testing a range of tone cap values

Peegoo

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Use the cheap ceramic caps. Get a range of them, and get (or make) two test leads that have little alligator clips on the ends.

Remove the tone cap from your guitar's circuit and clip or solder the test leads to where the cap was. Loosely reassemble the control plate on the guitar with the test leads hanging out.

As you play, swap in and out the various caps onto the ends of the test leads. You'll find that there can be quite a difference in the frequency roll-off point for the various caps. You'll find one you prefer.

Do not be sucked into the belief that more $$ and larger caps = bigger tone. Guitars are low voltage/low current circuits, and a cheap ceramic cap performs identically to a similar-spec capacitor made from the dust of fairy wings and unicorn tears. These vendors are laughing all the way to the bank with your money in their hands.

Peegoo-Bumblebee-Cap-Suckers.jpg
 

guitar_paul1

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wow,, thanks folks..all good info...




that's a really cool little box..for 24 bucks? seems like a no brainer..was thinking about what i'd lay out for a handful of caps, clips etc..plus shipping..might make sense.

It's good for all kinds of stuff.
I wouldn't use it in a tube amp without checking what voltage its caps are rated for, but any signal level stuff in a guitar or pedal is fair game. You can AB the sounds really easily, which is it's best feature.

I've had it for about 10 or 15 years no problem.
 

eclecticsynergy

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I concur with others who've said voltage rating is irrelevant in a tone cap, except in terms of sheer physical size.

IME lower value caps tend to give you a wider useful range - they normally give usable tones even in the lower range of the dial.

.045uF gets pretty dark pretty fast; below 5 or so it's no longer useful (for me) as tone sculpting, only as a sort of special effect.
 

Geo

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

If anything the .047uf will mute the unwanted brightness much quicker than lower uf value capacitors and should when you turn down the tone control 1/4 to 1/3. If that isn't happening then either it isn't working or the 500K pot is too much for the single coil pickup.
 

SbS

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Oh, just realized I don't anymore remember the of cap values I left in my guitars! Now when everything is settled and pickups are nicely adjusted too. Probably. For now. I have a mix of different pickups in two T-shaped objects, so it was kind of a journey. Mess or a journey, how do you want to call it.

Could check them, but not totally sure do I want to get close to that rabbit hole anymore.

I remember the pot values though...
 

gkterry

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I would leave the 500k pot and solder a 500k(ish) resistor across the outer 2 terminals of the 500K volume pot. Bingo! 250k pot.

It has more to do with the 500k pot than the tone cap.
 

Boreas

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wow,, thanks folks..all good info...




that's a really cool little box..for 24 bucks? seems like a no brainer..was thinking about what i'd lay out for a handful of caps, clips etc..plus shipping..might make sense.

I am not sure, but you may have to build it. Not a huge deal, but depends on your time and soldering capabilities.
 

FenderLover

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....It has more to do with the 500k pot than the tone cap.

Well...
Regardless of the R or the C, it's still a first order filter and will have the same slope. Changing either value will slide the slope right or left, giving more or less mud on the bottom end, and less or more high on the top end.

The filter is really an LRC equation when the pickup is factored in, and it's easier to jack with the cap and get it on the second or third try for less than $1.
 

Krackle

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excellent...interesting to read all this stuff and for sure some interesting options..
some of you guys are nuts--building those test grid boards..lol..gotta figure how to work that into the show..

I put finally had a moment and put 2 new 250k pots into the guit...left the 047 in there because it's all i've got right now..The guit sounds great but things do go cloudy muddy on the bottom end of the dial turn..it's not unfamiliar to me at all...

weirdly intimidating ordering a bunch of capacitors...it's an area i've never dipped into..the actual ordering..sorta dont's where to start.....and....im noticing places where these companies are being Covidated out of stock-in one line of caps..common to see completely missing values in some of the range of caps in that line..supply chain stuff..

anyone have any tips on 5 caps, decent reliability in their values, good quality...at a website that'll be easy to NOT make stupid mistakes on when ordering?
...i know it sounds stupid but it's the exact kind of thing that i screw up on when i hit websites (like electronics parts) that im not familiar with in terms of terminology and sometimes math and abbreviations...the 'Uf ' unit seems to change into different acronyms/abbreviations..pretty sure that is not my imagination, or lack of it
 

Timbresmith1

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excellent...interesting to read all this stuff and for sure some interesting options..
some of you guys are nuts--building those test grid boards..lol..gotta figure how to work that into the show..

I put finally had a moment and put 2 new 250k pots into the guit...left the 047 in there because it's all i've got right now..The guit sounds great but things do go cloudy muddy on the bottom end of the dial turn..it's not unfamiliar to me at all...

weirdly intimidating ordering a bunch of capacitors...it's an area i've never dipped into..the actual ordering..sorta dont's where to start.....and....im noticing places where these companies are being Covidated out of stock-in one line of caps..common to see completely missing values in some of the range of caps in that line..supply chain stuff..

anyone have any tips on 5 caps, decent reliability in their values, good quality...at a website that'll be easy to NOT make stupid mistakes on when ordering?
...i know it sounds stupid but it's the exact kind of thing that i screw up on when i hit websites (like electronics parts) that im not familiar with in terms of terminology and sometimes math and abbreviations...the 'Uf ' unit seems to change into different acronyms/abbreviations..pretty sure that is not my imagination, or lack of it
4 should do it.
.01uf
.022uf
.033uf
.047uf

Ignore the “Orange Drop” nonsense.
Ceramic, Mylar, Polypropylene, metallized polyester will all work the same. ^This from a guy that has spent many, many hours listening for differences in caps in audio crossovers and taking notes. The capacitor in this case can be thought of as a spillway draining water into a ditch. The pot is the faucet that controls how much water drains out. You ain’t drinking the water.

You can order in-between values if something is out of stock. Tayda Electronics stocks a bunch and they’re easy to order from.
 

tomasz

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As others have mentioned, the capacitance substitution box is a great tool, but if you are rewiring just one guitar, the cheapest way would be what Peegoo mentioned. Start with standard values like suggested above.
I also support the "go cheap ceramic" way, there is no need to use high voltage or fancy capacitors in guitars.
This is the way.
 

cousinpaul

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I agree with the above. Ceramics, greenies, whatever. Furthermore, I don't worry about a tone cap being a little out of spec. In practice, it amounts to a tiny nudge, one way or the other, of the knob.

Also, you can come up with odd values by combining caps in parallel. An example would be putting a .022uf cap across the legs of a .047uf cap to get very close to .068uf
 




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