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Jtv/variax Piezos


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#1 ozbadman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 11:31 AM

Hi all,

 

Does anyone know if I wanted to replace the bridge of a JTV, or use the electronics in a different guitar entirely, can I use something like a Graphtech Ghost instead of the JTV piezos? Is the output compatible with JTV or older Variax electronics? Is there a better way to do this?

 

Thanks for any advice.


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#2 johnnyayyy

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 11:43 AM

Hi all,

 

Does anyone know if I wanted to replace the bridge of a JTV, or use the electronics in a different guitar entirely, can I use something like a Graphtech Ghost instead of the JTV piezos? Is the output compatible with JTV or older Variax electronics? Is there a better way to do this?

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

 

The Graphtech works GREAT, the output is higher than the old Variax piezos but that can be adjusted in Workbench.

 

I will probably be replacing my bridge with a Graphtech also.

 

Why are you replacing yours?


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#3 stevekc

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 11:55 AM

Just have to be aware of adjacent string mechanical vibration creating "crosstalk " -that can really impact the Alt Tunings with too much warble!

 

I replaced the LR Baggs saddles on my Variax 600 with Graphtech Ghost Saddles, and heard more warble in Alt tunings as a result


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#4 ozbadman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:13 PM

The Graphtech works GREAT, the output is higher than the old Variax piezos but that can be adjusted in Workbench.

 

I will probably be replacing my bridge with a Graphtech also.

 

Why are you replacing yours?

 

Thanks Johnny,

 

I like having the latest electronics from Line 6, but I don't like the look of the 69, especially the alt-tuning wheel. The 89 looks OK, but I want a 5-way switch. I have the 59, which I love, but it's a little on the heavy side. I'm more of a strat guy in terms of feel. So, I'm trying to work out what my options are for using a standard strat, but with Line 6 electronics on top.


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#5 ozbadman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:14 PM

Just have to be aware of adjacent string mechanical vibration creating "crosstalk " -that can really impact the Alt Tunings with too much warble!

 

I replaced the LR Baggs saddles on my Variax 600 with Graphtech Ghost Saddles, and heard more warble in Alt tunings as a result

 

Ahhh. Good to know. Thanks Steve.


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#6 johnnyayyy

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:38 PM

Thanks Johnny,

I like having the latest electronics from Line 6, but I don't like the look of the 69, especially the alt-tuning wheel.


I also dislike the look of the alt tuning wheel on the 69, had still decided I was to going to get myself a 69 and was shopping for a used one til I saw the 89 on sale at Sweetwater for $699...

The 89 looks OK, but I want a 5-way switch.


Erm, the 89 has a 5-way switch...

Thanks Johnny, I'm more of a strat guy in terms of feel. So, I'm trying to work out what my options are for using a standard strat, but with Line 6 electronics on top.


Oh man, a nice transplanted Strat with JTV guts... that would be very sweet indeed. I have the 89 and am not 100% in love with the neck (and the bridge SUCKS!), I am plannning to check the dimensions on an old Ibanez Wizard neck I have laying around and if it fits I might do a swap.

Just have to be aware of adjacent string mechanical vibration creating "crosstalk " -that can really impact the Alt Tunings with too much warble!

I replaced the LR Baggs saddles on my Variax 600 with Graphtech Ghost Saddles, and heard more warble in Alt tunings as a result


Interesting, I have never heard this and have exactly the opposite experience, but my Graphtech bridges are T-O-M style and not Strat saddles so maybe more stable with less inter-saddle vibration transfer... I think the hot setup for me on the JTV89 is going to be a Ghost T-O-M with a Bigsby, yeah the Bigsby is going to look out of place on the 89 BUT 1. no one else is ever going to see the guitar, I only use it for recording and 2. I don't care :D

Originally I really really REALLY wanted the JTV89F but realized recently it would not have been the best choice for me - I love the feel of a Bigsby way more than the feel of a Floyd Rose trem(or a standard Strat trem or any other tremolo for that matter) and have not had a Floyd eqipped guitar for many years but have a Bigsby on most of my favorite guitars (a Vintage Gretsch, and a Tele and Gretsch replica Variax transplants), a Bigsby is almost an extension of my body at this point and I always find myself reaching for it when playing guitars that don't have it.
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#7 ozbadman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:54 PM

Erm, the 89 has a 5-way switch...

 

Oh, sweet. Thanks for that. I don't know why I thought it had a 3-way. The humbuckers I guess. So it sounds like if I can pick up one of those $700 JTV89's, all I need is a new whammy bridge, and of course, a Strat.


