testing a range of tone cap values

Krackle

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Hi folkz,

I recently bought a used tele with a 500k tone pot in it..

It's got an .047 cap on this tone pot...things are a bit bright

There are some things i like about this brightness when
playing somewhat low volume..

Anyhow...before i pull this 500k pot and install a more standard
250K pot in the tone position, I'd like to test a range of cap values..

I've never gone through this process..I've always had guitars
that didn't seem to need it..pretty standard setups across a range of brands/models of guitars

So, what covers the range as far as values go?
what types of caps should i get?
Im not really into all the current rage of oil caps and all..
I've read that orange drops are usually operating very close to stated spec..so that's a good start. Suggestions welcomed

Can someone tell me which type of Orange drop is most
appropriate for a low voltage setting in a guitar?
plus..a good and complete range of cap values?
Im guessing I'll need a few alligator clips etc..

Is there one website where i can order all of this at the same time..
?

thanks..any and all info 'ppreciated
 

Timbresmith1

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Lots of snake oil.
Remember that the tone cap is passing signal to ground. You really aren’t hearing IT beyond any reactance it may have in conjunction with the pot and pickup coil.
Perfect place to use a ceramic cap you wouldn’t consider putting in a modern amp build.
Ps: I’m all about using good caps in the right places and spending $ to do so.
 

Timbresmith1

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Tayda or Smallbear electronics have been very good to me.
As far as values- .01 - .05 cover the usable range. I would order a few in that range and try them.
 

Wallaby

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Amazon has what you mentioned, potentiometers and capacitors.

The "Orange Drop" capacitors I'm familiar with are for 100v, 200v, and up - way, way over-sufficient for the tiny voltages a pickup creates, so any of them should be fine.

I like 250k+ pots and .047 caps for a Tele. Other combinations are probably fine too, that's just what sounds right to me.
 

Krackle

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Amazon has what you mentioned, potentiometers and capacitors.

The "Orange Drop" capacitors I'm familiar with are for 100v, 200v, and up - way, way over-sufficient for the tiny voltages a pickup creates, so any of them should be fine.

I like 250k+ pots and .047 caps for a Tele. Other combinations are probably fine too, that's just what sounds right to me.

Walla,
I think the previous owner just dropped a 500K pot in the tone position and kept the original (.047) in there..

I do think the Orange Drop folks make lower voltage caps geared towards guitar circuits?
mebbe not...i do not know enough..
 

Wayne Alexander

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If what you want is to change the brightness of the guitar when the tone control is not in use, change the 500K volume pot to a 250K pot. A 500K volume pot makes the guitar overall brighter than a 250K volume pot. The value of the tone pot doesn't affect the overall brightness of the guitar anywhere near the amount the value of the volume pot does. After you change the volume pot to 250K, you can address the value of the tone cap if you want to change how dark/muffled the tone gets with the tone pot turned most of the way down - higher cap values (like the .047uf you have now) go pretty muffled, using a .033uf or .022uf or .015uf will give you a less dark/muffled tone with the tone pot cranked all the way down - try all of those values. With the tone pot all the way up, or turned down less 1/3 or less, the tone cap value is either completely irrelevant or almost so.
 

bebopbrain

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... a used tele with a 500k tone pot in it..

It's got an .047 cap on this tone pot...things are a bit bright

What change do you expect going from 500K to 250K? If the answer is: no change at all except above "9", then yeah, go for it.

Note, on a log scale 250K and 500K are almost equal.
 

Timbresmith1

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Walla,
I think the previous owner just dropped a 500K pot in the tone position and kept the original (.047) in there..

I do think the Orange Drop folks make lower voltage caps geared towards guitar circuits?
mebbe not...i do not know enough..
The voltage doesn’t matter in thus case. It’s primarily a size concern. Higher voltage caps are bigger.
 

schmee

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If what you want is to change the brightness of the guitar when the tone control is not in use, change the 500K volume pot to a 250K pot. A 500K volume pot makes the guitar overall brighter than a 250K volume pot. The value of the tone pot doesn't affect the overall brightness of the guitar anywhere near the amount the value of the volume pot does. After you change the volume pot to 250K, you can address the value of the tone cap if you want to change how dark/muffled the tone gets with the tone pot turned most of the way down - higher cap values (like the .047uf you have now) go pretty muffled, using a .033uf or .022uf or .015uf will give you a less dark/muffled tone with the tone pot cranked all the way down - try all of those values. With the tone pot all the way up, or turned down less 1/3 or less, the tone cap value is either completely irrelevant or almost so.
^^Good advice, went through a bunch of stuff trying to get the tone to treact better on a T type recently. The volume pot matters..
 

dogmeat

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yes, the V pot matters because even when the setting is "10", it is not out of the system... the full resistance of the pot is in parallel with the pickups' output
 

Krackle

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thanks all..
if you read my post though you'll notice that
only the Tone pot was changed to 500k..
The Volume pot is still 250K

But I also indicated that there are some things i 'like' about the brightness on this guitar...
and that.
i was wanting to do this Cap Test while i still had the 500k pot installed just to 'see' if there was anything cool there for me in terms of leaving it in (the 500k pot) for a different flavor for a while..

