2 November 2011

The effects of capacitance on tone.



This is the first part of something that I was asked about on the MetalGuitarist forum.

In itself it can be quite awkward to explain but there are a few basic rules that apply and I will go through them in the simplest application there is to a guitarist.

The tone control. The main properies of a capacitor used in this application is to increase or decrease the high frequencies depending on how they are wired.

A common value that is used as a "tone" capacitor is 0.022uF if you increase this to say 0.1uF you will roll off a far larger amount of the high frequencies.

For a quick reference here are a few common capacitor values that are used in guitars

0.10uF - Darker sometimes described as a muddier sound (no good for metal imho)

0.047uF - Less dark, with a pleasant frequency curve through the travel of the pot.

0.022uF - This cap gives a brighter sound and does not roll off as much high end and also has a good frequency curve throughout the travel of the pot

Another point that i have seen come up on various forums is that a higher voltage capacitor will change/alter the sound. This is NOT true a using a 600v  Orange Drop will have the exact same effect as using a 100v Orange Drop as your guitar will never see 600v going through it and if it does there is something seriously wrong!

Also using a really low value capacitor will give the effect of reducing the low end frequencies when wired up with a pot this can be seen in an excellent post on the MetalGuitarist forum.

I shall do more of these in different applications if people request them.