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#1
I'm just wondering... if you upgrade stock pots/caps with something like this for example... how much of a an improvement can you really expect sound-wise? Is it really noticeable, or more like something you'd have to be Eric Johnson to notice?
#5
Maybe when you roll off the tone knob for jazz tones it makes more of a difference?
#6
Quote by AcousticMirror
you'll notice more of a change from values being different.


+1 values make make the difference, not 50 year old PIO caps that are stupid expensive.

FWIW i use Switchcraft for jacks and switches, orange drops for caps and bournes for pots.
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#7
Quote by OliveG
Maybe when you roll off the tone knob for jazz tones it makes more of a difference?

No.

Read this before asking any more questions regarding caps.

http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=224
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#8
$149 for a guitar wiring harness is a waste of money in my opinion and won't do anything special to your tone
#9
Low quality pots used as a volume pot tend to be more likely to sound scratchy when you turn them and they often dampen treble however nowadays even cheap guitars tend to use good enough pots that this isn't really an issue and the difference between a mid level pot and a super nice one has more to do with how smooth the taper is and less to do with good tone.

Low quality pots used as a tone control tend to work just fine and I can't hear a difference between budget and top shelf ones.  I suspect this is because the tone control in a guitar leads to ground and isn't actually part of your hot signal.

Caps are kinda tricky to explain.  You have several types that are used in guitars and the different types all effect your tone slightly but it's not enough for most people to notice.  Mylar caps sound different than ceramic caps which sound different than poly which sound different than paper and oil but you will only hear it when you really listen.  Upgrading from cheap caps to expensive caps of the same type will have little or no effect on tone.  This is because the amount of current going through the caps is so small that you never really make the cap do much work.  A cap on the volume pot will have a more noticeable effect on toneal quality than a cap on the tone pot because the cap on the volume pot (if you have one there) deals with hot signal running to your amp while a tone cap runs to ground.  Even though a cap bridging the lugs on a volume pot makes more of a difference than the tone cap you still wouldn't be able to hear a difference between a cheap $0.50 ceramic cap and a $5.00 ceramic cap because the voltage and current are still to small to make the cap work very much.  You will however notice a difference between a ceramic cap and a mylar cap or a mylar cap vs a poly cap and the difference will stand out quite a bit when you turn your volume knob down.

The wiring harness in question uses pretty box standard pots, no cap on the volume, and paper and oil caps on the tone control.  The reason it is such an expensive rig is because paper and oil caps cost a lot.  I think that paper and oil caps on a guitar's tone knob are a waste of money.  They don't stand out and make you sound better.  If you really listen you will be able to hear a slight difference between paper and oil vs the other common cap types but you do have to listen very hard.  The harness is pretty good value for money but if I were to buy something like that I wouldn't actually use it in a guitar, I'd save the parts for a pedal or an amp.
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#10
How much difference do upgraded electronics make?    


#11
Quote by CorduroyEW

Caps are kinda tricky to explain.  You have several types that are used in guitars and the different types all effect your tone slightly but it's not enough for most people to notice.  Mylar caps sound different than ceramic caps which sound different than poly which sound different than paper and oil but you will only hear it when you really listen. 

Wrong. Obviously you haven't read the article I linked earlier.

http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=224

 The data and sound clips above show clearly that for tone capacitors of close measured capacitance value there is no difference in tone. For example, compare the clips and plots for the “Monolithic X7R 0.022uF – 0.0204” and the “Vishay 225P Orange Drop 0.022uF – 0.0204”. (You can click on the colored box in the legend and the line will be highlighed briefly.) These two capacitors, of the same measured value (0.0204uF) but different dielectrics have indistinguishable plot lines, differing in frequency at the 0dB crossing by about 0.3%. This difference is below the rated accuracy of our measurement equipment and is statistically insignificant. 
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#12
No.  The only reason to upgrade would be if you have lower end pots in your guitar.  Even then, you can buy Bourns pots for like $6 a piece.  What you may notice upgrading from cheap Chinese pots to something like, say, Bourns, is a smoother feel, no scratchiness, and a more controlled taper in volume.  Again, you can get this for $6 a pot ...
#13
Cool link, thanks! Very informative. I won't ask anymore questions about caps. :-P I think I remember playing with them when I was building my amp (like 6-7 years ago so my memory is fuzzy) and already noticing very little difference...
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
No.

