6 way Varitone wiring details

There are a few different ways to add a varitone. All of my rotary varitones have 3 wires and can be adapted to any configuration. 6 wires on the stereo varitone. The gibson way the varitone is wired in pre volume and tone on some models such as the lucille model and post tone pre volume on others. The switch can also be wired in post volume using the gibson bypass and db cut using all three wires. The varitone can also be wired in using just two wires eliminating the db cut as designed by Walter Fuller in 1948. There are no hidden secrets to a Vari-tone circuit. All vari-tones can be used with or without a choke. The choke is a mid range cut @ 3.4Khz some people like it some do not but basically it maintains a good bottom and the filters add the different ranges of highs. The 6 way varitone will give you 18 basic tone settings 1-6 with tone pot full open, with tone pot half way and tone pot full closed. With full use of your tone pot you will have everything in between those 18 basic positions or settings. I will start off by illustrating how gibson applies the switch and then several other options for wiring up your magic switch.
The vari-tone is nothing more than a 6 way notch filter utilizing various capacitors to filter out different frequencies and an inductor for  a mid cut if the choke is used.
First lets look at the ES355 lucille model. The wiring for all the gibson stereo and mono varitone circuits are the same though they are drawn a little different. The first diagram is of the lucille model.
If you follow the hot signal from each pickup you can see it travels to the varitone (red wire) then the to the tone pots (green wire) then the 3 way toggle switch and to the volumes and out to jacks on the Lucille version. Ground is common. This is different than most varitone applications. The input of the varitone connects at position #1 lug which is full bypass. So when you are in position #1 the signal goes straight through to the tone and volume pots no DB cut no filter. Also from position #1 lug there is a 100K resistor that connects to the pole lug for that side of the switch so when you switch to position 2 - 6 the hot signal travels through the 100K resistor to the pole lug and both out the capacitor of that position to ground and also green wire out to tone and volume. Seems kind of complicated but that is how gibson or should I say Walt Fuller designed the circuit. The next picture is a bad drawing I made to show the wiring of the Gibsons 345 model which is again a little different than Lucille.
Gibson schematic for ES345

That's about as complicated as it gets. Most varitones being built and sold do not have input, output and ground or 3 wires or 6 for a stereo switch they just have two wires just an input to the pole and then out through the selected position to ground. This eliminates the db cut position 2-6 and position #1 is just dead or a disconnect. Using one of my varitones you just clip the red wire throw it away and then you can connect the green wire to any hot connection whether it be at the volume at the tone pot or the jack and then the black wire connects to any ground. Thats the simple way and a lot of people like it that way no db cut just the filters or capacitors.  This method is fine unless you are upgrading a gibson whether it be a les paul or a 335 because the way gibson wires their guitars it is best to stick to the gibson format.
Technically to wire one of my varitones the gibson way to any instrument you run the hot pickup signal to the tone input and also connect the varitone red wire to the tone input lug also. Then run the green wire from the varitone to the volume input lug and the black wire to ground. The hot output from the volume to the jack. Sounds a bit complicated but it is the way the varitone was designed. 
I like to keep the design and build of my varitones with 3 wires so you can wire it in either way the gibson way or the simple way. I have tried it both ways and the only real difference is not with the tone but the output signal. I guess it depends on what type of music you play. Jazzy bluesy you might like gibson format the best hard rock modern country you may like the simple way better. I figure the best varitone on the market will allow you to have the choice. I use a 51K resistor on my varitones so the cut is half of the 100K . 
Here is a drawing that shows the simple way. Snip the red wire connect the green wire to the hot lug of the jack and the black wire to the ground lug of the jack. This way you do not have to change your wiring at all plug the varitone into a hole closest to the jack solder the green wire to hot and the black wire to ground. Thats about all there is to it.

and here is a simple way to keep the position #1 full bypass with the db cut.
Here is another example below that shows how easy it is to add the varitone to just about any configuration.

I wire all of my varitones the same way. Red wire is full bypass input, green wire is the pole lug either hot output or non bypass input and the black wire is ground. Installing one of my varitones you can follow the wire color in the diagram even if you dont completely understand all of the components and what they are doing. If you still have questions or ideas dont hesitate to comment or ask a question.
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