You've probably come across guitar capacitors from time to time, not really knowing what they do aside from being part of the guitar's electronics. Well, yeah, that's true, but did you know they can affect a guitar's tone? And with that said, how do they really affect your tone anyway? Check out the article below to find out!
If you take a look at the pots in your guitar, you will notice that your tone control pot, has an additional piece that your volume control pot does not have, and that piece is a capacitor. The capacitor is the component that enables your tone control to adjust the level of treble, rather than just the total volume.
There are three common types of capacitors used in guitars, and the values of these capacitors are 0.022, 0.047, and occasionally 0.1. These measurements are taken in microfarads. The HIGHER the level of the CAP, the more BASS your tone will have when you have turned down the treble of your tone.
What this means in relation to your tone, is that you can adjust the fatness of your tone by changing your capacitor to fit your tone preferences. If you like the tone adjustment that comes with most standard guitars, where the treble is slightly rolled off but doesn’t create too much bass in the sound, then you can stick with a 0.022 or bump up to a 0.047 for a bit more bass. If you wanted to really cut out the treble and have a deep, bass-heavy sound, then you would need to switch to a 0.1 cap.
Experimenting with caps could be a great way to craft a custom tone from your rig. You could combine a really bright, high-output pickup, with a 0.1 cap, and see what kind of awesome mid-range or bass tones you could pull out of it. On the other hand, you could go with a bright pickup and go with the softest cap you could get, and try to really dial in the treble-rich tones that you want. Lastly, you could use an active, dark-sounding humbucker, and couple it with a 0.1 capacitor, and see what kind sounds you could get out of some different amps, to really explore some dark and muddy tones.
While guitar capacitors might not impact the overall tone as much as guitar pickups or the guitar itself, it still plays a crucial role. So the next time you're looking to customize the sound of your guitar, make sure to not overlook the potential that capacitors can make!