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Old 5th February 2011, 02:28 PM   #1
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Default Bumblebee Caps

IIRC, Bumblebe caps are polarized and the foil end is the negative. Is that correct?

I have several that are printed opposite the way the chart suggests and opposite the others. I suppose the foil is the important tell, not the printing?

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Old 5th February 2011, 02:41 PM   #2
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Are we talking about the black caps with colored stripes that resemble an oversized resistor? If so they are not polarized. Them and many other wound caps have a marking to designate which end is connected to the foil that winds up on the outside after the whole thing is rolled up. The "outside foil" is connected to ground if the cap is used as a bypass, thus acting as a shield. In other applications it is common to connect the outside foil to the circuit with the lowest impedance.
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Old 5th February 2011, 03:40 PM   #3
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Yes, we are talking about the black caps with the colored stripes. HERE is the color decoding chart if anyone is interested.

Thanks for the insight.

I have a bunch I removed from a scrapped out organ tone board a few years ago and I wanted to test them for leakage. They measure pretty much spot on for capacitance but they show leakage resistance in the 120 meg ohm range (leaking about 1/10 the voltage through my 12 meg ohm VTVM). I was thinking about using them as coupling caps, but I'm not accustomed to using caps with that much leakage. Then again, that small amount probably wouldn't be enough to affect bias. Do you know of a "go/no go" figure or formula for leakage?
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Old 5th February 2011, 04:02 PM   #4
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Do you know of a "go/no go" figure or formula for leakage?
It really depends on the circuit. Coupling caps would be about the worse place to put a leaker. It also depends on how the caps were used...how hot they ran and for how long.

The bumblebee caps have a reputation for leaking and the leakage will go up with temperature. Most people recommend replacing them, but my vintage Fluke 407D power supply is full of them. I got it for $25 on Ebay in "untested" condition and it worked. It still works fine with all of the bumblebees dispite my repeated overloads. The only incident involved me breaking a switch by trying to turn it too far. I would not use the bumblebees in a new amp though. It is just too easy to fry a tube with a leaky cap, or worse chase funny distortion issues that show up when the amp gets hot. New caps are cheaper than new tubes. I recycle parts a lot, but all my amps get new caps and resistors. The old stuff is just too iffy. YMMV
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Old 5th February 2011, 04:29 PM   #5
Zibi is offline Zibi  Poland
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Bumblebee caps at MF ... not for me!!! - Telecaster Guitar Forum
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Old 5th February 2011, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubelab.com View Post
It is just too easy to fry a tube with a leaky cap
Yeah, what am I thinking?

OK, that was my bad idea for the day. Now I can get on to something else.
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Old 5th February 2011, 07:45 PM   #7
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So it looks like the thing to do with the bumblebees is Ebay! Maybe it is time to recap my old power supply.
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Old 5th February 2011, 08:56 PM   #8
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You'll need to smash one open and take a photo of the guts to prove it's not a Gibson reissue with a 50 cent polyester/foil cap inside. If you don't, you may have to accept less than $100 ea.

Personally, I'd take the reissued new one over the original one if they were the same price.

..Todd
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Old 5th February 2011, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubelab.com View Post
It really depends on the circuit.
if you check much, in circuit, this might help -

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Gibson Historic Bumblebee Capacitors 2-pack
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5 Reviews -


Rip Off Posted by slewis from NC on Jan 3, 2011
Experience w/product: I have heard about it
Reviewer's Background: Hobbyist
Reviewer's Play Style: Rock
Let me start off by saying that these are decent quality capacitors. While they would improve the sound of most guitars, they are extremely overpriced. They are nothing but Gibson's normal capacitors that are put into a Bumblebee shell. These are not PIO(Paper in Oil) like the original Bumblebees were. What I really don't understand is the price. You can get an original set of Bumblebee capacitors for around $40. If you really want some great sounding caps for a low price get a set of orange drop caps for a couple bucks a piece.


fake reissues Posted by RCR81 from Detroit on Dec 30, 2010
Experience w/product: I have heard about it
Reviewer's Background: Active Musician
Reviewer's Play Style: Rock
Do some research before you buy these. Check out the Gibson guitar forums as well. The reissue bumblebee caps are nothing like the originals. I have originals in my '58 Gibson ES-330 and they sounds great when turned all the way down and all the way up. Cheap fakes, and according to the Gibson forums these also, sound horrible turned up. Numerous people have bought these and had to send them back to Gibson (obviously they can't be sent back here once you solder them in). Apparently the "return" process to Gibson on them is almost impossible as well once soldered in -- everyone has to call a few times and speak with different people / supervisors.


Don't believe the myth. Posted by Robert from Philadelphia, PA on Dec 4, 2010
Experience w/product: I have heard about it
Reviewer's Background: Recording artist
Reviewer's Play Style: Folk Rock Alternative
These really do probably cost about 5 cents to make.
I have heard ALL about the alleged differences between the sound of tone capacitors and I purchased about dozen different makes and types, all of the same value (about .022mf). This included Mallory 150s, Sozo mustards, Orange Drops, Mojotone Paper-in-oils, Dijons, Xicon, cheap ceramics, etc. I put together some shielded alligator clips to try them all out in rotation inside my 2000 Les Paul, wired 50's style (this DOES make a difference) heavily-upgraded with Seymour Duncan pickups, Tonepros hardware, etc. into a Vox all-tube AC100-watt half-stack.

If you try real hard and use your imagination, then at best, the difference is neglible. But if you listen without any bias, tone control rolled up, rolled down, rolled all around, then the difference is non-existant. In a guitar amp, capacitors make a tonal difference- I'll buy that. The signal passes through and moves on. But in a guitar tone control, any imparted characteristics or voicings of a capacitor seem like they're shunted right to ground. How can there be any difference? The only differences come with changing capacitor value (i.e. .015mf,.047mf,.1mf) or possibly which direction you wire it (the outside foil, if you can determine it, should be on the grounded end of the cap).

Don't waste your time on the quest, or your money on the myth. Use the caps you have, or buy from a company you'd like to support.



Are The Kidding? Posted by Don Butler from L.A. on Nov 9, 2010
Experience w/product: I have heard about it
Reviewer's Background: Pro
Reviewer's Play Style: various
Seems as though Gibson is trying to make us believe that these parts are real compared to the originals. These caps are nothing more that .50 cent a piece "Wesco .022 Foil/Film" caps. The original Sprague caps made in the `50's were Paper In Oil. These Wesco caps don't sound good and muddy your tone (even with the tone control on 10.


really? Posted by Les Paul Nut from East Coast on Oct 7, 2010
Experience w/product: I have used it
Reviewer's Background: PT musician
Reviewer's Play Style: Rock

Quote:
By now, everyone knows that the Gibson Historic "bumblebee" caps are cheap polyester metalized caps wrapped in brown plastic and paint. These caps are not even remotely similar to the original PIO bumblebee caps used on Gibsons in the late 1950s. There must be 1000% markup on these reissue Bees.

I've used these reissue caps in recent Historic Les Pauls and they really do not sound very good compared to quality PIO caps that are commonly available.
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Old 15th February 2011, 04:58 PM   #10
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I think I will throw these up on ebay. They came out of a very old organ tone cabinet so I know they are the real deal.
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