I am working on a project guitar that I want to be able to produce a ridiculous amount of different tones. Part of my plan includes a Varitone Switch along with a tone Control Pot. However, now I am puzzled by the diagrams for the wiring I am finding...

For each pic, the line going out to the left is the hot line in from the pickups.

#1. This one has the original layout, without the Varitone selector switch wired in. Single Cap wired from the right side of the Tone Pot to ground.

#2. This one represents the way all the diagrams are laid out when I search online. Which has the Varitone switch in-line directly from the hot wire from the pickups.

#3. But this is what seems like it would make more sense... The Varitone wired in-line in place of the single Cap. It seems that this would be a better implementation that would still give you all the cap value variants along with the Tone Pot control... Am I thinking correctly?


Is my logic correct? Are the diagrams I am finding online simply because Varitone controls are typically used in place of a Tone Pot... and not along with them? I would like to use the Varitone control AND the Tone Pot together.
Last edited by RedJamaX at Jun 4, 2013,

I began some preliminary wiring last night to understand how some of the cap positions will sound, but I started with my PRS SE Santana because I am also working on adding in a 2-way Cap Selector switch for that one. My Volume Pot is an A500k, Santana III Treble and Bass two-wire humbuckers, standard 3-way pickup selector switch.

I tried 2 different wiring paths with 4 different pots and 6 different caps.

Paths - Hot to center tone peg, or Hot to side tone peg

Pots - A250k, B250k, A500k, B500k

Caps - .015 .022 .033 .047 .068 .1

I found that an A250k pot rolls the tone more smoothly than any of the others (hot line on the rigth peg, cap line to the middle looking, at the bottom of the pot). I also selected the .033 and .1 caps for my 2-way switch. The .033 is just a little more creamy than the .022, and the .1 cap gets thsi really jazzy low tone.

That said, on to my next question. I have this 2-way switch run with out any extra resistors, but I see several diagrams for Varitone switch that have 100k or 150k resistors in line with each cap position on the switch... What does the addition of the resistor do?
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100
Last edited by RedJamaX at Jun 7, 2013,
Just finished building my custom Varitone... I ended up with these positions:


I dropped the .015 and went with the .2 on the other end because it's got a really cool low tone effect with the gain channels.

also, I got some 100K resistors and when I place them in the circuit, it cancels out any effect the Capacitor has on the tone... I must be doing something wrong because I've seen several pics of other varitone switches with resistors... Even tried running them in parallel with the caps... that just has no effect. But, I've seen several more varitone switch without resistors, so I'm just going to stick with that.

However, I am not going to use this one on my project guitar. I decided thie would work really well as a mod on my PRS SE Santana, so I am going to add this switch onto that one. I plan to build another Veritone for the project guitar with at least 8 positions...

Thinking about including that .015 cap and maybe a .01, or something a little smaller. Still plan to keep the tone knob in the circuit to add the ability to roll off any one of the positions.
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100