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  1. #1
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    1968 335 with stop tail and varitone

    Edit: the guitar is mono'ed so the original title isnt relevant now,


    So I just purchased a super nice, factory varitone 335 today. I havent received it yet, but im pretty sure its still wired for stereo. Im just using one amp, a 74 Super reverb. What are my options? Ive searched endlessly but found not concrete solutions. What can I do to solve this issue? Is there a way around not altering the varitone? If I have to take it in and get it converted to Mono, I will but id rather now.

    Any tips or pointers are greatly appreciated. I use a 335 as well, and these are my only two guitars. Should I get a stereo to mono cable? does that make the tone suffer? What are my options. Thanks!
    Last edited by DoctorDox; 09-12-17 at 12:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Doc, Varitone control is not a stereo control or function, but rather an elaborate tone filter employing multiple caps for tone filters. I had a mono 1961 ES345 w/varitone.

    You should be OK with a single amp, or channel, unless the guitar is also stereo.

    If it is stereo you need to check the magnetic phase of the pickups as some stereo Gibsons have oopp. Deal with that as you would on a mono guitar and yes you can use a stereo to mono cable or have the guitar rewired for mono.
    Last edited by Big Al; 09-08-17 at 10:32 PM.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    So, is this 335 a custom ordered guitar with the Vari-Tone? As far as I know the Vari-Tone/stereo options only came on 355's & 345's. Is this an old guitar or a new one?
    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    So I just purchased a super nice, factory varitone 335 today. I havent received it yet, but im pretty sure its still wired for stereo. Im just using one amp, a 74 Super reverb. What are my options? Ive searched endlessly but found not concrete solutions. What can I do to solve this issue? Is there a way around not altering the varitone? If I have to take it in and get it converted to Mono, I will but id rather now.

    Any tips or pointers are greatly appreciated. I use a 335 as well, and these are my only two guitars. Should I get a stereo to mono cable? does that make the tone suffer? What are my options. Thanks!
    If your guitar is not wired for mono (as many are these days) but stereo, you need a stereo-to-mono y-cable and run it into an ABY box in reverse (i.e., use the box's mono jack as your output to the amp and the stereo jacks as inputs from your guitar's y-cable).

  5. #5

    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    If this is a modern 335, 345, or 355 made with only a single output jack on the face of the guitar (not the earlier types with TWO jacks mounted on the side) you are in luck, because they are factory wired in mono, even though it has the Varitone switch. As stated above, it has a series of multiple caps and resistors and a choke to give preset tone varistions, which get progressively thinner and brighter as you switch from position 2 through 6, also diminishing output. The #1 position is a bypass that has no affect , just like a stock 335. If you have an earlier more vintage model, run a stereo cable from out of the guitar into a "Y" end, and run each end into the 1st (normal) and 2nd (reverb) channel of your two channel amp. Of course the pickup going into the normal channel will not have reverb from the amp, but you could use a stompbox pedal to provide that. Enjoy!

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Mars Hall's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    If your Guitar is stereo, all you need is a "Y" cable. One end to each channel of your Super Reverb. The 2 channels of your amp are out of phase with each other. The end result is that it "solves" the OOP pick ups and the guitar controls work as a guitar would that isn't OOP.
    "What's that man movin' cross the stage?
    It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page..." Paul McCartney

  7. #7
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by reddeluxe View Post
    If this is a modern 335, 345, or 355 made with only a single output jack on the face of the guitar (not the earlier types with TWO jacks mounted on the side) you are in luck, because they are factory wired in mono, even though it has the Varitone switch.
    Not all of them! My 2016 Freddie King 345 is wired for stereo (single jack). Luckily, Gibson Memphis supplies a y-cable for it.

  8. #8
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by TM1 View Post
    So, is this 335 a custom ordered guitar with the Vari-Tone? As far as I know the Vari-Tone/stereo options only came on 355's & 345's. Is this an old guitar or a new one?
    Cheers!
    NEVERMIND guys sorry haha, just found out the guitar is mono'ed. Its a 1968 factory hardtail factory varitone 335. so im stoked

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    Its a 1968 factory hardtail factory varitone 335.
    Pauls to the walls!

