ES-345 Remove Varitone and install 335 harness - weight reduction?

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by Deadletteroffice, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    Has anyone removed all the Varitone components and installed a normal 335 harness?

    If so did you weight that bad boy before and after?

    I have a killer 345 that is like a Cadillac. Breaks my heart to consider letting it go, but the weight is killing me. I'm not precious about the Varitone (I don't even use it and hear my guitar will sound better without it) but I want to have some assurance the result will be worth the money and effort. I'll take it to a tech to do the work.

    Any input appreciated.
     
  2. Johnnyslim

    Johnnyslim Senior Member

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    I have a 1961 ES 345 this is a most excellent guitar. After the purchase I kept it all original for a bit but the feedback I got from others about removing the Varitone got the better of me. There were a couple of knobs with turning issues and I was unaware three were in sealed cans so cleaning the pots might have been a big deal.

    I got the 335 harness from Rick Norman (Dr. Vintage) and it was rather easy to pull out the original harness and install his. Speaking from first hand experience, the 1961 PAF's took on a completely different character post-Varitone. Cleaner and bigger sounding. Weight wise, dropped easily a couple pounds. The guitar weighs around 7 pounds and will do anything my two 50's conversions with PAF's can do.

    I kept the Varitone together in case I ever sell the guitar. That way I can restore or the new owner can. Pot dates are 1346140. I left the Vairtone switch rather than plug the hole. No regrets regarding this Varitone removal.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. DanD

    DanD Senior Member

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    You're not going to notice the absence of a pot and a few caps.

    Sorry to say but you need to look for a lighter guitar and sell that one to someone who doesn't mind the heft.

    3X5s vary widely in weight. I've seen many at 7.5 pounds and just as many at 9+ pounds and some over 10 pounds.

    Happy Hunting! :fingersx:
     
  4. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    Thanks but I'm not sure that's accurate. Have you seen a Varitone harness? It looks something like an ancient torture device. The "few caps" are enclosed in a metal box about the size of a pack of cigarettes for one part of the equation.
     
  5. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    Thanks man. This is in line with most of what I've read from people who have been down the rabbit hole. I'm torn on the switch. I suspect I could fill it with some kind of pearloid or something of the like. But the dial is kind of cool looking as well.
     
  6. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member

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    It's stamped thin aluminum. Not cast steel. You're not going to reduce the weight much.

    Worse yet, if you figure this out by doing it and still being dissatisfied, you've just devalued the instrument that you will still want to sell/trade away.

    I'd just move it on to someone who wants it and get something you feel comfortable with.
     
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  7. Crotch

    Crotch Support MLP Veterans & Vendors Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    I have to agree. I can't imagine a few ounces making you that much more comfortable.
     
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  8. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the input. If anyone actually has an answer to the question, that's what I'm after.

    ***Has anyone removed all the Varitone components and installed a normal 335 harness?
    If so did you weight that bad boy before and after?***
     
  9. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    I understand your desire for a clear answer, but you probably won't find it.
    What you HAVE found is people who are familiar with the insides of that guitar who know that you will be saving a negligible couple of ounces.
    If your guitar is a load, taking ALL the electronics out probably won't help.
     
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  10. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I don't see how removing this is going to change the weight by more than a 1/4 lb.

    [​IMG]

    That said:

    I have 2 335's; one is 8.4 lbs, the other is 8.1 lbs. Somehow, the 8.4 pounder feels lighter. :dunno:

    My 7.5 lb SG and Firebird each feel significantly lighter than the 335's, which is surprising.

    And my 330 and ES LP are each 6.2 lbs and feel, comparatively, like feathers.
     
  11. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    That's not all that's inside mine. Mine is like this: [​IMG]
     
  12. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    If you read the posts the ONLY person with first hand "correct" knowledge (post #2) contradicts those who have not done it.
     
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  13. Crotch

    Crotch Support MLP Veterans & Vendors Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    How much do you think this unit weighs? It's definitely not a pound. As James said it is aluminum. So what weight difference do you think you can tell? I know I can't tell the difference between a 8lb 7oz and 8lb 14oz Les Paul. But all people are different.

    If the weight is "killing you". I doubt it will make a difference.

    I think thats all anyone is saying and I don't think being shitty about it. Finding someone that has done a pre and post weigh of a 345 varitone take out is going to be more than likely impossible. Send a PM to one of our harness makers. They may be able to help more. But again, if it is just killing you weight wise, I can't see it making a difference. Or enough of one to help your situation.
     
  14. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    Many people who have removed them actually state they weight a pound. Some say slightly over. There are threads with the harness on a scale showing a pound. I do not know what a normal 335 harness weighs. My guess is maybe 6oz. But I'm speculating. That's why I am hoping to find somebody who has done the swap, and knows for sure. Half a pound in the swap is a good amount for me to consider. Half a pound is half a pound.
     
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  15. Crotch

    Crotch Support MLP Veterans & Vendors Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    OK good luck. Half a pound wouldn't make a difference to me at all if a guitar was killing me weight wise. But like I said, all people are different. Hopefully you don't have to get rid of a great guitar.

    I still suggest pm'ing Matt at MSSC, Jonesy, or Bill at ECP and ask them. Probably know the answer right off the bat.
     
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  16. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    +1
     
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  17. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member

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    Yes. I have. Several times. It's not an uncommon mod. I shared my thoughts on it already, above.
     
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  18. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member

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    The casings around all the pots have nothing to do with the Varitone circuit. They are just exactly that. Metal casings around the pots. They don't serve any real electrical function other than a little added shielding, perhaps. Are you talking about removing all the pot/switch casings or just the Varitone circuit, as originally asked?

    In any case, the weight difference will not be night and day, simply by removing the casings and/or the Varitone part of the circuit.
     
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  19. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    I understand the risk of doing it and possibly still not being happy and having devalued the guitar. This is why I'm doing research. And the basis of this research is the risk/value equation.

    That said, almost everyone keeps the varitone harness in tact so it can be reinstalled if somebody wants to. The mod is not final.
     
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  20. Deadletteroffice

    Deadletteroffice Senior Member

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    I am talking removing all the stock components. Like this:
    [​IMG]

    And replacing with:
    [​IMG]
     

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