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up circuit diagram wiring schematic varitone

The Varitone circuit is a "notch" filter that uses a range of capacitors to achieve a reduction in frequencies at set points within the BluesHawk's overall frequency spectrum. As the varitone control is rotated from position 1 to position 6 the centre frequency(f0) of the filter shifts from higher to lower frequencies. Figure 1 below demonstrates the type of frequency response that is created by the varitone - see also frequency response curve.

The effect of the varitone circuit at different positions

bulletPosition 1 : Bypass (no effect)
bulletPosition 2 : -5dB at f0=1875 Hz
bulletPosition 3 : -6dB at f0=1090 Hz
bulletPosition 4 : -7dB at f0=650 Hz
bulletPosition 5 : -10dB at f0=350 Hz
bulletPosition 6 : -14dB at f0=130 Hz

multi-capacitor package at the
heart of the

Which Varitone position is which? - position number 1 is the most anti-clockwise (looking at the front of the guitar) - number 6 is therefore the most clockwise position. In position 6 treble/highs are strongly emphasised. In position 1 the varitone gives you the basic pickup sound. 

How many sounds does the BluesHawk have?

Eighteen - three pickup combinations times six varitone positions. Position 1 of the Varitone is the "vanilla flavoured" pickup sound - the same as with the tone knob out. Some people say 21, but they are assuming Varitone position 1 alters the sound of the pickups - it doesn't. If you are lucky you may get 6 additional sounds with your pickup selector halfway between the "neck" and "both" positions of the pickup selector.

What effect does the Varitone have on the sound of the BluesHawk?

bulletIn position 1 - the most anti-clockwise position - you get the basic pickup sound.
bulletPositions 2, 3, and 4 give a range of sounds which are thicker/more "middley"/more like a humbucker?.
bulletPosition 5 gives a more Strat-like sound (particularly with the neck pickup)
bulletPosition 6 (the most clockwise) gives a "trebley" Telecaster-like sound.

Listen to the effect here...

Push/Pull Tone Control -

bulletWith the push/pull tone control in the IN position the varitone is operational.
bulletWith the push/pull tone control in the OUT position the varitone is removed from the circuit.

Here's what Gibson said about the BluesHawk's Varitone

Gibson first introduced the Varitone six-way tone control in 1959 on the ES-345.  
When JT Riboloff designed the BluesHawk in the 90's he included a Varitone circuit.

"The Varitone opened up the spectrum of the tone paths of that instrument quite a bit,"  Riboloff said. "The nice thing with the Varitone is the push/pull tone pot which bypasses the circuit. The Varitone selector is a rotary switch, and somebody might want to change his tone in the middle of the song, but he's also thinking about keeping his timing. He doesn't want to count how many times he's clicked his Varitone knob. What this allows him to do is, for example, leave the circuit in bypass and preset his Varitone at the beginning of the song. So if you want to locate position 5 on the Varitone, for example, preset the knob so that all you have to do is push that pot down."
bulletIf you want to get hold of a custom-made Varitone circuit check out - - I've recently fitted one of Big D's Varitone circuits to my Tokai Breezy Sound Tele - here are a few pictures
bulletBig D also sell a nice little numbered plate that shows the position of your varitone
BigDGuitars varitone circuit

up | circuit diagram | wiring schematic | varitone

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