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Cap types

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by i_got_a_mohawk, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. More questions, sorry for this

    I know that the higher value a capacator the higher the amount of treble that is rolled off when the tone dial is turned down

    However, is there any difference between cap types? just looking online here and there are cheap cement caps and there are orange drop style caps that are more expensive, and im better there are probably a few different types that are also availible, what im wondering is . . . is there and actual difference between the makeup of different caps, or is it negligable? (ie the capacitance value is the only thing that really counts? )


    - Will
  2. It's a can of worms. There's the "type doesn't matter, only value" school, the "you gotta get those $$$ Guitarcaps, tone nirvana!" school and everything in between.

    Personally, coming from the audio electronics camp, I wouldn't put a ceramic cap in the signal path (yes, in parallel to ground *is* in the signal path) because of non-linear behaviour, but anything more than a run of the mill polyester cap is overkill IMHO. Incidentally, you can get poly caps from electronic component suppliers (Digikey, Mouser, Newark) cheaper than what guitar parts suppliers charge for ceramics.

    Even if you're anal and want the very best you can get (it's no big bucks anyway), the very best being a film and foil polypropylene cap, you can get them for $1.57 from Mouser, you don't have to spend EIGHT times more in a Guitarcap because it's claimed to be "specifically designed for guitar" without any serious substantiation to that claim. Of course people will swear that they hear a huge improvement with those. And they do hear it (which doesn't mean it's there): the brain wants to make sure that you don't feel stupid after spending $12 on a capacitor. However, when you challenge them to do a blind test to confirm their perception... well, that's when it gets amusing. It's also fun to ask the people designing and selling these caps to explain what they mean in technical terms by "specifically designed for guitar". Then it's suddenly a secret. Well if you're on to something like this you don't keep it a secret, you file a patent.

    For a good overall picture of the can, the worms and the fun, see this recent thread in The Gear Page forum:

  3. Cheers for the info, what your saying about non-linear behaviour makes sense, i was unaware of that, ill look into a film & foil cap if i can find any over here for non-guitar-player-prices

    I was sure there would be reasonable differences, cheers for the help :)
  4. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Thanks for the post on cap types!

    As far as values go, I never use .050 mf's anymore. Using .020's seems to provide the same range of tones over a wider range of the pot's rotation. The .050's seem to have a much narrower sweet spot, and a much wider area where they provide the wall of mud. This is purely personal preference.
  5. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
  6. Im going with either 0.05µF or 0.1µF for this bass, want it to sound pretty dark, was just curious about the different physical properties of the different cap types :)

    Thanks for the post tho

    And thanks for the link rodent
  7. Oops, I didn't realize you were at this side of the pond! In the UK your best bet is Farnell (www.farnell.co.uk), I'm pretty sure they stock the WIMA FKP series of film and foil polypropylene caps at good prices. I used Farnell a lot when I was in the UK a few years ago and they were great.