Bumblebee Caps ... Vintage / Repro's

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by BOBBO, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. BOBBO

    BOBBO Banned

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    I'm sure alot of members are curious about vintage Bumblebee caps and how they effect the sound of a guitar and even better yet how to distinguish the proper value of a vintage bumblebee cap for thier Les Paul !! Holy Grail is the King of all Bumblebee knowledge and I hope he will chime in on this one !! .... There are also alot of people out there recreating Bumblebee's like a company named LUXE ... They take NOS Russian military paper in oil caps and make them into repro Bee's ! I have those in my R8 now and I think they are a much better than the crud Gibson puts in the Historics !! .... HG ... You there ??

    [​IMG]
     
  2. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail V.I.P. Member

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    " King of all Bumblebee knowledge "

    Well thank you for the compliment, but I'm way far from being that.
    I know a few things.

    Let me try and break your questions down .

    #1 how they effect the sound of a guitar

    If you want the sound of a Vintage Gibson, It's the main way to get there.

    #2 how to distinguish the proper value of a vintage bumblebee cap .

    Just look at it ! No I'm joking . You'll first need to know what the color bands
    on the cap mean . A Resistor color chart IS NOT the same . Next You'll need a good Capacitor Tester . The new capacitor testers charge the cap with a battery to get a reading .( capacitors store electricity) This can present a problem and show a higher value than the cap actually is .
    First figure out the value it's supposed to be . Short out both leads of the
    cap with a piece of wire or to metal to " Discharge " any stored electricity.
    Use your meter to test the cap , consider tolerance + or - of the cap. All caps come
    with a tolerance., meaning the value can be off either up or down depending
    on the manufactures specs. Then you'll know what your caps value really is.

    #3 There are also alot of people out there recreating Bumblebee's like a company named LUXE ... They take NOS Russian military paper in oil caps and make them into repro Bee's ! I have those in my R8 now and I think they are a much better than the crud Gibson puts in the Historics !!

    Which takes us back to question #1 .There is NO Right or Wrong sound for a Guitar.
    It all depends on the sound you like . If you like the sound you have now and are
    happy with it , Leave it Alone !

    If you're seeking a different sound and want the vintage Gibson sound. Buy
    what Gibson used. Sprague Bumble Bee PIO ( Paper in Oil ) Caps.
    The oil's are generally Polychlorinated Biphenyls ( aka PCB's )
    ( Am I going too deep ? :hmm: )

    If you want something other than the Vintage sound go with a different cap.
    There are MANY out there at all prices and types . Just ask someone that knows
    what each caps personality is.

    Are Luxe Russian Military Caps better than Gibson's Fake Bumble Bees.
    We'll they try to look the part as do Gibson's . They are PIO. I personally still
    have a problem with that part of the world, so I stay away from them out
    of principal ( My Principals ) . I still believe if you want the real thing, don't
    waste your money on something that may be close but no Cigar.

    If Luxe makes you happy, then that's all that matters.
    I can arrive at the same sound as these Russion caps for a lot less $$$
    Though they won't look like a Fake Bumble Bee and are made in the USA .


    #4 Here's my advisory on Vintage Bumble Bee Caps.

    You can buy them at all prices. Most are NOT Original Spec.
    As the caps age the oil drys out and the value of the cap floats up .
    The higher the value floats the muddier the cap sound becomes.
    Don't waste money on just buying a BB cause it says the original
    value was .022@400v . It's 90% NOT .

    Hope that helps some Bobbo !

    Anyone feel free to PM or ask me any info you may like to know about Caps.
    If I know the answer I'll tell you. If I don't ,I'll tell you that too.

    Thanks,
    HG
     
  3. WildeStarr

    WildeStarr V.I.P. Member

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    Bumblebee caps RULE.
     
  4. PoorMan

    PoorMan Senior Member

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    I never bought into the paper in oil cap thing, but you guys must have worn me down because I just bought a bunch. I was concerned with vintage/NOS caps being dried out or damaged so I happily bought some less expensive new ones like AllParts Vitamin Qs, Jensens etc...

    ...but I did install some vintage Bumblebees in my buddys SG recently and it sounds incredible.
     
  5. tonepot

    tonepot Member

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    i've just put those luxe repro bumble bees into my epi elitist GT and they kick some ass ... cool vintage sound/vibe >
    it's a combination of a 50s wiring, calibrated CTS pots, 2x luxe bumble bees (~ .022mfd 400vdc) and last but not least wcrs betset WOW!:applause:

    at least you should remove all crappy plastic caps (usually as stock) from your geetar (and bad pots as well) and try some of these beautiful repro/musicaps etc ...
    bad pots and caps may choke the real sound/tone of your guitar/pickups :mad:

    what i've tried/found ... mallory's 150s ... allparts vitamin Q ... and hovland musicaps ... should all sound better in your les paul than those crappy stock caps ...
    mallorys are from the brighter side of the tone than others in my opinion:fingersx:

    and these repro luxe caps are worth of every penny :thumb:

    choice is yours LOL
     
  6. BOBBO

    BOBBO Banned

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    Here are my Luxe Bee's !! One day I'll put real Bee's in it ..

