Sunday, January 22, 2017

Squeezing the Tone, Part 2

In a previous blog post I talked about the difference of opinion when it comes to guitar capacitors.  If you have any hope of understanding what I'm talking about here, you may want to read this first.

So this is what it boils down to.  I have my guinea pig, my Epiphone Les Paul plain top honeyburst.

Now I'm going to change capacitors... again.  This time I bought an oil in paper cap AKA, the supreme mojo thing-a-ma-bob.  The oil in paper cap is supposedly the "bee's knees" of all tone caps. 

As I did say in my previous post, an oil in paper cap is a "run" capacitor.  The polyester caps are "start" capacitors.  I figured there wouldn't be any difference between poly caps, but I had to hear if oil caps really did have that secret, "mojo."

So I put a 0.022 UF oil in paper cap in the bridge tone pot.  I figured that would be where I would hear the most difference. 

I switched out the Mallory 0.022 UF poly cap for a Mallory 0.0153 UF cap for the neck tone pot.  I heard that was the key to getting the ultra super duper secret tone.  Also, it's suggested for the Eric Clapton woman tone.  Correction.  It's one of many suggestions I've read/heard/seen about achieving the woman tone.  So I went for it.

The black one is the oil in paper cap.  The yellow one is the Mallory. 

First up, the Mallory 0.0153 UF cap.

I know it's a little rough, but I've had a few pickups and a few caps in this guitar. 

Next up is the oil in paper 0.022 UF cap.

Once the solder cooled I immediately went for the sound check.  And you know how it sounded?  Exactly like it did before.  I can't say it improved the tone at all.  In all fairness I was already happy with how it sounded. 

I will give it this.  Changing the Mallory cap from 0.022 UF to 0.0153 changed the tone "a smidge" when I rolled back the tone all the way.  But then again, when do I ever do that? 

So, I'm glad I did this little experiment.  But I have to say, it didn't really change my opinion of paying a lot for "higher end" capacitors.  To me, the value is simply the value.  But I will say, I learnt quite a bit.  It answered a few questions I'd had for a while.  So I feel pretty good about that.  Now, off to play a little guitar. 

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