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Bc Rich Mockingbird St - Varitone, Disconnect!

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by jensvonbustenskjol, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. jensvonbustenskjol

    jensvonbustenskjol Active Member

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    Hi guys

    In 2012 I bought a mockingbird st. The reason is that I had an Ironbird Pro which was extremely good! The only thing I didn't like was that it was one humbucker only. So I thought a mockingbird would fit my purposes better.
    I've fired it up for the first time but it sounded wooly. I put her back in the case and started looking for PUs. Over the next 6 years(yes), I've tried :
    Seymour Duncan P-rails, dirty fingers, t-tops, super distortion and emg 81/60.
    Nothing sounded good. I thought the guitar was just crap and decided to let her go. I loaded her with Seymour Duncan alnico II to trigger Slash fans into buying her. As I tested the SDs there were no sound. I had to solder of components isolating the wiring error. A long the way I tried it without the varitone in the circuit, and the guitar opened up. Turned out the signal dropped through the varitone, even in "bypass" mode.

    So I have now added a new switch bypassing the varitone.

    Brand new guitar! Wish I've done it sooner

    3E633F77-0804-4DBC-B93C-EBD6CEE50A67.jpeg
     
  2. mirrorman

    mirrorman Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear you got it to where you like it.
    And that's a beauty of a top on her!
     
  3. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Congrats on solving the problem. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mockingbird - nice looking guitars!
     
  4. ibmorjamn

    ibmorjamn Well-Known Member

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    I like them to. I had one and kind of miss it. It had cloud inlays. The only thing I didn't like was it did not have a belly cut.
     
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  5. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Beautiful guitar!! Hmmm. I haven't noticed anything amiss with mine but haven't heard it without the Varitione. When it is switched off does signal not go directly to volume pot or output? Why would that little signal path kill some tone?
    I wonder if it would be easy enough to take the phase switch out ( just solder the wires together? I haven't looked inside) and use it for a varitone switch? Seems kinda complex. Mine came with SD Invaders so I'm good that way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  6. jensvonbustenskjol

    jensvonbustenskjol Active Member

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    That's was my understanding also! That's why I've never bother disconnecting it.
    Any who, when set it "off" and I turn the new bypass switch, it's a significant change in volume.... I might scope it so I can read the change in mV.

    I suspect interference with the tone circuit. It's two circuits of resistance and caps. Might be something gone wrong

    Any who,
    I would really like to build a replica of the real varitone from the 70s. It was an active preamp as I've understood it. Not just caps and resistors. I cannot find drawings of that circuit. I only find a place where you can purchase a replica preamp. Costs the same as retail price for the ST, so thanks, but no thanks :rolleyes:

    Another thing that might improve is creating the varitone hardwired. There's plenty of circuits out there for that purpose.

    All the things I would do if a day had 36h :agreed:


    And thank you all for nice comments on that top. It's stunning for a relative cheap guitar!
     
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  7. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Hmm. I should disconnect mine temporarily and just see.

    A nice top here too for a lower end ST.


    Is this your old circuit?? You likely mean that booster circuit of unknown type.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. jensvonbustenskjol

    jensvonbustenskjol Active Member

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    Yes that's correct. That Neal's circuit allright. Would love to know what's inside that box :)
     
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  9. BUTTONTY

    BUTTONTY New Member

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    Hey guys/ gals, I have been following these mockingbird ST varitone discussions for a while. I've had my mockingbird maybe 3 years now. ( 2006ish model Korea, came with Duncan Designed pickups). Just offering a suggestion for anyone unhappy/ unsure about the varitone for what I have done to mine anyways.. I had a pair of dimarzio d activator pickups ' laying around' that I put in the guitar. I was not super happy with the hb 103 Duncan Designed pickups...
    After the pickup swap, I tried it out, and still wasn't super happy with it, but "hey, I had these pickups in an older guitar, and they sounded great! :( ( since been sold and put original pups back in it upon selling( hence has these sitting around)) after that I was searching these forums and seeing if anyone else had the same thing going on ( i
    I think the hb 103s are probably great too, just had the aftermarket pickups I wanted to use anyway) so I found some ppl online that love the varitone, some hate'd' it, some had no clue. So i thought to myself, I'm going to get rid of the phase switch on the guitar, I used the coil tap switches, but have never cared for blending my pickups and switching phase in and out... so I wired the phase switch so that in the down position the varitone is completely bypassed, and when it is up the varitone is rooted in the signal again. I am pretty happy I did it, as now I can also go from the varitone chipboard " bypass" , click a toggle, and have TRUE bypass. Right when I tested it out after this fairly easy mod, I heard the truth. There is some tone that is disappeared when the signal is going through the varitone 'bypass'.. now, this 'varitone' is one of many different coloured varitones that have been used historically. Some are active, some are passive ( like mine) some are fender, Gibson, moser, the list goes on. I have read all the forums with people saying " ''the'' varitone"; doesn't effect tone on bypass, some say it does, some say they have removed it, some have no idea... I don't have a hell of a lot of noise difference switching back and forth, but enough to notice for me. Before the mod, I checked wiring a few times ( I have done a sh load of it...) re- soldered all (in case of cold solder). Nothing seemed to make a difference. Now with the wiring changes, I am finally happy with this guitar. I didn't use the varitone much before this, but found I am using it more as I can have the 5 way switch set where I want it, and toggle it on/ off easier with the varitone on/off switch. I find I'm using it more for clean stuff than anything, it seems to tame these hot pickups and give me more sound variety, and now that I can truly bypass the thing with a switch, it actually seems to give more variety of tone. I'm sure the older units with pre amp were a little better stock ( maybe) and I have read enough arguments from Gibson forums saying for ppl to stay clear of touching them ect, so either some ppl just love them, hate them, or don't care, or the different variable tone tone control rotary switches possibly have different designs. This is just a cheap ish korean copy of some kind to my knowledge... anyway just wanted to share for the next guy, as I was looking into it for a while, and wasn't too keen on completely bypassing it and having a useless knob on this thing just for show. Happy shredding everybody!
     

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021

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