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Varytone question


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A varitone is actually a rotary switch where each setting sends the signal through a different value capacitor. 

No, a Vari-Tone uses a switchable capacitor and an inductor to shunt a portion of the midrange signal to ground. Think of it as a variable midrange cut - switching the cap changes the center frequency of the midrange rolloff, like pulling a single band on a graphic EQ down (except the Vari-Tone has a wider band and less cut). They're surprisingly effective when used with humbuckers - they can really thin out the mids, giving you some interesting sounds that you won't get any other way. It's probably a bit subtle for Death Metal, but for low and medium gain sounds it's a nice set of options.

This is from the last thread I remember on Varitones (I'm too lazy to reype all this :D ):

Here's the schematic:

Varitone Schematics (from BlueGuitar.org)

Just get a 1.5H choke, a rotary switch, and a handful of caps and resistors, and throw one together. Or you can get one already assembled from our own Big D Guitars - he uses ceramic caps for vintage mojo, not my choice, but for $40.00, you can't really fault it.

You can use a Mouser mini transformer (42TL021) primary for the choke, and poly caps, metal film resistors, etc. for a nice clean quiet modern sound, or get an old radio choke and use those ceramic disc caps and carbon comp resistors for maximum oldschool magic (and noise). 

Torres Engineering also offers their "Famous Guitar Kits™" version, and of course, you can get a Gibson, if you're willing to part with a lot more cash.

You can get all the parts from Mouser Electronics for about 10 bucks, and it'll take you probably an hour to slap together if you've got some skills. If not, check out Big D or Torres for an assembled unit - it's wired in just like the cap on your tone pot, or just across the output - I like the tone pot variant, since you can dial in how much cut you want to use.

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Just try out the BB King signature Lucille guitars if you want a rough gauge of what the Varitone does.. Both the Gibson and Epiphone models have that, if I'm not mistaken..

Been meaning to make one myself, actually.. Need to work out the "logistics" first, though.. Not sure how readily available inductors are over here.. Caps and resistors cost next to nothing here, though, so there's plenty of room for experimentation.. Once that's been done, I'm sure it could be modified to get a sweepable version..

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Thanks for the clarification! Can you get the parts at a radio shack? (The last time I bought a Torres kit I ended up with the distinct feeling that it was more the knowlege than the materials I paid for. . . $15 for about three bucks worth of parts and a smack on the head and a "duh. I should have figured that out. . .) Their currently offered kit costs $15.95, which means the parts are wort. . . three or four dollars. . . ? Torres varitone kit

Anyway I've wanted to build one for a while. I found this site while I was looking for one (Big D's) Anybody have any experience with putting one on a Strat? (Mutters of sacrilege. . . thumbscrews at the ready. . .)

And by the way. . . THIS SITE IS THE GREATEST!!!!!!!

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