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Capacitors - Vintage vs New

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by THRobinson, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    I was looking to add a 0.1uf capacitor to my vintage pup's when they arrive ('63 Texas Wound) to make it vintage sounding.

    The old caps were dime sized ceramic disc types... Is there a noticable difference between those and more modern ones? Metalized film, ceramic, multilayer, etc... Like noticable audio differences, not on paper differences... Is one type better to use than another?

    I have a small cap collection, hoping one of those will work, but also just curious how the sound may vary based on cap material/type.
     

  2. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    784
    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    I have bad news for you if you want various capacitors of same measured value to noticeably affect your sound. +/-20% tolerances can make a difference if you want to A/B test a few components with the same nominal values.

    Others below may disagree:
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
    Thin69 likes this.

  3. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    I don't 'want' anything, other than to know if I need a specific type of cap or not. :)

    I have radial cans, ceramic disc but not dime sized, monolithic ceramic... Might have a polyester film box type that value but doubt it....

    I suspect I need to go on eBay and get those big orange Sprague ones... But... Never wired up pickups before so not sure what will work properly.
     

  4. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    784
    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    What I'm saying, in other words - don't waste your money. Add the capacitor with the capacitance value that you like. Huge, high voltage capacitors in a guitar are totally unnecessary and confer no benefit to you at all. The brand or age will not help you at all. New old stock will not change the result. Even if they have a fancy name like "tropical fish". If you spend more than $1.00 - you might as well burn the money.
     

  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Strat-O-Master

    950
    Feb 11, 2013
    USA
    bbcps.jpg
    You haz to haz the fat capz to getz the fat tonez!
    Nah, Caps are all the same. I like the Chicklets,
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    but the little discs work fine.
     
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  6. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    That was my next question... noticed those old vintage dime sized ones were up around 600v and up, which seemed pretty overkill. I'm pretty sure I have a few Monolithic Ceramic Capacitors in my collection. Just bought a mess of stuff from Tayda, try to teach myself a bit about electronics and do a few guitar pedal clones and smokey amps... and yup, in my list had a bunch of 100nf caps ordered, same as 0.1uf. $0.10 each.

    Thanks!

    http://www.taydaelectronics.com/0-1uf-100v-5-polyester-film-box-type-capacitor.html
     
    LeicaBoss likes this.

  7. vid1900

    vid1900 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 25, 2016
    USA
    Thrup'ny Bit, Thin69 and amagras like this.

  8. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    I like Orange Drop film caps in about the 250V range because they have tight tolerances and are consistent, and can be had individually for around $0.60 or less, less still in quantity. NOS PIO and the like will have inevitably shifted in value by the time you get them, so it's a crap shoot as to what you're actually putting in your guitar. I don't like ceramic caps in the signal path of amps, pedals, or other active electronics because their response changes with the frequency you give 'em and as before, you can't be sure what you're getting. In a passive guitar circuit though, the voltages probably don't get high enough to affect it much and they probably sound just fine, but I still have that mental stigma. They're great for the voltage regulator and filter parts of the circuit though where they see a consistent voltage because they're cheap and robust. In the end, it comes down to whatever works for you. I reckon 0.1 is bit much and will get muddy quickly, but again, that's just personal taste. Give it a try and see how you like it.
     
    stratman323, Hal Nico and Hammer 4 like this.

  9. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.

  10. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Feb 17, 2016
    New Zealand
    Mr BC likes this.

  11. usul1978

    usul1978 Guitar bricolo Strat-Talk Supporter

    821
    Dec 9, 2015
    France
    I like PIO magic for 5$ and that kind of stuff. But for fun and knowing what I'm doing (blowing little money for pseudo mojo). 120$ is just silly.
     

  12. s5tuart

    s5tuart ...... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    73
    Aug 8, 2011
    Bedford, UK
    I like the bacon fat capacitors. Best tone ever!
     

  13. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    I've seen that before with the can style type caps... and given how cheap those things are to begin with, I'm not sure how much profit can be made from such a scam by the time you make the fake covers and put them on. Gotta be 1 or 2 cents max... at least Gibson's charging enough to make it worth their while. :D

    I almost want to get a cheap eBay China pickguard for temp use to cut/mod.. wire it up such that there are a couple of circuit board sockets on the face of the guitar then just experiment without soldering and dismantling over and over... pull one cap off, put another on.

