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Fender Precision bass tone cap

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by don1, Sep 26, 2017.


  1. don1

    don1

    Jul 28, 2015
    New Zealand
    Hey, has anyone had any experiences with a Taihan black bee PIO .1uf (+or- 10%) tonecap in a passive fender precision? I've just put one in my passive fender precision pj bass with aguilar pj set pickups. I reckon it sounds pretty good, thundering lows, but wondering if the .1uf is a bit much and i should try a .068.. the sound I'm after is fat and warm, with a little bit of growl. Inbetween vintage and modern. Thanks for any opinions shared.
     
  2. Caps are caps...I use .1uF. I forgot what I have. Just looked for one that had about +- 5%. I also use a 500k pot for the tone control.
     
  3. don1

    don1

    Jul 28, 2015
    New Zealand
    Thanks. Anyone try a .068?
     
    Charlzm and Pbassmanca like this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Maybe @line6man or @BassmanPaul can chime in with some specifics of a cap/pots combination that will get you where you want to go.

    If it were me, I would leave it stock and experiment with strings. I find that bright strings dialed back a little give me a good warm but bright sound.

    Good luck with your quest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    40Hz and don1 like this.
  5. don1

    don1

    Jul 28, 2015
    New Zealand
    Thanks, my bass came standard with a ceramic disk .1uf, when installing the aguilar pj set i thought to upgrade the cap with the black bee. 1uf, the aggies sound amazing and truly have thundering lows, I like the low fat warm sound but I see in the schematic aguilar recommend .045
     
  6. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    I have Orange drop SBE 225P .068uf cap in my lovely Squier CV 60p currently.
    YAP_0995.JPG

    I put the Original 62 pup into my CV60P few weeks ago, and i found i cant dial out the tone i like and hard to get balance string to string tone with .1uf cap.
    Later i try .033, .047 and the .068 meet my need.
    But i can get the sweet spot easily on Fender 63pup and benson Handwound P pup with .1 cap.
     
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  7. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    My PJ has 0.047 and 0.022 on a switch that allows one, the other or both (0.069). I find 0.069 about as big as I need for plenty of deep resonant lows with just enough definition. Previously it had 0.1 in there and I found that too be too much flub...
    IME the type makes no difference, but I will always go no larger than 250k for the pot, else it becomes a switch.
     
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  8. Maybe on a two pickup bass a 250k pot works like a switch, but on a P style bass, I can dial in a 250k tone pot at about a little more than a third down.
     
    don1 likes this.
  9. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    :) My point was anything larger than 250k, which in practical guitar part terms means 500k, acts like a switch in that nothing really happens for the first 2/3 of travel downwards. 250k is perfect in most applications for a tone control.
     
    don1 likes this.
  10. I use a 500k Tone pot. Plenty happens.
     
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  11. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    As with all things, if it works for you (or anyone else for that matter) then who an I?
     
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    You do need to remember that capacitors are not usually precision components. Virtually all of them have either a +/- 10% or 20% tolerance. So each individual cap can have an actual value significantly higher or lower than the .047 or .063 printed on it.

    In a passive bass you have an LCR type circuit composed of an inductor (your pickup) resistors (the pots) and one or more capacitors. In that type of circuit, if you change the value of anything, you change the fundamental tone you're going to get. It's not just the value of the "tone" cap that determines the tone.

    So don't get too hung up on the tone cap. The type of capacitor (ceramic, film, etc.) isn't a significant factor as long as it's not damaged and is within spec. An expensive bee or PIO or tropical fish capacitor isn't going to get you anything a 10¢ film capacitor can't give you just as well.

    Since the caps I mostly use have a 10% tolerance, I'll try three or four before deciding which one I'll leave in a bass when I'm rewiring one. Most times the differences in sound are slight or nonexistent. But sometimes one sounds noticeably better. Because that cap's actual value hits a sweet spot paired with the other components in that particular bass. I think that's probably where the mystique surrounding "magic capacitors" got its start. Somebody tried some oddball old capacitor, it sounded great in a particular bass, and they assumed it was the type of capacitor that was making the difference - when it was really the actual value of that particular capacitor in that particular bass that was making the difference they were hearing.

    I'm firmly convinced that what is called sonic "mojo" is directly attributable to the fairly sloppy electrical tolerances of the inexpensive electronic components used in most passive basses. The potentiometers, capacitors, and pickups found in electric guitars and basses are not precision components by any stretch.

    So rather than overanalyze things too much, I suggest trying a few different tone caps to see which one puts you in the ballpark of what you're looking for. And let it go at that.

    After that, if you want to chase a bass tone you're hearing in your head, do what experienced players do: experiment with the EQ setting on their amp, try different sets of strings, and (this is very important) pay closer attention to their playing technique. Because while tone may not be entirely in your hands, an awful lot of your tone is found there.

    Luck! :thumbsup:

    (Note: after trying out a lot of different capacitors and values over the years, I found your standard .047 poly cap that goes for 15¢ on average works just fine for me.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  13. don1

    don1

    Jul 28, 2015
    New Zealand
    Thanks, great advice. The never ending quest for tone.. :)
     
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  14. Don't waste money on those ridiculous "boutique" capacitors. You gain absolutely nothing from them.
     
  15. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    This, above all else. Pickup inductance, DC resistance, volume pot value and position, amp input impedance, cable capacitance all play a part in defining the filter characteristics.
     
    Pbassmanca, don1 and petrus61 like this.
  16. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    put 2 caps in ... with a switch ... !! baby varitone
     
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  17. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    A fair number of people here have expressed satisfaction with 0.068 tone caps, so there is no reason not to try one. Most of us feel that 0.047 is about right but every value from 0.022 to 0.1 manages to garner some fans here.

    You can get RF caps in tolerances down to at least 2% but I don't think they are available at that tolerance in the value range we use in basses. If you buy your caps from actual electronics distributors and you pay attention to the specs you can easily find 5% caps. The advantage of tight tolerance caps is that they will all perform the same. If you buy 20% caps you may be disappointed by the results even though you buy the same value cap as someone else who used it in the same bass you have and got results you liked. For example if you buy 20% caps the 0.068 cap you buy to test that value out could actually be smaller than the 0.047 cap you bought to compare it with! You would conclude that there was no difference between them unless you have very good ears and then you would conclude that the smaller value was deeper! If you instead bought 5% caps you would hear the real difference between the two and others would be able to reproduce your results, assuming they also bought 5% caps....

    There truly is no advantage to boutique caps unless you are doing a museum quality restoration and you need something that looks exactly like the factory original from the 1950's. On the other hand they don't cost that much compared to a lot of other things we buy and end up not liking so if it makes you feel better, if it gives you pleasure, go ahead a buy that boutique cap.
     
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  18. Hey Don,
    if you want to learn, first hand, what works for you
    and your bass, get a handfull of various value caps
    and start swapping them out.
    It's easy enough and they don't cost much.
     
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  19. My ’63 Precision came with a 100n ceramic cap. I left it at that value when I redid the electrics cos of age. I used an Orange Drop cap.
     
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  20. Cadfael

    Cadfael

    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    You can try everything between 100 and 22nF ...
    .05 (50nF) is standard but historically, 100 AND 50nF were used.

    Leo Fender wouldn't have payed 0.01 cent more for a 5% cap! He used everything he could get to save money! That's why you find +/- 5% or 10% caps and others on old Fender basses!

    The best cap for YOU depends on your bass and your feeling!
    If you feel better using an expensive cap - buy it! Feeling is more important that rationallity...
    But please don't think that more expensive / "more precise" caps bring a great sound!
     
    don1 likes this.

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