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.47&.01 caps...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by SX lover, May 4, 2010.

  1. SX lover

    SX lover

    Jun 14, 2009
    I see alot of guys on here like .01 caps,than .47 ones. Tonaly, what's the differance in tone between these two caps(brighter,darker,more midrangy...etc??) I'm wondering because im going to put together a "fretless" P-Bass with P/J p-ups. Thanks!
  2. 0.01uF is quite tame. Did you mean 0.1uF?
    0.047uF cuts more high end than 0.01uF, and 0.1uF cuts even more high end.

    Honestly, the best thing to do is try both and see which you like best. We can tell you what it might sound like all day, but until you try it, you'll never know what you like best.
  3. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    I like 0.1uF caps on a P bass. They'll cut more highs and add abit more thump than the standard 0.047uF will. The 0.047uF cap has always sounded a bit weird to me if you roll back the tone knob more than half way. I don't find this to be the case with the 0.1.

    I also like flats and tube amps so YMMV.
  4. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Watch your decimal points! .47 is severe, will roll off 80% of your sound. .1 is still a stiff roll off. .047 is pretty normal.

    Of course the problem with all of these is that since they are a single value, they will cut mids as well as highs. You have to listen carefully. This is the reason for the Tonestyler switch that lets you change the cap values in 16 steps. I have played with this over the years with switches to let you change to 2-3 cap values and this is much better than the pot + single cap.

    I would buy the Tonestyler but they seem too expensive, so I am currently making my own. I bought a cap substitution box that has many different values, and I will select the 6 that have the best effect, and then wire 6 caps to a small rotary switch. I think that the values will have to be selected for each bass.
  5. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I've been thinking about using a 3-position blade switch from a Telecaster for this purpose, rather than a 6-position rotary. The design would be to use a standard tone control, but with three switchable caps. I'd probably start with something like .033uF, .068uf, and .1uF, and maybe experiment with other values if I want.

    I have read in various places that changing the values of capacitors in a tone circuit does more than change the amount of high-frequency roll-off; that it changes the overall nature of the tone control itself. I have no direct experience with that, though; thus my desire to tinker with it and try it out.

    The concern I have is that at the end of the day, in a live performance scenario, it won't make much real difference. It's quite possible that once the drummer comes in and the guitarist engages his overdrive pedal, the choice of cap in the bass tone circuit isn't going to be noticeable by anyone.

  6. I tossed the same question out here before and I think someone got sarcastic with me and suggested a .1uF cap - but I tried it and love it. (Radio Shack P/N 272-0135 for a 2-pack)

    I added that .1uF cap on top of the existing cap on the tone control and I love it - but as far as disappearing in the mix - it won't happen.

    The .1uF took a lot out of the brightness and brass-y sound and that's what I wanted for certain musical settings. It is very obvious and doesn't sound artificial at the same time. But it is also noticeable to the rest of the band.

    It won't go unnoticed, believe me! I got an couple of looks from the keyboard player and he asked if I've been practicing since my fingers really extracted a lot of tone now. Hrummph! :rolleyes:

    Fortunately, the way I put that cap in the mix, once I move the tone knob a couple of degrees, it's pretty much out of the loop and the bass returns to about 100% of it's old sound - and I cannot really tell if there's a limiting cap in the guitar or not.

    You aren't gonna miss that there's something changed - recording or live - and it's gonna be obvious. When the cap is engaged, it works and I doubt (like in my situation) that you can really hear any tonal change or attenuation in the other 290º of tone knob positions.

    Think "My Girl" with that Funk Brothers movie - that's what I got out of the change. It goes 'boomp' instead of 'splat/twang' and the sound is fantastic.
  7. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    From what you say here, it sounds like you wired the original cap and the .1uF cap in parallel, which would give you a total value of .147uF (assuming your original cap is a .047uF). Wow, that's huge! No wonder you get so much roll-off.

