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Unread 03-03-2014, 02:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Capacitors

I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale. Was interested in pickup selection opinions when I found the endless debate on caps.

Congrats, you guys are putting all the "guitar capacitor" manufacturer's kids, and their grandchildren through college. Come on, $50 each for bumblebee or vintage PIO's? Besides the fact that Gibson's bumblebees are really cheap caps inside a vintage looking shell, there are other issues to address. Now, before I don my flame suit, let me explain from an electrical engineer's point of view.

All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc. Measuring this value directly is tricky because you need to know the charge it is carrying. This is not easily done outside of a lab environment. Even though caps come in values (.015, .047, ect), all that means is that the cap's actual value is within a certain percentage of its advertised value, which is called a tolerance. This is similar to resistors, which have a separate color band just to designate the different tolerance percentages. For example, a .020uF cap with a tolerance of 10% would pass quality control with values from .018-.022uF. Basically, 5 different .020uF caps can have 5 different actual values, which affects their tone very slightly. All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.

Applying that concept to the real world: Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.

Now, if having vintage caps makes you feel you guitar sounds better, which results in better playing, then ignore this whole post.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 03:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Ah ha... snake oil or smoke and mirrors you say..? Somewhat similar to pickups there then...

Placebo has a lot to do with it. Sure, there may well be some subtle tonality change between components, but as you suggest, if changing them out makes people 'feel' that their guitar is now way better, which in turn means that they play more and even enjoy it more, then rock on
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale. Was interested in pickup selection opinions when I found the endless debate on caps.

Congrats, you guys are putting all the "guitar capacitor" manufacturer's kids, and their grandchildren through college. Come on, $50 each for bumblebee or vintage PIO's? Besides the fact that Gibson's bumblebees are really cheap caps inside a vintage looking shell, there are other issues to address. Now, before I don my flame suit, let me explain from an electrical engineer's point of view.

All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc. Measuring this value directly is tricky because you need to know the charge it is carrying. This is not easily done outside of a lab environment. Even though caps come in values (.015, .047, ect), all that means is that the cap's actual value is within a certain percentage of its advertised value, which is called a tolerance. This is similar to resistors, which have a separate color band just to designate the different tolerance percentages. For example, a .020uF cap with a tolerance of 10% would pass quality control with values from .018-.022uF. Basically, 5 different .020uF caps can have 5 different actual values, which affects their tone very slightly. All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.

Applying that concept to the real world: Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.

Now, if having vintage caps makes you feel you guitar sounds better, which results in better playing, then ignore this whole post.
Thank you for your incite. You seem to assume that the entire community of MLP are retards. I myself am an electronics engineer. You are right in your factual analysis of the capacitor and testing of them.

I have upgraded the electronics in one of my LP's and will be doing the same to the rest of my guitars. Ok ok I'll not be buying bumble bee's because I can not justify the cost but I will be using Orange drop's again and again. Yes I can get cheap Chinese caps that will do the job but we all know that they won't last as long as a more reputable brand. I built myself a Marshall 18W TMB clone amplifier (not from a kit, all parts individually sourced) and all my caps came from china. I did this to cut the initial cost of producing my one off amplifier, safely in the knowledge that the quality of said caps are sub standard and will be replaced in the future when finance dictates.

My point is this. If someone feels the need to rewire their guitar to 50's standard wiring, they may also have the desire to use capacitors that look similar to those used historically in the original guitars that the modern instruments are modeled on. And that said If someone wants to spend $50 on a bumble bee looking capacitor then that is their prerogative. Please don't come and judge people for their preferences regardless of whether they deviate from your logic as an electrical engineer.

Next topic for your thought, Can you tell the difference between the sound generated by a Valve amp and a Transistor amp? I can't but that's not to say that I am an expert in the sounds of amplifiers. Never the less I have both because that is what I choose to do.

Cheers G.

Edit: At the end of the day, blue smoke is blue smoke and once you let it out, you're Fudged regardless of the cost of the capacitor.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Only an idiot would insult a significant proportion of the the members here by calling them idiots in their first forum post.

As for caps, for me the jury is still out.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

What the hell kind of a first post is this? Welcome to MLP from one of the "Vintage Idiots"!
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Hi newbie, this thread belongs in the Tonefreaks forum. Plenty of cap butthurt in there.

