NOS .022uF or .020uF 400v. Sprague "Black Beauty" Capacitors

NOS .022uF or .020uF 400v. Sprague "Black Beauty"  Capacitors
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  • Item #: 2007

NOS .022 uF Genuine 400v. Sprague "Black Beauty" capacitors

These are genuine New Old Stock Sprague "Black Beauty" 400v. tubular capacitors, mostly .02 or sometimes .022 uF value 400 VDC as originally supplied by Gibson. They are quite rare and priced accordingly.  It isn't a typo, they are really $39.50 each. But these are the real deal, completely authentic and back in stock again after being out for a while. These are some of the best available currently on the market.  I've seen some of lesser or similar quality advertised for more than twice this price when they can be found. Many of the ones currently offered are the wrong specs for voltage (not 400V. = different physical size) or a different uF value or else are used pulls with short leads.  None of them I've seen ship with tested uF values. These are not used or pulls, they have their full length original leads and have never been installed.  These are getting much harder to find, getting quite rare after almost 50 years out of production. 

These specimens are in perfect condition, couldn't ask for anything better protected. They are still sealed in their original individual mil-spec packaging from 1967 until I open the packages to measure them just before shipping. Click on the picture to see what these caps and their original individual packages look like. The original tolerance was +/- 10%, and most I've checked have been still within that tolerance. A few may have drifted just a little higher.  None are more than +/- 20%, or I won't ship them, and most will measure between .019uF - .025uF.  That small difference is definitely not enough to be heard easily. Tone is a very subjective thing, but I have never had the slightest complaint on any of these gems, or for that matter any of the ones I have with similar specs. Just rave reviews if anything.  Anyway, given the supply after all these years, the specs are what they are now, and at any rate installed in a vintage guitar they would have probably also drifted a similar amount by now. I can guarantee they will measure within +/- 20% of ,022uF.  As far as I know no one else will guarantee that spec. I'll continue to do that until I run out of the best ones. I measure each one just before shipping and mark the tested value on the package insert. My tester is very accurate, and I measure at 1 kHz frequency. I ship the closest to original tolerance ones first. If you would like me to skip the measuring and ship them to you still in their original sealed package, make a comment with your order and I can do that too. I occasionally may find a few more, but these are very rare, so mostly I am using up old stock.  Also included are a couple of short pieces of varnished spaghetti tubing like Gibson would have used to install them in a guitar.  Few others offer that either.

If you are the type of person that just can't be satisfied with anything but the original, or if you are lucky enough to be actually restoring a guitar that these came in then they are well worth the asking price, and if these are what you need then I can guarantee that you aren't likely to find a better deal on them anywhere.  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. Also, I sometimes have reproduction "bumblebees" available which are made the same and will sound as good and look  more vintage for less money. Use the contact page to inquire about those, I don't always stock them or list them on the store. Or when I can find them, you might get the type 118P which was the military version of the bumblebee. There is usually a variety available here. All of these alternatives have the same internal construction and will sound similar (which is about as good as it gets by the way, as far as I can tell after many sales). It's just the look that will be different. Good original "Black Beauties" and "bees" in decent shape and of the correct values are hard enough to find, and I'd rather hang on to them myself or let them go to restorations than to try to sell you any snake oil about magic tone and have you be disappointed. Many people have been led to think that these were all paper-in-oil construction, but it isn't so. Paper, probably yes by all the specs, oil probably no, unless really unusual circumstances. These are paper by their specs, or di-film, which is paper-mylar and very similar and better by all the electrical measurements.  By the way the "bumblebee" capacitors were the earlier version of this capacitor and the only difference is that the values were indicated by painted on colored stripes before the factory changed to printing the values on them. Sprague never called either version aything else but Black Beauty Telecaps. They were intended for use in televisions, among other things, hence the Telecap part of the name.

Also, from time to time I may have a few NOS .047 uF 400 volt rated Black Beauties as well, for the same prices. These are a little larger diameter, which is how they came in the 400 volt rating.  Inquire using the contact us page if you are interested.

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.


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Price $39.50
Availability In-Stock