I loaded an old XT laptop with all the old variax/workbench softtware with the intention of downflashing and up flashing in an attempt to clear this problem
He is the strange sequence of events which happened
plugged guitar imto XT Live via VDI
plugged output of XT into amp
Plugged in old crappy dell laptop via usb
As the laptop was 'powering up' i was getting noise spikes being picked up from the usb port
I disconnected the usb cable and the noise cracles and spikes disapeared from the XT O/P
I switched to the default altered tuned patched and hey were all clear!!!! No ghosts (well hardly)
I plugged in my normal PC and I opened up workbench ( latest version and checked the string cross talk
All cleared!!!! no bleed from D/E/ A/E or any of them.
I am deleighted but being an engineer of 35 years or more i am a little bemused and can only offer a number of logical explanations for this
1. The noise spikes somehow got into the variax and by magic cleared the previously corrupted setting.
2. I have an intermittant hardware problem
3. I have a bad VDI cable causing an intermitant problem
4. I have been imagining hearing ghosts all this time
Maybe a noise spike is how it all started i.e plugging in the variax whle xt/usb is powered and we just assumed that editing a alt tuning patch after this corrupted it.
I should point out that whilst the alt tunings sound ok on chords and open tuning I have noticed "reverberant ghosts" on the E and A string. If I damp or touch the other strings the ghost disapears. If play the B string on 5th fret by itself, the open A string is seen slightly vibrating causing some sort of harmonic type overtone. If I palm mute it, it stops, so there is some acoustic resonance being picked up here which may be easier to solve. Maybe this is the magnetic pole peices of the guitar transmitting to the other strings. Line 6 May be corect here. When the chords are played the resonent vibrations from the open strings are minimised. Maybe someone with a stock Variax 500 can confirm that this does not happen on theirs.
I think this as good as it gets. Mine is much better now but there appears to be two distinct variations of this ghost notes issue.
1. The Resonant ghost though open string ringing and consequential pick up from other piezos
2. The bad ghost which make alt tuning unusable caused by Peizo Crosstalk possibly created by a hardware (cable) or software bug
I now understand why someone recomended putting rubber grommets between the nut and the pegs to minimise string vibrations but surely a good normal electric guitar will be better for having this resonance. This is why sometimes you here natural reverberation from the guitar when playing single strings. Problem is with alt tuning thishas a detrimental effect. If you were playing a block of wood with the resonace of a 'brick' you woud not notice it so this problem is likley o vary a lot between guitars. As we all tend to use alt tuning for chords and usually palm mute the strings when playing lead solos e.t.c. i think the issue can be eliminated by technique to a degree. So either using left or right hand to mute the open strings will minimise the ghosts on E and B strings. If you play them hard and let the other five string ring open youll always have problems.
Try playing your note which your ghost note appears on then put a capo on the first fret and try it again. The ghost will move
It may also be of interest that I have added a 100k blend pot to my variax 500 electrics which effectivly shunts the analogue output of the mags across to the analogue vax output.
When on max attenuation I get just the mags and when on min (short) the drive of the vax output overpowers the pickups and I get the predominant variax. This was a quick knock up but it works well on the rick 12 giving it a softer edge when blended with the mags. Also the level of the Vax (alt tuning) signal wrt the mags depend on my string volume slider - The higher slider the stronger the blend effect. I have sett he sliders mid way for grapgh tec peizos. The VDI output is still fine and relativly free from Ghosts.
I'm enjoyin playing these strange tunings again.
What the!!! After two hours of fun hooked up through the XT Live ---the ghosts have suddenly reappeared- totally unusable
I think The laptop noise issue was a red herring as I cant get it to repeat the fix. looks like a hardware problem.
I powered the guitar/xtlive down for half an hour, Powered back up and suprise suprise -no ghosts! Hm something is strange here.I something getting warm/overheating or being trigged by a specific event. l left it on for another hour and it was still ok . This is weird. Now a power reset from cold clears it!!
Need to go to bed and rethink this one again.
Its nearly getting time for clutching at straws
I am now thinking the obvious and wonder if using a screened Cat6 cable which has better crosstalk and speed would give more consitant results.
Taking a step back, Ive never used alt tunings or VDI connection in anger (only drop D) and have always used the same short 1M cat5 cable as it was a nice unkinkable blue type which i fitted metal shrouds to. I am now starting to think that maybe this may be faulty and I have had this problem on and off all the time but it only manifested itself with the 12 strings sometimes sounding a bit warbly noisy. Previously i've used the guitar on battery or line 6 XPS power supply through the 1/4 jack and have not noticed the problem until starting to connect and use alt tuning with the VDI.
I powered up the system this morning and the ghosts have still nowehere to be heard
The fact that my problem returned whilst only connected via XT VDI when I changed patches makes me think the problem was not the fault of workbench but the data connection to the guitar via it so by altering values using workbench with an old possibly damaged unscreened Cat5 cable may have caused the same problem. I beleive the Line 6 cable is very long 25M so will have a greater impedance. than my 1M shorty. Maybe the short cable is not ideal
I read on another thread that someone solved their ghost problem by replacing the VDI lead so this is maybe not such a wild possibility. Line 6 say Cat 5 is ok but I think Cat6 would be better. I imagine most people use a bog standard ethernet patch cable as it was always seemed to work and they are always readily available. But we are talking twighlight zone stuff here -often the cause is something simple.
So maybe the noisy usb dell computer was a red herring but maybe it highlighted the fact that noise on the VDI lines during data change or power up can effect parameters inside the guitar.
Powered up last night and ran allnight on XPS box for 4 hours - no sign of the ghost reapearing
I have sinece replacing the VDI cable and used it all week using this connected to XT Live and the ghosts have not returned.
Dont we have fun !
Hope all this ranting helps some of you guys out there