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Unread 05-06-2008, 03:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The capacitor thread.

OK there are a tonne of questions about capacitors mostly about Bumblebee reproductions and sprauge Vitamin Q's but not allot bout capacitor values and voltages so put all you know about capacitors including Bumblebee, Blackbeauty, Vit Q, capacitor value, capacitor voltage ect. and all the effects they have on an instruments sound and quality.

heres some stuff i found which should be of some help for the new people thinking about experimenting with capacitors.

Most guitars and basses with passive pickups use between .01 and .1MFD (Microfarad) tone capacitors with .02 (or .022) and .05 (or .047) being the most common choices. The capacitor and tone pot are wired together to provide a variable low pass filter. This means when the filter is engaged (tone pot is turned) only the low frequencies pass to the output jack and the high frequencies are grounded out (cut) In this application, the capacitor value determines the "cutoff frequency" of the filter and the position of the tone pot determines how much the highs (everything above the cutoff frequency) will be reduced. So the rule is: Larger capacitors will have lower cutoff frequency and sound darker in the bass setting because a wider range of frequencies is being reduced. Smaller capacitors will have a higher cutoff frequency and sound brighter in the bass setting because only the ultra high frequencies are cut. For this reason, dark sounding guitars like Les Pauls with humbuckers typically use .02MFD (or .022MFD) capacitors to cut off less of the highs and guitars like Strats and Teles with single coils typically use .05MFD capacitors to allow more treble to be rolled off. Keep in mind that the capacitor value only affects the sound when the tone control is being used (pot in the bass setting) The tone capacitor value will have little to no effect on the sound when the tone pot is in the treble setting.
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Unread 05-06-2008, 09:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

voltage doesn't matter in a guitar, except for overall size of the cap - a higher voltage usually means a physically larger cap. Rarely matters in a Les Paul as there is lots of room in the cavity, other guitars may not have room.

The tone many of us chase come mainly (IMO) from Paper in Oil caps (PIO).
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

Quote:
Originally Posted by reswot
A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-06-2008, 03:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Great post!
One thing I would add is that if you have 300k pots the cap can be heard at 10 (even at 500k, but it's much more subtle). If you have a higher value this is even more true.
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Unread 05-06-2008, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

I have been using many of the Bumble Bees in my Custom Harnesses and they really do have that TONE that we love so much. They also have a certain vintage correct look about them, if that counts for anything?
Sprague Black Beauties often sound as good as the Bees, and the Vitamin Q's are right up there in Tone quality. I use the .047's in my Tele rigs, 400vdc and I try and save the .022 400-600 vdc for my vintage Les Paul rigs.
Some guys play wide open and never roll off tone controls, but like Eddie mentioned the Cap still plays a roll in your tone unless you have true bypass tone pot. For Players who like to roll off the tone and find the "sweet spot" having the proper set of caps for your guitar is even more important. The only other thing I would mention is volume bleed kits, in conjunction with correct caps the bleed kits will keep your Tone from going muddy as vol. is rolled down. Some guys know about these and some don't, I think they are a must on many Gibson guitars. OK, I have rambled on long enough....
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Unread 05-13-2008, 02:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: The capacitor thread.

Just installed sprague vitamin q's .022uF on my Epi lp with sd 59 bridge and pro 2 neck pups and it sounds different and a bit maybe better than the mallory 150's I had in it. I think with the setup I have on it that the 150's would be ok for the guys that donot want to fork out what 12.99 plus shpg!!??
Thats my opinion anyway and gonna try next the sprague orange drops. Too much hoopla about the q's and bumblebees too.
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Unread 05-13-2008, 09:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

If your guitar costs $800-$2000 whats $20 for a decent set of caps, it may be the best money you ever spent on your axe...Lol
But Seriosly, you are doing exactly the right thing by trying different caps etc, a lot of guys Talk but don't Do. At least you can say what is working or not for you because you have actually tried it.

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Unread 05-13-2008, 09:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

one nice thing about LPs is that it is so easy to test different caps.

here's my little stash I play with:

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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.


Last edited by dwagar; 05-14-2008 at 08:47 AM.
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Unread 05-14-2008, 01:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

I have sprague vitamin q's, i also have some sprague vitamin f filimites and some sprague orange drops
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Unread 05-14-2008, 05:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Hey my buddy has a set of Vitamin Q red lables 0047uf / 600v (paper in oil with glass end cap) how would these be in the les paul romans building me (hond. mahogany back with a redwood top, hond mahogany neck with a ebony fret board )? The pickups are WB reverends! Also what kinda pot would yall suggest?

