De-Bunking Myths About Capacitors

Discussion in 'Vendor Classifieds' started by jonesy, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    There seems to be a lot of Myths about Capacitors from many of the posts I have read here at MLPF and on other forums. I am going to try and set the record straight from what I know and from what I have experienced over the years...please feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong.

    Myth #1 Will Lower value capacitors make my guitar brighter?

    No, capacitors only filter highs off when you turn your Tone control. They do not make your guitar brighter when wired up to a Tone pot in standard fashion. (may be some slight bleed if you do not have a no load pot) If a capacitor is wired in series or in a treble bleed circuit (RC circuit) it can act differently and let highs come across, but this is not the case when wired to your Tone controls. With new good quality caps you may here less mud and more clarity once installed, but they are used to filter high frequencies when they are wired up in a Tone circuit.

    Even though .022 has been the standard for Gibson .015 and .010 are the choice by many players seeking good Tone and more useful room on their Tone dials.


    Myth #2 Do paper in oil capacitors dry out and need to be replaced frequently?

    No, when used in a guitar circuit paper in oil capacitors will last a lifetime. There are plenty of 50-60+ year Old Bumble Bees caps that still sound excellent. If they have been used in high voltage applications like amps etc. that may cause them to drift away from the original specs, but when used in a guitar this is not the case.

    Myth #3 Do all capacitors sound the same and there is no way that one type can make your guitar Tone sound better?

    Many electronic experts will tell you that there is no scientific explanation of why paper in oil capacitors will give you better Tone when used in a guitar circuit. But it is a well known fact in the guitar community that paper in oil will be warmer, smoother and have more "Sparkle" than ceramic disc, mylar or polypropylene capacitors. The original Bumble Bees and Black Beauties were paper in oil and thought of by many to be the "Holy Grail" of Tone as far as capacitors go.

    Myth #4 Does it matter which end of my capacitor I wire up to what, is there a polarity?

    No, for the most part 99% of the capacitors I have come across are not polarized and it makes no difference in which direction they are wired up in your guitar. There are some caps that do have a + - side and they will usually be marked accordingly or the manufacture will tell you that it matters.


    Myth #5 R9's Come with Real Bumble Bee Capacitors so there is no need for me to replace them, so why should I?


    No, your R9 came with "Fake" Bumble Bee caps that contain a cheap little poly film capacitor buried on the inside of the pretty little plastic black case with stripes. Gibson does not use Real Bumble Bee caps in their reissues, and they are not even paper in oil capacitors. Luxe Bees are actually Russian K40y-9 paper in oil caps and have a very similar Tone to the Original Bees.

    Myth #6 Jonesy's Tonemojo capacitors have some secret "MOJO" in them that is rumored to have been extracted from Robert Johsons sweat and mixed up with some crossroads dirt that will make you sound like Clapton, Hendrix and Jimmy Page all rolled into one.

    No, not true. The only thing special about my paper in oil capacitors is that they are good quality paper in oil capacitotrs with metal cases, and glass sealed ends and are either New Old Stock USA or Russian caps or the 50's Bees that are good quality pulls that have been measured on my bench meter.


    I hope's this clears up a few things and if anyone has any other Myths or questions I would really like to hear them?

    Keep the music flowing...
    thanks, jonesy
     
    Who, Belvedere, Biffmeister and 137 others like this.
  2. specflec

    specflec Senior Member

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    I think pots and caps are my next move for my R9. Thanks for the info!

    Best
    Michael
     
  3. Malikon

    Malikon Skreeeeee-ONK! V.I.P. Member

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    Myth #7: Putting plutonium into capacitors and getting your car up to 88mph will initiate time travel.

    False.



    Nice post OP, I learned some things, thanks.
     
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  4. coldsteal2

    coldsteal2 V.I.P. Member

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    Great job!!
     
  5. geochem1st

    geochem1st V.I.P. Member

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    Nice job Jonesy.

    I have a pair of Sprague PIO caps in my SG that Jonesy supplied, which has greatly enhanced my tone. Arguably the least expensive way to noticably change your sound.
     
  6. blakem

    blakem Senior Member

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    You are awesome! Great thread bro!
     
  7. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Actually I recommend the "Flux' Capacitors for time travel :D

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jason

    Jason Senior Member

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    The only polarized caps I've seen are electrolytics, and I haven't heard of anybody using those in a guitar.
     
  9. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Thanks, Glad you are all finding this info somewhat useful :thumb:
     
  10. ozone

    ozone Senior Member

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    Thanks Jonesy for your time. Your info is always valuable.
    Question, So the sprague vit q's are PIO, right. What are the luxe grey tigers?
     
  11. kmk108

    kmk108 Senior Member

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  12. Hemply

    Hemply Senior Member

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    Thanks Jonsey!
     
  13. MenaceMartin

    MenaceMartin Senior Member

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    i begs to differ :laugh2::thumb:

    nice post! it was all too confusing until i read it :cool:
     
  14. FrankieOliver

    FrankieOliver Senior Member

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    Interesting, Jonesy.

    Many electronic experts will tell you that there is no scientific explanation of why paper in oil capacitors will give you better Tone when used in a guitar circuit. But it is a well known fact in the guitar community that paper in oil will be warmer, smoother and have more "Sparkle" than ceramic disc, mylar or polypropylene capacitors. The original Bumble Bees and Black Beauties were paper in oil and thought of by many to be the "Holy Grail" of Tone as far as capacitors go.

    Links to more explanations on this, please? I'd like to read more on this. Thanks. :)
     
  15. LPGeoff

    LPGeoff Senior Member

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    Thanks Jonesy.

    What about certain guitars need certain values, ie.

    .047 - Strat - single coils

    .022 - LP - Humbuckers

    ?? - Jrs - P-90's

    Do you recommend the cap value based on pickup, guitar style, ?
     
  16. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    never too much good info could be a bad thing!
     
  17. Drudeboy

    Drudeboy V.I.P. Member

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    Personally, I agree with the electronic experts. 'well known opinion' would have been a better choice of words. Perception is affected greatly by what the mind expects. In one famous experiment a group of wine experts gave a favourable review to what they thought was red wine. It was in fact white wine with a red dye. Think on sheeple.
     
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  18. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    That is a good rule of thumb but not always the best,

    I have found that low value caps work great in single coil guitars, BCR Greg runs .010's in his P-90 guitars. A lot of it comes down to player preference.


    Fender install .022's in all their Strats now from what I have seen, I have an .033 (actually reads .029) in my Tele and it sounds great. :hmm:
     
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  19. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    There are a few posts over in Tonefreaks in regards to this subject.
     
  20. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Most guitarists will use their ears as a guide, I have tested dozens of different kinds of capacitors in as many guitars with all kinds of Amps tube and solid state and paper in oil sounds best to me.

    How much testing have you done with capacitors Sir?
     

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