Hi guys... I'm trying to build a varitone. I have a two-pole, six-position switch and I'm confused which terminal I should start on since there appears to be 12 terminals. I don't know what "2-poles" mean. I know I will gather all the non-soldered cap pins, solder them together to a single wire that goes to the volume. And then I will use one of the two middle terminals for a ground wire, right? How do I test my baritone with a multimeter? Thanks!
Welcome back! We seem to have lost your avatar since you were last here . . .
Lately, there's been some back and forth here about typos. So, is this a varitone, a baritone, or a baritone with a varitone? ;D ;D
The way that an official Varitone™ is wired from the Gibby boys, it's not just a bunch of caps, there's also an inductor involved. Other folks have used rotary switches with caps as a sort-of varitone. There's various ways of doing it. There's also various types of rotary switches.
Some photos of your particular switch would help ascertain its layout, but better yet, you can check it with your multimeter- which you should do anyway, as it can save you a lot of grief later on.
For most two-pole, six position rotary switches, you'll see two lugs in the middle of the "deck" which are the common lugs, and then 12 lugs around the edge. One common lug connects to one set of six outer lugs, in sequence as you turn the shaft through the 6 positions; the other common lug does likewise with the other six.
There are variations, however. Some of these may have two "decks", with one pole per deck. On others, the mfr. may use the same basic switch for multiple configurations, so you may have more than two central common lugs, with some not connected to anything if unused. Sometimes the unused ones will be cut down, sometimes not.
For wiring as a "varitone" (as opposed to wiring it as a "Varitone™"), you'll really only need one pole of the switch, so you'll just be using half of it. There's a few different ways to do this, and we've got diagrams around here somewhere. I'll have to dig around in the basement to see what I can find. Ashcatlt did something like this with his Rickenbacker; all the volume and tone controls were replaced with rotary switches.. That diagram is around somewhere.
As far as cap values, there is a range you can use, but you won't want to go much above or below that range. Too small a cap value won't give you any difference in the tone; too large, and it'll sound like you wrapped a bunch of blankets around your amp. You can certainly mix different types of caps, however, it's their values that matter not the specific brand or the construction of it. However, I tend to stay away from ceramic ones as there's a lot more variation in their manufacturing tolerances, and without an LCR meter to check the actual capacitance, there's no way to tell how close to spec a given one is.
That picture is nice and clear, and that is a normal type of 2 pole 6 position switch. It's two switches ganged together. You can see two lugs sticking up on the inner ring, and each one is associated with 6 (the nearest 6) on the outer ring, and connects to them in turn as you turn the switch. You can test with a meter by setting to an Ohms range, and at each position each inner lugs is connected to one of its 6 outer lugs.
You can use this to get 6 tone settings. You might chose to have 6 different capacitors, and send the signal through a tone pot.
Inductors have the property that they resist the flow of high frequencis and allow the dc and low frequencies through, the opposite of a capacitor. THey are formed as coils, and the pickups have inductance - which is a big factor in their tone. When you combine pickups, you change the inductance, so you already have inductance on board.
You dont have to have an inductor to get some good variation with your switch, its optional, and inductors are harder to find. You might prefer to experiment with capacitors first. If you pick a range of values, its good if each one is a roughly constant factor multiplied by the previous one.
lets say the smallest cap will be 2nF, so you could go in factors of about 2 and have 2nF, 3.9nF, 8nF, 15nF and 27nF (values are to the nearest standard cap value). Not critical, but it makes each step an equal effect on the tone. Theres different ways to wire it up. What cap values do you have?
Gonna follow Sumgai's idea of splicing a 1/4" cable and dropping caps in between as I have no idea how to read the caps. HOWEVER... the varitone is built (with inductor) and works! Thanks for the help. I now feel like I can make these things in my sleep.