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Unread 05-14-2008, 05:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

I'd consider .0047 to be too bright, I go down to a .010, still pretty bright on roll off but I like it like that. You probably want to be in the .015-.022 range.

For pots, my fav are RS Superpots for vol, CTS 500Ks for tone.
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-14-2008, 05:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Well the guitar is gonna be more bass sounding so wouldent a bright cap be better?
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Unread 05-14-2008, 09:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

What was the specs on the caps in the "bursts" I know they where bumblebees, and i think they where .022 400v???

chris
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Unread 05-16-2008, 12:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

yeah, .022s. Voltage doesn't matter.

when you roll off the tone, the smaller the value cap, the less bass you are going to have available. .0047 is getting pretty close to running without a cap IMO.
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

Quote:
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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-16-2008, 12:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

KK, Do you have any suggestions where I can get the best caps $$ can buy?
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Unread 05-16-2008, 08:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

I have Fresh Sprague Vitamin Q .033, Sprague .022 "F" and GOODALL .047's for $15 a pair plus plus $3.99 S&H if you find a better deal than that you better scoop em up.

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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

what are "F"?
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

Quote:
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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Hey guys,I am putting a bareknuckle nailbomb in the bridge of my guitar its calling for .047 capacitors does it matter by the voltage? also what kind should i get? also i need some cts 500k pots any help or suggestions would be great? I do apologize i am really a noob when it comes to guitar electronics.
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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:28 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Voltage doesn't really matter. The higher voltage the bigger the cap gets (size considerations).

Most I've seen are rated at 400v or so. Your guitar is putting out a WHOLE lot less than that.

There are several vendors for pots. I get mine at rsguitarworks.net - Home , but there are other vendors as well--I'm sure someone will offer some other choices.

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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

thanks alot for the heads up...does anyone know places i could get some Sprague Vitamin-Q or anyother suggestions would be great..seems like every online store i go to is sold out of vitamin q...
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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

See post # 15...

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Unread 05-16-2008, 11:56 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwagar View Post
what are "F"?
Sprague "F" Filmite .022 are polypropalene military spec caps, I have been using them in the last dozen or so ZOSO/JP rigs and have had great feed back on Tone etc...They are Premium Audio Caps very much like the Q's.
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Unread 05-16-2008, 12:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Jonesy.....do you have an email address?

I'm interested in picking up some caps, but I don't think you can get PM's yet.
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Unread 05-16-2008, 12:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

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Jonesy.....do you have an email address?

I'm interested in picking up some caps, but I don't think you can get PM's yet.
jonesyblues@yahoo.com

tonemojo@hotmail.com

1-574-806-4118 is my cell if you wanna give me a call as well?

Peace, jonesy
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Unread 05-16-2008, 07:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Thanks, Jonesy. I will probably call you in the next few days. I'm interested in the Vitamin Q's but I'm not set on what values just yet, so let me explain what I am looking to do and see if any of you guys can steer me in the right direction.

I have an Epi LP Standard that I changed out the stock bridge PUP and put in a Gibson '57 Classic Plus. I love this pickup. The neck pickup sounds a little dull in comparison, so I am most likely going to put in a Duncan PhatCat (P-90) in the neck position for a slightly cleaner, more articulate tone. 99% of the time, I'm either using the bridge or the middle position with the volume cut on the neck pup. I never use JUST neck PUP, as I like the 2 blended.

The stock tone/volume pots sound fine to me, and I'm happy with the taper. If I remember correctly, I think they are 250k pots. I want to leave those alone for now, because I don't want to mess with trying to make due with new pots that don't quite fit exactly.

I mostly play anything from hard rock (no metal) to blues to clean quasi-acoustic. I'm guessing that a .022mfd would work well with the bridge, but I'm not sure what would be recommended with a P-90 in the neck position. I'm also considering changing to 50's wiring.

