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Unread 12-05-2010, 07:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Out of my 2010 R-8:



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Unread 12-05-2010, 07:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

These are Wesco 32 PL Polyprop. caps. Costs maybe .50 cents a piece. They're trying to get $113. a pair for these at MF?
YIKES!!
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Unread 12-05-2010, 09:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

That is some major F up.
a holes.
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Unread 12-05-2010, 10:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

This is old news, but I guess it can't hurt to remind those that have no clue.
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Unread 12-06-2010, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

That really is messed up that a company would do that.
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Unread 12-06-2010, 04:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Let's link their product page here, so that their webmasters know who to thank for their sudden product popularity

Historic Spec Bumble Bee Capacitors - Two-Pack
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Unread 12-06-2010, 04:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

lame!!!
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Unread 12-06-2010, 04:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

That's very disappointing...
Makes me almost love my Tokai more...with my Tokai i know that i didn't pay just for that G-name on the headstock...


wtf....
http://store.gibson.com/Products/Pic...apacitors.aspx
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Unread 12-06-2010, 04:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5F6-Ahttp://www.tdpri.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif
There were some doubts about how real the new Gibson bumblebee caps were. I was told by a friend the caps that Gibson installs these days in its Historic Custom Shop guitars weren't real bumblebees at all. We wanted to find out for sure so my pal ( who is a vet ) x-rayed one and opened one from his R9 LP. This is the result:

Photo of both caps. One is real and the other one is a modern cap labeled as bumbleblee cap by Gibson :

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6.../2CondPequ.jpg
We x-ray the real one and this is the result:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6.../Bumblebee.jpg

We x-ray the new one and ... What the heck is this?
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...-A/Reissue.jpg

My friend got his pen knife out and found a decent ( yet plastic ) Wesco capacitor within the fancier bumblebee clone:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...A/WescoCap.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v671/5F6-A/Wesco2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...scoAbierto.jpg
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/images/smilies/confused.gif
Isn't that outrageous or what??!!

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Unread 12-06-2010, 05:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

How poor...what do these people at Gibson think...
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Unread 12-06-2010, 06:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

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Originally Posted by gypsyseven View Post
How poor...what do these people at Gibson think...
"there's a sucker born every minute", that's what they think
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Unread 12-06-2010, 11:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

well it doesnt cost much to replace them..
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Unread 12-07-2010, 03:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by RC2 View Post
That really is messed up that a company would do that.
They don't claim that they're real bees do they? And Luxe are another cap cast into a Bumblebee lookalike case (OK, I know they're PIO, but there's still level of pretence.) I don't think it's particularly "messed up". I don't actually think they sound that bad either, but maybe it's just me.

Liam

OK, just saw the bit on the Gibson parts store, and they are stretching the truth a fair way too far... Do you have trading standards in the USA, because you wouldn't be allowed to say that here in the UK.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 11:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

I'm sure it never occurred to them, that someone would actually x-ray, or cut open one, and find this out.

How do they actually sound, in comparison to a real Bumblebee? Is the difference really obvious? Liam mentioned that he doesn't think they sound bad, but that's not exactly a shining endorsement, either.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 12:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by RC2 View Post
That really is messed up that a company would do that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
They don't claim that they're real bees do they? And Luxe are another cap cast into a Bumblebee lookalike case (OK, I know they're PIO, but there's still level of pretence.) I don't think it's particularly "messed up". I don't actually think they sound that bad either, but maybe it's just me.

Liam

OK, just saw the bit on the Gibson parts store, and they are stretching the truth a fair way too far... Do you have trading standards in the USA, because you wouldn't be allowed to say that here in the UK.

How is "Historic Spec Bumble Bee Capacitors" Gibson's own product name for then not claiming they're real spec'd bee's?
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Unread 12-07-2010, 03:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by RC2 View Post
How is "Historic Spec Bumble Bee Capacitors" Gibson's own product name for then not claiming they're real spec'd bee's?
Because it says Historic Spec, making them as historically accurate as the guitars (i.e. roughly the right shape and colour). But when I read:

Quote:
This two-item set of .022 mfd Bumble Bee Capacitors look, perform and sound just like the original capacitors
on the Gibson Parts Store website I realised you've got a very good point. My bad...

