Gibson Lucille Varitone True Bypass Modification

Lucille Varitone true bypass modification
Lucille Varitone true bypass modification

Lucille Varitone true bypass modification

The owner of this Gibson Lucille wanted to get a better sound from his guitar. Although position “1” on the Gibson Varitone switch is supposed to be bypass, it does leave the choke in the circuit which loses volume and precious tone.

As the guitar’s owner didn’t find the stereo feature of the guitar useful, there was an opportunity to convert the guitar to mono, and use the now redundant other half of the Varitone switch to switch the choke in and out of the circuit.

I found a post on the Les Paul Forum where someone had done a similar job on his Gibson ES-345 and kindly provided a wiring diagram.

The modified guitar now has a lot more volume in the bypass position and suffers no loss of tone.

8 Comments on “Gibson Lucille Varitone True Bypass Modification”

    • Good spot – the original diagram for the ES-345/355 shows all four pots to be 500K ohm Audio taper.

  1. Hi Steve! I am about to install new pickups and harness in my Epi Lucille.
    I have new 500K pots, orange caps, a new Switchcraft 3 way switch.
    I am keeping the Epiphone Varitone.
    Could you share a wiring diagram for us non-electricians about how to wire the guitar?
    I would really appreciate!

  2. Hi Steve, can you think of any other ways to make the choke optional , without forgoing the double jack inputs or doing anything else non-reversable ? If no, would there still be an effect on tone if the choke was out permanently ? Would you recommend any particular mod in general ? thank you.

  3. Hello! I have a Gibson Lucille 1987 model, and the tone knob to the bridge pickup does not work. I looked at the electronics back in the guitar, and from the tone knob there is a small green cable unplugged to anything. Have no clue where this is supposed to be attached. Can you help me?

    Best regards
    Henrik Gjøsæter

    • Both sides of the circuit are the same so you should be able to copy the neck pickup circuit.

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