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Unread 03-03-2013, 10:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

I just ordered a set of 1950s vintage 0.022 uF Bumblebees for $60 off of eBay (1950s Sprague Bumblebee 022 uf 400V Pair Vintage Tone Capacitors 1959 1958 1957 | eBay). Are these mylar or paper-in-oil capacitors. From what I can see, these have the seal on one end so that proves its PIO? There's also a 2 in the circle.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Contact either Jonesy, Martin Six String or Tundra Tone as they can get some caps on less expensive side.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Not sure if they are PIO or not, but I'm wondering why there is solder at the base of the cap? I'm assuming these were cut of some old circuit board and the wires were extended for use in a guitar?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 10:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

They look like Mylar, although its a bit touch to see since new leads have been put on.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 02:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

The description says that the leads have been extended. Is there any way to tell for sure? Also, weren't mylar also used in 1959 Les Pauls?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 02:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

If you look at another one: 1950s Sprague Bumblebee 022 uf 400V Vintage Tone Capacitor 1959 1958 1957 One | eBay they are selling, it has a seal at one end that reaches all the way to the capacitor and you can see a bit of the lead at the other end so would that have to be PIO or can it also be mylar?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartfuse View Post
The description says that the leads have been extended. Is there any way to tell for sure? Also, weren't mylar also used in 1959 Les Pauls?
Yes, Mylar was used as was PIO. Just depended what was in the bin at the time. Remember, these caps were never built for the purpose of use in the guitars. They were for amps.

Anyways - No real way to tell without having the cap in hand. By soldering on new leads, there's going to be a solder blob on both sides of the cap, so from the pix, I can't tell for absolutely certainty, but I'm leaning on the side of Mylar from what I can see.

I'm curious how far these are out of spec?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 08:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

These are 1957-1959 so this was before mylar? I'm getting these on Thursday so let me meter them when I get them.

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Originally Posted by martin6string View Post
Yes, Mylar was used as was PIO. Just depended what was in the bin at the time. Remember, these caps were never built for the purpose of use in the guitars. They were for amps.

Anyways - No real way to tell without having the cap in hand. By soldering on new leads, there's going to be a solder blob on both sides of the cap, so from the pix, I can't tell for absolutely certainty, but I'm leaning on the side of Mylar from what I can see.

I'm curious how far these are out of spec?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 09:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

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Originally Posted by smartfuse View Post
These are 1957-1959 so this was before mylar?
Not necessarily...
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Unread 03-05-2013, 11:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Tonally, is there any difference between Mylar and PIO? My guitar tech knows the seller and he says that these are actual PIOs.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 11:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

If you can hear a difference between PIO and mylar, you're a better man than I.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 11:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Also, are the stock switch and jack on my 2012 Gibson Les Paul Jr Special Switchcraft? I know the pots are CTS but the tolerance is horrible. I'm replacing the pickups with Dominger Custom '58s, replacing the caps with vintage PIO Bumblebees, and replacing the pots for 550K matched CTS. If the switch an jack is already Switchcraft then I'm going to leave them as is. If not, I want to change them to Switchcraft.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/tone...paper-oil.html

I'd say Mylar.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 02:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

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Originally Posted by smartfuse View Post
My guitar tech knows the seller and he says that these are actual PIOs.
Maybe, maybe not. Definitely can't tell from the pix.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 05:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

They are mylar. The seller has extended the leads right up against the body so you can't really tell but there is about 1/8" oil seal on one end of a PIO that is missing off both ends of those.

They still sound good, and if there is a difference in the two only a bat would be able to hear it.

that is a LOT of money to pay for mylar bees, I got a pair like that for $20. The seller has put plenty of eye candy on them and I'm sure he will sell a ton of them at that price because they "look the part" better than some of the more un-adorned caps on auction. More corksniffery.

Not saying the seller is dishonest, but Q: What seller in their right mind blobs solder all over the oil seal on a cap that routinely trades in the $100 range? A: One who don't want you to know there really isn't one inside all that solder.

The "2" means they are Sprague and that is period correct for those.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
They are mylar. The seller has extended the leads right up against the body so you can't really tell but there is about 1/8" oil seal on one end of a PIO that is missing off both ends of those.

They still sound good, and if there is a difference in the two only a bat would be able to hear it.

that is a LOT of money to pay for mylar bees, I got a pair like that for $20. The seller has put plenty of eye candy on them and I'm sure he will sell a ton of them at that price because they "look the part" better than some of the more un-adorned caps on auction. More corksniffery.

Not saying the seller is dishonest, but Q: What seller in their right mind blobs solder all over the oil seal on a cap that routinely trades in the $100 range? A: One who don't want you to know there really isn't one inside all that solder.

The "2" means they are Sprague and that is period correct for those.
Good grief!

I've restored more vintage Bee's that probably anyone on this forum. You simply cannot tell from the pix for sure if they are Mylar, although I suspect they are. Had they not been restored, it would be a pretty easy observation.

Do they "look the part"? Not really. The sleeving is completely wrong, although the seller did a decent job soldering the new leads on.

As far as the solder blob on the filler tube (which is wrong in itself - it's NOT a filler tube), I personally have New Old Stock 50's Bee's that are soldered exactly that way. You can barely see the tube.

False information does no one any good.

By the way - Find me .022/400V 20% tolerance Bee's that still read in-spec for $20.00 and I'll buy ALL OF THEM.
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Unread 03-05-2013, 11:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Perhaps I should unsolder the leads to check for the filler tube? Seller said he doesn't know for sure but he says there's a good chance that these are PIOs.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Received the capacitors and they are in front of me. Should I unsolder the leads and also meter them?
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Unread 03-08-2013, 08:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Meter them and just play them. If they are mylar unsoldering won't hurt them if they are PIO and you damage one you will be one unhappy camper.
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Unread 03-08-2013, 09:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Just meter them and install them. You already have the caps...are you going to pass on installing them if you find they're not PIO?

Let your ears decide if they're good. Gibson used both PIO and mylar caps. Why worry about it?
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Unread 03-08-2013, 09:53 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Lucked up good on that OP, $60 is pricey for mylars but cheap for PIO. And I was wrong in assuming they were mylar.. We all make mistakes sometimes.

Last edited by Dougie; 03-08-2013 at 02:26 PM.
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Unread 03-08-2013, 10:19 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

If you simply must have vintage-style caps, Stew-mac sells "genuing NOS" PIO caps for twelve bucks.
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Unread 03-08-2013, 11:23 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

Never mind, they are PIO. I can see the filler tube partially exposed on one of them. Thanks, guys. Time to throw these in and replace the cheap ceramic stuff Gibson uses and time to install a pair of custom wound Dominger PAFs.
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Unread 03-13-2013, 11:10 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

I only use Jensen PIO from RS or my stash of Hyrels. Never tried anything from
Luxe. My personal favs are the Jensens.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

An update on this. My tech installed the capacitors and they metered 0.02 and 0.03 uF. They are indeed PIO and they sound quite nice. In relation to Jensens they are just different. These have a very subtle treble cut and maintain the clarity has the tone knobs are turned. Jensens have a obvious treble cut and become bassy when the tone knobs are turned.
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Unread 04-14-2013, 09:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: 1950s Bumblebees PIO or mylar?

If you can x-ray them you'll have sure about what you have.


From: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps
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