Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
bluezguy

Varitones Into a ES-335

Recommended Posts

I love my ES-335 2013 Dot RI Figured - even though it does NOT sound like an ES-335 of pre-Memphis days. I got it brand new and really had no choice in the matter.

It truly sounds like a Les Paul Standard on a serious dose of steroids and amphetamines. For this, I kept 'er!

 

Since we cannot buy a Varitone from Gibson, I come to those of you who have installed or tried any of the aftermarket ones like, Big D. Please, I request info from only those of you have have done this with 335s. I seek the 'boxy' or 'woody' or mild 'jazz box' tones that ALL ES-335s had before the Memphis thing. I've had one in the late 60s, another in the late 70s, one in the late 80s and my last 'real' one in 1994 - ALL with that 'woody' tone.

Furthermore, piers in the business also with 335s, had the same woodiness about their tones.

Don't anyone DARE bring pickups or stripping finishes and tightening hardware into this [-X, I know who you are ...

 

As I laid around rotting as the years went by, I decided I'd have one more before I croaked and ended up with this beautiful 2013 (except for the tone I wanted). It was SOOOOOOO rock & roll I had to keep it.

 

Anyways, again, has anyone had any success with an aftermarket Varitone setup on their ES-335???

 

Thank YOU for reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tried searching for one on eBay? If you find one, I'm sure a decent tech could install the Varitone for you. Just make sure you know the guy can deliver, because it has to be installed in a neat way.

 

What I have seen before, is people taking the Varitone off a 345. But in both cases, just ask a decent tech to do it for you. Shouldn't take long.

 

Pick-ups can get you a long way towards that vintage tone. The MHS pick-ups are awesome. I have them in my '58 335 reissue. Remember, installing a Varitone will reduce the value of the guitar should you want sell it one day.

 

Good luck, mate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I just recalled that a friend of mine installed a Varitone on a 339 instead of the 335. But that's just the little brother of the 335. Same principle. He took it to a local guitar tech, and he had the guitar back within a couple of days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tried searching for one on eBay? If you find one, I'm sure a decent tech could install the Varitone for you. Just make sure you know the guy can deliver, because it has to be installed in a neat way.

 

What I have seen before, is people taking the Varitone off a 345. But in both cases, just ask a decent tech to do it for you. Shouldn't take long.

 

Pick-ups can get you a long way towards that vintage tone. The MHS pick-ups are awesome. I have them in my '58 335 reissue. Remember, installing a Varitone will reduce the value of the guitar should you want sell it one day.

 

Good luck, mate.

 

 

By the way, I just recalled that a friend of mine installed a Varitone on a 339 instead of the 335. But that's just the little brother of the 335. Same principle. He took it to a local guitar tech, and he had the guitar back within a couple of days.

Thanks for your attempt to help BUT ... reading is essential [lol][lol][lol]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK...I read it twice just to make sure I ain't breaking the rules.

 

I haven't tried putting in a varitone into a 335, but I'll offer the same advice that leads me and a lot of other folks regarding this: Don't do it. Just, don't do it. You won't get 335 tome that way.

 

Varitone won't make it sound woody. Won't make it sound boxy, or loud, or more dynamic. It will make it...more flat and boring compared to before. It will only take away fidelity, at the cost of being able to change tone quickly with the flick of a switch. But not of those flicks sound anything like the sound you describe you want.

 

Just to be clear though, I don't have a 335. Or a 355, or a 345. But if I DID have one, I would likely have it disconnected so I could get the sound more like you describe.

 

Anyway, one other thing: You bought this guitar because it has a certain something it did better than anything else. Well, if you go make it do another different something, it won't do what it does now.

 

Easier to just find another that does what you want, and have two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand how adding a varitone would make it sound more ES-335 "woody" like.

 

Installing a Gibson varitone involves installing the rotary switch and the heavy inductive coils in the body. The benefit is mainly a quick change from bypass (position 1) to the other positions (progressively filters out the lower frequencies as you go to position 6). I find positions 1, 2, and 3 as the usuable tones.