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  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Varitone 335?

    What inlays are on the neck?
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  11. #11

    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by indravayu View Post
    Not all of them! My 2016 Freddie King 345 is wired for stereo (single jack). Luckily, Gibson Memphis supplies a y-cable for it.
    You are correct, indravayu.....the Freddie King signature is an accurate recreation of his original stereo 345 (but pickups are not magnetically out of phase as on originals) and a great guitar. But all of the modern regular production pieces are wired in mono; with Varitone....no Y cable needed. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a factory 1968 3x5 is not going to have a stoptail, but a trapeze tailpiece, so the original poster's guitar has been modded, probably changing the output over to mono at the same time.

  12. #12

    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    NEVERMIND guys sorry haha, just found out the guitar is mono'ed. Its a 1968 factory hardtail factory varitone 335. so im stoked




  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Pellman73's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    I'm confused

  14. #14
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Well heres the guitar in question. its a factory hardtail and varitone, according to Rumbleseat music. I get it on thursday or friday. Im glad its mono'ed, definitely happy about that.

    So with this, they told me it was all original, custom shop guys supposedly said so. but I have to question that because the bridge and tailpiece look nickel to me when they should be chrome, and tuners look nice. But Ive literally always wanted a 335 with a varitone. Like BB!
    Last edited by DoctorDox; 09-12-17 at 12:26 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Pellman73 View Post
    I'm confused
    I live my life like this

  16. #16
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by reddeluxe View Post
    You are correct, indravayu.....the Freddie King signature is an accurate recreation of his original stereo 345 (but pickups are not magnetically out of phase as on originals) and a great guitar. But all of the modern regular production pieces are wired in mono; with Varitone....no Y cable needed. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a factory 1968 3x5 is not going to have a stoptail, but a trapeze tailpiece, so the original poster's guitar has been modded, probably changing the output over to mono at the same time.
    Well, they said no extra holes, and sometimes they did do factory stop tails. But they are just super rare and never officially offered. I get it on thursday and we shall see what the story is. I know BB King had one, I think its one of the live at the regal guitars but i may be wrong
    Last edited by DoctorDox; 09-12-17 at 12:31 PM.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    I'd be willing to bet that the stop tail isn't factory. Show us the end pin and the lack of holes when you get it and prove me wrong. The stop tail is not in the right location. It is too low by at least 1/8". Not that the factory couldn't have gotten it wrong. I've simply never seen a factory stop tail 68. It would have to have been a special order as it wasn't offered.

  18. #18

    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    original or not that's a very attractive guitar

  19. #19
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that the stop tail isn't factory. Show us the end pin and the lack of holes when you get it and prove me wrong. The stop tail is not in the right location. It is too low by at least 1/8". Not that the factory couldn't have gotten it wrong. I've simply never seen a factory stop tail 68. It would have to have been a special order as it wasn't offered.
    We will see. I will be genuinely annoyed if they tried to sell it like that, especially being from a reputable place like Rumbleseat.

    First thing me and my friend who I always ask opinions of vintage guitars before I buy one, he said the same thing about the stoptail. As long as it plays fine, im not too worried. Im not worried though. IM really curious to go through this guitar and see, to me, the tuners look like repro tuners which, im okay with. I think I got a fair price overall. Comes friday, so we will see!

    Also, look at that bridge and tailpiece, thats nickel to my eyes. If it has the holes, and it doesnt play well then ill just get a 60s trapeze unit for it and make it like my other 335.