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#8 ozbadman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:58 PM

Oh man, a nice transplanted Strat with JTV guts... that would be very sweet indeed. I have the 89 and am not 100% in love with the neck (and the bridge SUCKS!), I am plannning to check the dimensions on an old Ibanez Wizard neck I have laying around and if it fits I might do a swap.
 

 

Of course Fender would say it already exists with the Roland G-5/5a, but they're smokin' crack.


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#9 stevekc

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:15 PM

I think the hot setup for me on the JTV89 is going to be a Ghost T-O-M with a Bigsby, yeah the Bigsby is going to look out of place on the 89 BUT 1. no one else is ever going to see the guitar, I only use it for recording and 2. I don't care

 

I have much experience in setting up all types of tremolos

 

Many have already pointed out the "slop" in the Tyler Variax HardTail Bridge employed on JTV-59 and JTV-89 - but this "saddle slop" works to my advantage on my JTV-59 with Bigsby

 

No "Creak" or wound Strings getting stuck at a fixed Saddle. ( I have added GFS locking tuners and a Graphtech self lubricated "Trem Nut" )

20130523_022535_zps2a602406.jpg

Its false common assumption that having a rock solid tone pros style locked down bridge is the best for every guitarist's situation. I'm here to say the old 1950's and 1960's Gibsons with Bigsby's  and Vibrola Tremolos only worked for working professional musicians back then because the T.O.M. Bridge was designed to be "sloppy" and float and rock and pivot on Convex domed shaped height adjust thumb screws move right along with the strings as the Tremolo use changed the strings tension.

 

Details here:

http://forum.gibson....nfo-for-bigsby/

 

 

As a test to "see" this movement - get a Sharpie permanent marker and place small marks on your strings right at at bridge saddles - move the wammy bar and watch as the G string moves quite a lot during trem bar use.

 

If you clamp down the Bridge and all the saddles - the Strings will get stuck in the saddles (even Graphtech TUSC T.O.M. Saddles) and never stay in tune.

 

 

--

 

The stock 1960s era ES-355s' and SG Standards with factory Maestro Vibrola used a special ABR-1 bridge

"Originally, in the early 1960's Gibson designed an ABR-1 just to be used with trems back in the 60's. Just about all Vibrola SG's were equipped with them as well as a lot of other models (ES's) that received factory Vibrolas. The thumbwheels were also domed so the bridge could rock back and forth with the trem movement. Unfortunately, gibson has failed to reissue these bridges for their new guitars. Check it out:"

SGABR-1.jpg

 

Compare:

Standard ABR-1 Thumbscrew:

 

thumbwheeldome2a.jpg

 

vs

"Dome" shaped ABR-1 Thumbscrew 0 used on Gibson ES-345 with Bigsby in 1963

thumbwheeldome1.jpg

 

In the 1960's Gibson used two special "domed" shape height adjustment thumbscrews under the ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge - with rounded tops - specifically so the bridge would rock and pivot with the strings during trem arm bends.

Further discussion is here:

http://www.lespaulfo...d.php?p=1753867

More about all Bigsby models here:
http://www.bigsbyguitars.com/
http://www.bigsbygui....com/intro.html

IMHO - If you use a clamped and locked Tonepros type bridge with a Bigsby - you are asking for trouble.


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#10 johnnyayyy

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:53 PM

Many have already pointed out the "slop" in the Tyler Variax HardTail Bridge employed on JTV-59 and JTV-89 - but this "saddle slop" works to my advantage on my JTV-59 with Bigsby




Had not heard any mention of the Tyler bridge "slop" previously but it is causing me much grief at the moment, the side to side movement of the piezos smacking against the side of the bridge slots is causing a nasty KLACKing sound when I Travis Pick. I am planning to stuff them with something them to prevent any side to side motion until I can change to a T-O-M Graphtech and Bigsby.


the old 1950's and 1960's Gibsons with Bigsby's and Vibrola Tremolos only worked for working professional musicians back then because the T.O.M. Bridge was designed to be "sloppy" and float and rock and pivot on Convex domed shaped height adjust thumb screws move right along with the strings as the Tremolo use changed the strings tension.


I don't disagree with any of that.

If you clamp down the Bridge and all the saddles - the Strings will get stuck in the saddles (even Graphtech TUSC T.O.M. Saddles) and never stay in tune.


I don't disagree with that either. Maybe I was not clear earlier - the bridges on my Variax transplants are not "locked down" Tonepros style, they are normal Graphtech T-O-M bridges that rest on top of two posts just like on any standard Les Paul.

