Varitone switch?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by codycarrig, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. codycarrig

    codycarrig Member

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    Hey!

    I really liked the BB King Lucille model because of the varitone, but I want an es-335 with the f holes. So I have some varitone questions:

    1. Can a varitone be installed?
    2. Are there cons to having one?
    3. Is there a way to bypass it when I want just normal 335 tones?

    Thank you everyone who can help! I really appreciate it :)
     
  2. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

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    Just get a Gibson ES-345, which comes with the Varitone switch. I own a 1959 ES-355 which has a Varitone. On my guitar the fist position of the switch is a bypass. Gibson has modified the Varitone circuit a number of times since it was introduced in 1958, so you would need to confirm that it can be bypassed for the specific guitar you're interested in. Some people complain that a Varitone makes a guitar sound thin, but that hasn't been my experience with my 355. I like that variation in the tones that are available.


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  3. BMF Effects

    BMF Effects Supporting Member

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    Can it be bypassed? Yes, there are several articles on the web that show how to do it. The problem I find with Varitones is that they vary (no pun intended) wildly. I've played 345's where the Varitone yielded distinct and useable tones in each position (a '63 and a '72) and others (a '60 and '14) where the Varitone was useless. What I would do is find a good Varitone, wire it up externally and make sure you like it. Once you find a Varitone you like I'd mod the guitar for a master tone control and mount the Varitone in the second tone control hole, that way there are no irreversible mods made to the guitar.
     
  4. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    I have found the same issue regarding consistency. Not so sure it's the actual Varitone vs the quality of the pickups though. I'm in the process of comparing my 345 tones to other QUALITY guitars I have, like a '62 Strat, '64 Filtertron Gretsch, etc.. Will report back when finished.
     
  5. headpond

    headpond Member

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    I've always been interested in them. It's a rotary switch with different caps/values? I've seen them on blues hawks and have wondered if one would fit in an SG cavity.
     
  6. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    There use to be a pedal that emulated the varitone switch, can't remember the make Snarling Dogs? Anyway the newer varitones are different from the original in 60's
     
  7. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

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    They do also add weight...I believe as much as 2 lbs in the case of the old varitones
     

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