NOS Sprague Vitamin Q Glass Sealed Paper in Oil Capacitors

paper in oil capacitor
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  • Item #: VitQ

NOS Glass Sealed Paper in Oil Capacitors (Genuine Sprague Vitamin Q Type 196P)

Many players like the legendary tone of the Paper in Oil (PIO) Capacitors.  The best known variety is the Sprague Vitamin Q. It has even become a kind of holy grail of guitar tone capacitors.  These haven't been made in many years, and have gotten scarce and expensive.  Some suppliers have even started selling newly made reproduction versions. Even then some of the popular sizes of those have now been discontinued.  If you can find any New Old Stock Sprague Vitamin Q's anywhere near the needed sizes, expect to pay upwards of $25 in most other places. Even the newly made reproductions are going for $12-15 or more apiece, and many of them are only oil filled polyester capacitors anyway which isn't really the same thing. And the mineral oil that is used today isn't the same as the proprietary capacitor oils of the 50's and 60's which are now banned due to PCB's even though they are hermetically sealed inside the metal tube with a glass seal. And also, because they are made this way for high reliability, they haven't dried up and lost their values like the non-military versions might have. These are the real Vitamin Q parts, filed away in forgotten stockroom corners for decades.

I only stock a few sizes I have been able to find. If you need a different value, look in my other listing some of the other less well known suppliers that made equivalent glass sealed Paper in Oil capacitors to the very same military s pecification. Sprague just happened to be the best known one. I stock a few of the other brands and have many more chioces of uF values. As with all tone capacitors, the larger the uF value, the more highs are rolled off. These are all quite old, but have never been used and have full length leads, usually at least 2 inches per side or more.  Available sizes vary from time to time according to what I can find. I test each one to specs, clean them up as best as I can, and add a length of vintage style cloth insulation to the leads before shipping.   Make sure there is room for these in your guitar, the physical size is noted in the selection drop down box.

 Price is for a single capacitor and includes shipping, (and bragging rights).

PCB Information:  To the best of my knowledge, these capacitors do not contain PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) chemicals. Specifically, Sprague's Vitamin Q oil is not listed on any of the EPA's lists of PCB containing capacitor oils that I have found.  However, due to the age of these parts, manufacturers information is difficult to obtain for certain, as there are often conflicting sources. Many capacitor oils in the 50's did contain askarels which include PCB chemicals. I have made an attempt to verify the type of oil used, checking several lists published by th EPA that came up on search engines, but it is possible that there may be an error or another list that I could not find.  PCB's are known to be an environmental hazard to ground water and a health and reproductive hazard to humans. They are not alowed to be produced or imported for new construction, but are allowed to continue in service as produced, if properly disposed of.  It is therefore recommended to treat them as though they may contain small amounts of PCB chemicals for purposes of handling and disposal.


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Price $19.50
2 or more $18.50 each
Availability In-Stock