 

I got my ES-345 some 50 years ago...not too many guitars hanging in this major music store and played it for many years... now worn frets and divots on the rosewood. I guess, I'm just as satisfied with the stock Memphis 335 and the smaller 339.

 

If you want one, here;s the inductor that needs to be installed in addition to the rotary switch. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who installed a varitone. Have fun on your quest.

 

DSC02884640x480.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for it. It's exactly what I'd like to do when I have the time to do it without rushing it. I see myself using the sounds for funkier rhythm parts. From what I've read most tone robbing issues are usually to do with crappy pots or switches or bad soldering. I don't know much about the nitty gritty of electronics but if one of the varitone positions is actually a bypass does that not mean it is completely taken out of the circuit?

As far as affecting the value of your guitar goes, my plan is to go with a master tone and replace the other tone pot with the Varitone. No need to drill any extra holes. If in the end you don't like it, no damage done.

 

What does the "Choke" or inductor do? Do you really need it?

 

Where are you guys getting your caps etc.? I'm near Toronto and I can't find a place that carries exactly the cap values I want. StewMac carries the rotary switch.

 

Cheers

 

Here's another in depth thread about Vasritones.

 

http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?174470-The-End-of-the-Varitone-Controversy/page4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for it. It's exactly what I'd like to do when I have the time to do it without rushing it. I see myself using the sounds for funkier rhythm parts. From what I've read most tone robbing issues are usually to do with crappy pots or switches or bad soldering. I don't know much about the nitty gritty of electronics but if one of the varitone positions is actually a bypass does that not mean it is completely taken out of the circuit?

As far as affecting the value of your guitar goes, my plan is to go with a master tone and replace the other tone pot with the Varitone. No need to drill any extra holes. If in the end you don't like it, no damage done.

 

What does the "Choke" or inductor do? Do you really need it?

 

Where are you guys getting your caps etc.? I'm near Toronto and I can't find a place that carries exactly the cap values I want. StewMac carries the rotary switch.

 

Cheers

 

Here's another in depth thread about Vasritones.

 

http://www.lespaulfo...ntroversy/page4

 

There is a schematic with values at the Gibson site.

The choke works in conjunction with the cap to provide resonance and the resistors/wiring causes the decay of the resonance.

It is not technically a true bypass; but the effect of the choke/cap is so minimal in a high impedance circuit.

 

Thanks for the link... it was a very interesting "read".

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a schematic with values at the Gibson site.

The choke works in conjunction with the cap to provide resonance and the resistors/wiring causes the decay of the resonance.

It is not technically a true bypass; but the effect of the choke/cap is so minimal in a high impedance circuit.

 

Thanks for the link... it was a very interesting "read".

 

Yah. That Chris Wargo really gets into it. He seems to know his stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks folks ... we can close this one. If you never knew what 'woody' type tone meant, all you have to do is listen to any original recordings of ES users from back in the 50s, 60s, & 70s. Freddy King (es345, 355) is probably the best example. It's a 'natural' EQ thang.

 

The best way I can describe it is; it is like Eric Clapton's 'woman tone' on Sunshine of Your Love ... except, much milder. I speak from an age and much performance experience viewpoint ... not to mention that I've owned a number of new ones since the late 60s.

My gripe has been compounded by the 'after' expense incurred. Numerous pickup & speaker swaps and tube combinations as well as cap experimentation have totaled to more than the price of a used SG Standard - to never find my fix. The last thing I can try which, WILL NEVER HAPPEN, is to remove the nitro finish. Some of these rocket scientists are something else[-X

Again, since the transition to Memphis, this tone has 101% disappeared. Memphis turned this classic into a plain old hi-power R&R machine. Maybe it's to catch up to the times ...

 

We should not have had this tone taken away from us from this once perfect instrument but, I guess for those who've never experienced it, it doesn't really matter, does it?

 

I've gotten too old now to buy anymore guitars or amps ... this was my last instrument purchase. I DO love the instrument very much for the end result that I breathed into it ... thank God for the ability to earn cash.

Thanks for reading my rant!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...