Changing a capacitor - what does it actualy do to the sound?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Doctor Dread, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Doctor Dread

    Doctor Dread Senior Member

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    Sorry for such a stupid question, but I'm reading about replacing the stock capacitors with Bubmlebees, Vitamin Qs, Jensens etc...

    What do they actualy do?

    Do they change overall sound of the guitar, or they just help in smoother (or whatever) manipuilation of the tone controls?
     
  2. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Doc , all depends if you are changing to the same values and or using vintage over modern wiring, When I put Orange Drops in with my new WCR Fillmores , They truly came alive, the caps that were in there were sucking the life and tone out of good pickups Tones and harmonics just jump right off but then part of that were WCR's incredible pickups too
    You can cure the harshness of some pickups with a higher value cap , you can also brighten up a dark front pickup by lowering the .022/400 Value cap
     
  3. Doctor Dread

    Doctor Dread Senior Member

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    Now I see the point... will investigate further.

    Thx, Don!
     
  4. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    Doc, What Don said, But keep in mind that the pots will also have an affect or effect on the tone. I like audio taper pots like you find in better guitars. Try different caps, they're easy to change. Make good clean solder-joints. You may not need expensive " Historically Correct" caps to get the tone you want. I have heard some great tone from inexpensive caps. Try .047uf,.022uf,and .010uf, and you may mix them up too...for example a .02 in the neck, and a .010 the bridge.
    Anything will sound better than the polyester ones in some newer axes. Whether you use PIO's, ceramic disks, and and electrolytic cans is up to your ear. try to avoid any caps made in China, stick American, Japanese, or German made. Good luck, and keep us posted.
     
  5. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    Sorry, I meant to quote lp59aholicDon.
     
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  6. Blues Power

    Blues Power V.I.P. Member

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    i dunno about all this hype spending $10 or more on boutique caps. ive been using the radio shack caps 2 for $1.79 for 30 some odd years now with no ill effects.

    from what i know about electronics the guitars voltage is too minimal to to utilize the better componants to its full potontial.

    all i can see is that theyre made to closer specs. whereas the cheapos may be +/- 10% the boutiques will be +/-2% or 1%

    i think thats what your hearing in the up grade
     
  7. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    IMO, if you want a vintage tone, the most noticeable change in tone is going to come from PIOs, and I'm a firm believer in vintage Bees.

    you can roll off the tone knob and it sounds like you kicked in a wah pedal. Killer, killer tone.
     
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  8. tarddoggy

    tarddoggy V.I.P. Member

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    +1
     
  9. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Peoples ears are sometimes different, I know this, I got my WCR Fillmores, installed them initially with the ceramic caps in place, I thought , man whats all the hype about these? not much better than my stock pickups, Then I got some Orange Drop caps from HolyGrail, WHOA ! the difference was like night and day , I havent gone the vintage wiring route, YET , actually waiting on a more vintage set of caps soon on the way , my pots were already good, the Gibson type with the lil gold dot centers and depressed circles in the back
     
  10. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

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    One of the best things you can do to your tone, if you want a full pickup sound is to take the tone control right out of the circuit... or better yet, the volume control too. Straight to the jack... EVH could tell you more about it. :D

    Not my thing, I prefer to have a few tonal options... but I might cut the tone control off my bridge pickup, just to try it. I'm more of a neck player anyway, and that tone control gets a workout.
     
  11. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    I couldnt cut out the controls. to me its like cutting more tonal options out of the equation your tone will become less varied, less mixed , I can control alot of tone with my hands but those knobs are too damn handy for me Its like saying, Ah I Need to lose weight, and cut off a whole leg to do so
    F%^&*( EVH, He is just another guitarist, Yeah he may have sold millions of records , he can do what he wants with his tone and guitars, has no bearing on what I do, or want to achieve
     
  12. sapi

    sapi Senior Member

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    +2, tried and tested with black beauties. Obviously we are talking LP style tone, etc.

    All the best!
     
  13. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

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    Yea I'm really not an EVH fan at all, and I love my volume and tone controls, thats for sure!

    I think its amazing though, what your pickups actually sound like when the controls are out of the equation. Its like a different world. If they could make a set of pots that were full bypass when you turned them up to 10, I'd be interested... Either that or some nifty wiring trick... Hmmm.
     
  14. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    I dont think the wiring would be that hard to do. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm Got me thinking too
     
  15. WildeStarr

    WildeStarr V.I.P. Member

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    WORD!


    :thumb:
     
  16. Doctor Dread

    Doctor Dread Senior Member

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    They made them. CTS no-load pots. Exactly what you want. When you reach 10, there's a notch, a small groove inside and you feel the click. Then the pot is bypassed and works simply as a piece of wire. Rolling back, you have to applly a little pressure to unlock bypass.

    Have those on anoter Strat in 250K. Used as a tone, gives you razor sharp trebble but with a slight growl, very nice sound. And if you bypass vol too, guitar turns rabbid. Very aggressive.

    So the word you are looking for is NO-LOAD.
     
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  17. ArchEtech

    ArchEtech V.I.P. Member

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    I'm putting some lace alumitones into my chambered standard. What would caps possibly do for me?
     
  18. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

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    I've seen no-load pots, and wondered if thats what they did. I always assumed the notch was a complete 'off' switch, but now I see it goes the other way around. I might have to give it a shot.
     
  19. Doctor Dread

    Doctor Dread Senior Member

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    If you do, please post results. They produce good results even on cheap single-coils, wonder what they'll do with this powerful humbuckers.
     
  20. refin

    refin V.I.P. Member

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    Same here...............I have some original bumblebees and vitamins,and can't hear that BIG difference that some say they do.
     

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