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thepocna

1969 ES 355 TDSV Wiring Question

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Just bought an amazing 69 ES 355 Stereo. I am wondering if it can be rewired to Mono while still keeping use of the Varitone. I am currently just using a stereo to mono cable converter into an Orange combo but this method results in volume and tone loss. Any other suggestions. I love the guitar but need to solve this problem. I posted about this before I bought the guitar and the stereo to mono cable suggestion was made but I don't think it's a good solution. Many thanks for any help.

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If you can't live with it in it's current state I would take it and a copy of the electrical schematic to a proven luthier-WHO DOES ELECTRICAL - and get a quote. (many say they do, but don't)

 

Remember that you're basically raping a collector piece and reducing the value of a sought-after guitar.

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I've got an Historic 2000 built '59 ES-345 in mono. It is not wired like a LP. Gibson has to have this info, make a very stern call to customer service.

 

I have tried to look into the body of my 345, there is too much **** in there (with the varitone and all) to be able to tell how it's wired.

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I have a mid-70's ES 345 and thought about doing the same thing, having it re-wired, but I decided not to do it.

 

If your using a "Y" cord, like me, your best bet is to find an amplifier w/two seperate channels, that is when it sounds the best. I have a Fender Super Reverb, and it sounds great. The stereo can be a pain sometimes if your using it with a one channel amplifier.

 

Picking up a amp w/two seperate channels, like a Twin or a Super will make the guitar sound the way it is supposed to.

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I have a mid-70's ES 345 and thought about doing the same thing' date=' having it re-wired, but I decided not to do it.

 

If your using a "Y" cord, like me, your best bet is to find an amplifier w/two seperate channels, that is when it sounds the best. I have a Fender Super Reverb, and it sounds great. The stereo can be a pain sometimes if your using it with a one channel amplifier.

 

Picking up a amp w/two seperate channels, like a Twin or a Super will make the guitar sound the way it is supposed to.

 

 

[/quote']

 

Ken, going from my experience, I'm surprised that the your 345 "sounds great" through the Super Reverb.

 

They're both great pieces of kit but Fenders amps from this period like the ones you mention - and the Deluxe, Vibrolux, Pro etc have an extra gain stage in the vibrato channel which puts the output signal 180 degree out of phase with the output signal from the normal channel. This results in a thin sound when both pickups are on.

 

But a Tweed Bassman might be the business.

 

RN

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Just bought an amazing 69 ES 355 Stereo. I am wondering if it can be rewired to Mono while still keeping use of the Varitone. I am currently just using a stereo to mono cable converter into an Orange combo but this method results in volume and tone loss. Any other suggestions. I love the guitar but need to solve this problem. I posted about this before I bought the guitar and the stereo to mono cable suggestion was made but I don't think it's a good solution. Many thanks for any help.

 

 

And what did you think about the Barge Concepts VFB-X solution proposed in the earlier thread?

 

http://forums.gibson.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=471

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Robin, my ES 345 does sound good thru both channels. I have a 335, and they almost sound the same. I know if you use the 2nd input of the vibrato channel and the 1st input of the normal channel, it doesn't have much bottom. That might be what you are referring to.

 

I use the lead pick-up thru the Normal Channel and the rhythm pick-up thru the Vibrato channel in the 1st input.

 

But I like the sound, I really don't play it out anymore, I use my ES 335 or my Tele through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

 

The only way he is going to know is to take his guitar to a Guitar Store and try out amps with 2 seperate channels.

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Thanks for all of the help folks. I am a total convert to Orange amps so I may have to live with the difference in tone using the basic stereo to mono cable converter. Or, I guess I could get the upgraded Orange combo with 2 inputs (I currently use the Orange Rocker 30 which is 2 channels and I input. No easy way around this one.

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Back in the olden days, a lot of guys got 345's or 355's rewired to remove Varitone. If all you want to do is change the guitar from stereo to mono, that's a lot simpler - I would suspect it would just mean replacing the stereo jack with a mono one. Should be easy to do, and easy to un-do if you decide to go stereo later or sell the guitar.

