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What IS That Bright Cap Across The Volume Pot on A PRS For Anyway?

by vaughn skow September 13, 2021 2 min read

What IS That Bright Cap Across The Volume Pot on A PRS For Anyway?

Hi guitar gang.  As you may know, I've became fairly well known for upgrading the pickups in PRS guitars; and I'd like to address one of the main questions that comes up when folks are replacing the pickups in their PRS.  The "Bright" cap!  First, what is it?  It's a small-value cap soldered across the first two lugs of your volume pot, Second, why is it there: to increase the brightness of the pickups.  Simple enough.  Let's dig in just a little deeper!

PRS cap across volume pot

With most passive guitars, the only capacitor in the guitar is a "tone" cap which is connected to the tone pot.  This cap takes high frequencies, and as you roll the control down shunts progressively more highs to ground, in other words it cuts highs as you turn the tone down.  In most PRS guitars this is a very standard value for a humbucker equipped guitar: .022uf.  So what's up with that little cap on the volume pot?

Well, First, you might want to read my blog on treble bleed circuits, which SOME players like because, as you roll the volume down, the tone gets brighter, not less bright. But, a treble bleed circuit requires a cap and a resistor, so what's up with ONLY a cap across the volume pot?  Well, a small value cap across the pot simply adds high-end, always. Why do PRS guitars have this?  Evidently Paul, or someone at PRS, decided the stock pickups were just too dull!  Personally, I find this a real cop-out, if the pickups suck, don't try to fix it with a 2-cent capacitor, it doesn't work!  The only real cure is to replace the pickups with somthing that actually sounds good, and if you want the ability to split into single-coil, something that ALSO sounds good when split, like my Vaughn's Custom PAF set.

And one last word, after replacing the pickups, for God's sake, snip that stupid bright cap off!

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