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Pots and Caps

Started by rnolan, February 28, 2016, 04:26:00 AM

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rnolan

It's been a long while since I got into wiring guitars so the Strat upgrade project has rekindled my interest somewhat and I also made a couple of interesting discoveries.
When I first started doing this kind of stuff many years ago the was no Internet which I found very useful to get back up to speed however, it informs your choices, not decide them for you.

So because I was putting in 2 new single coil sized humbuckers (SD Hotrails Bridge, and SD Little 59 Neck) I had a bunch of choices to make. I went with 2 Dimarzio push pull 500k pots. I chose 500k over 250k as I didn't need to have top end removed as much (as with single coil PUs). The pots didn't fit in the squire bullet strat, I had to ream the holes to fit them. I kept one of the original 250k pots for the tone control, the 2 new pots are volume controls for their respective PUs and the PUs are wired series (down) parallel (up). This gives me lots of tone/volume options. Because it's all upside down (looking from underneath) initially I managed to wire both B & N out of phase with the middle PU (is original PU but screwed into guitar so is flush with scratch plate, basically to get it out the way and also reduce its volume). Getting the strat scratch plate out from under the strings once it's set up is an absolute pain (brought back memories... :facepalm: ), I had to remove it a few times to fix up some broken leads, which led to me ripping off one of the tone cap legs doh  :facepalm: . So I pulled the bridge off (I don't like to do this too often as you strip the 6 screw holes over time) but I needed to get it fixed and didn't want to waste a set of strings and didn't want to rip any more wires off in the process. Turned out the Bridge hot on both coils (ie black & red) had been ripped out.... So I rewired it but in phase this time (so now is out of phase with N like my JPLP). So via the super switch it's now OoP N, OoPN + M, OoPN + B, M + B, B. N and B have their own push pull vol pot and overall tone for everything.
So the 0.022uF cap is stuffed, and I need a new one. So I researched cap values a bit. I must say the Seymour Duncan site is very useful  :thumb-up: . What cap you need depends, how much do you roll the tone pot ? if at all (I never used to), what PUs are involved and how dark do you want it to get.
So SD diagrams all say use 0.047uF caps. But the 2A223J (0.022uF) is also popular (depending how much tops you want to roll off). I found 2 x 2A682J caps in a unit I've been pulling apart for practice at de-soldering. One of the posts I read talked about going even less than 0.022uF (eg 0.01uF) and that 2 caps together in parallel add together (so 2 x 0.0068 = 0.01364uF). Apart from having them to hand, I really like the result, it's a bit more subtle than your normal tone control which suits me fine.
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few

El Chiguete

For now on my build I will only use a push-pull volume knob, latter I will add a neck humbucker and look for the choices on that.
Before you see the light, you must die!!!

'87 Kramer Stagemaster Custom
'81 Kramer Pacer Standard
custom made Les Paul
ADA MP1
Rane MPE 28
Lexicon MPX-G2
Epiphone Valve Jr. moded!!!

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MarshallJMP

I must admit i don't use tone controls,all my tone controls on my guitars are disconnected except for the MS flying V.I never use them and this way i can't accidentally turn them down.

rnolan

I never used the tone pots either until I got the LP. Then I discovered some really nice tones by rolling the vol down to 2.5 - 3 ish and using the tone pots as well. On stage I've always turned all the pots to 10.
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few

tomy

Quote from: rnolan on February 29, 2016, 03:24:20 AM
I never used the tone pots either until I got the LP. Then I discovered some really nice tones by rolling the vol down to 2.5 - 3 ish

Ouch!!!! I 've never mentionned, be sure that I will check
"As far back as I can remember,  I've always wanted to be a  gangster..."

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vansinn

If only manufacturers would learn to implement a real tone control featuring a real passive LCR circuit (inductor/capacitor/resistor) - go and check Bill Lawrence' Q-filter, so versatile ; I've used my own sortof-lookalike version for 20+ years in my D├╝senberg :bow:
Even many active circuits are capable of only rolling-off the highs. Sheez kebab..
Without a real tone control, better leave it out completely.