 

Course you could get a second Orange amp and really go stereo!!

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I don't think just replacing the input jack would work, and here is my reasoning:

 

Unlike a standard wired two pick up ES 335, when you have your pick-up selector switch in the middle for both pick ups, if you increase your volume knob on one pick up, it will not work unless you increase the volume on the other pick up.

 

On a ES 345/355 Stereo, if the toggle switch is in the middle, each pick up will work w/o the other being turned on.

 

To me this means on a ES 335, the pick ups are wired to each other, then to the input jack, vs. a stereo guitar, where each pick up is wired seperately to the input jack.

 

Wouldn't just replacing the jack be the same as running the "Y" cord into a mono adapter? I think you still wouldn't get the correct sound unless you used an amp w/two seperate independent channels or two amps.

 

I have pulled out my stereo cord a bit, where I make contact w/both pick ups, it sounds out of phase, until you push the plug in all of the way, to get the correct contact.

 

I have never done it, maybe I'm wrong, please correct me if I am. I thought about doing the same thing to me 345, but decided to keep it in stereo.

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Wouldn't just replacing the jack be the same as running the "Y" cord into a mono adapter? I think you still wouldn't get the correct sound unless you used an amp w/two seperate independent channels or two amps.

 

Exactly. Other options are a buffered device like a Barge Concepts VFB-X or a mixer.

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FWIW' date=' I used to have a '68 ES-345 that was rewired to mono with the Varitone still functioning. So it has been done before.[/quote']

 

As I said before, I have a 2000 built Historic ES-345 MONO. It has always and is still being done (at least in 2000)right at the Gibson factory in Nashville. Don't ask anybody in Memphis, they might trip over their shoelaces.

 

There IS a wiring diagram for this, probably dated 1959. Somebody should be able to dig it up.

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As provided by Robin Nahum, here's is the 1959 Stereo Varitone circuit diagram. This is the STEREO version. If only someone could come up with the MONO version, we would have our answers. This shows that the Varitone is really just an extension on the tone pots, and therefore inconsequential in this mono/stereo discussion.

 

2859732516_1aee2750a9_o.jpg

 

In very simplified terms, here's the signal chain as shown in this diagram:

pickup - switch - vol pot - jack (x2, separate path for each pickup, to stereo TRS jack).

 

On a Les Paul the switch is last in the chain (before the jack), instead of first, and is where the signals of the two pickups are combined: pickup(x2) - vol pot (x2) - switch - jack.

 

Trying to look inside my mono 345 with a mirror, I can determine that the pickups do wire first to the switch (as shown above), but I can not get a good enough look to see where the signals from the individual pickups combine for the mono output. Maybe if I had a smaller gooseneck mirror I could snake it a little further in there for a better look. So what we have is a completely different signal path than a standard two humbucker mono output guitar.

 

SV = PU - SW - VP - J

LP = PU - VP - SW - J

 

Without a major rewire to a LP signal path configuration, we still don't have the answer. Stay tuned, I'm going to find the official Gibson 345/355 MONO wiring diagram if it kills me.

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I just got a reply from Gibson Customer Service on this topic. The answer, imagine this, was that the Mono Varitone circuit schematic was not available due to an unfortunate "lack of records in many areas". I would say a lack of records for a guitar they are currently building in Memphis (ES-345 with dual output jacks, one stereo, the other mono) is quite unfortunate. They must have wizards down there wiring up these guitars without a schematic.

 

Anyway, here is a diagram I found on the www. I was on the same page as a correct stereo per above, so I have no reason to doubt it (it just doesn't have a Gibson logo on the page), and I know this circuit would work.

 

2862193610_b82184f436_o.jpg

 

In reality, the circuit above is identical to a standard two humbucker LP type configuration with a Varitone stuck on the end. Wired in this way, the guitar would mute when rolling off one of the volume knobs in dual pickup switch position like a Les Paul. This is not the way my Historic (2000 built) ES-345 works. In dual pickup position you can use the volume control to completely kill one pickup without affecting the other. The diagram above might be correct for a 1961 Mono Varitone, but it's not the way mine is wired.

