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Tone difference between caps of different values

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,939
What is the audible difference between a .022uf cap and caps of a different value? I recently put a new .022uf Orange Drop cap in my Strat with Kinman noiseless pups, but find it a little bright. Will a different cap help warm it up? (PS: I don't want to change the pickups)
 

Billy Penn

Member
Messages
1,056
Putting a .047 may shave off a little top end and will certainly give you a darker tone as you roll the tone pot down. Try a .047 and .1 to see how they work for you. Experimenting is fun and that's how we all learn.
 
Messages
2,176
I put a cap switch in one of my guitars with an HSH pickup configuration, so I can toggle back and forth between .022mF or .047mF caps, and as is usually the case, the lower value works better with the buckers and the higher value with the brighter noiseless single coil. The .022 works fine with the single coil, but when the .047 is switched in the sound is thicker/rounder and more pleasing to the ear for rhythm work.

Ideally I want a beefier rhythm tone with an ability to kick in the some spank and clarity on solos. A .047 is the better all round choice for single coils unless the guitar is uncharacteristically dark. If .047 is too dark, then you might consider wiring the guitar with no tone control for the middle pickup, and use the first tone control with a .022 cap for the neck pickup, and the second tone control for the bridge with a .047 cap, which is the best of both worlds.
 

GASattack

Member
Messages
423
Putting a .047 may shave off a little top end and will certainly give you a darker tone as you roll the tone pot down. Try a .047 and .1 to see how they work for you. Experimenting is fun and that's how we all learn.
:agree

This is one of those situations where I really like a treble bleed off circuit in a guitar.

When your making it (the guitars tone) darker overall, I like to have the treble bleed off to ensure that it doesnt get TOOO dark when you roll the volume off ...

A bit of playing with a cap and resistor values doing the "duncan' mod can really help out a good bit with the overly warm volume rolled back...

Kevin
__________________
 

EADGBE

Senior Member
Messages
12,338
Will a different cap help warm it up?
Yes. You could install a .033 μF or a .047 μF cap and that should warm up the tone some. Remember some strat's bridge pickup bypass the tone control. If that's the case with your guitar you may need to mod the circuit a little.
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,939
Thanks for all the responses :aok I have a .047μF Orange Drop on order to try.

Just for some more background information: the guitar became too bright (for my liking) after I installed a beefy vintage-modern maple Warmoth/rosewood board neck with SS frets. The skinny one piece maple Fender neck I had on the guitar before sounded fine. Go figure :jo Unfortunately my amp only has one tone control, so ability to tweak at the amp is limited.

Do you mean you're getting too much treble with the tone control turned to "0"?
No, it gradually warms up as the tone control is turned down, but when I set it to where the treble is to my liking, the overall tone has become too soft and the bass has lost some of its snap.

:agree

This is one of those situations where I really like a treble bleed off circuit in a guitar.
When your making it (the guitars tone) darker overall, I like to have the treble bleed off to ensure that it doesnt get TOOO dark when you roll the volume off ...
A bit of playing with a cap and resistor values doing the "duncan' mod can really help out a good bit with the overly warm volume rolled back...
I already have treble bleed installed on the volume pot :)

Yes. You could install a .033 μF or a .047 μF cap and that should warm up the tone some. Remember some strat's bridge pickup bypass the tone control. If that's the case with your guitar you may need to mod the circuit a little.
The bridge pickup is wired to its own tone control, and the bridge and middle pickup to the other.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,967
Fender neck I had on the guitar before sounded fine. Go figure :jo

No, it gradually warms up as the tone control is turned down, but when I set it to where the treble is to my liking, the overall tone has become too soft and the bass has lost some of its snap.
Uh-oh.

I already have treble bleed installed on the volume pot :)
Lose this and check your tone with the vol pot rolled back a bit.
 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
I already have treble bleed installed on the volume pot :)
Lose this and check your tone with the vol pot rolled back a bit.
Good suggestion.

No, it gradually warms up as the tone control is turned down, but when I set it to where the treble is to my liking, the overall tone has become too soft and the bass has lost some of its snap.
You might want to try a .015 cap. You might also want to measure the values of your pots, to be sure they're what they're supposed to be.
 

Hugo Da Rosa

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,389
Please excuse my lack of understanding electronics, but wouldn't a .015 cap make everything brighter and the opposite of other cap recommendations in this thread (0.033, 0.047, etc.)?
This is correct. Rather than going with lower value caps you should be going up.

