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views on the James Tyler Variax

I note that a few axe power users (Freeman, Scott etc) have posted a few comments about the variax.

I have the chance to swap a new epiphone tribute i bought for a mint JTV-69 (plus £200).

I have always been interested in new technology and part of playing the guitar is to get some fun out of it.

just wondering whether the variax works well with the axe fx 2 and what people thing about these guitars.
 

waterknox

Inspired
I love my jtv 59.
plays like a les paul.
good for slide playing with the open tunings.
good all-round sounds.works well with axe fx
 

Ant Music

Forum Addict
Well I have to say I have a JTV 69 and I am rather unimpressed with the pitch shifting for the tuning feature. I've seen many good video clips and reviews but honestly you can hear the pitch shifting happening when you play and I honestly don't like it. I recommend you try one before you do it. As a stand alone guitar it is great. I just don't dig the sound of the alternate tunings, very unnatural.
 

Zwiebelchen

Fractal Fanatic
Like the TO, I'm also interested in hearing more about the JTVs. From what I've read so far, the palm muting is supposed to sound bad. Has that been fixed on newer models?

I am looking for a new guitar and want a versatile one [and the JTVs are as versatile as you can get], but I don't want to buy shit and rather invest into a MM JP6 if there's a major flaw in the JTVs.
 

MesaGuitarGuy

Forum Addict
I like my JTV-59 for certain things like Ric 6 and 12 strings, some acoustic and maybe a couple of others.
some of the models sound pretty thin and I can feel a slight latency when using a model with the alt tunings.

I'm buying a Tronical Tune system for my Blacktop Strat HH, to get the real tunings happening.
I might see if Tronical has a headstock template for the JTV59 and throw it on there too. That would be (probably) a better option for me.
 

Kriig

Fractal Fanatic
Got my 89 for half price last friday. Better than i thought. Straight neck and no chokes. Pretty ok sustain too. Palyed it for 12-15 hours this weekend without the need to tune, so stable tuningwise. But they can probably vary, like all guitars.

I'm not selling my Suhr's, Les Paul, strat or Yamaha's, but it's a fun and inspiring thing to mess around with.

If you can switch from a Epi to a JTV, i would do it.
 

UnsungHeroGuitars

Fractal Fanatic
I can't comment on the JTV (so yeah, possibly shouldn't comment at all!
) but I do recall feeling distinctly disconnected from 'guitar playing' after having a Variax for a while... however, picking up an Epiphone Les Paul again six months ago reminded me of why I loved the one I had a decade ago. I now have over a dozen!

I'd not do it personally - just feel I'd miss the 'vibe'... but hey, everyone's different
 

fatandugly

Veteran
Love mine. I use it instead of acoustic on gigs and some of the models like the Junior and the Gretsch sounds good enough to use for recording. Plays great and the alternate tuning is pretty amazing. I would never get rid of mine unless Fractal makes a version.
 

dpeterson

Fractal Fanatic
I had issues with palm mutes... not snappy enough for me. concept is crazy awesome, just needs some more time.
 

Dancing Frog

Inspired
I didn't like the feel of my Korean JTV-69. I found the neck to be not all that great with high E to close to the edge of the fretboard and the pick ups to be pretty mediocre.

I just recently replaced it with a MIDI equipped PRS Private Stock which I run through a subsonic filter/buffer into a GR-55 or a VG-99. I think the COSM models sound better with a better guitar behind them.
 

favance

Veteran
Replaced my neck on the JTV-69 w/a decent Warmoth Neck, also had it professionally set up...I love it now. The neck/setup makes a big difference in how the thing plays and the note/response on the piezos. Also installed a tremelno. Sustains for days when locked in and I can quickly get a lot of great guitar sounds. Does it match the original guitar sounds? Not exactly...but it's close enough for rock and roll!
 

