Best Capacitors for Jazz Semi-Hollow Guitar??

(12 posts)
  1. JPMike
    Member

    hey everyone,

    I want to upgrade the electrics of my guitar (a D'Angelico NYSS-3), regarding the wiring, the pots and the capacitors. 2x Vol knobs, 2x tone knobs.
    I will upgrade to Switchcraft 3 way switch, CTS 500k pots, I still haven't decided on the wiring and last but not least, I have no idea what capacitors to go for.

    What would be the best choice?? .022 or .047?? Ceramic or PIO?? Any specific model of capacitor?? I am so confused over the matter, of what would be the best choice for warm semi-hollow tone. I mostly use the tone knob at my neck pickup at 10 and roll of a bit if the EQ of the amp won't help me a lot (sometimes you play at bad amps).

    Thank you in advance for your time and responses,
    Mike

  2. Basile865
    Member

    Well you're making the right choice with the cts pots and switchcraft switch. I dont know what value off the top of my head is right for humbuckers, just google that. I want to say .047 but double check that. Paper in oil is usually considered the better choice. Rolling the tone knob off from 10 will help but also the volume knob. I rarely run mine wide open, let the amp make up for that. Then get an EQ pedal and fine tune your sound from there.

  3. Poparad
    Member

    If you've already got something as nice as a D'Angelico, I don't see how replacing everything is really going to be an "upgrade," as they already use nice components. The only reason why I'd switch things in a nice guitar is if there's something I'd change out of personal preference, for example 250k pots instead of 500k pots.

    When I did some electronics work to my Carvin, I tried out some different types of capacitors and I couldn't hear any audible difference between the construction type. The only difference was the rating. The higher the rating, the more high end it will remove from your tone when you roll the tone knob down. I went with .022 as I rarely turn the tone knob all the way down on any guitar, so the smaller value gives me a wider sweep to play with, as "0" is only half as extreme as it would be with a .047 cap.

  4. I'll echo the others, either value is fine, it just depends on what you like. It sets the frequency at which the highs are rolled off at. .047uf will move that point lower producing a darker tone.
    The value of the volume pot will affect overall brightness too. 500K is brighter than 250K. 1M brighter again.
    Generally 250K better suits single coils and 500K for humbuckers. Some people knock the value down to around 300K to strike a middle ground.
    For various reasons, many of them subjective or plain bullshit, PIO are more desirable. But really, mylar, ceramic or any other kind will be perfectly ok. Old PIO are actually more likely to be off-spec, so if you can, measure them. Really, if they're on spec they will all sound exactly the same, a .047uf is a .047uf, the differences are more often to do with tolerance and temperature or voltage rating- none of which really matter in a guitar.
    I like to install a little treble bleed circuit on my guitar's volume to stop it getting muddy when I turn it down.

  5. Poparad, are/were you stoked with that change ? I've done nothing to my fatboy since purchase ( aside from setup for .11 mix set and minimal noise reduction from the factory by a local tech).
    If so, thanks for that!

  6. Poparad
    Member

    Floatingbridge: Yes! In fact, I did it twice, as I'm on my second Fatboy now. I hated the way the tone knob became really honky when rolled down. It seemed to be sweeping a band of EQ that wasn't what I preferred. I put 250k pots and a .022 cap (with treble bleed cap on the volume, but that already comes stock with Carvin), and it's so much better to my ears. I can get a nice, warm jazz sound if I want, but then I can also brighten it back up and get a nice rock sound, too. I installed a concentric knob on it, too, so I could have separate tone knobs for the two pickups. One word of caution: Carvin uses an odd sized shaft for the pots, so I had to bore out a slightly larger hole using the standard CTS pots.

  7. Poparad
    Member

    Now, that said, if you like the way yours sounds stock, then there's no need to mess with it!

  8. JPMike
    Member

    Well, I wasn't going to change anything on my D'A when I got it, but wanted to try a few things on it, plus I got it used and the guy before me who had it, didn't take care of it. It had oxidised tuners, bridge, stopbar, etc. It kind of freaked me out, cause he didn't mention all that. :S

    I upgraded the neck pickup to an SD 59, the sound got really upgraded, warmer tone, a bit more bassy sound, the mids started feeling like they were there. I also changed the cable input to a Switchcraft, the bridge and stopbar, to an ABM bridge and ABM Aluminium tailpiece. Amazing parts, totally recommend them, the guitar got even more sustain.

    But the real upgrade I did recently was changing the SD 59, to a Lundgren Heaven 57 with an Aged Nickel cover. Damn, the SD 59 sounded so muddy in comparison to the Lundgren, tighter bass response, more mid range with a nice punch (something that's missing from the Vestax D'As and comes closer to a Gibson ES-335), the highs are there but not piercing, really gentle. To me one of the best PAF style humbuckers out there at the moment. I totally recommend it.