I already have a 250K pot locked and loaded for install into this Tele...figured I'd do the cap range test on both pots..
 

Tele-phone man

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I always use a 22nF in all of my guitars, whether 250k or 500k. But I don't use the tone control much on any of them; instead, I use an additional mini toggle or rotary switch to bring either a 1nF or 2.2nF cap across the input of the volume control. I prefer those sounds to any setting on the tone control because it adds smokiness to the tone without losing pick attack or articulation.
If you are going to experiment, try a 2.2nF cap (straight across the output of the pickup switch, no tone pot) and see if that is not a super cool tone. No standard tone control can give you that sound.
 

Happy Enchilada

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NOS .033uf 200v Soviet Paper In Oil Guitar Tone Upgrade Capacitors
$14.99 @ AMAZON

81cxb59B55L._AC_SL1500_.jpg


After trying various values of capacitors, these are my go-to for single coils with 250K pots.
 

sjtalon

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FTMP a 500KΩ tone pot with a .022µf cap, "works" the same as a 250 with a .047. So whatever pot a person has installed, the cap VALUE will determine how things go as you turn the knob.

Also, don't get all wound up on what cap gives the "best" tone, or "vintage" tone, whatever. When the pot is at 10 the cap there doesn't really mean jack.


I call the cap a tool the tone pot uses in its job. The higher the value, the faster/darker things will get as you turn the pot from about 6-0.

It's a player preference thing, do you want a subtle tone change? I don't use the tone much so like .022 in almost everything (250K pot). Nice thru the sweep.

If you want it more aggressive (more/faster treble reduction) then .047 or even as high as .1 µF. Use some jumpers and experiment.

I always say with these things.............YOUR geetar, YOUR ears!

If YOU like the way it sounds, don't mess with the volume pot OR the pickup height settings. Those things, as well as (most important to the equation) the PICKUPS you have are what is going in your ears.

If YOU want the tone pot to work differently to float YOUR boat, experiment with some different caps.

K.I.S.S.. :lol:

Happy pickin'
 
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bobio

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This is one of the reasons I love the Toneshaper so much.

It uses 500K pots and can be configured to either manually or automatically switch between 250 and 500.
In a guitar that mixes single-coils and humbuckers - or in a guitar where you will be splitting humbuckers - a choice between 250k and 500k would normally need to be made, with some possible negative tonal consequences as a result. Auto-Ranging (our term) means that in certain switch positions, the pot value will change automatically in order to tonally optimize it for a given pickup selection.

I can also change the cap value with a series of dip switches. It has 4 switches: .01, .015, .022 and .047.
I can use any one of those values or turn on more than one dip switch to combine them.
Because we give you four caps ranging in value from .010µF to .047µF, you can approximate pretty much any capacitance value throughout this range, by turning on more than one cap. You must turn on at least one, but you can turn on 2, 3, or all 4 if you choose, their values will simply add together. For example, turning on all four will give you .094µF (.047 + .022 + .015 + .010), which is very close to the .1µF values Fender used in the 1950s.

This is the latest Toneshaper with a 5 way switch from my Ergocaster.

20211120_001909790_iOS.jpg 20211119_011821576_iOS.jpg

20211119_012454616_iOS.jpg
 
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Boreas

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What pickups??

I don't pay much attention to the value of a T pot other than the taper. Makes much less of a difference compared with the V pot. You may want to TEST the actual value of your V pot. There can be quite a range of values with an "in-spec" pot, let alone a pot that may have wandered way out of the ballpark.

With single coils I prefer 500k V pots which allow more brightness through. And I prefer .022 caps as it isn't "all or none" as with .047 caps. With humbuckers, I prefer 1M V pots. But I am not afraid to use my T pot when playing to dial back any unwanted brightness. But many players note they can handle more brightness in a mix or onstage as compared to the living room. It is always nice to have that extra top-end zip in reserve to slice through a muddy room..

What you may want to investigate first is pickup HEIGHT adjustments. Sometimes the perceived "brightness" is actually just an overstimulated pickup. They can often be mellowed by dropping the height a little while maintaining a balance. Often, simply a slight drop on the treble side of the pickup is enough to tame the upper end.
 

Willie Johnson

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I just put a .01 in my P90 Esquire-y thing and like that a lot. Easy to dial in good tones at all the way rolled off, halfway, and 1/4.
 




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