Thinking of getting a variax, anyone have real life experince with them? HELP?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Jacksguitars, May 13, 2015.

  1. Jacksguitars

    Jacksguitars Member

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    please give me the pro's and con's for the new james tyler variax's... how do they play, what would you compare them too... how are the mag pickups, do you use the modeling stuff often?
     
  2. Che_Guitarra

    Che_Guitarra Member

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    I had one of (each of) the first generation Variax's. Both guitar and bass. I also had the workbench (?) utility which allowed me to design guitars as I wanted. The modelled electric tones are right on the money. Having access to decent sounding acoustics, sitars and random tunings with the sweep of a knob is a blast too. It was a great axe to have in the corner of the studio when somebody was fishing for a tone to fill a void, without the need to pull 10 guitars from 10 different cases, tune them up, etc.

    Ultimately, I ended up ditching the Variax's for the models I found myself gravitating toward most often. I was also paranoid that the electronics would give out at a critical moment. I did have a couple of piezo's break when I was recording others... that said, they were being rough on the guitars at the time... but changing a piezo element is not quite as straightforward as changing a string.
     
  3. harperjeremy

    harperjeremy Member

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    I have a JTV-69. I got it because I had a Christmas program where I needed 2 different tunings and 3 guitars(acoustic, strat, jazz) back to back to back, and I was singing. Changing guitars and tuning would have been out of the question. It works really well in this context. However, most of the time I end up playing my Fender Coronado or MIA Tele because I just love them for what I do, and it feels and sounds right. Right now I play my Variax 1 out of every 6 gigs, so not too much. I mostly use the mag pickups which I think sound excellent, and the reason I tend to use it when I do is for Strat tones. I play right into my pedalboard that goes into my Mahalo AE50 amp.

    Things to consider if you want to gig with it every day to me are- the battery life(it's good, but if you leave it in...you battery is dead and even though you can still use the mag pickups, you can't use alternate tunings or models), picky-ness on tone accuracy(does it sound like the guitar you think it should), how much gain do you use(can't hear the differences on the models as much on high gain, but alt tunings rock for it), and desire to use the editing software which can eat up your time.

    I'm not picky on accuracy of tone to a certain guitar per se(does it sound just like a '59 les paul?), but I need it to sound really good...and it does. It definitely sounds like the guitar model I choose to use.
     
  4. Jacksguitars

    Jacksguitars Member

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    i think if I hook up the guitar via their cable to my pod hd500 the pod will power the guitar. i think.. not too sure
     
  5. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    Yes, it will.

    You need a VDI cable. If you use an ethernet cable you can damage the jacks on the HD and the Variax. Get the VDI cable with the XLR-like sleeve.

    I had a JTV 59, Korean. I LOVED it and wish I could have kept it alongside the other guitars I prefer.

    It's not up to the standards of my US built boutique stuff, but it was a solid guitar that played great and the mags and the models are both real useful.

    The magic you can do in concert with the HD 500 (two voice guitar - either electric/electric or electric/acoustic) is just fabulous.

    Imagine playing a 12-string rickenbacker on the neck position through a Vox AC 30 and a Les Paul on the bridge position through a Plexi... AT THE SAME TIME!
     
  6. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    My JTV-69S is my main gigging guitar these days since my current Pink Floyd tribute frequently requires me to switch to acoustic, sometimes mid-song. When it first arrived the frets were in bad shape, with very deep file/chatter marks/gouges. No idea if they left the factory that way or if it happened at the retailer. I sent it to Line 6 for warranty repair, and got it back with the frets in much better shape but still with a sandblasted kind of texture that I didn't like. So I polished them to a mirror shine myself, and now it plays great, like a flat radius Strat.

    The bridge is really well designed. I love the fact that it's top-loading and has minimal string length behind the saddle. The bridge plate material doesn't look that durable, though. I haven't owned it for that long and don't really abuse the whammy but am already getting some noticeable wear on the knife edges.

    The mag pickups are surprisingly good, much better than Fender's MIM ceramic pickups. I swapped mine out for DiMarzio noiseless pickups only because I use a lot of fuzz and the noise at my 1st gig was a tad out of hand.

    I use the acoustic models and alternate tunings a lot:





    I also use the electric models from time to time when I do random covers for fun:



    I also modded mine for Roland electronics, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you really know what you're doing.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
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  7. Edwood

    Edwood Member

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    May I ask, What's the switch for? Thank's
     
  8. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    3-way:

    1. guitar
    2. guitar+synth
    3. synth
     
  9. McShred

    McShred Supporting Member

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    My only beef with the guitar is that suing the modeling, under hi gain (for example, down tuning guitars), the palm muting is nothing like a real guitar. Because the Piezo picks up signal from the saddle )it IS the saddle, you're unable to mute the tring effectively. Sure, you can mute the string, but the piezo is sensing energy from the saddle, so mutes are never clean.

