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previous: 500T Firstly, the varitone circuit is no... -- 5/3/2000 6:50 PM View Thread

Re: gibson varitone in a strat

5/4/2000 3:00 AM
Mark HammerRe: gibson varitone in a strat
You are correct.....about being wrong.  
 
The varitone is a number of things, but it is primarily an LCR notch filter. Since it is not especially selective, when the notch is located in the bass region it tends to take out a lot of the bass.  
 
Notch filters of this type suck out a LOT of signal. If you have a high output pickup in a loud instrument like the centre block semi-acoustics, you can afford some signal loss. When you have lower output single coils, expect to be disappointed by the signal coming out of the guitar. In particular, expect it to be pretty limp with respect to attaining any overdrive. Since the signal is weaker, the signal to noise ration later in the chain won't be that wonderful. Stick a fuzz after the guitar, and you'll be exasperated: no fuzz tone, and too much noise.  
 
Of course if you stick an *active* notch filter in there, you'll get all the treats and few of the disappointments. Can a varitone sound good with a single coil axe? Sure. I put together a similar passive unit in a stompbox, and it adds different flavours which I like. HOWEVER, I play a guitar with an on-board preamp and stick a booster before the varitone clone.  
 
One of the things I hadn't expected was that it would work opposite to what I was used to. I wired it up so that turning the switch clockwise would select component values to yield notches higher up in the spectrum. Of course when you do that, clockwise rotation *sounds* like a bass boost, since you are leaving more and more of the low end untampered. Conversely, tuning the notch lower gives a thinner sound.  
 
If it's cost-free tonal variety you want, I suggest getting one of those exotic Yamaha 5-way switches from Stewart-Macdonald, and wiring up some interesting combinations. If you have a 3 pickup guitar, there are a lot of combinations you've likely never heard.

 
Replies:
scott holee smokes! dude your sick -- 5/4/2000 11:11 PM