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Capacitor experiment. Pretty neat findings.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MoeTown1986, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    I think that post is way to prescriptive and a bit unhelpful.

    Stuff like:

    ".01 uf: This is the cap found in vintage 62 P basses. It will roll off a LOT of highs and give you a very boomy tone. I would NOT use any value above this."

    ...is a bit rubbish. I guess they're talking about a 0.1 uF capacitor anyway (not 0.01 uF, as this is the smallest capacitance value they quote), but 'boomy' suggests that frequencies are being boosted, which isn't the case. A boomy bass is going to be boomy regardless of the cap value in a passive tone control.

    This comment alone feeds into my twin hates: guitarists using microfarads as the only unit of capacitance they can get their head around (and then making mistakes) and vastly overstating the properties and roles of fairly basic, boring passive components.

    Fender did use 0.1 uF caps in the new PJ Mustangs however, for what it is worth.

    ".03: This is the cap found on the bridge pickup for 62 jazz basses. With the tone all the way up it will have SLIGHTLY more treble, and with the tone down it won't roll off quite as much.

    .022: This is the cap used in most 70's era jazz basses. It has more of a drastic effect than the .03 cap, and you'll fine a lot more treble in your tone. I would not recommend using a cap value less than this."

    Again, way to specific and prescriptive. The 0.008 uF difference between a 0.03 uF and a 0.022 uF capacitor is not discernible.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  2. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio

    Yeah, I agree with you. I found this info with a Google search. Good old Google!

    I have a 1953 Fender P Bass and it has the .1 (not .01) cap. It does roll off more of the highs than a lower capacitor.

    You are totally correct. The bass frequency is not increased when rolling off the highs. The bass frequency actually stays the same. Only the highs are filtered out with the cap + pot.

    IMO or in my experience................a good old .047 (.050) does the job. Good enough!

    I can't see get too fussy with caps. And, I used to be anal about using "orange drop" caps. But, it doesn't really matter. A cap is a cap. It's job is to roll off highs. Story over.

    I do like a bit of roll off of the highs. Not too much roll off but taking the edge off. (I use flats.)

    Everybody's different.
    MoeTown1986 and Axstar like this.
  3. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    The Fender article was not well done.
    The OP's post is. I have also found that .022uF is great in many guitars, but not very useful in a bass, and .1uF often too dark. .047-.068uF are my favorite jams.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  4. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I agree. Have you given a .033uF a shot? I love a .022uF in a tele and a strat. Jazz bass? Not so much. But, a .033 in a Jazz?? Shew... love it!
  5. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I do .033uF to .047uF in my Strats and Teles. Tried the .033uF in some single coil basses (Peavey Foundation) but found the .047uF more to my liking. I kept the stock .022uF in a fretless Foundation because it maintained a middy mwah when rolled off. .068uF in the Ps and my Ibanez RB920 (dual J PU in the Stingray sweet spot) all day.
    I don't do a lot of tone roll off, but when I do, it's usually for a darker, more mid dipped thing. I also think I prefer the minor loading effect of the larger caps with single coils.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  6. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    To get more consistent results use film caps and avoid ceramics. Ceramic capacitors are cheaper and may have significant variation from their nominal rating. Film caps include Polyester, Polypropylene, and Myler. Orange Drop or "Audio Grade" may be other film cap indicators.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
  7. I generally avoid these sort of threads about passive circuits, and caps etc, but this quote is simply not true. Changing the tone cap value (within the usual range) has no effect until the tone pot is almost all the way down.
  8. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes and no. Of course there is no active boost, but with the tone pot off, the cap and pickup will resonate, giving the sense of a boost.
    MoeTown1986 likes this.
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