NOS .022or .047 uF 400v. Sprague "Bumblebee" Capacitors
NOS 1960's .022 or .047 uF Genuine 400v. Sprague "Bumblebee" capacitors
These are genuine used Sprague "bumblebee" 400v. tubular capacitors. They are quite rare and priced accordingly. It isn't a typo, they are really $45 each. But on the other hand, that is still cheaper than some of the reproductions, and these are the real deal. These are pulls from vintage electronics, tested to be within the original +/- 10% tolerance. If you are the type of person that just can't be satisfied with anything but the original, or if you are actually restoring a guitar that these came in then they are worth the asking price. But if you are looking for some kind of magical huge 1950's tone improvement, and not just the look, then my advice would be to forget it, and get a good quality tubular mylar/foil or a paper capacitor, which is what these are and always have been on the inside. Or better yet get the type 118P which was the military version of the bumblebee. There is a variety available here. Good original "bees" in decent shape and of the correct values are hard enough to find, and I'd rather hang on to them myself than try to sell you any snake oil about magic tone and have you be disappointed.
Many people think that these were all paper-in-oil construction, but it isn't so. Only a very few were. Gibson supposedly used mostly the 400v. size. From my research, at least from 1952 until about 1961, these were made with paper internal construction and only oil-impregnated for the 600 volt versions and higher. Then in about 1960 or 1961 Sprague introduced the "difilm" dielectric which is a mylar and paper construction. At that time, the voltage rating level for oil-impregnation was raised to 1600 volts. So you may find a very few old Gibsons with oil filled caps, but the vast majority of them were either paper, or paper-mylar "difilm". The way to tell if the originals were oil filled is to look for the oil filler tube which looks like a solder blob on one end. The non oil filled versions cost about 20 cents and the oil filled version were over 50 cents at the time, so don't bet that Gibson used oil filled ones very much unless they just had to. The information I am giving you here is not internet hearsay, I spent a great deal of time looking them up in old catalogs to verify the technical details from the manufacturer's original descriptions. These were intended for use in televisions and were similar to other capacitors that were available at the time, just epoxy encapsulated. There is no difference between a "Black Beauty" and a "Bumblebee" either except the color code stripes that told the capacitance values. Sprague only had Black Beauty "telecaps" for sale, the whole time. They never called them bumblebees or anything else. At some point the industry moved away from the color code marking and began printing the value on the cap. That is the only difference in the two. Other companies made similar tubular epoxy molded television capacitors. The number "2" in a circle from what is likely the mold ejector pins indicates Sprague. Other vendors used different numbers, but the end product looked the same, or maybe a slightly different color of epoxy.
You can choose from either .022uF or .047uF values when I can find them. Both are the 400 volt size. Be aware, the leads are short, about 3/8 inches long, you may need to extend them. Also, the .047 bumblebees are larger (see photos). They are still 400 volts this is just the actual size as they were made. I test each one to be within a the original tolerance. I include a short piece of yellow vintage style cloth insulation with each one, which may appropriate to a vintage look in some installations. The supply is very limited and when they are gone I may not be able to find them again.
Price is for a single capacitor and includes shipping by first class mail. Some of the photos may show a pot for size reference- it isn't included, just the cap and insulation.