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#1 GilmourD

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

..that prefers the older Variax guitars over the new Tylers as far as aesthetic goes? The LP-like one is nice but the others are... meh. Plus they're incredibly expensive compared to the older Variax series.

 

I recently got a Variax 500 used. The previous owner put a maple board Warmoth Variax headstock neck on it, but he unfortunately also got it with the Wizard back shape and a fairly flat fretboard radius. I ended up ordering a new neck from Warmoth for it with their compoud radius, stainless 6105 frets, Wolfgang back shape, and a satin nitro finish. Just got to put it on yesterday and it's fantastic. Still tweaking the setup a bit but I love the thing.

 

How do the rest of you feel about the original Variax series versus the Tylers?


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#2 TheRealZap

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:22 PM

Over time i got a certain comfort with the original (600) and it just feels like home....

love the technology in the JTV, and the build and design is of higher quality....

but i might prefer the feel of the 600 with original neck over the 59 myself...

I'm going to try and pick up a 69 since it's a bit closer to the 600.

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#3 GilmourD

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:24 PM

Over time i got a certain comfort with the original (600) and it just feels like home....

love the technology in the JTV, and the build and design is of higher quality....

but i might prefer the feel of the 600 with original neck over the 59 myself...

I'm going to try and pick up a 69 since it's a bit closer to the 600.

The JTVs are definitely quality instruments but I just can't gel with their aesthetic. I look at my 500 and think that it's more organic looking.


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#4 TheRealZap

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:26 PM

The JTVs are definitely quality instruments but I just can't gel with their aesthetic. I look at my 500 and think that it's more organic looking.

 

probably not easily noticeable... but the 59 has the same headstock as the 500/700 stock neck anyway.

which is mountains better than james tylers design he uses on his own instruments.


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#5 LarryLion

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:01 PM

Maybe I'll get shot for this, but the old ones (pre JTV) just look weird to me.  To an audience, they are patently "modeled", since there are no visible pickups.  The JTV looks more like a guitar, which somewhat completes the illusion.  I never use the mag pups on my JTV-69, but to the uninitiated, it looks (and sounds) real, mostly.


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Plus lots of Tele's, Gretsches,

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#6 silverhead

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:12 PM

I also got a Warmoth body and neck to fit the electronics of an old Variax 300. I love the playability of that guitar and it used to be my go-to. However, since I got a JTV-59 it has now become my go-to. I love the look of the JTV-59, but I also love the look of my Warmoth V300 (of course I like it - I chose it! I did not like the look or feel of the original V300). I think once the JTV-59 has had some time I will likely play both of them about 50/50 although the JTV's alternate tuning knob is very nice, and it has improvements in the interoperability with my Pod HD.

 

Overall I am extremely satisfied with them both. My formerly go-to Les Paul Deluxe has definitely taken a rear-view seat.


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#7 GilmourD

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:08 PM

probably not easily noticeable... but the 59 has the same headstock as the 500/700 stock neck anyway.
which is mountains better than james tylers design he uses on his own instruments.

You know, I didn't notice that until you just pointed it out. Nice!

Maybe I'll get shot for this, but the old ones (pre JTV) just look weird to me.  To an audience, they are patently "modeled", since there are no visible pickups.  The JTV looks more like a guitar, which somewhat completes the illusion.  I never use the mag pups on my JTV-69, but to the uninitiated, it looks (and sounds) real, mostly.


II have no problem with odd and weird... I have been known to play shred metal on a sonic blue Tele with a vintage-style single coil in the bridge. LOL
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#8 davidb7170

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:19 PM

I gotta say I disagree. I have a red 300, a Tobacco SB JTV59, and a Shoreline Gold JTV69S, my favorites are the JTV's hands down, both from aesthetic and from instrument quality standpoints. I do go for the Fender & Gibby looks, and these JTV's are closer to my norm than the 300 was.

The 59's shape is kind of an LP with a higher upper bout like a Tele... The headstock of any of the 300, 59, or 69 never proved to be difficult for me to be comfortable with, and I have a Strat, a Tele, and an LP as well.

Sometime if/when I get the time, I'll probably either work on the 300 to improve its sustain, or try a tele transplant with it. I don't hate the 300/500/700 body shape, but am just more pleased with the 59/69 JTV body styles. The build quality of my 59/69 JTV's is head & shoulders above my 300, but realize I was going for the bottom (least expensive) model of the 1st gen Variax'es just to see what the modeling guitar concept was all about. Also, the 700 or whatever the top model of the 1st gen Vax's were also in the $1500 range, as I recall. I would hope (and am pretty sure) that the build quality of those models was substantially above my 300...

