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V500 Volume / Dropout Issue

variax 500

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#1 BrianWren

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:12 AM

I have a Variax 500. A while ago, the G string dropped out, entirely. I bought a new transducer, but before getting down to actually changing it, I checked to verify that I was still having the problem. I had been using a really raggedy CAT5 cable, but had since bought a nice, shiny new Variax cable.

When I plugged it all in, everything worked fine, so I figured the power being supplied by the cable had been dodgey.

But 2 weeks ago, setting up for rehearsal, the G string was intermittently gone again, and I was getting crackles (like digital overdrive) on adjacent strings, intermittently. The G string was acting a lot like it had a somewhat high–threshold noise gate on it. But, within minutes, all was fine again.

At rehearsal 3 days later, I was noticing that if I played a little louder, a few of the strings were responding a lot louder. At one point, I shifted position, and the ‘chirp’ of moving along the D string was so loud, the other guitar player turned to me with a “What was that?” expression. The chirp, by itself, was about 20% louder than I had been playing. (It’s a 0.026" string.)

So now I'm not using the guitar, as it is not trustworthy; but I need it... (I am using three alternate tunings for each performance.)

  • Is this a typical symptom?
  • Is it more likely the bridge, or the interface to the digital electronics?
  • Is there an easy way to diagnose what it is, other than willy-nilly replacing parts, in the hope that I’ll eventually replace the problem child?


 


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#2 stumblinman

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:38 AM

Wrong forum. Needs to get moved into the original Variax forum. Might get more help there.
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#3 TheRealZap

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:40 AM

have you cleaned the bridge saddles? they make a physical connection with the bridge plate for grounding.


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#4 cruisinon2

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:19 PM

C

 

I have a Variax 500. A while ago, the G string dropped out, entirely. I bought a new transducer, but before getting down to actually changing it, I checked to verify that I was still having the problem. I had been using a really raggedy CAT5 cable, but had since bought a nice, shiny new Variax cable.

When I plugged it all in, everything worked fine, so I figured the power being supplied by the cable had been dodgey.

But 2 weeks ago, setting up for rehearsal, the G string was intermittently gone again, and I was getting crackles (like digital overdrive) on adjacent strings, intermittently. The G string was acting a lot like it had a somewhat high–threshold noise gate on it. But, within minutes, all was fine again.

At rehearsal 3 days later, I was noticing that if I played a little louder, a few of the strings were responding a lot louder. At one point, I shifted position, and the ‘chirp’ of moving along the D string was so loud, the other guitar player turned to me with a “What was that?” expression. The chirp, by itself, was about 20% louder than I had been playing. (It’s a 0.026" string.)

So now I'm not using the guitar, as it is not trustworthy; but I need it... (I am using three alternate tunings for each performance.)

  • Is this a typical symptom?
  • Is it more likely the bridge, or the interface to the digital electronics?
  • Is there an easy way to diagnose what it is, other than willy-nilly replacing parts, in the hope that I’ll eventually replace the problem child?

 

 

Crackling and/or hissing sounds usually mean one or more bad piezos, according to conversations I've had with Line 6 tech guys. Intermittent problems are unfortunately difficult to diagnose, be it a guitar or a yacht. If you send it back to Line6 now, invariably it'll work fine when they get it on the bench and they'll send it back, having proclaimed it is "functioning normally". Good luck.


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#5 BrianWren

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:19 PM

Well, I haven't, and I'll try that.  But I'm geussing that there is a pretty firm down-force, with the strings taking such a bend over the bridge saddles.

 

I knew a guitarist who sweated projectile sweat as he played, which absolutely ruined his Les Paul’s bridge, over time.  But I don’t sweat like that, so I haven’t really gotten the bridge wet with sweat.  But, like I said, I'l have a look tonight.  (I am well versed in electronics, so I know what to look for.)


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#6 BrianWren

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:27 PM

cruisinon2,

 

It doesn't crackle and hiss (but I know the sounds you mean).  I don't know whether you have heard digital overdrive, but it is not a nice sound, like analog overdrive can be.

 

I am thinking that htose you spoke with wree experiencing a problem that was consistent...

 

The consensus (of two) seems to be leaning toward an issue with the bridge, rather than with the electronic interface.  I would be pretty confident that the signal from the bridge goes first through an analog buffer, and then into an analog-to-digital converter.  One of the things I was wondering is whether Variax's have a history of that part (the buffers and converters) developing troubles.


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#7 BrianWren

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:28 PM

Stumblinman,

 

Where is this other forum?  Can you give me the URL?


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#8 TheRealZap

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:46 PM

I already moved it.

 

Stumblinman,

 

Where is this other forum?  Can you give me the URL?


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