testing a range of tone cap values

SixStringSlinger

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Ignore the “Orange Drop” nonsense.
Ceramic, Mylar, Polypropylene, metallized polyester will all work the same.

I like Orange Drops just because their size and shape makes them easier to handle, and their color makes it a little easier to see what's going on inside a crowded control cavity. Aside from that though, as far as guitars go, the cap type doesn't mean a damned thing.

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

Do you know of a website or some resource that lays out these basic electronic principles (like .022uf in parallel with .047uf in parallel = ~.069 uf, what the difference would be if in series, etc.)?
 

Thumper

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For about a nickel you can solder a 500K resistor across the two outside lugs #1 and #3 and make your 500k pot a 250K pot. (I mount em underneath the lugs so they are out of the way).
It won’t screw up the taper and should sound “right” In your case,

Tip: I use 2 mini gripper to mini gripper test leads to “audition‘ tone caps and resistors in guitars and amps
Value depends on the pickup and what vibe your going for.
With an “audition setup” you can play with cap values, types of caps, reversing the leads etc.
It can be a little noisy, but it’s a great bench tool.
Pomona leads are expensive, but cheap leads are a pain if your using them a lot. ;-)
 

Thumper

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I like Orange Drops just because their size and shape makes them easier to handle, and their color makes it a little easier to see what's going on inside a crowded control cavity. Aside from that though, as far as guitars go, the cap type doesn't mean a damned thing.



Do you know of a website or some resource that lays out these basic electronic principles (like .022uf in parallel with .047uf in parallel = ~.069 uf, what the difference would be if in series, etc.)?
The Adafruit Circuit Playground App has all the formulas for series and parallel components in calculators where you can plug in the values. REALLY handy if your building or modding stuff.
Great way to learn how the math works when your not sure which formula to use and a bunch of other stuff I use for guitar and amp work.
 

moosie

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Do you know of a website or some resource that lays out these basic electronic principles (like .022uf in parallel with .047uf in parallel = ~.069 uf, what the difference would be if in series, etc.)?
This is very basic stuff. A quick search for electronics tutorials should give you a good start. Sorry, I don't have specific links to offer.

I learned most of this from the early chapters of the Megantz tube amp book.

EDIT: broken book link is now fixed
 
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Wound_Up

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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

Can't you just not turn the tone knob up to 10? Wouldn't that be the same as using a lower value? That's what I do in an HSS Strat with 3 - 525K pots. And then, when I want that little something extra, I turn it up past 5. On a linear pot, it works great.
 

Wound_Up

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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.

Jesus. I, paid like $4 each for mine. Unfortunately, I can't find the place I bought them at anymore. It was just a random electronics distributor with A LOT of NOS stuff.
 

radiocaster

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The type is completely irrelevant. Even polyester film ones are fine.

The value is what matters. Clip them on and leave the guts dangling while you test, less pointless work.
 

Krackle

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For about a nickel you can solder a 500K resistor across the two outside lugs #1 and #3 and make your 500k pot a 250K pot. (I mount em underneath the lugs so they are out of the way).
It won’t screw up the taper and should sound “right” In your case,

Tip: I use 2 mini gripper to mini gripper test leads to “audition‘ tone caps and resistors in guitars and amps
Value depends on the pickup and what vibe your going for.
With an “audition setup” you can play with cap values, types of caps, reversing the leads etc.
It can be a little noisy, but it’s a great bench tool.
Pomona leads are expensive, but cheap leads are a pain if your using them a lot. ;-)
Thumper,

Can you point me to these mini grippers to mini gripper leads? a setup you like that has decent gripping

Are you talking DMM accessories or just some sort of alligator clip set wired together?
It's a fishing tackle term >mini gripper
 

sjtalon

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You can do wonders with them.

I converted a Dlx. Nashville to be like a Nocaster once (CS pups) and wondered how that old wiring scheme (Nocaster) would work so set it up with jumpers (test leads). Also had the tone pot a p/p to get series. I really didn't dig it enough to find the use of it so just put a 3 W in, kept the p/p for series.