 

I'm not going to dismantle my guitar for a forum discussion on this website, but if I ever get anymore information, I will post it.

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L5, am I imagining things or are the two volume controls in that 61 mono diagram different from each other? The lower drawing is wierd in several respects: (1) it only seems to have one wire connected to the volume pot (not counting the ground) and (2) the pickup is connected to the center lug (wiper) on the pot instead of one of the outer lugs.

 

Another question, on your Historic 345, are the pickups connected to the center lug (wiper) of the volume pot, with the outer lug going on to the switch and output jack? You can probably see it with a dental mirror. If so the volume controls operate independently and turning down one knob to 0 will not kill both so blending the two pickups works a little more gradually over the whole range of the volume knob.

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L5, that diagram looked familiar (at least the handwriting of the label). It's from page 128 of Donald Brosnac's book entitled Guitar Electronics: A Workbook (d.B. Music Co. 1980). The volume control looks funny, though.

 

Back to the basic question, what happens if you just connect the two stereo output leads to one cord? That could be done by replacing the jack and it's reversible - but do you wind up with a phase problem or some other reason why the stereo output has to go into two different amp channels?

 

Would you have to disconnect one leg of the stereo varitone and make it a single master tone gizmo?

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bobv,

This is the original post that started this thread.

 

Just bought an amazing 69 ES 355 Stereo. I am wondering if it can be rewired to Mono while still keeping use of the Varitone. I am currently just using a stereo to mono cable converter into an Orange combo but this method results in volume and tone loss. Any other suggestions. I love the guitar but need to solve this problem. I posted about this before I bought the guitar and the stereo to mono cable suggestion was made but I don't think it's a good solution. Many thanks for any help.

 

This topic of rewiring a Stereo Varitone to mono has come up on these boards before.

http://forums.gibson.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=5434

http://forums.gibson.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=471

 

Since I seem to be the only one around here that owns a factory Mono Varitone (ES-345), I took it upon myself to try to find the technical differences between the two (stereo & mono), since two members have posted the same problem with just connecting the two output leads to the same jack lug. It's turning out to be a much harder investigation than I had figured it would be. I do have another e-mail request into Gibson Customer Service stating that since my guitar was built in 2000, and a Memphis 345 (with mono & stereo jacks) is still a current production model, they must have some documentation. I do not expect a response any different that the last one ("lack of records").

 

I do agree that the mono circuit I posted must be incorrect at the bottom pickup area. Looks to me to be just a draftsman's error, as that pickup should be wired the same as the top one. And since the switch is where the combining of the pickups happens, and there is only a mono circuit beyond that, there is only one side of the Varitone switch required.

 

I did pickup a couple of smaller gooseneck mirrors today, the one I had was too big to get into a thinline with all the Varitone wiring. I'll try another exploratory and see what else I can find out. Stay tuned. The funny thing is, the two people that started both the threads on this topic seem to have disappeared. Think we're just talking amongst ourselves.

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Besides that wouldn't stop us from talking amongst ourselves, glad you're hanging in there.

 

Just wondering exactly what the "volume and tone loss" problem in the original post was - whether it's a phase thing for some reason or a drop in output. Incidentally if the pickups were out of phase I think you'd still hear that sounding funky when amplified together, but flipping the magnet is a simple fix (it's described in the latest tips email newsletter from Stew Mac).

 

If I had to guess, the stereo varitone may be the culprit in the tone/volume drop when bridging the two channels. The switch is two-pole, there are two sets of capacitors, and two chokes. The second side of the varitone would become redundant if you connected the outputs on a mono jack. Isn't the first position of the varitone basically out of the circuit doing nothing (well, okay, there's always a tie-down resistor so it doesn't "pop" when you turn the switch)? One test of my theory is that it should get a lot louder and brighter when you turn back to that first position on the varitone.