This is the Epiphone Les Paul forum.

The above said: You're wrong in almost everything you said. If you cant hear it the. i pity you.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

OP has all of the tact of a Sherman tank.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Welcome to MLP. Here's your hat, what's your hurry?
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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

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Unread 03-03-2014, 04:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.
I'm certainly not an EE, but my understanding is that caps are measured at a specific industry standard for voltage and frequency. Which tells me by "common sense" that just because 5 different types of caps measure within 10% of .022uF at 1k/1vrms, how they act at vastly different freqs/voltages are likely to be vastly different.

And my experience tells me that just because things match within a single given measurement, it hardly means they will sound the same. You can easily build a $50 CD player with the same freq response as a (for ex) $500 Oppo, but just because this measurement matches (say, 20-20k +/-0.2db), it absolutely does not mean the 2 units will sound the same.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 05:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

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Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
...All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance...
Welcome to MLP.

Bazinga. This should be fun.
Great way to greet the room.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 08:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Successfully learned how to use my ignore list today.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 09:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc...

All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.
What a douche.

I've posted it before I'm sure I'll post it again.

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Read and learn grasshopper. I will say if you can't hear the difference, then save your money and use the stock caps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale.
Do us all a favor and go back to lurking in the background.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 11:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

My father had a name for engineers who thought they knew everything. "Educated Idiot"
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Unread 03-03-2014, 11:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors




HEY,
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Unread 03-04-2014, 12:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

You sir, are not just an internet troll, you are KING of the internet trolls
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Unread 03-04-2014, 01:08 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

this whole thread is too funny...

how to piss people off and NOT become part of a community

Maybe if we all play them unplugged then who'll care about caps
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Unread 03-04-2014, 10:34 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale. Was interested in pickup selection opinions when I found the endless debate on caps.

Congrats, you guys are putting all the "guitar capacitor" manufacturer's kids, and their grandchildren through college. Come on, $50 each for bumblebee or vintage PIO's? Besides the fact that Gibson's bumblebees are really cheap caps inside a vintage looking shell, there are other issues to address. Now, before I don my flame suit, let me explain from an electrical engineer's point of view.

All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc. Measuring this value directly is tricky because you need to know the charge it is carrying. This is not easily done outside of a lab environment. Even though caps come in values (.015, .047, ect), all that means is that the cap's actual value is within a certain percentage of its advertised value, which is called a tolerance. This is similar to resistors, which have a separate color band just to designate the different tolerance percentages. For example, a .020uF cap with a tolerance of 10% would pass quality control with values from .018-.022uF. Basically, 5 different .020uF caps can have 5 different actual values, which affects their tone very slightly. All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.

Applying that concept to the real world: Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.

Now, if having vintage caps makes you feel you guitar sounds better, which results in better playing, then ignore this whole post.
OMG thank you for solving this one and for all!!!! You are a true hero. I only wish this had been discussed earlier as I have outlay $8 on caps.

I will pass this to Rebecca Dirks so she can include it in her next Tone Report.

In all seriousness welcome to the forum.

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Unread 03-04-2014, 10:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale. Was interested in pickup selection opinions when I found the endless debate on caps.

Congrats, you guys are putting all the "guitar capacitor" manufacturer's kids, and their grandchildren through college. Come on, $50 each for bumblebee or vintage PIO's? Besides the fact that Gibson's bumblebees are really cheap caps inside a vintage looking shell, there are other issues to address. Now, before I don my flame suit, let me explain from an electrical engineer's point of view.

All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc. Measuring this value directly is tricky because you need to know the charge it is carrying. This is not easily done outside of a lab environment. Even though caps come in values (.015, .047, ect), all that means is that the cap's actual value is within a certain percentage of its advertised value, which is called a tolerance. This is similar to resistors, which have a separate color band just to designate the different tolerance percentages. For example, a .020uF cap with a tolerance of 10% would pass quality control with values from .018-.022uF. Basically, 5 different .020uF caps can have 5 different actual values, which affects their tone very slightly. All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.

Applying that concept to the real world: Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.

Now, if having vintage caps makes you feel you guitar sounds better, which results in better playing, then ignore this whole post.
Another capacitor expert... You should have stayed "lurking in the background"...