Read this before asking any more questions regarding caps.

http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=224
Last edited by OliveG at Apr 6, 2017,
#14
T00DEEPBLUE

good read! Thanks for posting that.
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youre just being a jerk man.



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2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
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2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
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#15
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Wrong. Obviously you haven't read the article I linked earlier.

http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=224



 I read it.  I just don't agree with it.  I've done my own testing with different results. 
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Apr 7, 2017,
#17
Quote by CorduroyEW
 I read it.  I just don't agree with it.  I've done my own testing with different results. 

I love it when people say this but make no attempt to substantiate it.
Quote by AcousticMirror
Low voltage cap interactions can't even be picked up on a scope

Why not?

If they can't, how do you explain the plot lines being so similar to the larger voltage caps? Surely there would be no signal to begin with if nothing could be detected, no?
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#18
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I love it when people say this but make no attempt to substantiate it.

What I did is I made a tone generator connected to  the 1st lug of a pot.  The wiper of the pot had 5 equal length wires connected to it.  Each wire lead to an on/off switch and each switch was connected to a different type of cap and each cap was connected to ground.  I  was able to do A/B style tests where the conditions for each cap was exactly the same.  I tested the caps at 100hz and 1khz and I found that the different types of caps did sound slightly different.  I don't know how to put what I heard into words.  Many people say that some are smoother than others but I didn't think that words like smooth or bright or dark really describe it.  The different cap types did, however sound slightly different.
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#19
Quote by CorduroyEW
What I did is I made a tone generator connected to  the 1st lug of a pot.  The wiper of the pot had 5 equal length wires connected to it.  Each wire lead to an on/off switch and each switch was connected to a different type of cap and each cap was connected to ground.  I  was able to do A/B style tests where the conditions for each cap was exactly the same.  I tested the caps at 100hz and 1khz and I found that the different types of caps did sound slightly different.  I don't know how to put what I heard into words.  Many people say that some are smoother than others but I didn't think that words like smooth or bright or dark really describe it.  The different cap types did, however sound slightly different.

Let's break this down.

1. Anecdotes from human beings who inherently have biases towards how one cap sounds different to the other can never be a scientific test. You need to substantiate your results with plotlines or your tests are meaningless.

2. You haven't mentioned anything about measuring the actual capacitance value of the capacitors you've tested. Just because a capacitor says that it's rated for 0.022uf doesn't mean it actually is. So any difference in tone you might've heard from one cap to another can be easily dismissed by saying the capacitance values were out of tolerance. A capacitor that has a wide tolerance is also known as a junk capacitor.

3. You haven't mentioned anything about testing for resistive leakage, thus allowing DC to flow through the capacitor that isn't supposed to be there. Again, affecting the tone.

4. Your use of a tone pot should be eliminated from the testing as it opens up additional variables that may skew the results. Such as if the tone pot is accidentally moved during the test.
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#20
Our 
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Let's break this down.

1. Anecdotes from human beings who inherently have biases towards how one cap sounds different to the other can never be a scientific test. You need to substantiate your results with plotlines or your tests are meaningless.

2. You haven't mentioned anything about measuring the actual capacitance value of the capacitors you've tested. Just because a capacitor says that it's rated for 0.022uf doesn't mean it actually is. So any difference in tone you might've heard from one cap to another can be easily dismissed by saying the capacitance values were out of tolerance. A capacitor that has a wide tolerance is also known as a junk capacitor.

3. You haven't mentioned anything about testing for resistive leakage, thus allowing DC to flow through the capacitor that isn't supposed to be there. Again, affecting the tone.