Any suggestions, anyone?
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Unread 05-17-2008, 04:59 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

I'm really liking how this thread is going, thanks everyone for your input keep the questions, information and answers coming.
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Unread 05-17-2008, 09:20 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunlew View Post
KK, Do you have any suggestions where I can get the best caps $$ can buy?
IMO the best caps $$ can buy are old vintage bees, the ones with the solder drop to seal the oil tube. Buy from a seller you can trust that checks them to spec.
I don't stick to .022/400v though. I prefer .010s or .015s, but I think that decision would depend on your guitar, your mods, and what tone you are chasing.
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-17-2008, 09:40 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwagar View Post
IMO the best caps $$ can buy are old vintage bees, the ones with the solder drop to seal the oil tube. Buy from a seller you can trust that checks them to spec.
I don't stick to .022/400v though. I prefer .010s or .015s, but I think that decision would depend on your guitar, your mods, and what tone you are chasing.
I agree with you in that the old caps are great, but they're just caps, and if made correctly they'll all perform the same. No need to rape old guitars of their caps IMO.

I have "Tiger" repros in my R7, made by Luxe, they're paper in oil, and I just got some bumble bee's by Luxe as well. Same spec's on both, but the Tigers looks so go (kinda sucks that they're tucked away inside the cavity)

NOTE: the solder drop you speek of.







Here are the Tigers. They're coated in Bee's wax, and they smell like honey!

Needless to say, both caps sound great, a major difference over the stock fake-o's. (I'm currently running the Jensen caps that come with the premium vintage upgrade kit from RS in my R8, but I will swap these bee's into it eventually.



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Unread 05-17-2008, 06:39 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buyusfear View Post
I agree with you in that the old caps are great, but they're just caps, and if made correctly they'll all perform the same. No need to rape old guitars of their caps IMO.

I have "Tiger" repros in my R7, made by Luxe, they're paper in oil, and I just got some bumble bee's by Luxe as well. Same spec's on both, but the Tigers looks so go (kinda sucks that they're tucked away inside the cavity)

NOTE: the solder drop you speek of.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...s/IMG_9171.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...s/IMG_9170.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...s/IMG_9169.jpg

Here are the Tigers. They're coated in Bee's wax, and they smell like honey!

Needless to say, both caps sound great, a major difference over the stock fake-o's. (I'm currently running the Jensen caps that come with the premium vintage upgrade kit from RS in my R8, but I will swap these bee's into it eventually.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...s/IMG_9175.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...s/IMG_9179.jpg
lookin good, i wish we could get those here in Australia, it's verry hard to find good caps other than sterile ceramic pieces.
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Unread 05-18-2008, 11:29 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buyusfear View Post
I agree with you in that the old caps are great, but they're just caps, and if made correctly they'll all perform the same. No need to rape old guitars of their caps IMO.
why would someone pull them out of an old guitar? they are used in tons of old electronics. Old organs that are heading for the dump can have tons of caps in them.

YMMV, but I haven't found any repro that sounds, to me, like a real vintage Bee. Other old caps, to my ears, sound close to the same. But not Bees.
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Primary Tone: what the body and neck does not have cannot come out as tone - Iwanade, BOTB

Quote:
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A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

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Unread 05-18-2008, 12:56 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: The capacitor thread.

"The tone capacitor value will have little to no effect on the sound when the tone pot is in the treble setting." (Last sentence of Pauls 1st Post)

Very nice Post Paul! Right on and well explained, I agree with you 99% except for this last sentence.
For sake of discussion I will state my case....
You are partially correct in your statement. But, what I have found unless you have a "true bypass pot" the caps in the circuit do have some relevance to your Tone. There is a small, but noteable bleed that occurs and the darker the cap the more you will notice it. Even if a player does not roll off and use their tone control the cap value is important.
When I design a harness for someone I usually ask them a lot of questions, what type of pickups, what amp do they favor, what type of music do they play etc... but I also ask them if they are a "wide open player, or do they like to "roll off" tone control. If they are a wide open player I may put in a slightly darker Cap because I know it will take the "Bitey-edge" off the treble. If they say they like to use their tone controls, I will put in a specific value X or slightly less(as you seem to favor) so they can really roll off that tone without worrying about it getting to dark and find those sweet inbetween Tones.

*NOTE: Having the Tone controls on your Amp set properly so it can re-produce what your guitar is doing is important. If you are trying to get some "mid-angus-crunch" and you have your mids below 5 on your amp, it ain't gonna happen. Or if your Treble is turned way up and you are wondering your guitar is so bitey, it's probably not the pickups. It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many Players DO NOT set their amps up right. Then blame their disatisfaction with their TONE on pickups, wiring, caps etc...

Great thread Bro,
Thanks, jonesy
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