You must have a lot of capacitor experience with your garage sale Epi.

Lol.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 01:55 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Not to pour too much scorn on the OP, but why didn't you take this conversation to one of the endless debates on CAP's that you talk about
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Unread 03-05-2014, 03:22 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschuster View Post
I've been lurking this forum in the background when I was deciding what to do with my Epi Les Paul Std I picked up for real cheap at a garage sale. Was interested in pickup selection opinions when I found the endless debate on caps.

Congrats, you guys are putting all the "guitar capacitor" manufacturer's kids, and their grandchildren through college. Come on, $50 each for bumblebee or vintage PIO's? Besides the fact that Gibson's bumblebees are really cheap caps inside a vintage looking shell, there are other issues to address. Now, before I don my flame suit, let me explain from an electrical engineer's point of view.

All that matters in a capacitor is its actual capacitance value - not its construction, voltage rating, size, age, etc. Measuring this value directly is tricky because you need to know the charge it is carrying. This is not easily done outside of a lab environment. Even though caps come in values (.015, .047, ect), all that means is that the cap's actual value is within a certain percentage of its advertised value, which is called a tolerance. This is similar to resistors, which have a separate color band just to designate the different tolerance percentages. For example, a .020uF cap with a tolerance of 10% would pass quality control with values from .018-.022uF. Basically, 5 different .020uF caps can have 5 different actual values, which affects their tone very slightly. All you idiots who claim you can tell vintage from cheap radioshack caps are only hearing the subtle differences in actual capacitance.

Applying that concept to the real world: Caps are in guitar circuits to filter out undesired frequencies. So lets take 100 different caps, and measure the values of all of them in a lab environment. 4 out of the 100, even though they are made of different materials, have the exact same value. If you were to install each of them into the same guitar and hook up the output jack to an oscilloscope, the waveforms produced would be identical, because the frequencies being sent to the jack are identical.

Now, if having vintage caps makes you feel you guitar sounds better, which results in better playing, then ignore this whole post.
Let me explain this from an electrical engineering point of view: You don't know what you're talking about.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 07:30 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Nice trolling attempt - but I'm not buying
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:13 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Someone check blings IP.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:23 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

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Originally Posted by rabidhamster View Post
Let me explain this from an electrical engineering point of view: You don't know what you're talking about.
Because his entire argument is explaining tolerance? (A case of "knowing just enough to be dangerous"?)
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:28 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

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Originally Posted by chasenblues View Post
Yeah that was my first thought too


Although a really douchebag way of presenting the original post, I am waiting with baited breath to see if anyone can refute what he said with anything more tangible/substantive than "you suck" or "well I changed caps and I think I can hear a difference"
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

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Originally Posted by Bristol Posse View Post
I am waiting with baited breath to see if anyone can refute what he said with anything more tangible/substantive than "you suck" or "well I changed caps and I think I can hear a difference"
My post didn't count? (Which was to point out that a single, very specific specification is a very narrow aspect, and should not be made to represent "the whole story" of how something performs.)
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:57 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bristol Posse View Post
Yeah that was my first thought too


Although a really douchebag way of presenting the original post, I am waiting with baited breath to see if anyone can refute what he said with anything more tangible/substantive than "you suck" or "well I changed caps and I think I can hear a difference"
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Now it is ruined for all of us real cap nuts. I was waiting 6 years to spring that on them! I even wrote a paper on it!
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Unread 03-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

Great vid.

Assuming the OP is serious, he would attribute the obvious differences in sound to differences in tolerance--that the values of any manufactured part are close to its spec, but vary within a few % in either direction. So, we would need some more precise measurements of the actual capacitance rather than the printed values. If what we hear correlates to the actual values, the OP might have a point. If it doesn't, then there's another factor (such as construction) that matters.

For example, the stock Epi sounds darkest and most muffled to me. If its actual capacitance is somewhat higher than the rest then tolerance could account for the darker sound.

To me the Mallory sounds brighter than the rest. If its actual capacitance is somewhat lower than the others, then it could account for the brighter sound.

I'm not saying the OP is right, just that we'd need more data to prove that he's wrong.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 12:17 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitors

The OP was attempting to troll, that's it.
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