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Capacitors - Vintage vs New

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

  1. Pat Furlan

    Pat Furlan New Member!

    Age:
    52
    7
    Sep 21, 2017
    canada
    time is still very fast but we hear this as shimmer and jangle... the best I can figure is the cap trys to stabilize the ac signal as it would in an amps power supply... we hear this as sustain sparkle and jangle under different circumstances ... its more obvious in old les pauls and a large component of the burst sound

    a ceramic cap acts almost like a switching diode instantly chopping of the hi end
    an old foil cap acts more like a tube rectifier is has an envelope and a longer charge discharge curve cycle


    there are a few distinct sounds
    a chirp on the pick attack as the pot and the cap are slow to respond to the big signal change ...then the cap starts absorbing the signal and filtering out the ac to ground
    however the initial attack spiked harder than the pick attack alone would have warranted

    the note then begins to decay ... but the slower cap wants to hold that voltage level constant so as the note decays it trys to stabilize the signal by releasing some of the charge back toward the pickup & output jack we hear this as jangle, and on les pauls in particular a fade back up in volume of the note after you expect it to decay

    I have a buddy who has a 59lp he gigs with regularly he wanted a backup and we spent 1 year auditioning parts ... the result is he has a new LP standard with old pafs and full lp 50s harness... it sounds right... with the full harness was half the picture ...
    we did it part by part ... and he has dog ears

    I took what we learned and did my own gibsons & then moved on to my strats


    les paul
    but its direct into a twin

    and pick attack determines how the guitar responds
    you hear the pic attack .. the flat (compressed) sustain and then the crazy tail of the note as it fades out
    and yes it is the real sprague bumble bee that has this characteristic in particular

     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017

  2. usul1978

    usul1978 Guitar bricolo Strat-Talk Supporter

    799
    Dec 9, 2015
    France
    If anyone is interested, there's 12% off on these nice NOS caps. Very worth buying the whole package.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
    johnnymg likes this.

  3. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    Now I will make a bold statement: The type of capacitor used has no influence on the tone. :sneaky:

    As long as the capacitors are of the same value, they will sound the same.

    Some are fooled by the fact that capacitors can have HUGE variations in value (easily +/-15%). So, if you compare two 0.022uF capacitors of different types, one might actually be 0.019uF and the other 0.025uF. That will give a difference in tone (maybe 100-200Hz difference in roll-off frequency), not the type of capacitor.

    Capacitors also age (capacitance goes down) so using old capacitors might even emphasize the tone difference, but again, it has nothing to do with the type of capacitor. They all sound the same as long as they have the same value.

    Now, that is all that I have to say about that :D
     

  4. Mr. Lumbergh

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

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    The capacitor does not charge unless it has DC current applied to it. A guitar pickup produces AC.
     
    Ebidis likes this.

  5. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    Well, it actually does, but it also discharges. It charges/discharges with the frequency of the AC.

    That was sort of the reason for my original question to Pat Furlan, to highlight what was wrong with his statement.
     
    Thin69 likes this.

  6. Mr. Lumbergh

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

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    It depends on the cap. They should charge to whatever voltage you apply in theory, but most thin-film types do have a minimum voltage you need to apply before it’ll start to charge.
     

  7. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    What is that minimum voltage?
     

  8. Thin69

    Thin69 Strat-Talker

    472
    Nov 16, 2009
    Galveston, TX
    New, vintage caps have a higher probability of having leakage or a drift in the value of the cap. As others have said you can use a low voltage cap as the higher voltage caps will be larger.
     

  9. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    Wondered why I was getting notifications in my mailbox... thread is months old, not sure why it got resurrected. Guitar's been built and finished long ago. :D
     
    usul1978 likes this.

  10. usul1978

    usul1978 Guitar bricolo Strat-Talk Supporter

    799
    Dec 9, 2015
    France
    And the cap you soldered in there has gotten a bit more vintage since then !
     

  11. THRobinson

    THRobinson Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    42
    21
    Sep 4, 2017
    Zurich, ON (Canada)
    True... should toss it up on eBay. :D

    Ended up buying a kit with CTS pots, Switchcraft jack, Oak Grigsby 5-way... which was taller than the old 5-way so had to take a forstner bit and take out an extra 1/4" of wood to make it fit. Kit was way cheaper than buying piece-by-piece and although came with a 0.047uf Orange Drop cap, the seller was nice enough to swap it for a 0.022uf.

