Has anyone used Variax Alternate tuning during a live performance?

Jhatem81

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443
I told my friend i did a few days ago and he must of thought i had gone crazy lol. I actually have used it before when we were doing a song in the key of B but i wanted to play it with C Shapes so i went down 1/2 step.

My biggest fear with this is something happens..battery fails or electronics die so if i do a song like this, i will learn the song both in C and B

here is a live song i used with alternate tuning(easter song). i have only used 1/2 step drop. whole step sounds too weird and i dont play much drop D

 

Gitarman

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1,882
I regularly use alternate tunings & various models live... Heck, I've got a patch set up w/ my HD500x that puts the guitar in C standard and has a whammy assigned to my 2nd exp pedal to raise the pitch a 5th.

That's kind of the point of the Variax in the first place, isn't it?
 

Jhatem81

Member
Messages
443
I regularly use alternate tunings & various models live... Heck, I've got a patch set up w/ my HD500x that puts the guitar in C standard and has a whammy assigned to my 2nd exp pedal to raise the pitch a 5th.

That's kind of the point of the Variax in the first place, isn't it?
haha..thats what i thought but my friend told me he would never use it live and i got embarrassed to tell him that I did. I also use the models all the time live...not sure what the point of buying the Variax either if you dont use the features live. I think my friend uses it more for recording/practice
 

geekocaster

Member
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2,264
the alternate tunings are the only reason I keep my variax FWIW. Not sure why your friend wouldn't use it live. In my case I just haven't had a need to use it live but if I did I wouldn't hesitate to use the alt tunings, they sound fine to my ears.
 

itgoesto11uc

Member
Messages
570
We do "Rock Won't Move" by Vertical Church Band which has 1st and 3rd strings tuned down a half step so I stored that tuning in my Variax and was able to cover that song back to back with other songs that were standard tuning. I also stored standard tunings above and below 440 in 1/2 step increments. Pretty sweet to be able to do that. Last week, I wanted to use my Tele so I ended up taking two Tele's in different tunings but I couldn't make the switch nearly so quickly so I just payed out until the second verse.
 

Jhatem81

Member
Messages
443
We do "Rock Won't Move" by Vertical Church Band which has 1st and 3rd strings tuned down a half step so I stored that tuning in my Variax and was able to cover that song back to back with other songs that were standard tuning. I also stored standard tunings above and below 440 in 1/2 step increments. Pretty sweet to be able to do that. Last week, I wanted to use my Tele so I ended up taking two Tele's in different tunings but I couldn't make the switch nearly so quickly so I just payed out until the second verse.
my biggest fear with variax alternate tuning is not really how it sounds. its

1. battery dying or electronics breaking
2. Me forgetting to swich the button back to normal. Ive done this before in practice several times and band members were preplexed..they have no idea i am using alternate tuning. Thankfully not in Live though. I think about it way to much now in live to screw that part up(knock on wood). But the 1/2 step tuning sounds really good i think. I got to try some other tunings. The whole step tuning F to G sounded weird especially in the open chord shapes but sounded okay at fret 12
 

bluegrif

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4,827
Battery dying? Back when I had an Acoustic Variax 700 I never used batteries. Always used the powered footswitch. I hate relying on batteries if I don't absolutely have to. Not even for effects pedals. Unlike the current variaxes which have regular magnetic pickups, the older models only had the piezo pickup for modeling. So if you depended on batteries and they died, you'd be out of business. Now I suppose the guitar electronics or powered footswitch could fail, but then so can anything in a signal chain, whether you're using a Variax or not. I never experienced any sort of failure.

BTW, I found the pitch-shifted tunings to work fine. My partner even used them for slide when we were doing those shows. I like the Variax. They're a lot of fun. I just don't really need the versatility for most things so I no longer own one. The acoustic 700 was great for that gig though.
 

c_mac

Gold Supporting Member
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4,078
I used one all the time. I used DADGAD and had an entire bank setup with an Eb Telecaster. It worked great!
 

Jhatem81

Member
Messages
443
the alternate tunings are the only reason I keep my variax FWIW. Not sure why your friend wouldn't use it live. In my case I just haven't had a need to use it live but if I did I wouldn't hesitate to use the alt tunings, they sound fine to my ears.
not sure either...maybe one day he will use his variax live with modeling and alternate tuning both turned on and be a walking advertisement for line 6
 

russintexas

Member
Messages
683
I used to. My variax (JTV69 single coil) decided to spontaneously go back to standard during a song. That was very painful.

It's still the best solution out there, but I'm nervous about trusting it. After that one freakout, I put the variax in the closet for a few months so it could think about what it did wrong.

The next time I pulled it out, it didn't behave well either. I still haven't decided if I'm going to pay to have it fixed or if I'm going to abandon it. Right now I just use it as a standard strat. I love the guitar as a guitar, btw-- and the fact that I can change a string in less than a minute on a floating bridge guitar thanks to the bridge & tuners makes it my favorite strat.
 

burningyen

Member
Messages
14,694
In my Pink Floyd tribute I use alt tunings for Dogs (DGCFAD), Hey You (pseudo-Nashville), and Comfortably Numb (pseudo-Nashville). Since it's plugged into my Helix I don't have to worry about the battery.
 
Messages
1,355
I use mine for Eb, drop Db and open G tuning all the time when playing live. I power mine with the cable from my Helix.

The only time I have issues is when playing at lower volume (usually at home) when I can hear the strings acoustically and they clash with the altered tuning.
 

thebeebs

Member
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1,427
Dustin Kensrue of Thrice does this all of the time, of that helps. He has some jags that the Nash guy built for him with variax guts and I want to say his main tele has the variax in it too
 

Stratburst70

Member
Messages
5,605
I use my VG Strat a fair bit live. It's more limited than the Variax but it's still a damn good Strat if the electronics go down. I just make sure it has fresh batteries and I'm fine.
 

Frank Prince

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,642
I've done it a lot, it works great. You just have to remember to switch it back, and be careful that you don't hit that knob if you are rocking out! :D
 




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