  20. #20
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by garywright View Post
    original or not that's a very attractive guitar
    And im gonna play it, take it out and play all the time, get it sweaty etc. So as long as it plays well and sounds even better, im happy.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Having stuck my neck out about it not being a factory stop tail, I should add that anything is possible from Gibson during the 60's including a factory stop-wrong position or not. Rumble Seat wouldn't call it factory if they didn't believe it was that. They know their stuff. The fact that he stop and bridge might be nickel doesn't really tell us much. Both parts are easily changed and Gibson was using exclusively chrome parts by then. I might add that the body shape changed as did the size of the f holes in 68 and thats the earlier shape used from late 63 to 67. I'm wondering if it might not be a 68 at all but perhaps a factory stop from 63-early 65 with a later neck. When a guitar went back to Gibson for a re-neck, they often put new parts on it which would explain the witch hat knobs. It would also explain the low inlay on the headstock (late 66 and later) and the later narrow bevel guard. The special order theory is also in play given that it's a Varitone equipped 335. It certainly is possible that its a specially ordered 335-ordered with a stop tail and a Varitone and they simply placed the stop tail a little lower than they would have in 64. I would be interested in having a look at the neck pickup rout and the back of the headstock. I love a good mystery.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    It would be nice if Gibson made the old logs and records available on line.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Great looking guitar !
    He was a sonic disaster, thinking hours of practice would make up for stock pickups, poorly carved top and The wrong glue !

  24. #24
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Having stuck my neck out about it not being a factory stop tail, I should add that anything is possible from Gibson during the 60's including a factory stop-wrong position or not. Rumble Seat wouldn't call it factory if they didn't believe it was that. They know their stuff. The fact that he stop and bridge might be nickel doesn't really tell us much. Both parts are easily changed and Gibson was using exclusively chrome parts by then. I might add that the body shape changed as did the size of the f holes in 68 and thats the earlier shape used from late 63 to 67. I'm wondering if it might not be a 68 at all but perhaps a factory stop from 63-early 65 with a later neck. When a guitar went back to Gibson for a re-neck, they often put new parts on it which would explain the witch hat knobs. It would also explain the low inlay on the headstock (late 66 and later) and the later narrow bevel guard. The special order theory is also in play given that it's a Varitone equipped 335. It certainly is possible that its a specially ordered 335-ordered with a stop tail and a Varitone and they simply placed the stop tail a little lower than they would have in 64. I would be interested in having a look at the neck pickup rout and the back of the headstock. I love a good mystery.

    Thats where im at, I trust Rumbleseat. I doubt theyd make shit up ya know? So im assuming it is what it is, but as soon as I get it ill post better pictures of everything and we can discuss. Im going to spend a lot of hours with this guitar, and we can solve this mystery! I love guitar mysteries. Gibson in the 60s, anything is possible thats for sure. Yeah I know my 335 history well these days, one day I want a mickey mouse ear 335 but that price is a bit high for me at the moment.

    If you look at the back of this guitar, you can see the neck looks darker than the body, but ive seen others from that era that look similar. heres a picture of the back



  25. #25
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    It would be nice if Gibson made the old logs and records available on line.
    wouldn't that just be the best idea ever? lol

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    wouldn't that just be the best idea ever? lol
    It seemed like it 30-40 years ago.
    Now it's just a broken record.
    Pauls to the walls!

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  27. #27
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Does that neck width at the nut look a bit wide for a '68? Is that serial number by chance in the lower 500,000 range?
    Whatever it is, I like the look of the guitar.
    Re: B.B. King and an eEs-335.....

    I was under the impression that B.B. King played ES-355 guitars from the late '50's or early '60's until Gibson started building his signature guitars.??? I have seen early pics of him with a Telecaster, then a GT L.P. From then on, it was always a 355, ime.
    AS for Live at The Regal, I believe it was his ES-355. That is the guitar in the pic on the front of the album.

    From this article....http://jasobrecht.com/b-b-king-live-at-the-regal/

    "Without missing a beat, King and his band segue from “Sweet Little Angel” into another powerhouse blues, “It’s My Own Fault.” His Gibson ES-355 SV, at the time the company’s top semi-hollowbody model, sported stereo electronics and a Vari-tone. With a flick of the switch, King dials in a tougher, more trebly sound for his solo flourishes. “I usually go through the stereo circuitry, with both pickups working against each other,” King explained. “With just a quick shift of the hand I can set the volume or change the tone. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure which pickup does what. I just put them both on and use my ear.” Towels or wadded paper stuffed through the guitar’s soundholes eliminate feedback."

