :roll Classic!
     
  12. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Is that right, GS?? I had no idea that all caps have a 6db slope!! (that's not what I heard when I talked to a notable vendor who *sold* me his caps!). Is this a "designed in" trait or incidental to the mfg process? I would "think" that one could make (or have made) caps with steeper slopes.

    Edward
     
  13. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    That's right. It's just the nature of the beast, determined by why a capacitor rolls off lower frequencies (the cap runs out of charge before the wave has ended). In fact, two caps in series or parallel still work at 6 dB/oct. Probably OTM can supply the equations. In design, we refer to a filter as having "pole", a 6 dB filter is one pole, a 12dB filter is two, and so on. Filters also introduce phase shift - a one pole filter will exhibit 90% of phase shift.

    Perhaps I can save some experimenters some effort: no combination of caps and resistors will ever do anything but roll off at 6dB/oct. I hate blanket statements like that, but if anyone ever breaks that rule, gimme a call and we'll both get rich! You need the complimentary resonance of a coil or an amplifier to restore the energy and get a steeper slope. Hey, look - we got coils in our guitar! (which is why, if you look at the output of a guitar, you'll see a steeper than -6dB slope on the top end)
     
  14. Axekisser

    Axekisser Supporting Member

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    Great discussion!

    I'm always fiddling with caps in guitars and amps etc. I put an OD .1 in my EJ strat and my G&L ASAT Sig. Sounds great to me in those guitars... more of a "vintage" high-end to my ears. Not overly bright but more balanced. YMMV
     
  15. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Well that's just great, GSnuff ...go ahead and blow away the misinformation I was passing along ...thanks a lot!! ;)

    Well at least I wasn't "peddling" that misinformation, which I fear IS what I got when talking to a vendor. Chalk it up to experience, eh? Thanks for the education, GS!
    :BEER:

    Edward
     
  16. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    You're welcome Edward. I perhaps should mention the first part of your original post was excellent, and raised a good point. FWIW, going from a .047 to a .022, or from a .022 to a .010 (that is, halving the value), moves the frequency you mention up a whole octave. So, there's a fairly big difference between the sound of a .047 and a .022.
     
  17. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    Glass, Interesting. Well let me ask you this. the guitar i'm making is gonna be made out of basswood with a fender neck. Nitro finish. Duncan JB in the bridge and 59 in the neck. I play hard rock. Do you think I should still use a .022? Duncan wiring diagrams keep suggesting a .047.
     
  18. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    I'd use a .015 cap. A .022 with a JB turns down the 12th fret E a bit, and on 0 sounds a bit muffled. A .015 won't the affect the note until about the 17th fret, and sounds more like a muted horn when rolled down all the way.

    A .047 on a JB will mute about half the fretboard - you don't want that. And the lower 1/4 will be too muffled to be useful.

    If things are too bright, you might try 250K pots. Myself, I like the bite of a 500K and just turn the tone down a bit.
     
  19. Jujo

    Jujo Supporting Member

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    This statement is the best part of this thread. I've done just a little bit of wiring and this had not yet occurred to me.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for mentioning testing these (and many other) changes by using alligator clips. I just went "duh...."
     
  20. wheelman

    wheelman Supporting Member

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    I got some .022.200d.c. Sprauge vitamin Q caps I have yet to install. I wonder if they will make any difference over my stock Gibson caps?
     

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