Ju Lee

Inspired
Replaced my neck on the JTV-69 w/a decent Warmoth Neck, also had it professionally set up...I love it now. The neck/setup makes a big difference in how the thing plays and the note/response on the piezos. Also installed a tremelno. Sustains for days when locked in and I can quickly get a lot of great guitar sounds. Does it match the original guitar sounds? Not exactly...but it's close enough for rock and roll!
Post pictures, please!
 

Strumzilla

Forum Addict
The neck replacement sounds enticing. My biggest complaint with my Korean Made JTV-59 is the neck/playability. I like the versatility of the sounds/tunings. Although the tronical tune has the Variax beat by a long way on tuning, since it's actually retuning the strings. I don't play the JTV much because of the neck, but I might if it was replaced with a better one.
 

Diego

Fractal Fanatic
I love my 59 but... only after a good setup by my tech. I've also changed the tuning machines because it was hard to keep it n tune... I use both the magnetic and piezo pickup (not at he same time unfortunately since it's impossible with the Axe). Some models sound good others simply not...
 

Strumzilla

Forum Addict
Spoke too soon, I have the set neck like a Les Paul, I think it would be too cost prohibitive to replace. What I've been thinking about is getting the electronics transplanted to my Suhr.
 

jyflorida

Veteran
Owned two, had two "lemons". My first was a JTV-69 Korean that had several problems on arrival...terrible low-E buzz, high-E slipped off the neck, and I couldn't intonate the high-E because the saddle wouldn't go far enough forward. Sent it to Line 6 and two weeks later I got it back. It played very well for about a month until the electronics died. Got a refund on it and bought a USA model. The neck was really nice compared to the Korean version. Then the electronics went crazy and I got a very muffled sound no matter what model I selected - even the "real" pups didn't work right. Sent it back to Line 6 and got it back with a new mainboard. Two weeks later it just quit - no sound at all. Got it rid of it at that point...great guitar & build quality but the electronics were too unreliable.
 

maxdown

Fractal Fanatic
I have a 59 (Korean) .... I've a big hand so the neck feels ok to me .... definitely a big neck for sure. The 69 you can at least swap necks easily if you don't like it or its twisted or something

The stock mag pups are actually not too bad on my 59 - but the option is always there to swap them for something else same as the 69 etc.

Modelled tones ..... some ok some not. The best place to start is in the editor and get the mag pups and models playing at the same levels - this can mean lowering the pickups into the body if the model has already maxed out it's db boost setting in the editor. The more extreme tunings give a fair bit of latency but not quite so noticable if sliding. 12 string models can be a bit laggy too.

If I had it out live I'd probably use its acoustic models and perhaps the 12 string electrics but think I'd be staying on the mags most of the time.

For messing about at home with they are quite good fun though too!

I also have an older Variax 700 gathering dust - it is utter utter shite.
 

Dancing Frog

Inspired
Also installed a tremelno. Sustains for days when locked in and I can quickly get a lot of great guitar sounds. Does it match the original guitar sounds? Not exactly...but it's close enough for rock and roll!
Wow. I had one installed on the Private Stock and I had an opposite experience. Sure, it increase the sustain, but it added a harsh tone to the guitar. I found the guitar sounds better without it, and it rattled like hell and was difficult to lock down. Definitely, YMMV.

The Warthmoth neck replacement sounds intriguing though.
 
I dont mind losing the epi as i have a nice tokai LS160 les paul (same as a R8 historic). Just fancied a change and i like new technology. i was wondering how to integrate the variax into the axe. I have a few decent acoustic patches on the axe and i assume that they will sound even better with the variax
 

jyflorida

Veteran
I dont mind losing the epi as i have a nice tokai LS160 les paul (same as a R8 historic). Just fancied a change and i like new technology. i was wondering how to integrate the variax into the axe. I have a few decent acoustic patches on the axe and i assume that they will sound even better with the variax
I liked the acoustic models in the JTV very much. Mine had the original firmware -from what I hear, there have been some major changes with later firmware releases and a lot of mixed reviews on the acoustic sims. Some love them, others rolled back the firmware to get the original acoustic sims. You might want to check out the L6 user forums to see what all has changed.
 
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