    This supports what I see in a lot of King's playing...he liked what the two pickups together did.
    I find it interesting that Gibson is using OOP pickups in a lot of the modern regular production L.P. and 335 guitars.
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Talked to a friend yesterday who has a 1968 ES-335 with a factory stop tailpiece.
    It also has factory P-90s.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  29. #29
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Well, sorry for the slow update. But I sent it back. It was just a trapeze tailpiece, cut off to look like nothing was there. The stop tailpiece was clearly too far back, which we all spotted. But overall, the guitar wasnt awful, just too much money for a guitar with holes in the top of it, and without original pickup covers. Also this guitar was grovered at one point. Waaaaay too expensive for me, 3900, should be more like 2500. Thats the most id pay for this guitar.

    Im very disappointed that Rumbleseat would sell something as factory, and not clearly state that the guitar was grovered, had new covers on the pickups, aftermarket bridge. Im willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but man if youve ever been around even a few 335's, one look at the bottom strap button will tell you if its factory or not. It was cut very smoothly and nice. But not even close to factory. Good player, but like I said too much for this guy. Im beginning my saving for a 345 with PAF's

    Also the bridge is some german made after market thing. No thanks. Below is a picture of the bridge, and a picture of both tail pieces, one on the left is my all bone stock 73 335, and the right is the guitar in question



    Last edited by DoctorDox; 09-27-17 at 06:40 AM.

  30. #30
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Talked to a friend yesterday who has a 1968 ES-335 with a factory stop tailpiece.
    It also has factory P-90s.
    for sure is a 335 and not a 330? Sounds like hes got a 330 to me

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    I'll add that one to my list of dealers not to trust. Sorry it didn't work out for you, but thanks for the heads up.
    GuitarMikey

  32. #32
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarMikey View Post
    I'll add that one to my list of dealers not to trust. Sorry it didn't work out for you, but thanks for the heads up.
    Im genuinely surprised, I dont like their picture style either. They take nice looking photos of the guitars, but like the headstock on that 335 was not at all accurately portrayed. looked beat up. The guitar was a nice guitar, looked pretty like the picture but they dont take photos like other dealers.

    For me, lesson learned. Go to stores to buy guitars and never order anything online

  33. #33
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    To me if this guitar was truly believed to be a factory stop-tail, wouldn't it have been more expensive? Even with all the inherent "late sixties" specs, stereo/varitone(now mono-ed), grovers added and subtracted, covers off etc. If they thought it was a legit factory stop-tail guitar, wouldn't they ask more like 9-10k for it? Is this one of those cases where they expected us as the consumer to know what it is and what it isn't based on the first pic? I am not trying to say anyone on either side is lying, just that maybe there was some kind of misunderstanding here. I find it so difficult to believe that Rumbleseat thought the tailpiece was anything but aftermarket. I would be interested to hear what OK Guitars would have asked for this, had the stop tail have been factory.

  34. #34
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by peterV View Post
    To me if this guitar was truly believed to be a factory stop-tail, wouldn't it have been more expensive? Even with all the inherent "late sixties" specs, stereo/varitone(now mono-ed), grovers added and subtracted, covers off etc. If they thought it was a legit factory stop-tail guitar, wouldn't they ask more like 9-10k for it? Is this one of those cases where they expected us as the consumer to know what it is and what it isn't based on the first pic? I am not trying to say anyone on either side is lying, just that maybe there was some kind of misunderstanding here. I find it so difficult to believe that Rumbleseat thought the tailpiece was anything but aftermarket. I would be interested to hear what OK Guitars would have asked for this, had the stop tail have been factory.
    I agree whole heartedly. Thats why I jumped on it, and figured whatever I can always return it. I dont think its all like a RUMBLESEAT MARKETED IT AS A STOPTAIL AND IT WASNT by any means, but I did ask the guy on the phone if it was a factory varitone and non factory stop tail, and he said the custom shop guys said it was. I tend to not belive that for a second. Im not even trying to sling shit or anything like that at all. Its disappointing that they didnt list stuff tho, like the fact that it was grovered, factory stop tail, never listed that it wasnt an original bridge or that the pickup covers were aftermarket. Id buy from them again, but like any shop, I wont buy online again. Even for the 3900 price, for a guitar with holes in the top of it? nahhhh too much haha