4. Your use of a tone pot should be eliminated from the testing as it opens up additional variables that may skew the results. Such as if the tone pot is accidentally moved during the test.

1  A lot of things look good on paper but don't translate to real life.  Just because a scope can't see a difference doesn't mean there isn't one.  I don't personally have a preference in terms of capacitors and the only reason I do tests like these is so I can properly advise my customers when I make pickups for them.

2 Although I didn't mention it, I did test the capacitors with my extech LCR to be sure the caps were the same value.  I make pickups for a living so this is the kind of stuff I have just sitting around.

3 I'm not an expert on resistive leakage.  I used the same pot and the same ground for all the caps I tested.  The signal generator was connected directly to the pot.  So the only thing different for each cap tested was 1" of wire and a switch.  The switches were all identical in make and model and the wire came from the same spool.  How exactly can resistive leakage in a switch and 1" of wire create an audible difference in tone?

4  I used the tone pot because in a guitar the capacitor doesn't send signal to the amp it sends it to ground so we never hear what passes through the cap, we only hear what the cap leaves behind.  When the tone pot is turned all the way to 10 the cap has no audible effect on tone and when the pot is at 0 the cap has a huge effect.  I wanted to hear exactly what the effect was with different caps when the pot was in different positions.  I wanted to hear it at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 because the potential for audible differences between caps changes with each step. 

Edit:  The tone pot didn't accidentally move during the test.  For that to happen I would have needed to touch the pot or move my testing rig.  I set the pot to a number and then only touched the switches.   I then set the pot to a different number and flipped through the switches again.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Apr 8, 2017,
#21
Quote by CorduroyEW
1  A lot of things look good on paper but don't translate to real life.  Just because a scope can't see a difference doesn't mean there isn't one.

If you're saying the scope isn't sensitive enough to detect the difference in tone between the capacitors, then how does it so clearly detect the difference in their capacitance? If the scope is sensitive enough to see the difference in just a few picofarads, then it's certainly a lot more sensitive than trained human hearing.

You can say that test equipment cannot translate what it sees to real life all you like, but the fact still remains that without actual data to substantiate your claims, your testing can never be scientific. A human listening to how different caps sound different is not a scientific test and it should never be treated as such.
I don't personally have a preference in terms of capacitors and the only reason I do tests like these is so I can properly advise my customers when I make pickups for them.

And also because you realise that saying to your customers that the dielectric type doesn't matter is subject to hurting your reputation as a pickup winder.
3 I'm not an expert on resistive leakage.  I used the same pot and the same ground for all the caps I tested.  The signal generator was connected directly to the pot.  So the only thing different for each cap tested was 1" of wire and a switch.  The switches were all identical in make and model and the wire came from the same spool.  How exactly can resistive leakage in a switch and 1" of wire create an audible difference in tone?

The capacitor is what is doing the resistive leakage. It has nothing to do with the pot, the wire or the switch.
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#22
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

The capacitor is what is doing the resistive leakage. It has nothing to do with the pot, the wire or the switch.

So you are saying that it is the capacitor causing the issue but it has nothing to do with the capacitor!?  I was playing dumb to find out what you would say.  You have no idea what you are talking about and are bringing up terms you don't think others will understand in order to try and back up your opinion.  I am done with you.
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#23
Quote by CorduroyEW
So you are saying that it is the capacitor causing the issue but it has nothing to do with the capacitor!?  

Dafuq? I never said that. Where does it say in any of my posts that I said that?
I was playing dumb to find out what you would say.

Nope.


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How does it feel to ignore me because you know I'm right?
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#24
Quote by CorduroyEW
 I am done with you.
backed yourself up in a corner maybe? dude get over yourself.
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alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
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#25
Quote by OliveG
I'm just wondering... if you upgrade stock pots/caps with something like this for example... how much of a an improvement can you really expect sound-wise? Is it really noticeable, or more like something you'd have to be Eric Johnson to notice?


Yes, it is always worth it to spend money that you can afford to make your guitar your O'Guitar!! 