Liam
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Unread 12-07-2010, 04:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

I really don't believe some of you guys. An an eletronic technologist (30+yrs) I can tell you the old caps were basically nothing special. The bumblebee look was because this was the standard way to mark part values before machines could use the MIL system. These components had poor tolerance and materials used as well as poorer manufacturing. If you came across an original and took it out and measured it the chance of it still being anywhere near spec in value are small.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with modern caps as they are better constructed, better tolerance and will last longer than the old paperwrapper, waxed rolled caps made pre-electronic revolution. These phoneis cost money because no other user/manufacturer would ask for caps to made like this for any other electronic product so it's basically a specialty production.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 07:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

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Originally Posted by KenG View Post
I really don't believe some of you guys. An an eletronic technologist (30+yrs) I can tell you the old caps were basically nothing special. The bumblebee look was because this was the standard way to mark part values before machines could use the MIL system. These components had poor tolerance and materials used as well as poorer manufacturing. If you came across an original and took it out and measured it the chance of it still being anywhere near spec in value are small.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with modern caps as they are better constructed, better tolerance and will last longer than the old paperwrapper, waxed rolled caps made pre-electronic revolution. These phoneis cost money because no other user/manufacturer would ask for caps to made like this for any other electronic product so it's basically a specialty production.
My grandfather was a radio/electronics guy, I found several 0.022 caps in his stuff from the 50's, 60's and 70's, including Spragues and Tiger caps, I was so excited.

I disconnected the stock caps in my R8 and tried the vintage caps using alligator clips and sadly the vinatge caps were all over the place and none sounded better than the stock caps.

I would like to change caps on my R8 but I am going for some new and reasonably priced caps.

I do think however that the effort and money Gibson puts into making their caps look like bees should go into installing a good cap, those who still want bees can buy them, that is what they do anyway.
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Unread 12-07-2010, 08:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

I think people sometimes overlook that the real magic was a combination of certain caps (values varied during production) and certain pickups (again variations) and a well built guitar with better than normal woods. No one single element can replace that and since we don't understand the variances in the magic ones (Unless someone dissects them and measures these variances) we can't simply buy the orignal parts and expect to get the same result. Hell if that were true all the old guitars would be great but they weren't! Only a percentage were stellar & memorable.
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Unread 12-12-2010, 03:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

It's a capacitor and that is about it. Nothing special. Nothing magical.

You cannot buy being a decent musician in an electronic component.

But luckily Gibson know that lots of men think you can and it keeps their business alive.

The real 'magic' is the marketing.
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Unread 12-12-2010, 04:09 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

No, the real God, the real Magician is Henry J. !
He can make fans buying anything !

Look what he made, and every piece are sold :



He also has the power to make people buy Les Paul in 20 pieces of wood (Studio Tribute, where Tribute stand for Tribute to chainsaw & glue).

HENRY J. IS THE REAL MASTER !!!
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Unread 12-12-2010, 07:24 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonevibe View Post
It's a capacitor and that is about it. Nothing special. Nothing magical.

You cannot buy being a decent musician in an electronic component.

But luckily Gibson know that lots of men think you can and it keeps their business alive.

The real 'magic' is the marketing.
You got that right!
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Unread 12-12-2010, 07:44 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

So trademarking the bumblebee name doesn't make them real?!
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Unread 12-12-2010, 08:21 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenG View Post
I think people sometimes overlook that the real magic was a combination of certain caps (values varied during production) and certain pickups (again variations) and a well built guitar with better than normal woods.
Ken, have you actually tried Bumblebees, or any other old PIO caps in a Les Paul tone circuit? Or measured many of them? I like to think of myself as a fairly objective person, did physics and optoelectronics to postgrad level and I'm a professional engineer. The variances in the Bumblebees I've got aren't huge, they tend to creep up a little bit in capacitance with age, I'm guessing because the paper gets more compressed, but most don't go up by miles. And they are within the tolerance range of many modern caps.