    If enough of a dif between values (ie. .1uf vs .047uf) could almost consider a small 2-way switch to toggle between the two. Vintage vs Modern switch.

    I've seen some of the orange caps on eBay for sale wired together with a resistor... what's that about?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017

  14. RIPROY

    RIPROY Strat-Talk Member

    25
    Jan 29, 2013
    New York
    As capacitors progressed from wax encapsulated paper/foil to ceramic and beyond, their function still remains the same. Unless the capacitor is being used full-time like the coupling circuits in an amplifier, I wouldn't worry about the quality, tolerance or price of a simple guitar tone filter cap. Most of us run the tone knob on "10" most of the time. Take the tone circuit away from the pickup and the pickup gets a little louder. However, the capacitance value does change the amount of how much bass is to be heard. To that end you need to experiment. My ears have never been able to discern a difference in the quality of the bass tone using various quality caps of the same value. If you are just looking to install a cap that looks vintage for your own enjoyment, then do as I have been doing for many years. Below is a link to my free guide on how to make your own "vintage cap". General terms for guitars: .1 MF takes away most of the treble frequencies at minimum knob setting, think muted "Jazz" tone; .05 MF removes half the treble compared to .1 MF; and .022 a little less than half of the .05 MF Personally I like .05 MF on Telecasters and .022 MF on 60's Strats.

    http://www.rhsdesign.com/celebrityreplicas/index.htm
     

  15. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    Most likely those are intended to be used as treble bypass circuits for the volume control. As you turn down on your guitar, your ears perceive the highs to be lost more quickly than lows, so it seems to get darker as you lower volume. The treble bypass allows some of the treble around the volume control to lessen this effect.
     
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  16. Uncle Fiesta

    Uncle Fiesta Senior Stratmaster

    Basically with a cap, a that matters is the value. I tend to use .022 for humbuckers and .047 for single coils but the choice is yours. The advantage of fitting an expensive one is that the tolerance will be less, therefore the value is more likely to be close to what it claims to be, but that's about it.

    I must admit that orange drops and tropical fish look nicer, then again, as soon as you put your guitar together, you can't see them any more!
     
    Groovey likes this.

  17. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster


    Hopefully the pups will do it for you, the cap don't have jack to do with that.

    On 10, the caps value doesn't effect anything.

    Higher value cap, faster/darker when you get the knob down 7-0

    For something less aggressive (more subtle when you use the control) .022 µF or even as low as .01.


    It's a player preference thing. Get the tone pot to do (work) what YOU want it to do when you use it, on YOUR geetar.
     

  18. Pat Furlan

    Pat Furlan New Member!

    Age:
    52
    7
    Sep 21, 2017
    canada
    Just doing some reading on caps for my next build and this little jem keeps popping up

    "On 10, the caps value doesn't effect anything."
    and it is of course incorrect

    on 10 the cap is in series with the pot
    the pot is 250k, and the cap is grounded

    so the guitar signal sees a 250k resistance and the cap to ground subtly trimming off some highs even on 10
    and this is exactly why many strat owners hook up the bridge pickup to the tone controls ... to tame the icepick highs of
    the bridge pickup ...

    since the blade switch on a stock strat does not connect the bridge pup to the tone pots
    you can correctly argue that for the bridge pickup in a stock strat the cap value is not relevant.

    Part 2 of this is
    that while most cap types have almost no audible difference the real bumble bee's do have a jangly thing they add even when the controls are full up

    the key thing is the amount of time it takes to charge the cap which is different for various compositions ... you will hear this as jangle or sparkle
    and thing you have a really nice set of pickups

    you also hear this charge time element as more of a wha effect many people notice about the PIO caps they have tried ...

    Danny Gatton supposedly spent hours auditioning tone pots and caps to get his tele to do wha wha and train whistle effects just by turning the pot
    while I don't go for that I did notice how easy it was to do those tricks when I hit upon some vintage caps that really added some sparkle


    thanks
    YMMV but I've done my homework :)
     

  19. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    123
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    Buy some that looks cool and install a clear pickguard :D
     

  20. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    123
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    How long does it take to charge e.g a 0.022uF capacitor with a 250K pot and the voltage level from a pickup?

    When charged, does it then discharge while you are playing? If so, how fast?