    Guitar has a set of '63 Texas wound vintage style pickups, and wanted the 0.022uf because the SRV Fender specs used it. Was trying to match the sound as close as I could to the SRV model.
     

  12. Chuck Conner

    Chuck Conner Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    76
    34
    Dec 27, 2016
    Maryland
    I worked doing electronic equipment repairs and have had a ham license for over 50 years. I believe a quality made .022 cap. is a .022 cap. and I can't hear the difference in the brand, color, or working voltage. Could it be that the caps made in the 1950's had flaws in the material and construction that were as wrong as an open back speaker cabinet and we could detect those happy flaws with our ears?

    In the early 1980's I had a Yahama solid state echo,flanging/phaser effects box. It had a sheet metal cabinet that, when I tapped on it, had a mechanical resonance or ring that I could hear while it was turned off. I don't understand how, but I could hear that sheet metal cabinet's tone in my playing when I used it .......
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
    Thin69 likes this.

  13. inra311

    inra311 Strat-Talker

    235
    Oct 12, 2008
    Europe
    I measured the 0.1uF disc capacitors of two pre-CBS Strats, both were about 0.075uF !!
    Any cheap new cap with this value will definitely sound more like - if not exactly like - the original than the most expensive 0.1uF replica cap...

    Nothing charges or discharges here really. We are talking about AC, not DC here...
    A cap will let pass highs, and thus makes them disappear into ground. The higher the value, the more.
     

  14. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    I know, was just trying to make a point with a leading question ;)
     

  15. Chrissomebody

    Chrissomebody Strat-Talker

    Age:
    40
    165
    Jun 20, 2017
    North Carolina
    They'll give you that true southern grit sound.
     
    s5tuart likes this.

  16. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster

    Time to put these on.

    hiboots.jpg
     
    Groovey and Ebidis like this.

  17. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    For the best tone EVER:

    [​IMG]
     
    Ebidis likes this.

  18. Groovey

    Groovey Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA

    Can we get a Flux Cap online now?
     

  19. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    Yes, and if you don't want to put it in your guitar, you can add it to your pedal board.. It gives you that futuristic vintage sound..

    [​IMG]
     
    Ebidis, usul1978 and Groovey like this.

  20. Pat Furlan

    Pat Furlan New Member!

    Age:
    52
    7
    Sep 21, 2017
    canada
    Please excuse me if my description of what is happening is not the correct technical terminology.

    Here's a simple test ... go out and find a old Sprague 160p .02 400 volt cap, I borrowed my first from the ground switch of an old Gibson amp.
    Likewise the Bumble bee is the the same construction, but more sought after.

    they are out there in junk drawers and old amps ect ...

    get modern disc cap of the same value .02 as your "control" test them both
    then ... put in the 160p and go and play out

    rehearsal, jam show it does not matter ...
    afterwards you can get used to "respected guitar experts" telling you your ears have been fooled, the cap value has drifted and various other
    explanations for how your guitar has changed for the better ...

    its also worth noting that I have auditioned hundreds of caps since and if you missed the 160p or the B in your tests
    you might conclude that the cap thing was hogwash and there is no difference


    *************

    to make a long story short ... I found my first 160p, tossed it into my PRS and went to rehearsal
    1/2 way though the night the singer said whats up with you ? you've had a stupid grin on all night and your playing is on fire ...

    I didn't bother to tell him my buddy who owns the Burst was right about the old sprague caps

    the guitar was sustaining noticeably longer, growled with changes in pick attack and had a sweet chime and shimmer on clean tones


    ***************

    Note
    the sprague 160p di-film cap is the same cap as the sprague Bumble bee used in the 58-60 les pauls
    it is marked differently for sale to repairmen vs the oem stripes used by MFG

    they are not paper and oil
    but layered foil Kraft paper and mylar film
    the foil is the key

    Modern caps use mylar that has been sprayed with a microscopic layer of aluminum
    reducing the metal content drastically

    You may choose to believe whatever side of the debate you wish ... but if you are on the hunt for a better cap don't waste money but find and try the real bee or the 160p
    copies and repros don't count