Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

RE: tone capacitors and style

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Loco85, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Loco85

    Loco85 Tele-Meister

    Jan 18, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    HI guys

    Wondering what type of tone capacitors you have in your telecaster and type of music you typically play.

    I'm thinking of changing mine out. I play mostly blues music and looking to change out my stock tone cap.

    Just not sure which direction to go in with the amount of options available.

    I've heard if I want to have a good range of tone with the knob from 1 to10 i should have a lower cap. Typically only get a variation of tone between 8 to 10.


  2. ce24

    ce24 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 26, 2008
    I have an 022. Cap looks like an orange drop except it's dark red.....Most of the variance is around 1-5 before it's tapped out.....250 pot.

  3. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Most of my single coil guitars have .047µF to .068µF caps in them, it just depends on how the pickups sound and what I'm trying to accomplish. I generally use axial lead polys of some kind, not because they're superior to anything else, but because I like the way they look and they're easy to tuck out of the way. And, of course, they're cheap!
    roknkor likes this.

  4. trev333

    trev333 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    you need a serious collection and try a few...;)

    I use the cheap as chips chicklets... .022 types the most....

    Cap collection.jpg
    jvin248 likes this.

  5. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

    Sep 26, 2009
    Winchester, Va.
    I went down to a .015 from the stock .022. It works well for me. It fixes the problem you have. Caps rated at .05 have the ability to give you a lot of treble roll-off. I don't need any of that. You can play bass on the Tele with a cap that high. I think that was the reason Fender used a .05 cap in the early days. To play bass with.. Really! Good luck!


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Construction, not so important. Some will debate that.

    The most important to me is the stated value correct.

    Try several until the one you like presents itself.
    Doghouse_Riley likes this.

  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    first.. a capacitor is an electronic way OUT for only a part of the frequencies... once that signal is gone, it is not recoverable...Basically, and in incredibly simplistic terms what the tone cap does is take the upper range of frequencies and lets them "dump" to an earth point.. None of whatever passes through a capacitor ever makes it to the amp, thus it is never heard...

    Yes the capacitor can have a peripheral effect on some of the sonic characteristics of the pickup, but those are so extremely subtle as to be well below the threshold of usability. They are not predictable due to the incredible number of other factors present in any guitar also impacting the "voice". For instance a PIO does not produce a predictable result in one kind of sound change, and a Film Cap another... or the Mica wafer results in yet another... none of the way a cap is made makes any difference other than by pure luck.. which can be good luck, or the luck were all far more familiar with.. :eek:.

    Those varying characteristics are due to "math"... the electronic influence derived ONLY as a result of the value of the capacitor and how that value interfaces with the other "values" present within the circuit. What it is made from and how it's made has no more to do with it, than does the side of the first bite taken from a Hamburger has to do with the taste.

    But, unless ya just go plain nuts,, the cost of a "prettier" cap is relatively insignificant, and I'm like you guys, I just like to see the "good stuff" inside the thing when the hood is popped, so nothing wrong with yanking the 3 cent chiclet... but any resulting change in the sound is a result in the varying values, not a result of how the thing was made. and, of course, a prettier capacitor just naturally is gonna make ya think it sounds better....sorry, but that psyche shi* is as real as a heart attack..:lol:

    Now the results of the value of the sound... .01mf , ancient history, found in guitars of the 50's... typically... very bassy... pretty much unusable by today's standards.... .047mf... more typical of guitars made in recent history... pretty versatile... but still leaves about 50% of the tone controls rotation too darn dark IMO, but many prefer it... or worse, expect it...

    .033mf and .022mf, more typical of Humbucker type guitars, but perfectly OK in Single coil setups... they produce a brighter sound... but in a single coil type, the total difference between the .033 and the .022 is still so slight that many will not really notice it.

    you would do better buying several inexpensive caps of varying values and trying them. That way YOU know first hand what the results will be. once you have determined what value you prefer, if ya want a more esoteric looking part... buy it, stick it in there, knowing you have made a decision based on your personal experience, instead of the opinion of some old fart that couldn't hear a Boeing 767 revving up if he had his head stick in the back end of the engine... :D

    a couple of things you may find helpful.

    Ron Kirn
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
    Doghouse_Riley, eallen and jackinjax like this.

  8. Loco85

    Loco85 Tele-Meister

    Jan 18, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    Well put Ron
    Thanks for sharing I'm going to put an order in for some different values and test out.