If you have cheap pots/caps, its worth it to upgrade it to give yourself the security of efficient clean flow of energy. It's also worth it to upgrade the value of your cap to make use of your tone knob. Most cheap guitars have the tone knob there but unusable. Your O'Guitar need a good tone adjusting function. 

Really! I do think its worth it spending money on the guitar that you love.
#26
Quote by ragsstudio
Yes, it is always worth it to spend money that you can afford to make your guitar your O'Guitar!! 

If you have cheap pots/caps, its worth it to upgrade it to give yourself the security of efficient clean flow of energy. It's also worth it to upgrade the value of your cap to make use of your tone knob. Most cheap guitars have the tone knob there but unusable. Your O'Guitar need a good tone adjusting function. 

Really! I do think its worth it spending money on the guitar that you love.


there is a difference between cheap and good. and good and stupidly expensive.

I said this once, but I will repeat it.

I use bournes pots, switchraft jacks and switches, and orange drops. that is very high quality reasonably-priced, and won't ever cause you any problems.

I have rewired a lot of guitars and found that setup to be ideal. and reasonably priced.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#27
I only use the most expensive stuff. But I do it for the lols
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#29
Quote by ragsstudio
trashedlostfdup

Bourne pots, switchcraft jacks and orange drops. Got it like a mantra! 😜


WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#30
trashedlostfdup

Switchcraft jacks,
Needs some Bourns pots and
Orange Drops

~ A corksniffer's haiku
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#31
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
trashedlostfdup

Switchcraft jacks,
Needs some Bourns pots and
Orange Drops

~ A corksniffer's haiku


WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#32
Not to keep beating a dead horse.

Just to make a point, I just got done replacing the pots in my Destiny. It still had the 27 year old original pots in it. Quality solid shaft pots.

I replaced them with Emerson pots of the same resistance (1 Meg volume, 250k tone). Though the Emersons have a different taper, the guitar sounds exactly the same.
#33
It makes a huge difference what pots you are using. It can make your guitar sound hot or buttery. My MIM Strat that I gave away to my father had really crappy electronics. I upgraded the pots with this: [ https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/S5250K ] while also upgrading the pickups at the same time. I was kind of forced to because the volume knob broke off because the post of the pot broke off while tinkering. After those upgrades the guitar became a real player. Before that I couldn't bond with her, now I think that guitar is one of the best Strats I've played.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#34
Quote by NewDayHappy
It makes a huge difference what pots you are using. It can make your guitar sound hot or buttery.

Assuming the value of the pot you're replacing the old one with is the same value, it really doesn't make any difference.

The taper of different pots might be different, but if you set both pots to a position were they're giving the same resistance value, they'll still sound identical.
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#35
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Assuming the value of the pot you're replacing the old one with is the same value, it really doesn't make any difference.

In theory, I agree. If you are replacing cheap electronics though with something nicer, it makes a difference. At least for me it did, huge difference.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#36
So you changed the pots and the pickups but it's the pots that made the difference. Hokay
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#37
Quote by NewDayHappy
In theory, I agree.

And in practice too.
If you are replacing cheap electronics though with something nicer, it makes a difference. At least for me it did, huge difference.

Outside of the capacitance value of the cap and the resistance value of the pots? Nope. Makes no difference at all. Sorry.

The difference in tone you're hearing is clearly in the pickups. Anything else is placebo.
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#38
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
And in practice too.

Outside of the capacitance value of the cap and the resistance value of the pots? Nope. Makes no difference at all. Sorry.

The difference in tone you're hearing is clearly in the pickups. Anything else is placebo.

So you think a pot from 1996 will sound equally as good as a higher quality pot from 2017? Interesting.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#39
Quote by NewDayHappy
So you think a pot from 1996 will sound equally as good as a higher quality pot from 2017? Interesting.

Yes? Assuming the resistance values are the same, why wouldn't it?

I'd be curious to know what makes you believe that.
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#40
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Yes? Assuming the resistance values are the same, why wouldn't it?

It can cause static and crackling sounds for starters.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
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