    For clean tones to medium grit, I loved the models. Acoustics were fabulous. For hard rock... the modeling was useless for me due to the palm muting issue.
     
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  10. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    fwiw, it is different, but I had no problem adjusting. Guys who use a lot of really high gain, though... feel different.
     
  11. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

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    Are nylon/classical sounds available for the Variax? I too am seriously thinking about one of these for my country cover band. Doesn't seem to have a mandolin either.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  12. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    Neither are included. You can vote to add nylon string here: http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Nylon-String-in-Tyler-Variax-update/491047-23508. You'd have to start a new suggestion thread there for mandolin.
     
  13. Twang!

    Twang! Member

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    bought a 300 many years ago as an extra guitar. Not a great build, but it intrigued me with what it could do. since then ive added a 500, 600 and now a JTV69. I'm enjoying the JTV. The 600 has been my longest use and i love the maple neck. the 500 has a different profile neck that is ok but not my favorite. the JTV is much better overall. i like the mags and the li ion battery. i need a dead silent axe and the variax works great.
     
  14. orourke

    orourke Member

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    I have a Variax 700. I like it for the acoustic/sitar/banjo models in the studio, I think they're great. But I don't use it live. The electric guitar models may "sound" like the real thing, but the piezo pickups don't respond to playing dynamics the same way standard magnetic pickups do. Though the JTV series has fixed that by putting some real pickups on board.
     
  15. Deed_Poll

    Deed_Poll Member

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    I played one for a good couple of hours. I wanted to love it. It actually sounds great, but there was something about the feel of it - maybe a tiny bit of latency? String muting? Anyway it didn't feel quite right to me and a lot of the models sounded very bright. I also found the tone controls on the amp were less effective at tailoring when using the models rather than the mags.

    Acoustic sounds really need to be played through an acoustic amp or PA.

    Better than it has any right to be, but not quite musical enough to me yet. I can definitely see the appeal - I was disappointed that it just wasn't quite there.
     
  16. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Long-term support for these is extremely poor .I just had an acoustic in the shop for repair and Yamaha no longer support it with parts leaving the instrument useless for the sake of the pickup .
    I have had this many times before from line 6 on other products.
    Be particularly carful because the Tyler line is gone and Yamaha have replaced it with there own model which is quite different and these already have a poor durability record. In fact we stopped selling them because of problems particularly emanating from the main selector dial/ switch.
    Search on here for a picture of the guts and note even the five way and the pots may cause maintenance issues in the not so distant future.
     
  17. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

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    I just looked on the Line 6 website. It looks to me like the JTV line is still heavily promoted. Just wondering what you know that they aren't saying. http://line6.com/variax-modeling-guitars/
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  18. Gitarman

    Gitarman Member

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    I picked up a JTV69 about a month ago and actually gigged with it the very first night! It's pretty cool being able to dial up different instruments and tunings on the fly. I run mine mostly with my HD500X so that I can call up dual-guitar sounds via a footswitch during gigs. I've currently got 3 patches set up: 1) 12-string acoustic/ electric , 2) dobro/ electric, 3) acoustic/ electric; w/ independent volume controls for each sound in all three.

    re: build quality - mine already took a particularly spectacular dive from my stand on the (~6 inch high) 'stage' onto the dance floor & landed face-first! The only damage was that it popped the chrome tip off of the model selector knob and the neck moved a tiny bit in the pocket. I re-glued the switch tip, but didn't even notice that the neck had shifted until about a week later... a quick adjustment took care of that.

    My only real gripe about it is that the single coils are a little weak for my taste. Otherwise, it's a great guitar.

    Pic from last Friday:
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Gitarman

    Gitarman Member

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    I use a Fishman TriplePlay with one of my other bands and have been considering mounting the TP pickup to my Variax... seeing that GK pickup on yours gives me hope that the TP one will fit on mine.:aok
     
  20. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

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    How is that neck? I am seriously thinking of that exact guitar. Played the 59 and the neck felt like a baseball bat sawed in half. Ruled it right out. It was even bigger than most LP's hanging in the store. Very uncomfortable for me. Envious of those that can deal with it. I can't seem to find the 69 anywhere but I did read it has the same neck as the 59. Is that true? Might have to go for the 89 if that is the case but I guess it doesn't really make that much difference as I am interested in the modeling and playability. I can always change the pickups.
     

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