    Will the lower value give me more control from the knob?

  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    I find 0.033uF tends to shift a pickup to give it more 'presence' (kind of like a little reverb-ish feel to the tone). I have these light blue rectangular caps constructed like the orange drop type that I got from eBay ten for a dollar. The green poly rectangular ones are a good choice and have tight tolerance. The small ceramic caps can work too. Key is the value and trying several.


  10. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

    Apr 25, 2015
    I like the vitamin q. .47...100volt

  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Generally, yes.. but each guitar is it's on entity... and it's quirks must be accommodated....

    get ya a hand full and try them... one of the links someone will show shows how to run two temporary leads from the internal contact points, allowing 'em to hang out of the guitar so you can change the caps "on the fly" trying several in a few minutes... once ya get a sound ya like, bingo mystery solved.


  12. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014

  13. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 7, 2007
    Washington, DC
    .022uf with the Fezz mod.

  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    What Ronkirn said. A tone cap will NOT change the sound of a guitar. It's impossible. ALL it does is roll off highs - a .1 rolls off more than a .04, which rolls off more than a .022.

    The specific type of cap *may* change the speed or evenness of the rolloff, but by a miniscule amount most players can't recognize.

    "Guitar tone" however, is never changed. Cap values in a guitar can be fun to mess with and will hurt nothing. But different types can't change the guitar's tone - only the amount of highs that are removed. Expensive caps are an incredible waste of money.

  15. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    When I am clipping in different caps and playing the guitar, I make sure I try each cap value with the guitar straight into my tube amp and also through a solid-state pedal. The transistor buffer amp in a pedal loads the pickup differently than a tube does. They both sound great, but they are different.
    Myself, I hate the murky sound when the tone control is turned all the way down. I experiment with a resistor in series with the town control capacitor. Usually a resistor about 10k makes it so that when the tone control is full turned down the tone is just this side of annoyingly murky. Then I can just whip that knob all the way down. With the stock circuit it is annoying to turn it all the way back then up 1/10 turn to get the sound I like.
    Peckhammer likes this.

  16. sjtalon

    sjtalon Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Well, this one almost died.
    RLee77 likes this.

  17. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    Every one of my guitars now has a special tone control that uses much smaller caps to actually shift the resonant frequency down (1nF and 2.2nF). These caps are NOT wired to a pot, but instead are dropped in and out straight across the switch output. It is a very, very different sound than a regular tone control turned down a bit. It becomes more smokey, but with lots of articulation, which I tend to lose with a regular tone control.

  18. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    Funny that nobody mentioned the tone pot in all this discussion.

    The function of the cap was well discussed but the OP was suggesting he wanted more control over the sweep of the tone control and your going to get that by either changing the taper of the tone pot or by changing the wiring to the 50's Gibson tone scheme.

    I'm typically running 250k B type (linear taper) pots for my tone with a .022 orange drop type cap. Someone on TPRI mentioned getting a more useful sweep with linear some time ago and they were right. It works for me.

    Another way to get some additional tone options is with the Fender TBX (treble/bass expander). Now that is a cool control. I put one in my Telecaster and it makes a lot of difference in all positions.

    It's got two ganged potentiometers, a resistor and a cap. One potentiometer acts like your regular tone control and passes or cuts highs, the other is a low pass filter and passes or cuts lows. In the middle position is a detent so it clicks slightly and you know you're in the middle, that's the no load area and the tone circuit is out of the circuit; basically just pickups and a volume control. Roll it further forward and it starts cutting Bass.

    My TBX has a .022 MFD cap and a 220k resistor. I'm using a slightly different wiring that was recommended in an article by Dirk Wacker at Premier Guitar:

  19. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    I use polypropylene caps. Why? Because they are most stable. Cap composition or 'type' does not really make a difference in a guitar as far as tone. Capvalue controls the filter's roll off point.

    My preferred values are 2.2nF 2.7nF 3.3nF. 6.8nF 8.2nF much smaller than typical 22nf-47nF values. I like being able to set the control to '0' to get a new resonant frequency for the pickup. I typically mate them to 1Meg 'no load' pots for complete bypass of the tone control on '10'

    Let me know when you're capping an amp, though. There, differences in dielectric material actually does make a small difference in tone. NOT IN PASSIVE GUITARS THOUGH. I think this is the 3rd thread on this subject this week.

  20. sjtalon

    sjtalon Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.