    [​IMG]
     
  7. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail V.I.P. Member

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    Personally I don't care what anyone buys.
    I was asked to do this Q & A and did it.


    Here's my Quote from above.

    "I can arrive at the same sound as these Russian caps for a lot less $$$
    Though they won't look like a Fake Bumble Bee and are made in the USA .
    If you want to fool yourself , I guess they're for you "

    I Buy USA and Brit.
    Any place than Russia .
     
  8. PoorMan

    PoorMan Senior Member

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    And I (for one) appreciate it. You certainly seem to know a lot more about caps than I.

    So what caps would you recommend to arrive at the same sound as the russians for less?

    Can you provide more infor on cap testing eqiupment and methods? This is something I would like to look into.
     
  9. HEY!YOU!

    HEY!YOU! Banned

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    Black beauties can sound pretty good too and easy to find.
     
  10. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail V.I.P. Member

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    !60P's are the same as Bumble bees, However they were used in
    Vintage Gibson guitars, so they command a High price.
    I'd go with Sprague Vitamin Q's PIO seal in glass. which has kept them
    to spec all of these years.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. BOBBO

    BOBBO Banned

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    If i'd know Sprague made a PIO cap I might have gone with that but I'm so obsessed I had to have the ones that looked like real Bee's !
     
  12. MrsBobbo

    MrsBobbo Guest

    Hello Mr Holy Grail

    If Bob is good I may inquire with you about these bee things by Christmas ..


    Happy Holidays
    Mrs Bobbo
     
  13. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail V.I.P. Member

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    Now you made me really Laugh ! :rofl:

    Mr's Bobbo~ Love the picture.! Now you're a Hot Clown ! :naughty:
    Write to me anytime Mr's Bobbo.

    We'll make sure he's good around here !
    If you have any problems with him at home, we make house calls too. :cool:
     
  14. PoorMan

    PoorMan Senior Member

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    How much do these normally go for? Do you sell them?

    I've also noticed many caps that are labeled as Vitamin Q that look different. Some look like Mallory 150s, some appear to have aluminum casing. Which are the ones you are referring to?

    ...and it seems many are fake. One ebay seller had several listings for Vitamin Q "Type" caps...I noticed all his auctions now simply say Vitamin Q.

    *** EDIT ***
    I was at work when I posted this and they block all pics...so I couldn't tell you had posted a pic of the Vit Q. Sorry 'bout that.
     
  15. classic

    classic Senior Member

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    Here it comes ... :wave:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Nugget

    Nugget V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Can someone please post some sound clips comparing these caps. I'd like to specifically hear the tonal effects of bumblebee caps and the Luxe repro bumblebee caps.

    Thanks in advance
     
  17. Kramble

    Kramble Senior Member

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    Sure:
    guess the tune

    As you guess it's non vintage caps. Sound like shit.
     
  18. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    I'm a fan of vintage Bees. Tonally, when you roll of the tone knob, they sound 'hollow', like you kicked in a wah pedal. They are the only cap I've found that will deliver that kind of vintage tone. However, as HolyGrail said above, not everyone wants that tone. For me, that is THE tone of an old LP.

    Being basically a cheap guy, I've bought used Bees, not NOS. And I buy values under .022, work fine for me and they are way cheaper.

    I'm currently running a .010 (reads .013 on the meter) in the neck position and a .015 (reads .018) in the bridge position. I picked up 3 .010s off of Ebay for $10 (plus $10 freight, so about $7 each). As HG said above, these are old product, they can drift, so keep in mind buying used as I do you can get some duds, esp if you have no way of testing them. And usually they are clipped off, so the leads are too short to insulate, the install isn't as nice and clean.

    In my R9 I'm running Voodoo 59's with the PG mod, CTS pots and 50's wiring. I tend to use my vol and tone controls a lot, so I really appreciate the tone old Bees deliver.

    But that's not to say YOU would want that tone.
     
  19. Mike60

    Mike60 V.I.P. Member

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    ...in both of my R0's...am running 6027 centralabs and Sprague Bees...
     
  20. tonepot

    tonepot Member

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    you've got me into this Roger ... thanks a lot :rofl::rofl:
    mallory's 150s and luxe bumble bees (values ~ .022mf/400V) are the best i've found so far (for les paul)...
    and these allparts "vitamin Qs" (in the picture) works fine too ...
     

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