I meant the saddles themselves are "locked" on the adjustment screw that keeps them from physically touching one another and transferring vibration the way Strat saddles might - sure my saddles are transferring vibration into the TOM housing but the mass of the housing though small it might be I believe is enough to stop the transfer of vibration enough to prevent warbling that might be caused by saddle crosstalk in a Strat bridge. I have never experienced any warbling/saddle crosstalk in my Variax Transplants, tho I do seem to recall noticing it in the original Variax before doing the transplants and switching to the Graphtech bridges - this was long ago so I may not be remembering it correctly but I am 90% sure I did have warble and crosstalk back then with the stock Variaxes.


I have been using my Vax transplants for a few years with the Gtech bridges and Bigsbys and they stay in tune perfectly.

If you clamp down the Bridge and all the saddles - the Strings will get stuck in the saddles (even Graphtech TUSC T.O.M. Saddles) and never stay in tune.





I have been using my Vax transplants for a few years with the Gtech bridges and Bigsbys and they stay in tune perfectly. But again, not really "locked down", though the bridge in the Tele does not move at all due to a tight fit in the bridge support pins.

I do put graphite in the nut and keep the Bigsbys lubricated... the strings simply do not hang up on the bridge saddles. Maybe they will some day when the grooves are worn deeper but I have put lots of miles on the Tele in particular and so far zero tuning problems. If I do develop problems I will either flatten the tops of the saddles and cut new grooves for the strings or replace the saddles, but for now I swear by the GraphTech T-O-M.

I do like the rounded/domed design of that bridge/thumbwheel combination you show, might be a good idea to grind a stock T-O-M and thumbscrews to give the bridge some movement.

I do not think the bridge itself moving is a problem with a Variax/JTV piezo setup, it is the piezos moving around inside the bridge housing itself that sounds terrible to me - fixing this is my next project on my JTV. If I can get my JTV to play and behave the way my transplants do... with the new 2.0 firmware the JTV might just be the ultimate guitar IMO.
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#11 stevekc

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

All good points!


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#12 toasterdude

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 07:00 AM

It has a 5 way but not sure it would work if you were planning on having 3 pickups. I wish L6 were more forthcoming with info on electronics of variax.

 

I like pos 2 and 4 in a 3 pickup config but also use neck and bridge combo a lot, maybe even more so.

 

On my xplants I have 2 prails and the bridge middle combo on rails is strat like but not as strat like as if I had a middle single coil that can combine with neck or bridge rails.

 

On my refinished 69 I have prials in bridge and neck and lipstick tube in middle. The pos 2 and 4 on that guitar sound more strat like for obvious reasons. . . .BUT. . .then I have no way to get bridge rail and neck p90 combo etc etc etc.

 

The Firebird xplant I have being built will be an experiment. The guts will be from  a59 so 3 way switch. Fralin tele BR and Strat middle with lollar firbird neck pickup up. Middle pickup will be wired in wit both bridge and neck but turned on via mini switch.

 

That way in theory I should get good position 2 and 4 tones but also get a more tele type sound when combining bridge tele and neck firebird pickups. If I love it, I may add middle pickups to other xplants. Was thinking about G&L asats as I can get with pearloid covers to match the prails or maybe go mini hum or lipstick. hmmmmmm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, sweet. Thanks for that. I don't know why I thought it had a 3-way. The humbuckers I guess. So it sounds like if I can pick up one of those $700 JTV89's, all I need is a new whammy bridge, and of course, a Strat.


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#13 ozbadman

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 12:44 PM

Thanks for the info toaster. I'll have to take my 59 apart again and look at the connections to the motherboard.


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#14 johnnyayyy

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 01:13 PM

The pos 2 and 4 on that guitar sound more strat like for obvious reasons. . . .BUT. . .then I have no way to get bridge rail and neck p90 combo etc etc etc.

 

You should be able to add a simple jumper with an on/off switch to control the neck pickup similar to the switching in the Fender Deluxe Players Strat and others - in position 1 on your 5 way you can switch the neck pickup on for neck + bridge, in position two you can switch the neck pickup on for all 3 pickups.

 

Wiring diagram is here: http://support.fende...00_02A_SISD.pdf

 

Sounds similar to what you plan for the Firebird but with switching added for the middle PU instead of the neck


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#15 toasterdude

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 07:32 AM

Well duhh. . . .not sure why I was not thinking of that. Especially since I just bought a prewired strat pickguard with that wiring amongst others.

I may play the 69 more often now! Well once I get it wired. Grassy lollipop!!!

 

 

You should be able to add a simple jumper with an on/off switch to control the neck pickup similar to the switching in the Fender Deluxe Players Strat and others - in position 1 on your 5 way you can switch the neck pickup on for neck + bridge, in position two you can switch the neck pickup on for all 3 pickups.

 

Wiring diagram is here: http://support.fende...00_02A_SISD.pdf

 

Sounds similar to what you plan for the Firebird but with switching added for the middle PU instead of the neck


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