I use the mag pickups probably 80 - 90% of the time, and the models for certain songs where the tuning capabilities and special instruments (acoustics, banjo, etc.) are key. I think everyone has their own comfort zone and reasons why this is or isn't the route to go. Whatever "it" is, you have to find the "it" that floats your boat... It's all in the eye (and ear) of the beholder. There's a lot of guitars out there that make me shudder, while someone else would go "THAT'S THE ONE!"

My 2 cents.
Dave
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#9 phil_m

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:21 AM

All around, my JTV just seems like a way nicer instrument. Granted, I only had the 300 before, and now I have US JTV69, so it's not really fair comparing guitars that are orders of magnitude different in cost... But, I have played Korean JTVs, too, and, I think to me the biggest difference is that the JTVs seem like a "real" electric guitar. Because of the lack of pickups, I always thought the old Variaxes seemed more like novelty instruments. I think adding the magnetic pickups was one of the best things Line 6 decided to do for the JTVs.


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#10 adessmith

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:24 AM

I cant speak for the 700, because I never put my hands on one, but I tried the 300 and 500 series in music stores, and although they "sounded cool" I could not bring my self to purchase one because they just felt and looked like a toy and not an instrument. It reminded me of the knockoff strats I used to purchase from the pawn stores when I was in high school. Once I graduated to a "real guitar", I refused to go back to a toy. The 500 did seem like an improvement over the 300, but not enough. I'm sure the warmoth neck makes all the difference in the world.

The 700 looked pretty nice. I was almost ready to consider trying a 700 when the JTVs came out.. I fell in love with the 59, but it took me AGES to get the cash to buy one.
I've not owned many "quality" instruments, but I will say that every instrument I have purchased was an "upgrade" over the previous (and therefore more money), with the exception of getting rid of an Ibanez RX to get a Gibson SG Special. (However, that is when I learned that I liked the smaller scale of the Gibson guitars).
That Gibson was a piece of JUNK. The "specials" are not even in the same league as a "real" Gibson. The body felt like it was cut out of a single sheet of OSB and painted.
The last electric I owned before the Variax was a Schecter C1+. I really thought I would keep that guitar forever, but when I got the JTV-59 I realized I would NEVER pick up the Schecter again, so I sold it. The neck, the weight, and the feel was very similar (same woods, same scale), but the JTV just had a slightly higher quality feel, and of course the sound(s) from the JTV were much better. I looked at a variax 500 while I owned the schecter and would NEVER have considered it based on the feel.

 

Admittedly, I do use the magnetic pickups almost exclusively when doing "electric" sounds, but I use the acoustic models a LOT. Probably 50/50.


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#11 Inerzia

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:42 PM

Well, I'm not sure on which side I am...
Let's see: I have an amber 700 with tremolo and a black JTV89.

As soon as the JTVs came, I wanted one, but not being in any band at that moment I couldn't justify buying one (justifying to myself that is, I'm single  :D)
When I got this gig last year, I knew that was the right time to get a JTV and an HD500. Aesthetically, my favourite is the 59, but the 24 frets and the 5 position switch made me choose the 89.
Also, that kind of neck is very comfortable to play for long hours.
Well, so far so good, I must say I'm really pleased with my JTV, so, this year I was planning to get another as backup, and leave the 700 at home. First I considered another 89, then a 59, then the 89F came...
And I thought "why not put mags on the 700?" I like the way it feels. I loved playing that guitar, it just felt right, from the beginning. There were issues, sonically, but in terms of playability, I've always loved it.
It needs fretwork anyway, so, while it's at the luthier's, I'll have him put some bareknuckles on it.
Of course, I'll post pictures and sound examples when the time comes.
Back in the day, I also tried a friend's 500, and I didn't like the feel at all. It felt like a log. My friend didn't like it very much either. He sold it and got a trem 700.


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#12 GilmourD

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:12 PM

So... You guys are saying you don't like this?

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#13 TheRealZap

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:27 PM

So... You guys are saying you don't like this?

 

not a huge fan of the red... never seen one with a maple fretboard though.


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#14 GilmourD

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:35 PM

not a huge fan of the red... never seen one with a maple fretboard though.

Well, I already have two sunburst (Peavey Wolfgang Special and Tele) and two black guitars (both Strats) and nothing in an opaque red (I do have a transparent red Tele), so I went with that.