But there is something different sounding about them, and I think it's a direct consequence of them being nothing special. I ought to have a measure of them on an LCR bridge, but here's my "slightly intuitive" feel for why they sound different. A tone cap dumps high frequencies to ground. As you roll off the tone control you dump a few more high frequencies to ground. I'm guessing the high frequency performance of old PIO caps isn't great, meaning that they dump comparitively less HF to ground than modern capacitors. This would explain the way there's still "life" in the guitar tone with the tone control rolled off, which is the reason some people like the older caps.

Quote:
No one single element can replace that and since we don't understand the variances in the magic ones (Unless someone dissects them and measures these variances) we can't simply buy the orignal parts and expect to get the same result. Hell if that were true all the old guitars would be great but they weren't! Only a percentage were stellar & memorable.
Probably a mistake to start assigning mistique to PIO caps. In my experience if they're not leaky, and they measure up somewhere around 0.02 uF, they sound pretty good. But then so do 715 orange drops. "Good" audio caps sound a bit poor in my guitar tone circuits, I think because they work a bit too well as capacitors. I quite like the sound of the current Gibson fake bees, which is odd because I didn't like some of the earlier ones. And I think they've got the same cap in there. Maybe it's just me.

Liam
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Unread 12-12-2010, 10:17 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Clearly the new Bumble Bees are not like the old Bumble Bees. And the Burstbuckers are not PAF's and so forth. But I played both my R9 and R8 extensively before I bought them. But more importantly, I listened to them. I liked the sound as well as the playability so I bought them.

I am not talking sh*t, but I don't understand paying for a Historic and then complaining about its components. If you don't like the guitar, don't buy it. Simple. You could buy a production model and mod it to your specifications and likes. I don't get doing that with a Historic.

This last week (and largely because of stuff I read on boards) I spent a lot of time listening to samples of numerous pickups as well as reading reviews and tone reports. Maybe my ears suck, but I can't hear a tremendous difference between all of the replacement PAF's that have similar outputs. Put it this way, I haven't heard any difference that couldn't be made up with some simple EQ'ing.

All of this tone stuff is 100% subjective. What sounds great to me might sound like mud to the next guy and vice versa. But I think too many spend too much time reading internet boards and less time actually playing the instrument.

After playing for about 30 years and owning a few dozen electrics starting with a $30 Kay all the way up to Gibson Historics, I can say these are the best damn guitars my hands have touched. I've never played a real 58-60 burst. And I doubt I've ever heard a real PAF in person. The oldest Lester I've played was probably an early 70's Black Beauty when I was in high school. I fell in love with the neck and probably because it was the first time I'd ever played a Les Paul-scale neck. It never occurred to me then that perhaps Strat-length necks weren't for me. I didn't even know there was a difference.

We didn't have the internet back then. We played what he had laying around and were happy about it. I don't have some elusive tone I am running down and I am not trying to copy anyone else. I play what makes me sound good. My Historics are stock and staying that way because that's how I bought them. They were good enough at the point of purchase. Nothing has changed.

Sorry for the rant.


MTA: The way some people are always tinkering with their guitars reminds me of people in high school that always were working on their muscle cars. It seemed that those cars spent more time in the garage getting worked on than in the street being driven. That was the point I was trying to make.
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Unread 12-12-2010, 11:47 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
Ken, have you actually tried Bumblebees, or any other old PIO caps in a Les Paul tone circuit? Or measured many of them? I like to think of myself as a fairly objective person, did physics and optoelectronics to postgrad level and I'm a professional engineer. The variances in the Bumblebees I've got aren't huge, they tend to creep up a little bit in capacitance with age, I'm guessing because the paper gets more compressed, but most don't go up by miles. And they are within the tolerance range of many modern caps.

But there is something different sounding about them, and I think it's a direct consequence of them being nothing special. I ought to have a measure of them on an LCR bridge, but here's my "slightly intuitive" feel for why they sound different. A tone cap dumps high frequencies to ground. As you roll off the tone control you dump a few more high frequencies to ground. I'm guessing the high frequency performance of old PIO caps isn't great, meaning that they dump comparitively less HF to ground than modern capacitors. This would explain the way there's still "life" in the guitar tone with the tone control rolled off, which is the reason some people like the older caps.