You mentioned before that when you roll your tone knob down, you shave off some of those highs but your treble gets a little soft and your bass loses some life. I believe the territory that you are beginning to step into now is the type of capacitor you are using. Different types of capacitors (i.e. Electrolytic, Paper-In-Oil, Ceramic, etc.) produce a different sound in different guitars. Although you are going up in cap value with the .047uF orange drop you just got, you may experience some of the same responses as you are now with your .022uF. I would suggest trying out different caps, different values, and different wirings. Fortunately, capacitors are fairly inexpensive (unless you want to try those overpriced bumble bee repros) so it's not a bad investment to make in your search for the right sound.
 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
Please excuse my lack of understanding electronics, but wouldn't a .015 cap make everything brighter and the opposite of other cap recommendations in this thread (0.033, 0.047, etc.)?
Well, you said when you turned the tone control down, you lost too much. Everyone else is suggesting values that will cause you to lose more. That is, the larger values will affect lower frequencies. I think you want to reduce the high highs and leave the midrange alone.

hugodarosa might be right that a different type of cap might get you what you want, but I suspect what bothers you is the sound of the stainless frets. I'm not sure that can be fixed by the changing the cap on the on tone control.
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,939
Well, you said when you turned the tone control down, you lost too much. Everyone else is suggesting values that will cause you to lose more. That is, the larger values will affect lower frequencies. I think you want to reduce the high highs and leave the midrange alone.

hugodarosa might be right that a different type of cap might get you what you want, but I suspect what bothers you is the sound of the stainless frets. I'm not sure that can be fixed by the changing the cap on the on tone control.
I understand the logic. I guess I'll experiment with different cap values and see what effect it has. Other than Sprague Orange Drops what different types could I look for? I've seen Vitamin Q... are they suitable for Strats? Any others I should consider?

I'm pretty sure it is the SS frets that are causing a bright attack as the previous neck on this guitar (with nickel/silver frets) did not have this problem. Unfortunately I can't afford a refret at this time :( I may look into an EQ pedal though, such as the Empress ParaEQ, in combination with whatever cap proves to be the most suitable.
 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
Real Vitamin Q's are very nice, but as pricey as NOS Black Beauties (my favorite). The AllParts Vitamin Q's are decent, and I like them with single coils. For something with more resonant warmth yet clarity, I like the Jensen PIOs.
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,939
I just replaced the .022μF cap in my Strat with a .047μF Orange Drop that arrived in the mail today and low and behold, the brightness is definitely down to a manageable level.

I will probably try a few other caps of the same value now and see if I can reach tonal nirvana :love: Has anyone compared the Jensen copper foil PIO to the Allparts Vitamin Q and/or the (polypropylene and metal foil) RS GuitarCap?
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,939
Update: I put a .047μF Jensen copper foil PIO in my Strat today. Expensive (for a cap) but I heard a lot of good things about it, so decided to give it a shot. It has a noticeably sweeter top end than the Orange Drop with the same value and it has a nice tight bass when pushed. That, and going from .022μF to a .047μF cap really has helped offset the brightness the SS frets had brought to my guitar, while adding more clarity compared to the stock ceramic cap.

Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions and recommendations :aok
 

guille-tgp

Member
Messages
268
Old thread, but it can serve lovers Kinman pickups.
The greater control over tone of Kinman is the height of the pickups.
You should lower the pickups (apart from the strings).
 

jaytea4

Member
Messages
120
+1 for quille-tgp. Pickup hight has a lot more to do with the tone than capacitor flavors and SS frets combined. There are a lot of people making money off of caps ... the difference between a good cap and a bad cap is simply the tolerance. Better caps have tighter tolerance. Capacitors are passive and two different .047uF caps won't sound any different as long as they are of the same value.
 

FreeFrog

Member
Messages
88
the difference between a good cap and a bad cap is simply the tolerance. Better caps have tighter tolerance. Capacitors are passive and two different .047uF caps won't sound any different as long as they are of the same value.
I've thought the same thing during almost 30 years.

Since I've put PIO caps in my Les Paul, I think that I was wrong.

At strictly equalcapacitance, a ceramic and a PIO cap will sound different because various materials imply a different "behaviour" with electricity (the Q factor is not the same and so on).

FWIW and peacefully yours,

FF
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,519
"strictly equal capacitance" as actually measured?

this clip kinda inadvertently debunks that, i'm afraid. the guy demos a bunch of different caps, but it's obvious that his normal human difference in pick attack from one second to the next totally swamps any difference in the caps themselves, even when the tone knob's on "0" (much less "10").

 
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