Saved a ton of solder and burnt fingers :oops:

and the shield job is not mine.............I bought the geetar off eBay.


IMG_1721.JPG
 
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bobio

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With the Toneshapers in most of my Teles, I have the ability to go to values from .015 up to .1 with the flip of a few dip switches, but I always seem to come back to .022 🤷‍♂️ Just seems to work best "for me" :)

20210906_194429086_iOS.jpg 20210906_194416120_iOS.jpg
 
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SixStringSlinger

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You can do wonders with them.

I converted a Dlx. Nashville to be like a Nocaster once (CS pups) and wondered how that old wiring scheme (Nocaster) would work so set it up with jumpers (test leads). Also had the tone pot a p/p to get series. I really didn't dig it enough to find the use of it so just put a 3 W in, kept the p/p for series.

Saved a ton of solder and burnt fingers :oops:

and the shield job is not mine.............I bought the geetar off eBay.


View attachment 941526
I've wired up whole guitars that way, just to be sure everything was right before the iron came out.
 

PCollen

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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
If the pickups don't REQUIRE a 500K pot , and you plan on installing a 250K pot, then do that swap first and then test your caps. The current brightness is probably due more to the 500K pot than the .047 cap.
 

Krackle

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Chicago
If the pickups don't REQUIRE a 500K pot , and you plan on installing a 250K pot, then do that swap first and then test your caps. The current brightness is probably due more to the 500K pot than the .047 cap.
PColl..

I put 250k pots in this guiart during page 1 of this thread..I remember it like it was page 2
..but it was page 1

I left the .047 in for now and then had to put down th music e toys for a few.

Im used to it now but i just want to go through the process of testing a bunch of caps so i can hear it and learn and start to think about all this with a reference point...
 

gkterry

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The type is completely irrelevant. Even polyester film ones are fine.

The value is what matters. Clip them on and leave the guts dangling while you test, less pointless work.
Exactly right! All the tone cap is doing is sending a section of high frequencies to ground. The type of capacitor makes no difference on the sound. The value determines the frequency range sent to ground. Buying an expensive NOS cap is akin to buying a gold drain pipe for your sink. It won't make the drain any better. It just lightens your bank account.
 

PCollen

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Location
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I like Orange Drops just because their size and shape makes them easier to handle, and their color makes it a little easier to see what's going on inside a crowded control cavity. Aside from that though, as far as guitars go, the cap type doesn't mean a damned thing.



Do you know of a website or some resource that lays out these basic electronic principles (like .022uf in parallel with .047uf in parallel = ~.069 uf, what the difference would be if in series, etc.)?
Series caps calculate out like parallel resistors: (C1 x C2) / (C1 + C2) = Ct
 

Swirling Snow

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No Dakota
So, the volume pot is a resistor with a wiper. One end of the resistor is soldered to one end of the pickup coil(s) and the other end of the resistor is soldered to the other end of the pickup coil. At this point, we have a completed circuit, and strumming the string will produce a voltage across the volume pot resistor.

As you can infer from the charts JohnH posted, the pickup's output will likely have a large spike in the treble. A larger value resistor (volume pot) will make a larger resonant spike. So it's not '250K for single coil', it's '250K for Fender; 500K for Gibson'. Are there jazz guys with 250K pots in their Gibsons? Sure! And there are metalheads with 1 Meg pots in their Fenders. But in general, PAF style humbuckers and P-90s want 500K pots and Leo's pickups were wound for 250K pots.

Anyway, as you've probably guessed, the tone pot is just another resistive load for the pickup. But, it's not across the coil. As you turn down the volume pot's load on the pickup stays the same. As you turn down the tone pot, you decrease the load on the pickup and the treble peak drops until the pickup sounds muffled. Again, please look at John's charts.

This is where the tone cap finally comes into play. It causes a resonance that boosts the mids when the tone pot gets turned down to the end. Often referred to as "Clapton's 'woman tone'". This is what you should be listening for when you compare caps. Put the volume on 7, the tone on 2, and swap out the caps after playing for a while.

Hope this helps.
 




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