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Will a wiring kit with Orange Drop capacitor improve Squier P bass tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rshafer, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    I have a grounding issue with my Squier P bass (buzzing when not touching strings, pots or input jack), and I am wondering if getting one of those wiring kits from ebay will improve or otherwise cleanup the tone of the stock pickup.

    I am on the fence about getting new pickups for this Affinity bass, but since I have to get in there to correct the grounding, I thought perhaps it might be a cheap improvement with the wiring kit.
  2. Just fix the grounding issue first.

    The orange drop cap may give you a difference sound, but, in relality, the only variable which affects the tone (in this type of circuit) is the capacitance of the capacitor.

    Orange drop caps are good because they have a reasonably good tolerance, compared to some of the cheaper ceramic caps that can be as much as 80%+ 20%- and still be within tolerance (note, not all ceramic caps are cheap and have such wide tolerances).

    But, you never know, hell, you could even end up with the same (measured) capacitance and there'd be no change, or you could have a cap in there already that is much higher than you'd expect, which could be muddying the tone.

    A change of pickup is a wiser course to getting a better tone IMO, and you can get pretty decent pickups cheap :)
  3. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    First, you need to define what you would like 'improved' about the tone. If you can't answer that question precisely then you're just wasting money buying different parts.

    Second, unless you're replacing the entire wiring harness with a prewired one you should fix the grounding/buzz issues first. Then decide what needs to be done from there if anything.

    ctmullins likes this.
  4. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    Thanks for the input. I just didn't know what if anything those orange drop Caps did as far as tone.
    I'll just start with locating the ground issue.
  5. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    How's the buzz with your fingers on the strings? If it dies as soon as you touch the instrument, then it's relatively normal. I'd only futz with it if it's A). present while playing or B). REALLY loud and unhealthy sounding.
    Does it buzz in other locations?
  6. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    No it's a little more than normal. It's kind of annoying when playing. It's really amplified as I am fingering the fretboard and play an open note, etc. It's the same in different places.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Check the ground between the bridge and the outside ring of the jack. Chances are that you need to ground the brisge. A famous failure point with Fenders CS down through the Squires...

    The Orange Drop caps look sexy and sound like ... caps ... not really worth hte effort to me ...
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    When it buzzes which goes away when touching the strings means that you have a shielding problem (or if there is shielding already in the bass a grounding problem to that shielding). The fix is cheap but some work. A copper foil shielding kit. You will love the bass after you do this. Trust me.

    The "orange drop" issue is different and is about tone and not hum. The new cap will help only if the cap in the bass is crap. That usually means a cheap high value ceramic disk (looks sort of like a dime with wires) These have poor tolerance on the values and worse tend to have lots of leakage which affects tone. You don't really have to shell out for an orange drop kit though it will be the optimum. Virtually any decent cap of the right value of a type other than ceramic or electrolytic will work. Usually a metalized mylar works fine. If you don't know what any of this means then just get the kit and you'll have the best. Generally the effect of changing the cap is minor.
    petrus61 likes this.
  9. smoothdave


    May 24, 2009
    Does that bass have copper shielding?

    That could be a/the source of the buzz too it does not. Shield it when you do those other things.
  10. recnsci


    Apr 8, 2010
    Beside that most ceramics (except COGs) have high nonlinearity. Electrolytics and tantals require DC bias to work properly (unless they are bipolar elcos). Any "poly" cap will work (polyester-mylar, polypropylene, polystyrene )
  11. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    Thanks for the info.

    I haven't looked inside yet, but I doubt there is any shielding.

    So the copper foil goes all along the inside of the tone pot cavity in the body?
  12. PCR


    Apr 11, 2008
    One other thing to consider.....

    If you're going to change the cap, change the pots too. My Squier MB-40 had 500K alpha pots. I changed the cap and pots to CTS 250K pots. It was just another $4.00 per pot.

    Did it improve the tone? Well, that's a can of worms that I will just keep closed.
  13. The biggest change in tone you're going to see in that instance is because you halfed the (rated) resistance of potentiometer you were using.
  14. cessna928


    Mar 1, 2009
    Kentucky USA
    Before you do anything, grab a wiring schematic from seymour duncans website and make sure everything is connected properly. When I opened my Squire up the wiring job was absolute garbage. You need a good foundation to really diagnose any problems and zero in on your sound.
  15. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    Here an update to this. I found that the original wiring was a total mess, so went ahead and replaced everything with a wiring kit and copper shielding. The problem is, I am still getting the exact electrical pop sound when touching the strings, the bridge, or the pots. After all of this I still seem to have the same ground or shielding issue.

    I have attached an image of my wiring job. I followed the seymour duncan diagram. Can anyone tell if something is not wired correctly and hence not grounding.

    Attached Files:

  16. Could be your house wiring, or some lights. Fluorescents or Halogens are notorious for this.

    Make sure all your solder joints are shiny, not dull.

    I replaced my CV Squier P bass's cap with one of the orange ones and it seemed to take out some of highs, which was not a good thing, IMO.
  17. cessna928


    Mar 1, 2009
    Kentucky USA
    Did you take off your bridge and make sure the ground wire comes into solid contact with the underside? That's a pretty common cause of the pop. If there's any paint or chrome in between the wire and the metal, you should also scrape that off to make sure you get a good connection. I hope you get your problem sorted out, that pop is maddening IMO.
  18. Rshafer


    Dec 21, 2007
    I did check the ground wire under the bridge. It is almost a half inch long and I moved it a bit out of the original body impression where the bridge sinks it into the wood so that it created a fresh contact.

    You got it. That pop sound is annoying when you are playing something that has open notes.
  19. i replaced the electronics in my highway 1, and completely butchered them. For people who havent changed electronics before, get help beforehand/advice or something. my bass switches between no sound, and the colume know only with low output in reverse direction lol
  20. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    What Eaglemoon says.

    Move your amp/bass to another part of your house and see if you still have the problem.


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