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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Capacitor Suggestions?

Hi

Im doing some upgrade on my les paul and I wanted your opinions or suggestions.

Im completely new to the whole capacitor thing so anything would be appreciated.

Im soon getting a set of Rio Grande humbuckers and was wondering what cap would work well with these and where I can get them?
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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Try no caps, thats what I do. I take em' out.

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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

There are many opinions and nearly as many threads as opinions on this forum. Search a bit, you'll see what I mean.
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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

I installed a BBQ Humbucker in an MLP member's R8 tonight, and he had the .022 Luxe BumbleBee repros in it...sounded great.

Those are available at RS Guitarworks.

I also installed some WB ********** in his LP Traditional, and we used some .022 PIO Hyrel caps (like Vitamin Qs) from MLP member Jonesy...also sounded great.

Either way you can't lose.

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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Gotta be careful with those Bar-B-Q 'buckers...those things are thick as a brick...

My suggestion is to go with an RS Guitarcap, which is transparent when the Tone control is on '10'...or no cap at all..

Yes, those pickups are that dark....

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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Im confused. If I dont put a cap in, wont the tone knob not work?

What exactly is it that the cap does then?
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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Hey Billy--we A/B'd the guitarcap vs the Luxe.

To our ears, the Guitarcap opened up up the pickup, but seemed to roll off some low end. We put the Luxe back in, and it brought it all back.

With my amp we liked the Luxe, but Jeff needs to run that guitar through the Bogner...that'll be the final call.

Thanks for help with that, btw.

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PS--burned myself TWICE doing those two guitars...managed to drop a small blob of molten solder on the back of my hand, and drew the tip across the top of a finger...self-critiquing, that is...

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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
Im confused. If I dont put a cap in, wont the tone knob not work?

What exactly is it that the cap does then?
No need to be confused. I just don't use tone controls on the guitar, so I disconnect them. Get them out of the signal chain, and out of my way. I want the full power from the pickups to the amp.
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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

That all depends on your style of music and the rig you're using as well, right?

If you're EVH, then sure--no cap or tone control needed...play on 10, open the amps all the way.

Me--I have to cover Jazzy stuff to Drop-D rock...I need the tone controls.


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Unread 01-21-2009, 12:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

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That all depends on your style of music and the rig you're using as well, right?

If you're EVH, then sure--no cap or tone control needed...play on 10, open the amps all the way.

Me--I have to cover Jazzy stuff to Drop-D rock...I need the tone controls.


BB

Yeah, I know many guys use them. I just never do, so a few years ago.... I went through most of my guitars and disconnected the tone pots. I like it simple, direct, and straightforward like that.


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Unread 01-21-2009, 01:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

SO should i go for the .022s?

Also, since im changing the caps, should i replace the pots as well? What will influence the tone more? The pots, caps or everything put togehter? Maybe i should get the pre-wired modern set from RS?

Sorry for being such a noob...
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Unread 01-21-2009, 01:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Hey man--a couple of years ago I was in the same boat.

I got hooked up with Billy on another forum, and ordered a kit--tried installing it myself after he encouraged me. I got a pre-wired vintage kit for my R9. The sound change was dramatic...literally--like a blanket was pulled off the cab. (Side note: I sent my guitar to RS for some work, and Billy gently chided me on my soldering job--the ground just came off in his hands...lol. I've since gotten much better.)

My stock pots had no taper to speak of; they were pretty much on/off switches. The RS stuff kicks butt.

I have their Superpots (for volume) and CTS pots (tone) in 4 of my guitars.

Give them a call, and ask for Billy--he can help you out.

There are several vendors that sell this stuff; I got started with RS, and have used their parts pretty much exclusively...I like the way they do business. Southern hospitality and common sense. They also don't talk down to anybody...great folks out there in Kentucky.

Just my 2 cents.

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Unread 01-21-2009, 01:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

alright man. Thanks, i really appreciate it.

After i finally think ive figured out everything i need to know about guitar setup/maintenance, i find out that the smallest electronic parts of the guitar can dramatically affect the tone!

Well, so continues the search for perfection! (loving it too)
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Unread 01-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b-squared View Post

I like the way they do business. Southern hospitality and common sense. They also don't talk down to anybody...
true
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Unread 01-21-2009, 05:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

i ordered an upgrade kit from them last night. 4 pots, 2 caps and a ground wire.

I have a ground plate in my guitar right now and from doing lots of browsing, it seems beneficial to remove that. I think i will remove that later. Only reason im a little hesitant is because i have no idea how to wire the braided cable to the pickup selector to the guts. any pictures or places i can look it up?
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Unread 01-21-2009, 05:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

There's plenty of wiring diagrams on the forum, it may even be a sticky in this forum.

