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Changing Caps? Caps in general.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by pandathe3, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. pandathe3


    Mar 3, 2009
    I have searched the forums and other internet resources, but, nothing has quite answered my question.

    I want the best out of my bass, something that suits my style perfectly. Lately i have been looking into modifications, cheap ones at that, which can change the sound of my bass too how i'd like it.

    While looking through sections about electronics i have noticed that there are alot of different types of caps; Ceramic and Orange Drops ect. More so is what they are rated at.

    Can someone please give me some advice on what the differences are, for example:

    Ceramic .047 Vs. Orange Drop .001

    This would be great cheers
  2. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    What sounds do you have in mine? Like, what style is your bass not good enough at?

    I can't advise on differences between tone caps other than to say that if your bass is passive and you normally have the tone right up the cap is doing nothing at all and it won't matter what you use. The cap only plays when you start to roll the tone off. ...

    How many kinds of strings have your tried?
  3. pandathe3


    Mar 3, 2009
    My bass is a Squire VM 70's jazz....... Yes, its very bright.......

    I use my passive tone quite alot, i usually have it around 7 or 8.

    I want something that can make it give more low end. I have had a look at different pot types and how the volume pot can make a difference. Currently its stocked with 500K pots, so i'm already thinking of changing the Neck pickup volume too a 250K and changing the tone pot too a 250K also.

    String wise.....well, i mainly use Ernieball super slinkies and also tried Rotosounds. Next string i'm trying out will be some light Elixirs.
  4. Try 250 pots all around with a .022 or .047 cap.
  5. The tone control (potentiometer) rolls off high frequencies when turned back from 10. The capacitor attached to it determines just how high the frequencies you're rolling off are. A capacitor with a bigger microfarad rating will roll off lower frequencies than one with a smaller microfarad rating, e.g. a larger value cap may affect frequencies above 6,000 Hertz while a smaller one may start at 12,000. The .047 you mention above will make a pretty muffled sound when the tone control is on 1, while the.001 would probably just take off a little click in the attack and leave everything else alone. If you leave your tone control on 10 the difference in capacitors would be inaudible or very very close to. The more you turn down the tone the more difference you'd notice. Many dedicated tone tweakers hear a difference in sound between cheap ceramic and and other more expensive caps, with the more expensive judged to sound better. While I think I've heard some difference in them in guitars, I can't say I've ever heard a difference in them in basses.
    David 1234 has a good thought regarding strings. They'll probably make more difference than pots and caps.
  6. RyreInc


    May 11, 2006
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Pretty much anything but ceramic is ok. Ceramics have a significant nonlinear transfer characteristic, while other types of caps are much more linear. See link below:


    No passive circuit can add energy; they can only subtract (and shift). Any passive tone circuit will remove energy. Standard tone circuits remove energy from the higher frequencies.

    Also, the cap always affects the sound, even when the tone pot is all the way up; just to a lesser extent.

    The value of the cap determines the corner frequency (relatively at least; higher-valued caps will have a lower corner freq. than lower-valued ones). Standard bass cap value is 47nF.
  7. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    You might enjoy trying some flatwounds. Plenty of players here prefer them. Just don't make up your mind on them straight away, apparently they have to wear in (some say for a year!) to sound really right.
  8. pandathe3


    Mar 3, 2009
    Ahhhh, i have tried flatwounds. Some fender ones when i got my Encore fretless bass....

    I liked the sound but they felt too heavy. Next time I change i will buy some Light gauge. Any suggestions on what company i should go for? Thanks for the tip.
  9. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    D'A Chromes. 40-95 are the lightest (ECB80). I use 45-100 (ECB81).
  10. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Here's the place to get good caps cheap, upper right, the 200VDC caps. Since s/h will run you about $5 get the .01, .022, .047, .1, and .15uF caps...about $10 including s/h.


    Since you want bassy tone forget about the .001uF.

    I'd suggest you bypass the pots (tone suckers, IMO) and wire your pickup straight to the jack with a couple of alligator clips. Try different caps attaching them across the jack with the pickup leads. Each clip will hold one pickup lead and one cap lead. Start with the biggest and work your way down (the bigger, the bassier). Caps' values are added when in parallel; for example, if you think .1 is too bassy and .047 is too trebly, try a .047 + .022 and/or .01 for total value of .069, .057, or .079uF.

    I like this method so much my basses use switches to select caps, no pots. There's a volume knob on the amp...

    If you try that and like it, the next step would be some LaBella DT 760FM strings, $27 (helluva deal) + s/h from Imperial Guitar.

    Edit: just saw the part where you want lighter flats...LaBella 760FL, they'll last for decades and sound great, really.
  12. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Before changing anything, you might try wiring your PU direct to the jack to hear it's true sound, and then you'll have a better idea exactly where you want to take it and shoot for the mod that best gives you that with the least amount of trial and error.
  13. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Straight to the jack without a cap would be VERY trebly and clackety.

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