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Thread: Capacitors​

  1. #1
    AxeTalker
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    Capacitors​

    I'm learning so much from these guitar forums. Trying to understand capacitors​ and their effects on guitar tone.

    I read that a bigger cap will allow more bass, where the smaller one blocks more bass. No. 1 Is that true, and 2 how do you determine which caps are "bigger"?

    I know that they have a uf rating? As in
    .022 and .047. Am I right in thinking that the .047 is bigger than the .022. I don't know if bigger is the correct way to describe this, but that's the term used in the article I read.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    My knowledge is shaky at best, so don't assume I'm correct, lol. I'm pretty sure .047 is a value commonly supplied in a lot of Fenders, so they must be most suited to single coil pickups with 250K pots. I think .022 does roughly the same thing when it's connected to buckers with a 500K pot.

    I know that when I was wiring my Ric bass (which has single coil pickups) I used 250K pots, but only had a .022 capacitor for the tone pot. It worked, but had a more subtle effect and wouldn't roll off the top end to the same degree.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    I'm no expert--but capacitors (or sometimes "Caps") are subject to a lot of mumbo jumbo--and some correct info.
    I am confident there are people here who can answer your questions somewhat, at least...

    I know when I modded a LP copy some people were telling me to replace the caps--and some suggested types that were not cheap--hey I didn't want to spend a ton of cash on it.
    So I left the ones I had.
    Sounds great to me.
    And the guy who put in the new pickups doesn't go for all the mumbo jumbo--yes they make a difference--but it's the value that matters.
    And like pickups you don't really know how they will sound in your guitar until you hook them up.

    So as I understand it--yes the .047 would be higher than .022
    And if you substitute caps of higher value, you lose more highs when you turn down the tone pot--which is what affects the tone--so my understanding is that if you leave your tone pots up all the way it won't make much, if any difference to change the caps. (I do use my tone controls on my guitars though.

    So no expert--but this what I have gleaned in my experience--others can feel free to chime in to contradict me--& they may well know more than I do.
    But please everybody also feel free to confirm or question what I posted--and of course, add additional info.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  4. #4
    Axe-honerated Keletcaster's Avatar
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    The bigger the number the darker the tone.
    Great Guitars Are A Formula Not A Logo.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    I prefer a very large tone cap- I think .1 uF which gives me a very big sound

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricklt View Post

    I read that a bigger cap will allow more bass, where the smaller one blocks more bass. No. 1 Is that true, and 2 how do you determine which caps are "bigger"?

    I know that they have a uf rating? As in
    .022 and .047. Am I right in thinking that the .047 is bigger than the .022. I don't know if bigger is the correct way to describe this, but that's the term used in the article I read.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
    Caps in parallel will not 'allow' or 'block bass'. The bass will always be going straight through. For Example, Tone circuit 'A' has a 250k pot and a .022μF cap and Tone circuit 'B' has a 250K pot with a 1.0μF cap...

    Assuming all other variables are equal, circuit 'A' and circuit 'B' will have the same frequency response in the bottom end (ie, same amount of bass) until it reaches the roll-off point determined by the circuit. The cap and resistor combination determined when the high frequencies start to roll off.

    Imagine this....Your pickup is a water pump. The signal from your guitar pickup is like water in a pipe. Your volume knob is like a tap before your output. The capacitor is a tank with an overflow before the volume knob. Your tone knob is a valve for the tank. When your tone knob is on 10, the valve to the capacitor (reservoir) is fully closed, and all frequencies are going to your output jack. As you turn your tone pot down, the 'overflow' gate is opened to the high frequencies. As you turn your tone pot down more, you are expanding the allowable frequencies that go through the overflow until your tone knob is fully turned down. Altering the capacitor or resistor size and relationship alters the frequency range you will be able to dump out the overflow. There will always be signal that bypasses the reservoir, and it will always be the lowest frequencies in the spectrum, or the bass.

    This isn't a perfect analogy... but hopefully it paints the basic picture.



    "bigger" in this context means the capacitors capacity. a .047μF has a higher capacity than a .022μF, so it is 'bigger'. A bigger capacitor will allow a wider range of frequencies to dump out the overflow with the tone knob at 0 than a .022μF with the tone knob at 0, all other factors being equal.

    Here is a chart showing how different size capacitors affect the frequency response.



    You can see from the graph that changing the capacitor changes the resonant peak and high frequency roll off (where it peaks and begins to go downhill), but the lower frequencies are always there.
    Last edited by Mreilander; 05-16-2017 at 05:03 PM.

  7. #7
    AxeTalker
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    Thank you very much. That is a very good analogy I think. I understand it anyway. Appreciate it.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    Caps in parallel will not 'allow' or 'block bass'. The bass will always be going straight through. For Example, Tone circuit 'A' has a 250k pot and a .022μF cap and Tone circuit 'B' has a 250K pot with a 1.0μF cap...

    Assuming all other variables are equal, circuit 'A' and circuit 'B' will have the same frequency response in the bottom end (ie, same amount of bass) until it reaches the roll-off point determined by the circuit. The cap and resistor combination determined when the high frequencies start to roll off.

    Imagine this....Your pickup is a water pump. The signal from your guitar pickup is like water in a pipe. Your volume knob is like a tap before your output. The capacitor is a tank with an overflow before the volume knob. Your tone knob is a valve for the tank. When your tone knob is on 10, the valve to the capacitor (reservoir) is fully closed, and all frequencies are going to your output jack. As you turn your tone pot down, the 'overflow' gate is opened to the high frequencies. As you turn your tone pot down more, you are expanding the allowable frequencies that go through the overflow until your tone knob is fully turned down. Altering the capacitor or resistor size and relationship alters the frequency range you will be able to dump out the overflow. There will always be signal that bypasses the reservoir, and it will always be the lowest frequencies in the spectrum, or the bass.

    This isn't a perfect analogy... but hopefully it paints the basic picture.



    "bigger" in this context means the capacitors capacity. a .047μF has a higher capacity than a .022μF, so it is 'bigger'. A bigger capacitor will allow a wider range of frequencies to dump out the overflow with the tone knob at 0 than a .022μF with the tone knob at 0, all other factors being equal.

    Here is a chart showing how different size capacitors affect the frequency response.



    You can see from the graph that changing the capacitor changes the resonant peak and high frequency roll off (where it peaks and begins to go downhill), but the lower frequencies are always there.
    I knew we would get something more specific from you...
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  9. #9
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zontar View Post
    I knew we would get something more specific from you...
    Is it bad that I expected nothing less?


    (Mike, your input here is so very much valued. Thank you, once again.)
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  10. #10
    Axe-honerated Keletcaster's Avatar
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    Absolutely. Mike is our electronic Guru here for sure.
    Great Guitars Are A Formula Not A Logo.

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