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Tone cap question...

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Loleary, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Loleary

    Loleary Strat-Talker

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    I've almost finished wiring up my first pickguard, just have to add the jack wire and tone cap.

    I've two caps at my disposal. A sprague orange drop .047 200v and a round ceramic disc cap taken from a 1971 strat that reads +80 - 20 .05 z5u 100v. Not exactly sure what all this means tbh.

    Which do you think would work best with Fender CS fat 50s? What would the ceramic cap sound like?
     
  2. jball85

    jball85 Strat-O-Master

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    The second should be .050uf, so not much different from the orange drop. Personally, I would go with the orange drop, since it was probably made recently and most likely isn't far off of .047uf. I've seen old ceramics that were way off, and considering the +80 - 20 is most likely a tolerance rating, that thing could be of any value from .040uf to .090uf. That type of ceramic capacitor will vary in value depending on the voltage applied to it, and operating temperature (not an issue here) as well. The Sprague orange drop, being a film cap, will not suffer from those pitfalls. I use a .047uf orange drop with my strat. It has a fat 50 in the neck. It's a perfect value in my opinion.

    Another note, if you want more treble rolled off, at a somewhat faster rate, go with a larger value cap. For less roll off do the opposite and use a smaller value capacitor.
     
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  3. Loleary

    Loleary Strat-Talker

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    Great info. I will go for the orange drop as it's new. Don't like the idea of the old cap being so far off its indended value. Would .047uf be considered a large value then?
     
  4. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

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    Good advice right here.

    I’d add that tone caps on Strats are all over the map so don’t be shy about trying different values. Tone caps are worth about 10 cents a piece at a local electronics shop so pick up a bunch and try them out.

    Many Strats come with a .022uf capacitor which is brighter and which I find more useful. My Classic Player 60’s Strat came with a .1uf capacitor, which is really a dark (muffled) tone cap. I’ve changed it to a .015uf (which measured to .018uf. On one of mine, where I have the rear tone on the bridge pickup and the the front tone on the neck pickup (middle not connected to a tone circuit), I’ve got a .022uf on the neck tone and a .047uf on the bridge. That gives a lot of flexibility.
     
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  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    I agree with what Andrew sez... I found I prefer a .022 in my personal strats as a .047 (.05) leaves about ½ of the tone knob's revolution pretty much useless...

    and yeah experiment away.. you aren't gonna blow up anything by changing caps...

    r
     
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  6. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-O-Master

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    All necessary info has already been covered but I just want to add that you should ignore all the marketing fluff when it comes to caps or other electrical components. The guitar market (like many others) at times adds too much nonsense about tone to pique the consumer's interest.

    When it comes to caps, there's no magic, it's a basic electrical component...a capacitor is a capacitor is a capacitor. If specifications are the same, one from radioshack will do the same thing as one filled with snake oil and breathed on by the ghost of SRV. What matters is capacitance value and tolerance. Sorry, I sometimes am a bit quick to jump at any chance to bash marketing...
     
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  7. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I agree with this completely, I prefer a .022, but most people seem happy with .047, & if you don't often turn the tone knob down, it really doesn't make much difference.
     
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  8. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    `
    Try using this:

    82DA221M100KC.jpg

    Warning: This capacitor can hold a charge large enough to kill you!... Use chopsticks when mounting it...


    `
     
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  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    when I was a "Kid" just out of High School.. I had a summer job working for a friend of my Father's that had a TV & Appliance repair store... back then the TV's were furniture, built in "boxes".... about a 24 inch / side cube.... so to work on 'em, sometimes you'd just stick your head in the back side and root around....

    Problem was, the caps, etc., and the High Voltage supply for the CRT (TV tube) would hold that charge for quite a while... if ya slipped, and touches what ya didn't really wanna touch... it would zap ya... with a characteristic "Pop" .. it sounded like a Teenager, popping bubble gum..

    well Me 'n the Girl that did the "books" chewed bubble gum... and would occasionally PoP it... every time we did, it would startle Richard, the owner, if he was "in the back side of a TV.. he's jerk. bonk around.. and spew a soliloquy of profanity..

    Of course we never did it on purpose, not even once... :whistling: ...

    Now.... the fact that a cap can store a charge has nothing to do with anything within a guitar's circuit so don't sweat it... I promise.. :p ... but really, there's nothing happening within a guitar to generate a charge the cap could store... really... Pinky Promise... :sneaky:

    rk
     
  10. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Sorry... I'm told I have a "dry" sense of humor...


    `
     
  11. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-O-Master

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    I put together a homemade capacitor for my high school physics project using a home depot orange bucket and copper pipe (for size reference). Accidentally discharged into myself and couldn't feel my fingers or elbows for 10 minutes.
     
  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Return of the Red Helmet Strat-Talk Supporter

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    In a guitar...it's all about measured value. The other instruments you can use are your ears. If it sounds good to you...it's good.
     
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  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Guys Please read that again, and again... several of us have been sharing that bit of wisdom for almost 2 decades now...

    It is NOT about specifics... the guitar and it's relationship with a guitarist are constantly moving targets... it's much like golf, just when ya think you have your mid irons working, ya can't putt .. and when ya can putt and hit the 5 iron, ya cannot hit a Drive to save your life....

    Be flexible, think dynamically... this is supposed to be fun....

    rk
     
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  14. Loleary

    Loleary Strat-Talker

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    Yeah I guess the only way to decide is to test out a few different caps. I've gone with the orange drop .047 for now but when I change the strings next I will change it to a .022. Will be interesting to see what difference it makes! :thumb:
     
  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    It doesn't make a lotta difference as far as the guitar's actual voice goes, but what it does is extends the useable range of tone control relative to how far you turn the tome knob... with a .047, by time you rotate much beyond 5 the sound is so bassy it's pretty much unusable as far as today;'s sounds go.. with the .022 or .033 for the less bold, you can rotate to about 8 before it's so darn bassy the guitar is more a percussion instrument than a melodic one..

    r
     
  16. Loleary

    Loleary Strat-Talker

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    Ah, right! I think I finally understand the function of a tone cap now! Pretty much all the strats I've had in the past were like that... Turning the tone control down even 3 places made the guitar very muffeled sounding and yeah the last 5 positions all sounded the same almost. I quite like the idea of not loosing so much treble when the tones turned down. Cheers.
     
  17. mabley123

    mabley123 Senior Stratmaster

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    I myself like a .1uf. Second .047.

    Different strokes, for different folks.
     
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  18. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster

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    On one of my Strats, I took and ran a wire from the tone pots out into the trem block cavity via the
    trem claw ground wire hole. Then used the trem claw for a ground (other cap lead) and tried different
    value caps with test leads on the wire to the tone pot. When you get a winner, tape it up and hide it in
    there (under the trem cover). Then solder it in on the pot next time you do a string
    change.

    Stealthy !!


    I call the cap a tool the tone pot uses in it 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 most everything. Nice thru the sweep.

    If you want it more aggressive....then .047 or even as high as .1 µF.
     
  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Return of the Red Helmet Strat-Talk Supporter

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    With Fender single coils...absolutely. :D
     
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  20. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    With Fender single coils - absolutely not!!! With a huge .1 cap the tone turns to mud when you simply look at the tone knob, never mind actually turn it....
     
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