Affects of pots and caps on tone

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Dilver, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Senior Member

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    FWIW, all the Strats I had sounded superb with the tone rolled off a bit and using those huge ceramic caps like you have pictured here. I really like them and they have a tactile feel to them along with a terrific tone that was very very very musical to my ears.

    I am one that believes cap construction makes an audible difference in a guitar's tone, however slight it may be.

    Jason
     
  2. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Correct!! Not all ceramics are rubbish. These old Centralabs are great for Fender types!!!
     
  3. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    I stand behind my results. I swapped out an old, mini-pot, with a new alpha of the same value. The tone noticeably opened up on the guitar.

    I won't tell you why it happened, because I don't know why. I'll leave that to you. And I won't debate what my results were. They were what they were. And this is by no means the fist pot I've ever changed out...:laugh2:

    I will say that I was very pleasantly surprised at the results. I also would not tell people to change out their pots to improve their tone. I'm just saying, changing out an old for a new worked for me, in this situation. I hated the first pot anyway because it was so damn stiff = the biggest reason I changed it in the first place.
     
  4. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    I guess I'm trying to understand what exactly was the cause of my tonal shift. Changing a neck pickup CTS volume pot that measured 489k to an RS Superpot that measured 552K shouldn't make that much of a difference and I'd think that the change would make the pickup sound just brighter. Instead it got not only high frequency bump, but also a lower frequency bump. I also added a treble bleed cap, but I tend to think this isn't the culprit.
     
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    Did you measure the resistance value, or are you basing this on the rated pot value?


    A change form 489 K to 552 K is big. That's an increase of almost 13%.

    I still don't think it would have done anything to the low end. But, unless you made before and after tone measurements in some reproducible way, you really can't know for sure.

    Hearing is one of those things that we have little to no absolute reference. I think just about every guitar player has had the experience of finding their tone-of-the-gods at 10 pm on a Friday night, and at 10 am Saturday morning, they can't believe how crappy it all sounds. And they have not changed a single thing.

    There's a reason even the most experienced mixing engineers, step away from the board and come back later. Things will just sound different after even short periods of time.

    Making any sort of comparison when making a hardware mod is very hard. That's not to say every change is nonsense. Clearly not, but it's been shown time and time again that we have a tendency to hear what we expect to hear.
     
  6. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    I just scored some of THESE for my 70's Classic Strat :naughty::
    upload_2017-6-19_11-36-57.jpeg
    Will look the part as well! I have a length of yellow tubing to use as well.

    But yeah..some, if not MOST of the most recorded tones on earth probably have ceramic caps.
     
  7. masterglazier

    masterglazier Junior Member

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    Here is some funny truth. I pulled the black beauty caps out of my #1 custom shop Les Paul. I found that I liked it better wide open, never put them back in. I have other guitar players play it and I ask them what they think about my tone, and if I should change the value of the caps? They all say it sounds great, and they would not change a thing. Go figure:) Not 1 has said it was to bright. So has anyone else removed um, and actually heard the pup's wide open? And why would I want to remove the highs anyway?
     
  8. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Well, you might not want to.....but the audience standing in the beam of your amp's speaker might have a polar difference in opinion.

    I can't think of more of a turn-off for an audience than piercing highs that make your ears hurt. Of course if you want some more time-off in the evening by not being asked back to play in a venue then perhaps its better.
     
  9. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    Yes: I install "no load" controls for ages. And I've changed the tone controls of a Les Paul in "no load pots" the last summer. Benefit: each pot works again like a standard tone control once set @ 9/10.

    Regarding the tonal outcome, I agree with Arandall: increasing the resistive load can make some pickups painfully bright with some rigs. So it's not useless to keep a kind of switchable tone control in the game. No load pots allow that.

    FWIW.
     
  10. Grenville

    Grenville Senior Member

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    YES, I took the tone pot and capacitor out of the circuit in the neck pickup in my LP. I even installed a 1meg pot to get more clarity ("clarity" rather than "brightness" per se). Very happy with the result.
     
  11. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    You want control of the highs like you would anything else. It affects tone. Not having a tone control on the guitar would be like not having a volume control. Sure you could still adjust at your amp, but of course that's not convenient while playing.

    And as mentioned, if you do want maximum highs, you could use no-load pots or of course some other switching to have the pickups go straight to the output. I have a Strat that has a push button that does that.
     
  12. masterglazier

    masterglazier Junior Member

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    Yea, or you could play with that knob that says treble on your amplifier. I always thought that was so you got less:)
     
  13. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Or both.......why limit yourself to only 1 type of tonal tweaking possibility.....especially when they work in different ways because of the position in the chain.
     

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