Monday, December 20, 2010

Guitar Tone Capacitor Values - My Faves

Today, I would like to present my favorite values of tone caps in guitar wirings. It will be the selection for a common type of a tone control: volume pot + capacitor. It's something well known from most of guitars on the market.
If you are thinking about changing the tone cap in your guitar, this short article can be helpful.

This is how I describing my two main purposes of using the potentiometer based guitar tone control:

For soft, warm and jazzy smooth tone, or for the „woman tone”.
Works nice with a well tuned pot - not on full – if you want warmth and smoothness. If you want to get the „woman tone”, it can work well on the maximum turn-on.

Good for making the tone a little bit smoother and well balanced. Works nice if the knob is turned only slightly. Good for small interference of the tone control circuit.


Classic Stratocaster style single-coil pickups:

0,039uF (39nF) - A
0,056uF (56nF) - B

Classic Telecaster style p-ups (especially neck position)

0,033uF - A
0,05uF - B

Medium output, vintage humbuckers and P90's (Gibson style):

0,033uF - A
0,047uF - B

Modern constructions (like Seymour Duncan JB Model)

0,015uF - A
0,022uF - B

As you can see, I like to use higher cap values for more subtle tone shaping. Lower values are good for me if I want some bigger impact. It's not a paradox. If the tone control circuit acts on whole treble and middle of the signal (higher cap value), but the interference is small, the tone becomes nicely smooth and warm. All frequencies still have quite good response, but there is less middle and treble „scream”.

The difference between „purpose A” and „purpose B” is a very cool thing, especially if you have a Stratocaster, or some 4-pot Gibson (Les Paul, SG). In this kind of guitars, you can use two different capacitors for two different pickups.

Remember, that this selection is based on my own experience and taste. Maybe it will not be so great for you like for me. However, it's a very good starting point for a guitar modification.