 

Perhaps the thing to do would be to disconnect one leg of the varitone, connect the other leg to the wire going to the output jack (instead of just to one pickup), and bridge the two outputs to the tip connector of the output jack. It's reversible, of course, but there is some effect on the "all original" status if that's important to you. If you still have tone issues then you'd need some type of buffer or preamp between the guitar and the amp in order to connect the two channels without one loading the other (the marginal benefit of a stereo guitar in the first place is to have the two pickups and their controls operating completely independently. I tried it on a reworked Ovation Tornado thinline hollowbody with D'Armond pickups - all it does is prompt people to ask about the second jack).

 

How about a diagram from the Lucille model - doesn't that have a Varitone and two jacks and you can still use it for mono? Epiphone has a Lucille model, too, with two jacks.

 

Anyway have fun with that little mirror - I found I could read the sticker on the back of the lead pickup from the f-hole using one of those, and tried to demystify the Memphis Tone circuit of the 339 but that's another topic.

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How about a diagram from the Lucille model - doesn't that have a Varitone and two jacks and you can still use it for mono? Epiphone has a Lucille model' date=' too, with two jacks.[/quote']

 

As does the Memphis Custom Shop 345.

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Update. I tried to get a good look into my mono 345 yesterday with the TWO new gooseneck mirrors I bought. One stuck up under the controls, one stuck in the f-hole to look into the other one, and flashlight in my mouth. NOTHING, too many wires.

 

The wire bundles are sheathed in what resembles 3/8" heatshrink tubing (unshrunk), so they are not easy to push out of the way to get a visual of what I need to see. Next try: Lasso the bundles with some string and gently try to pull them aside. I will report on that attempt.

 

If I had to guess' date=' the stereo varitone may be the culprit in the tone/volume drop when bridging the two channels. The switch is two-pole, there are two sets of capacitors, and two chokes. The second side of the varitone would become redundant if you connected the outputs on a mono jack. Isn't the first position of the varitone basically out of the circuit doing nothing (well, okay, there's always a tie-down resistor so it doesn't "pop" when you turn the switch)? One test of my theory is that it should get a lot louder and brighter when you turn back to that first position on the varitone.[/quote']

 

I'm thinking bobv might be on to something about the two sided Varitone switch and trying to just jump the stereo output wires together into mono. The mono schematic I posted (not confirmed to be correct, or from Gibson), does show only one side of the Varitone being used for the mono configuration. It's my layman's understanding of capacitors that combining them works the opposite of resistors, meaning that connecting them in series drops the value, and connecting them in parallel increases the value. So by jumping the output wires together you would be putting the two sides of the Varitone filter caps in parallel, therefore doubling the amount of filtering. That would seriously affect tone and volume. The same bridging situation would occur if resoldering a mono output jack, using a Y-cable, or plugging the two stereo leads into the same channel of an amp, anyplace in the chain where the two sides end up connected together. If using two separate channels of an amp, or two amps, the two sides would not be connected together, and therefore operate properly.

 

I also agree with bobv that a test of this theory MIGHT be to the #1 position on the Varitone, which is supposed to be a "bypass" of the Varitone circuit. Jump the stereo output into mono, and if the tone and volume are normal in position #1, and suck in positions #2-6, we might have our answer. If this is the situation, it is a MAJOR rewiring job to disable one side of the Varitone for standard mono operation, so we still don't have an easy quick fix.

 

thepocna, tha balls in your court, your the one with the Stereo Varitone. Give this a try and tell us what happens.

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Here is a post showing both the ES-345 Stereo with only one stereo plug, and a BB King schematic with two plugs (a stereo plug and a mono plug). The BB King schematic seems incomplete to me. Perhaps somebody with better sense can derive how the BB King mono plug works, and apply the same concept to an ES-345.

 

Both were downloaded from the Gibbson site.

 

GibsonES3451.jpg

 

GibsonLucilleschmatic.jpg

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