Probably a mistake to start assigning mistique to PIO caps. In my experience if they're not leaky, and they measure up somewhere around 0.02 uF, they sound pretty good. But then so do 715 orange drops. "Good" audio caps sound a bit poor in my guitar tone circuits, I think because they work a bit too well as capacitors. I quite like the sound of the current Gibson fake bees, which is odd because I didn't like some of the earlier ones. And I think they've got the same cap in there. Maybe it's just me.

Liam
Not to start a flame war here or intend any disrespect for another worthy opinion. When I started out in electronics in the late 70's I worked on a fair percentage of tube equipment. Back then hi-power radio transmitters and receivers in the miltary were all tube, some left over from the 50's. So I've measured my share of old components during maintenance, debug and repair of these old monsters till the miltary finally modernized. Now of course I'm in the Defense Industry and work for a company that designs custom Military Intercom, Radio and Data systems. (Of course I don't design these products but work with the HW Engs that due and support them tehnically)
Bacl to where I'm going with my oriignal statement...
As an Engineer you'd know then that audio frequencies are <VLF range and so parasitic elements like inductance of the leads or even the area/materials of the plates themselves are ridiculously small at these low frequencies (same with stray capacitance).
That basically leaves the dielectric itself as the main performance factor and yes some are definitely better than others for audio vs say RF. This why most people seem to hear a definite improvement when ceramic caps (good for RF) are replaced with other dielectrics which perform much more poorly at high frequencies but work just fine in the lower freq range. Many of course have other issues like temp stability.
Measuring old caps can be misleading with a single test frequency too. The early ones were quite crude in construction and unless you run them thru a swept freq test (simple RC circuit for example) in the range that you intend them to be used (Audio) I'd be hesitant to make any broadbased statement about the actual condition of these components.
My point is, since temp extremes are more or less non-existant (at least when playing the guitar unless you're out in freezing temps doing it & voltages in the circuits of a guitar are a few hundred millivolts) it's the dielectric of the cap that determines how it most responds across the freq ranges and modern caps are damned good. I think people romantize about "the gold ole days" always being better too much and that carries over into elements where that simply isn't true. Electronics is one element where we've made incredible strides so non-electronic people spouting off about how the old components were better obviously bugs me because it's not based on facts or knowledge but myth.\
An example many people could 'see' I think is this one.
Modern boutique amps are made with mostly modern components (including caps) and the method of construction varies quite a bit (turret boards, PTP Wiring or PWB) yet these amps arethe equal or better than many of the original designs they were based off of so how is that possible with modern components if they are poorer than the old ones?
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Unread 12-12-2010, 11:56 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenG View Post
Modern boutique amps are made with mostly modern components (including caps) and the method of construction varies quite a bit (turret boards, PTP Wiring or PWB) yet these amps are the equal or better than many of the original designs they were based off of so how is that possible with modern components if they are poorer than the old ones?
I couldn't agree more but to some the old stuff just sounds better. I am not in the group that blindly claims all vintage stuff is superior. It's amp by amp. Personally, I think a lot of these comparisons is like picking gnat shit out of pepper.

I used to run an amp repair business out of my home when I lived in Austin. I've heard plenty of vintage amps that needed new components but the owners were in denial. Even Fender and Marshall make new amps that sound damn good to me. The Fender Deluxe Reverb RI is a fantastic amp. Hell, even the Hot Rod series is good stuff.
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Unread 12-12-2010, 12:07 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

I believe Liam has offered the most reasonable explanation for why the older capacitors sound so different.

Additional, albeit ugly, possibilities are hearing damage and age. We lose some frequencies over time and PIO caps may sound a little fuller to old guys.
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Unread 12-12-2010, 02:16 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenG View Post
<snip>Modern boutique amps are made with mostly modern components (including caps) and the method of construction varies quite a bit (turret boards, PTP Wiring or PWB) yet these amps arethe equal or better than many of the original designs they were based off of so how is that possible with modern components if they are poorer than the old ones?
Probably best if you read my post again. I don't think modern components are poorer than older ones, in fact I think the opposite.

Liam
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:18 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Historic Gibson Faux Bumblebee Caps

Afer i saw those xray picture i wonder how my Luxe Bumblebees would look xrayed....
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