If you have particular questions, call Billy--that's his job.

BB
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Unread 01-21-2009, 10:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
i ordered an upgrade kit from them last night. 4 pots, 2 caps and a ground wire.

I have a ground plate in my guitar right now and from doing lots of browsing, it seems beneficial to remove that. I think i will remove that later. Only reason im a little hesitant is because i have no idea how to wire the braided cable to the pickup selector to the guts. any pictures or places i can look it up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b-squared View Post
There's plenty of wiring diagrams on the forum, it may even be a sticky in this forum.

If you have particular questions, call Billy--that's his job.

BB

I've always been a huge proponent of pitching the metal plate in Les Pauls---they didn't need them in 1952-1960, so.... ...not to mention that they make the guitar muddy-sounding. My best example is a friend down in Florida was having trouble getting his LP to sound good, and I suggested that he remove the plate first. He did (and didn't change out the pots or caps), and he was amazed at the difference. There are examples with some members here on the MLP Forum. Others claim 'BS', but I stand by my claims.




I've wired up entire guitars (from the 3-way switch all the way to the individual pots to the pickups) over the phone. If it will help you, I make pre-wired 3-way switches---> >>Pre-Wired 3-Way Switch<<

If not, there are ways to utilize the existing 3-way switch harness that exists in your guitar---you just have to be a little creative with wire & solder...

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Unread 01-22-2009, 01:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

That's what I'm going to do...

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Unread 01-22-2009, 12:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

So were just replacing the colored wires with the braided cable. So you have to make sure you make sure the wires go to the right place in the pot cavity right? I should be able to do it if i replace each colored wire one at at time without mixing things up.

After that, i need a ground wire between the pots because Im getting rid of the ground plate.

sounds right?
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Unread 01-22-2009, 01:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

I'm getting rid of mine....
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Unread 01-22-2009, 01:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
So were just replacing the colored wires with the braided cable. So you have to make sure you make sure the wires go to the right place in the pot cavity right? I should be able to do it if i replace each colored wire one at at time without mixing things up.

After that, i need a ground wire between the pots because Im getting rid of the ground plate.

sounds right?
If you plan on getting rid of the plate, and plan on keeping the switch with the multi-colored wires, here's what you need to do:

  1. Extend/lengthen the black wire from the switch so it reaches the '+' of the jack.
  2. Run a new ground from the jack's '-' tab to the back of a convenient pot.
  3. Ground the green & bare wires to the back of the nearest convenient pot.
  4. White wire goes to the Neck Volume.
  5. Red wire goes to the Bridge Volume.

You need a ground wire regardless of the plate; if you buy an RS pre-wired kit, the ground wire will already installed. If you buy the RS DIY-kit, there is enough wire supplied to do the grounds on the back of the pots.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 02:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Capacitor Suggestions?

The Rio BBQ humbuckers can sound dark, but there's a couple of fixes that should work.

First, check the pots to make sure that they read at least 500k. With some guitars the BBQ's won't sound good unless they're matched with 1 meg pots. Secondly, and/or try .010mf or 015mf caps.

I've got an Agile 2800 DLX LP copy with a heavy mahogany body (10lb.), a maple neck, and a thin 1/16" flame maple top on the body. It's definitely a dark sounding guitar. I had a couple of different sets of humbuckers in it with the stock wiring and didn't like the tone at all. I re-wired it with CTS pots that all read in the 527k + range and installed a Rio BBQ/Genuine Texas combination in it (which had sounded too dark in that last guitar I had them in). I used a .022mf cap for the bridge and a .015mf for the neck, both Mallory 150's. The Rio's sound great now. They're edgy, punchy, thick, and rockin' and with a slight roll off on the guitars volume, then clean up surprisingly well. No muddiness, no overly bassy or boomy tone. I'm not going to compare them to a set of sweet sounding PAF-like pickups, but they're definitely suitable for Southern Rock/ZZ Top type stuff.

Mallory 150's or Sprague Orange Drop 715P's would make good caps in the reasonable price range (they're actually quite cheap). If you don't mind spending the money, Hoviland Music Caps are nice transparent sounding caps, and if you want to go a little more vintage, Vitamin Q's, Bumble Bees, or Black Beauties in PIO caps. If you want to try some more reasonably priced paper in oil caps, you could try some of the Russian Mil. surplus PIO's that can be found on E-bay.

Advice from others is a good starting point and can shorten your search, but as each guitar/situation is different, there's no substitute for experimentation. I think most modders here can attest to the "trial and error" method of finding the right tone...and that's half the fun, isn't it?
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