Do different pots/capicitors =different tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by aaronious, Dec 8, 2015.


  1. aaronious

    aaronious

    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    Do different pots and capicitors give different tonal characteristics? 500k vs. 250k? .22 vs. .47 caps so on and so forth. Does it make a difference?
    And help would be appreciated I'm just looking for as much knowledge on electronics as you guys can gives me
    Thanks!!:)
     
  2. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    It certainly does. Simplistically, smaller caps raise the cutoff of the tone control so you get more mids coming through and big caps give you dub tones. Pot value has a much less important role, but a higher value will give a theoretical increase in brightness when fully on but less control as the effective range is squeezed into the lower end of the travel.
     
    aaronious likes this.
  3. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Also, the pickup itself forms part of the tone circuit, so the same cap and pot will act differently on a vintage single coil compared to a hot humbucker.
     
    aaronious likes this.
  4. aaronious

    aaronious

    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    So if I have a Dimarzio model one installed in an epiphone eB-O and I want less dub and a little more treble when I hit the tone knob what kind of caps should I get if already have 500 k pots. Higher or lower value?
     
  5. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    Lower value. The smaller the value, the less treble is blocked (making it sound brighter than higher value caps).
     
  6. Growlmonkee

    Growlmonkee

    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    A lower value cap will yield more brightness, but...the position of a pickup has more to do with the tone than anything. In the case of An EB0 the pickup being near the neck gives it that boom...and dub sound. A change in pots, or cap isn't gonna change a lot. A set of the brightest possible strings would have a much bigger effect on tone,...on that particular bass.
     
    Max Blasto and Will_White like this.
  7. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Pet peeve of mine, caps block lows, letting the highs pass, the reason a tone cap reduces treble is because it's in parallel so the highs go to ground removing them from the signal. A lower value cap has a higher cut off frequency and a higher value cap has a lower cut off frequency.
    The standard gibson .022uf should work well and is where I would start if you feel that's still cutting to much highs, a .013uf might fit the bill. I also would go with a 1 meg linear volume, and a 250k audio no load tone, so you can get it as bright as possible when everything's on 10.
     
    aaronious likes this.
  8. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    I thought I read that they were "low pass filters," meaning they blocked highs while letting the lows pass, but I guess I was wrong about that. Thanks.
     
  9. Indeed, it is a low-pass filter. Lows are passed, highs are blocked.
     
  10. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    A tone control is a low pass filter, but the tone cap blocks lows from being shunted to ground and lets the highs through removing them from the signal.
     
  11. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    I think we're saying the same thing in different ways.

    When I said the highs were blocked, I meant eliminated from the signal that is sent to the amp. As in the highs are "blocked."

    You're saying (I think) that the cap "lets the highs through removing them from the signal."

    I'm using the word "blocked" in reference to the part that is NOT passed through the hot signal.

    You're using the word "blocked" to reference the part that is blocked from being blocked (shunted to ground).
     
  12. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Yes, as I said it's a pet peeve of mine, and semantics really in practice both ways are right.
     
  13. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    A bass-cut circuit or Fender TBX control may clear up the bass end for less 'dub', and the TBX is treble-cut/bass-cut depending which way the knob is turned.
     
  14. A capacitor all by itself is a high pass filter. In a passive tone control it is used to pass highs to ground, so they are not heard.
     
    Will_White likes this.
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    not normally, no. it's just a tone pot that disconnects itself up past "5" so it leaves in a slight bit more brightness, but it has no effect on the low end either way.

    there was apparently a very early wiring scheme for these that did actually cut bass, but i have never seen an instrument with one wired that way ever.
     
    Will_White likes this.
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    From the Stewmac web site

    500K pots are standard controls for humbuckers, and 250Ks are usually used for single-coil pickups. A 250K gives a slightly warmer tone than a 500K, and bleeds off some of the high frequencies to ground. A 1-meg pot bleeds off even less than a 500K—try one if you want to hear your guitar "wide open."

    1-meg pots are also ideal for piezo pickups, as the ultra high impedance piezo element is more adversely effected by conventional, lower-value pots than magnetic pickups.
     
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    true in principle, but i think false in "degree"; passive piezos get their low end choked by anything lower than like 10 Meg pots, not 1 Meg! you really want to feed the piezos directly into a dedicated piezo pre with a 6 or 10M input first, to prevent low end loss. that's best handled onboard the instrument.

    once the piezo signal has been "fixed" by a preamp, you'd use regular 25k pots meant for any active signal to work volume and tone.
     
    Will_White likes this.
  18. aaronious

    aaronious

    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    Wow, I'm in waaay over my head with all you genius' lol. I'm just gonna add some more treble on my eq pedal and call it a night.
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  19. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  20. DavC

    DavC

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    first , while folks argue about caps .... adjust your pickup heights ... try brighter strings .... new strings .. ? if your Tone/Volume pots are wide open ... the previously mentioned things pass right thru like it not there ... !!

    there are many other variables that we don't know about on your bass, that can affect brightness ... ! without even mentioning --- amp / speaker ... ????

    flats/rounds/nickel/stainless/new/old/very old/tape wounds/half rounds/ pressure wounds/ etc , etc ....
     
    ptensioned likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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