    So you never tried the switchable caps option?

    Yeah, I'm not really concerned that a tone control with a big value cap will be unnoticeable. Rather, I'm wondering if switchable caps on a tone control are really noticeable in a live playing situation, or for that matter, even when recording.

    I have a tendency to focus on minutiae, only to find out that a simple design works better for me in the long run. ;)
  8. I agonize over the small things too - so it's not unlike me to try to make an atomic powered clock when a sundial will work fine as log as the sun shines.

    I never thought of a switchable cap/array system, and in this one case I really did try something simple.

    I just piggy-backed the new cap on the old one and got what I was looking for.

    Maybe the pups on the MIK were a little hotter than normal - I dunnow - but the way it worked out, it's just what I wanted - even though too simple to comprehend when I really wanted blinking lights, switches and lots of Starship Enterprise panels.

    Simply put :: it simply works for me.

    And it only cost me about $ 0.35
  9. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    hmm I should try a .1uf cap on my spector, see how it goes, i been getting too much highs on it for my taste. you guys use the 100v or 600v for bass? I know the 100v is used on 6 string guitars
  10. Voltage rating does not matter for a tone control.
    We're talking a few hundred millivolts, maybe a couple of volts peak-to-peak would be the greatest voltage the capacitor will ever see.
  11. SX lover

    SX lover

    Jun 14, 2009
    Hi Gio. I just "shortened" the numerical value,for the sake of typing. Thats all.
  12. SX lover

    SX lover

    Jun 14, 2009
    I see you guys like the "Jamerson" tone(i do too,)which is kool...but his tone doesnt go with everything. I like the brightness of the "D&G" strings(4-string bass) Not "harsh,tinny or ice-picky",just bright. I went to S.Duncan's page to check out his vintage "Bassline" series p-ups,and he has a wiring diagram for the "P,J and P/J" electronics...and i see he uses a .05uf cap. for his bass p-ups. Anyone care to share light on that? Thanks.
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    well, .05 and .047 are effectively the same thing. Caps have tolerances of 2-10% typically and they drift with temperature and with age depending on the type of cap used (polyester film, ceramic disc, paper-in-oil, etc.). Since capacitors not only roll off treble but alter the resonant peak of the pickup, it is good to experiment with capacitor types once you have established the value that gives you the desired roll-off. My new favorite in passive basses is the Hovland paper-in-oil cap. Just bear in mind it's an 11 dollar solution to a 35 cent problem.
  14. 0.05uF is essentially the same thing as 0.047uF.

    With varying tolerances, I doubt it if either value capacitor will be anywhere near it's rated value.
  15. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i swapped a 0.1 in place of the stock 0.047 on my MIM 5'er and had to go back to stock! just a few degrees of roll-off was dark and lovely,... just a hair more and the low B just failed on me.
    i haven't tried it on my 4 banger, but i think i may love it. the 5'er would've been a MONSTER for rap or reggae, though!!! gl.
  16. mulchor


    Apr 21, 2010
    St Pete, FL
    A conventional passive tone control on a bass (or guitar or anything else) is just a resistor-capacitor filter set to be low-pass. If you change the C, you're moving the cut-off frequency, but won't change the shape of the function. Figure on 6 dB per octave.

    The frequency is inversely related to the capacitance, so if you double the C, you drop the freq an octave (dump the high frequency part of your signal starting an octave lower).

    With a 0.1 μF cap, even with a little bit (say 10k ohms out of its 250k) off your tone pot, you're basically dumping everything over a couple hundred Hz. Should be very thumpy. But just a lil bit more and you're sending all the signal that's int he audible range to ground. That will make for a very quiet bass! :p
  17. Looks like I just stumbled into a nice thing then. Believe me, it was an accident.

    But the .1uF is really working great for me on a 4-er - although ....there may be something else I can do for more giggles and kicks.

    It's the 'grass-is-always-greener' thing, I think. :D

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