    So the final changes will be:
    1)The bridge pickup will be replaced to a Lundgren Heaven 57 with Aged Nickel Cover bridge model.
    2) All the wiring inside the guitar will be changed to either George L cable or Vintage 2 braided cable.
    3) All pots will be changed to CTS 500k pots. (Drilling will have to be made, since pots are not metric)
    4) Both Caps to Jensens .022.
    5) 3-way switch will also be changed to a Switchcraft short 3 way switch.
    6) Pickup Rings will be changed to Madagascar Ebony Rings (for even better tone)
    7) Will upgrade the Nut to a Tusq Nut, Graphtech probably. I would go for a bone nut, but there is a case that it might actually provide more volume to one string than the others. At least, that's what my tech says.
    8) Last but not least, I will install Tronical Robotic Tuners for easier tuning, plus I am a sucker for whatever gear Kurt uses.

    I think, there aren't any other changes to be made on the guitar. Probably a refret when it's going to be needed.

  9. Basile865
    Member

    Forgive me for sounding blunt but it sounds like youre throwing money at this guitar on some useless crap. Pickup rings have no effect on tone. Robotic tuners are ridiculous, unless you work in a cover band that needs multiple tunings throughout your set and you only have one guitar. Those pickups you mentioned are $400 a set. Outrageous. And bone nuts making one string louder then the other?

    Switchcraft jacks/switches and CTS pots have a good reputation because they do their job and they last a long time. Thats good stuff. I dont mean to be mean about it all, its just that you remind me of myself in a way before I tinkered with my gear enough and realized what matters and what doesnt. Really, a good amp/speakers, cable, your pick and most importantly your touch have the greatest impact on tone.

    The best gear removes itself from the equation. Theyre just tools that bring different outcomes from different hands. Dont drive yourself crazy with this stuff, remember the end goal here is MUSIC

  10. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Hi Mike!

    I changed the electronics on my 4 guitars to the same pot and caps as you and with some Gibson wire - good investment and not that expensive. If it was today I would not have changed tone caps, they are expensive and now I always use tone on 10. But I did this because two of them had cheap electronics and the other one had good stuff but really old. I bet the stock DA stuff is good...

    I've used bone nuts for years on all my guitars - my luthier loves them and it's one of his essential mods. They're cheap, do improve the sound and I've never had any problem with string balance.

    I am almost 100% sure pickup rings do not affect tone and I don't think you need robotic tuners... save yourself some money there :)

  11. JPMike
    Member

    hey everyone,

    @Basile: No worries, my friend. No offence taken I understand your viewpoint. I just decided to give the best to the guitar I play all the time and never leave the house without. Pickup rings, it's also for aesthetic reasons, I know they won't improve the tone much but why not give it a shot. As for the tuners, I said it, I am a sucker for the gear Kurt uses, so why not give them a shot. As for the pickups, I was being hesitant about getting over that route, Lundgren pickups are known for their M-models, (M6,M7 and M8), actually they are considered the "Holy Grail" and must have if you can afford pickups for your guitar amongst metal players. One of my friends, was like the other time, I got to have a Lundgren in one of my guitars. So I said, let's see how's the PAF style pickup. I was really amazed by it, so upgrading the bridge to the same model was just a matter of time.
    As for the bone nuts, that's what the tech said to me, there's a chance it will happen. I guess, the density of the bone must be the same to avoid this problem.

    @Jorge: Hello my friend, I am not sure if the stock DA stuff is good but not the worst at least. CTS is the way to go in any case. I still haven't decided on the nut though. I might actually go for bone. As for the rings, I explained that is also for aesthetic reasons.

    I know gear is not the most important thing, but I just like searching and trying new things. Also improving things if possible.

  12. Basile865
    Member

    Yeah sorry anyhow, I realize that was a little harsh seeming. Not to hijack the post but an example of where Im coming from when it comes to brands and upgrades:

    I used to follow this boutique marshall plexi replica forum very closely to learn about amps and speakers. When I first got my marshall plexi reissue it was really bright. I made posts about it and everyone argued over what transformers I should upgrade with, what speakers, tubes, etc. Well of course the sales reps for different companies emailed me saying their product would cure all my ailments, etc. Well I bought a set of speakers that everyone raved about. Said it would nail Hendrix tone. I installed them and wasnt impressed. They assured me they needed break in time. Well not only did they still not sound good after break in, they actually started malfunctioning, adding overtones and broken fizz sounds. Well of course they argued it was my fault and blah blah. I sent them back for inspection and sure enough 2 of them had faulty/sloppy construction from the factory. I got them home and sold them immediately. Essentially everyone in this forum kissed this small speaker company's ass and anyone that was against them got lit up.

    I also played amps with the "magic" transformers and wasnt terribly impressed over my stock ones. In the end removing a brite capacitor from the circuit, upgrading the tubes and getting celestion v30's improved my tone greatly.

    The moral of the story: it is outrageous, and never ceases to amaze me how dearly these companies will make large claims about tone. They prey on inexperienced players who are on the search for better tone. Take it from me, Ive spent thousands and thousands on gear and played vintage and boutique. Across the board only a small handful of things really make or break good tone, the rest of it out there in guitarland is marketing bullshit.


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