Mad Max

I can recommend trying out push-push pots. I find them much easier to maneuver. I have a couple in one of my LPs and I'll never go back to push-pull again.

rnolan

Never come across a push-push pot, much better idea than push-pull which are a bit of a pain
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few

El Chiguete

The parallel wiring on my recent build turned up GREAT! So try it out.
Before you see the light, you must die!!!

'87 Kramer Stagemaster Custom
'81 Kramer Pacer Standard
custom made Les Paul
ADA MP1
Rane MPE 28
Lexicon MPX-G2
Epiphone Valve Jr. moded!!!

AFFA
Support Your Local 81

rnolan

Quote from: El Chiguete on March 04, 2016, 04:10:23 AM
The parallel wiring on my recent build turned up GREAT! So try it out.
+1  :thumb-up:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few

rnolan

I know not everyone is into tone rolling, hey I wasn't until recently.  Combining 2 x 2A682J caps in parallel (=0.01364 uF) (& 50's wirering) works a treat  :thumb-up: , particularly nice with the PU in parallel, really nice top end shaping without any mud (not the way to go if you want it really "dark" though), and nice and subtle (you can hear it, it's just not extreme (like many tone pot setups)).
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few

tomy

Hi Richard, was it the caps from your compressor ?
"As far back as I can remember,  I've always wanted to be a  gangster..."

ARSENAL :
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El Chiguete

Quote from: rnolan on March 04, 2016, 04:47:01 AM
I know not everyone is into tone rolling, hey I wasn't until recently.  Combining 2 x 2A682J caps in parallel (=0.01364 uF) (& 50's wirering) works a treat  :thumb-up: , particularly nice with the PU in parallel, really nice top end shaping without any mud (not the way to go if you want it really "dark" though), and nice and subtle (you can hear it, it's just not extreme (like many tone pot setups)).

Can you please talk more about this? I will in the future change pickups on my LP and caps so I'm interested in this SPECIALLY since you have the JPLP and that is a sound Im aiming for.
Before you see the light, you must die!!!

'87 Kramer Stagemaster Custom
'81 Kramer Pacer Standard
custom made Les Paul
ADA MP1
Rane MPE 28
Lexicon MPX-G2
Epiphone Valve Jr. moded!!!

AFFA
Support Your Local 81

rnolan

Hey Tomy, yes it was the 2 caps from my (desoldering practice gadget) Behringer compressor (2 x 2A682J (each 0.0068uF) now, in the strat, wired in parallel = 0.01364 uF). And I LIKE it  :whoohoo!:
This was partly inspired from reading a post by a guy who went with 0.010 uF cap, but mostly coz I had them to hand, just had to desolder them from the board and not drive to the electronics/music shop (I also like it's a weird value (0.01364uF)) but in the range my head was going.... I wanted subtle, not dark and very happy with the result BTW.

Hey El, so from my readings... 250k pots take away more top end (ie good for single coil strat PUs), 500k pots take away less; this is very simplistic BTW)) so good for humbuckers which are less toppy.  Ok the tone caps are in the circuit to filter off top end to ground. There are 2 main ways to wire them, vintage & modern. If you want to go 0.047uF (very common and suites single coils), kind of the half way mark (ie go vintage or modern wiring (there are other variables...)), if you want to go less on the cap (eg 0.033, 0.022, 0.010 uF),vintage wiring is the go (my take), but if you want really dark sounds (with tone on 0), then go modern wiring with cap values from 0.047 and up to say 0.068uF (allegedly really nice dark jazz sound for neck PU).

I found with testing tonight that the lower value caps really worked well to just take the sparkle down a bit but not turn it into mud, and very useful in the PU parallel position, just helps "tame it" if that makes sense.

The other thing I've cottoned onto recently is the JPLP wiring, having the neck and bridge out of phase when selected together works great, and again a little subtle tone control fits in well. Also I can have either PU in series or parallel mode and also vary their respective vols.  Mike had a play through his MP1, the variety of tones (on the same patch) was awesome (but he can post about that). The range of tones was amazing..
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few