    As far as the varitone, it wasnt even active to my knowledge, dont those click into each position? this thing just felt like a petentiometer spinning in place. I didnt bother to plug it in, because the second I opened the guitar I knew I wasnt keeping it. once I took the bridge off as well, and saw it say made in germany I was just like, wow.

    Here is the exact quote when I asked if it was all original and factory stop tailpiece from reverb messages, which was reconfirmed on the phone like I said above.

    "changed tuners no extra holes and yes original stoptail piece"

  35. #35
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    I agree whole heartedly. Thats why I jumped on it, and figured whatever I can always return it. I dont think its all like a RUMBLESEAT MARKETED IT AS A STOPTAIL AND IT WASNT by any means, but I did ask the guy on the phone if it was a factory varitone and non factory stop tail, and he said the custom shop guys said it was. I tend to not belive that for a second. Im not even trying to sling shit or anything like that at all. Its disappointing that they didnt list stuff tho, like the fact that it was grovered, factory stop tail, never listed that it wasnt an original bridge or that the pickup covers were aftermarket. Id buy from them again, but like any shop, I wont buy online again. Even for the 3900 price, for a guitar with holes in the top of it? nahhhh too much haha

    As far as the varitone, it wasnt even active to my knowledge, dont those click into each position? this thing just felt like a petentiometer spinning in place. I didnt bother to plug it in, because the second I opened the guitar I knew I wasnt keeping it. once I took the bridge off as well, and saw it say made in germany I was just like, wow.

    Here is the exact quote when I asked if it was all original and factory stop tailpiece from reverb messages, which was reconfirmed on the phone like I said above.

    "changed tuners no extra holes and yes original stoptail piece"

    So you asked if the stoptail was "non-factory" and the guy on the phone said yes but the guy on reverb said it was original? Strange they would say that. If they said it was "original", then they are selling it as original. Whomever removed the vari-tone probably put a dummy pot in the vari-tone hole to take up space. So there was no choke or vari-tone switch either? I agree 100 percent about their pictures or lack thereof. Would they have given more pics if you had asked?
    Last edited by peterV; 09-27-17 at 12:58 PM.

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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Talked to a friend yesterday who has a 1968 ES-335 with a factory stop tailpiece.
    It also has factory P-90s.

    It would be interesting to see where the stop-tail on this guitar is located compared to the OP's guitar or ex-guitar.

  37. #37
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by peterV View Post
    So you asked if the stoptail was "non-factory" and the guy on the phone said yes but the guy on reverb said it was original? Strange they would say that. If they said it was "original", then they are selling it as original. Whomever removed the vari-tone probably put a dummy pot in the vari-tone hole to take up space. So there was no choke or vari-tone switch either? I agree 100 percent about their pictures or lack thereof. Would they have given more pics if you had asked?
    They both told me it was factory stop tail. Guy on the phone said custom shop people came and confirmed it.

    The varitone just felt like a pot, no clicks. I assumed the actual varitone was disconnectred, but as i said, i never plugged it in.

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post

    Also the bridge is some german made after market thing. No thanks.

    That's a Faber. Might be high quality.
    Pauls to the walls!

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  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorDox View Post
    for sure is a 335 and not a 330? Sounds like hes got a 330 to me
    Definitely a 335. Semi hollow and a marked label, as I recall.
    Only one I've ever heard of. Really cool.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: How to run a 335 with varitone with only one amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    That's a Faber. Might be high quality.
    I used one of those to replace the original bridge on my es-350t. It is a high quality part. I would still think they would disclose it ahead of time.

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