Tell me about capacitors in guitar electronics.
by, 09-29-2011 at 09:39 PM (14210 Views)
This post is just to give some typical cap types you might see in a guitar....brands vary, as do colors, but you can get some info from just looking at the shape of the cap.
Ceramic caps are flat. Here is an orange disc capacitor. They are commonly green as well and rectangular and called 'chiclets' after the gum with a similar shape. There are also green film caps that are rectangular, so some people who slam ceramic caps and actually slamming the sound of film caps. Go into a radioshack and grab a capacitor off the wall, or open any modern electronic device, and these are the capacitors you will commonly see, at least for filter caps. Colors and size vary a lot by manufacturer and application. I guess the common thing is that they are small, and very thin/flat, and that makes them look different from the others.
Film capacitors look a little more elongated. The first picture is a classic bumblebee cap. The name bumblebee comes from the color stripes on the outside. The second is a modern spague orange drop film cap. These are the kind of cap in lots of high end guitars. I like the sprague orange drops in my guitar builds, as they sound good and lots of people use them. Kind of a compromise between tone hunting and cheapness. I figure if I am going to solder it, a couple of bucks on a cap I know PRS puts in their private stock guitars (or the fender custom shop, or any other number of builders) is good enough for me. The tend to be elongated, but I've seen square green film caps before, so shape isn't everything. They tend to be much fatter than ceramic 'disc' caps above.
Mica caps. Silver mica caps have a lump in the middle. They are not very common in guitar circuits. They are common in amp circuits and other electronics, but I have no idea why they are preferred in some applications and not others. I should ask my brother the electrical engineer about that one some time.
Oil in paper caps look like a small battery......
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