So.Much.Fun!! I stayed up till 3am last night,and had to wake up at 7:30am to get to work by 10am. Totally worth it! That's what Starbucks is for right?
SO, I got the temporary GK-3 install done on my JTV59 last night. And then I ran through the various presets and some of the PCM instruments. In terms of the install, from the looks of it, I think I can do the semi-permanent double stick tape to the side of the bridge pickup rather than to the face of the guitar. I need to get some slightly better double sided tape; the stuff that came with it wasn't working very well.
In general the Variax models and the Roland tracking/synth/midi/etc all aligned / synched well - I recorded to ProTools the 'guitar out' from the GR-55, using that 1/4" patch cable from the JTV to the GK-3 and the stereo out from the GR-55.
First and foremost, makes me appreciate the JTV as is, with no extra gadgets attached!
That being said, it's definitely an interesting sensation listening to the Variax piezos next to the PCM MIDi samples. The triggering / tracking was decent; though at first I forgot to do the 2nd of the GR-55 settings, where you measure from the piezo saddle on the JTV to the center of the hex pickup. It was sounding pretty weird, then I measured those, converted the inches to metric, and it sounded much better, after I entered those values. There is also a setting where you set the scale length, same thing, converted the JTV scale length to metric JTV59 is 24-9/16", which converts to 24.5625", which is 623.8875mm; I ended up choosing 624mm, it rounds off to nearest mm.
Now, to stay "on topic"!
I can say that the tuner on the GR-55 is excellent. And- when using a GK-3, that tuner is going to be something that the Axe-FX also cannot do. You enter the tuner and strum all six strings - it shows the pitch for each string, makes tuning quite simple and quick. I think the Variax / JTV could technically do that, though I don't know what it would entail.
But it does reinforce the power of hex and piezo individual string pickup, and the options which become available.
For example, I chose a 'drop D' setting on the GR-55, switched the JTV to the drop-D setting, and they sounded fine together.
Actually sounded really fat and solid! So yeah, let me know when Axe-FX gets on board with individual string processing.
For what it's worth, the JTV still fit fine in the Epiphone LP hard case with the GK pickup installed.)