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Are Caps In Guitars 'Oriented"?

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  • Are Caps In Guitars 'Oriented"?

    I'm installing a Vitamin Q "oil in paper" cap in my MIM Strat. The two ends appear different, is there a specific way to wire it? I've used Orange Drops in the past and thier the same at either end. Frst time for these caps and I'm curious.
    Delaware, now surf free.

  • #2
    One end will usually be marked to indicate the outer foil. if you connect that end to ground, you will get a tiny bit of shielding advantage. Other than that, it makes no difference which way it's connected.

    I hope you didn't pay too much. Paper in oil is overkill for a guitar tone-cut circuit. Great stuff for a coupling cap in an amp. In that application, it's worth the bux. But other than a situation where all the signal has to pass through the cap, paper in oil is hideously expensive and makes little difference in the tone.
    Originally Posted by Anderton


    FYI God posts here, but under an alt.









    Originally Posted by BernardAlbrecht


    Yeah, it's SomeoneYouKnew.



    Apparently I'm God.

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    • #3
      Oil caps arent the best choice for guitars. High dissipation factor means that oil-paper capacitors are best suited for DC applications or for AC applications with limited duty cycles, like motor starting. Small value oil caps have been migrating their way into high end audio stuff, but from what I see its just hype to how well they work.

      For guitars, in my personal opinion, glass caps sound the purest for rolling off tone followed by orange drops. Some may not like the sharp rolloff a glass cap may have. They are often used in EQ type circuits where critical military specs are needed/wanted. They are more expensive in the $2~10 ranges. There again they are the caps that get sent to Mars on the rovers.

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      • #4
        I agree with both posters. Way overkill for a cap. I find the elcheapo caps I get @ rat shack are just fine for a guitar. I can't hear a difference in tone. But I've worked around loud airplanes all my life and I've been married twice. The latter probably did just as much damage as the airplanes.

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        • #5
          Small value oil caps have been migrating their way into high end audio stuff, but from what I see its just hype to how well they work.
          You need a little history lesson. Paper in oil caps have been the gold standard for coupling caps in high-end audio since the '50s. They haven't been "migrating in". If anything, they've been "migrating out", as the improvements in quality and cost-effectiveness of film/foil and metalized film caps have made them more attractive.

          Steve Bench has a nice little article he wrote about the non-linearities in capacitors.

          http://greygum.net/sbench/sbench102/caps.html

          Again, this is not so important in a guitar tone-cut circuit. When the tone control is at max, the cap is essentially out of the circuit. And when you rotate the tone knob counter-clockwise, the cap begins to shunt the highs to ground. So any advertised claims of added "brilliance" are laughable.
          Originally Posted by Anderton


          FYI God posts here, but under an alt.









          Originally Posted by BernardAlbrecht


          Yeah, it's SomeoneYouKnew.



          Apparently I'm God.

          Comment


          • #6
            You need a little history lesson. Paper in oil caps have been the gold standard for coupling caps in high-end audio since the '50s. They haven't been "migrating in". If anything, they've been "migrating out", as the improvements in quality and cost-effectiveness of film/foil and metalized film caps have made them more attractive.

            Steve Bench has a nice little article he wrote about the non-linearities in capacitors.

            http://greygum.net/sbench/sbench102/caps.html

            Again, this is not so important in a guitar tone-cut circuit. When the tone control is at max, the cap is essentially out of the circuit. And when you rotate the tone knob counter-clockwise, the cap begins to shunt the highs to ground. So any advertised claims of added "brilliance" are laughable.


            I should have said they're migrating back into high end stuff. They were popular in the old stuff because thats all that was readily available. I lived that history you're talking about repairing all that high end audio stuff and can attest first hand that oil/foil caps became more of an oddity than a norm, because I repaired all high end audio stuff for a living. There were many other options being used especially on imports that constituted most of the Audio stuff being sold in the US during the 70s through 90s. Its only been in the past 20 years with the onset of the internet that alot of these vintage parts have become popular again.

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            • #7
              But the original question was are Caps oriented or which end should go to ground when there is no + or - designator. For example a ceramic cap is used most the time in a tone circuit. The way a cap is made it is rolled with (2) plates and a dielectric and then both plates are internally connected to the (2) external leads. For best results for shielding and low noise such as 60 Hz hum the lead that is at the "end" of the rolled cap is usually at the right of the printing on the cap that tells you the capacitance and voltage rating. This is true most of the time but not always so when the end of the rolled cap is grounded this helps shielding the capacitor from noise due to how it is grounded. Capacitors can pic up noise just like wires which should be kept as short as possible.
              maveric_manic

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              • #8
                Excellent thread. I learned a few things. Education is good!
                A good guitar cannot be built for the price of a poor one, but who regrets the extra cost for a good guitar?"
                F.H.Martin
                1904

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                • #9
                  The results are in! And thier nothing, no tonal difference that I can hear. However the roll off of highs is nice and gradual. Worth the money? No, but I was curious. Now I know better.
                  Delaware, now surf free.

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                  • #10
                    The results are in! And thier nothing, no tonal difference that I can hear. However the roll off of highs is nice and gradual. Worth the money? No, but I was curious. Now I know better.


                    Experimenting is part of the fun of DIY. I've seen threads @ HCEG in which people will swear their OIP caps are much better sounding. But these are people who swear their top dollar bouitque pickups sound the best. More money does not always equal better tone. If you can't get good tone with decent stuff by playing with your amp and pedals, you might as well give up on life and become a drummer. Or just learn to play.

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