 

Like I said above, it actually came with a Warmoth maple board neck but the previous owner decided to go with a flatter fretboard radius and the Wizard (Ibanez) back shape. What's on there in that picture is the new Warmoth neck I just received last Friday with the Wolfgang back shape, compound radius board, stainless frets, and satin nitro finish. :)


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#15 silverhead

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:51 PM

I mentioned earlier that I had installed Variax 300 electronics into a Warmoth body/neck. I really didn't like the look, feel, or playability of the original V300. Here are a couple of photos of the Warmoth -  not very good lighting but you'll get the idea. A big improvement (imho) in look, feel and playability.

 

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#16 Crusty_Old_Rocker

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:52 PM

I have to admit that I really love the look of my Cherry Burst Variax 700 but the feel of my JTV-69 is much more to my liking.  If I could have my JTV69 look as sexy as my Cherry Burst 700 then I'd be really thrilled.

 

Cheers,

 

Crusty


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#17 GilmourD

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:18 PM

I mentioned earlier that I had installed Variax 300 electronics into a Warmoth body/neck. I really didn't like the look, feel, or playability of the original V300. Here are a couple of photos of the Warmoth -  not very good lighting but you'll get the idea. A big improvement (imho) in look, feel and playability.

Weren't the 300s and 600s made in China or Indonesia while the 500s and 700s were made in Korea?


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#18 toneman2121

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:14 AM

So... You guys are saying you don't like this?

i like anything with a maple neck


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#19 GilmourD

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:59 AM

i like anything with a maple neck

Me, too. LOL

 

I need an updated group photo, but my only guitar with anything other than a maple board is my Epi LP Custom. LOL


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#20 clay-man

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:15 PM

I really like my 600 a lot. I think the people who say the old Variaxes are ugly are FOS. They just don't like it because of the missing pickups. It's a reasonable complaint, but the whole point of the Variax is the modeling, so mag pickups honestly don't matter. I say, if you want mag pickups, use a mag pickup guitar.
You can't model a mag pickup, it'll sound nothing like any other pickup or guitar other than itself.

Either way, I think the 600 looks way nicer than the 69. I can't get over how ugly the headstock is on the 69, and something looks a bit smoother about the 600.

The only complaint I have about the old Variax guitars is that they're all Strat bodied guitars, and have no big variation between eachother besides headstock and knob placement. Maybe the wood, but that's it.

Oh also, I can't tell you how much I fell in love with the maple neck/fretboard. Feels and looks great.
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#21 markcockerill

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

My transluscent blue 700 with the whammy was made in Japan. It has a far far better finish than that of my red JTV69. I took the neck off the 700 and bolted it to the JTV, arh, that's better, a playable instrument. The 69 neck is a lump of firewood with frets stuck on it.


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#22 Mr_Arkadin

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:19 PM

I really like my 600 a lot. I think the people who say the old Variaxes are ugly are FOS. They just don't like it because of the missing pickups.

 

Maybe you could tone things down a little. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because someone doesn't like what you like doesn't mean they're full of anything. It means they have a different opinion to you.

 

I always thought the originals were a bit bland in design - and no it was nothing to do with the lack of pick-ups - in fact I thought that was quite funky looking. I like odd guitars. The Variax isn't odd, it is (in my opinion with no shite involved) it's just a little, in modern parlance, meh. Not bad but not innovative either.

 

I think the 500 had the best headstock.


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#23 Spiderplayer7

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:06 PM

I've got a 700 electric trem in black - I bought it new - I play it through an HD500. I really wanted to buy a JTV, even though I love my 700 (because of reports that the JTV modelled sounds are better) so I went looking for a JTV (these are not easy to find in the UK). Found a store that stocked the JTV-69K and tried it out. Sorry to say this, especially as I know lots of people love their JTVs, but I hated this guitar, just hated it. I thought the build quality was poor, the chrome hardware looked cheap, it was heavy, the headstock looked cheap, but most of all I found the neck horrible. Fingerboard too flat, frets too high, nut cut too high etc. I never even bothered to plug it in - I was really disappointed. So I tried out a JTV-59K, hated that too for similar reasons (and this one was much heavier than the 69). Then I found a store which had a US-made JTV-59 and I hated that too - it was finished better (but this one had developed a crack in the lacquer around the neck joint - ok, that could have been a shipping problem) but it still had the same neck profile, and the price was just crazy. But my old 700 - fantastic neck, great tuning stability, not too heavy, feels great on a strap and so far has been utterly reliable. The only thing I don't like is the trem arm - it sits a bit loose in the bridge. 

 

But buy a JTV - no, I don't think so!


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#24 clay-man

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:26 PM

I've got a 700 electric trem in black - I bought it new - I play it through an HD500. I really wanted to buy a JTV, even though I love my 700 (because of reports that the JTV modelled sounds are better) so I went looking for a JTV (these are not easy to find in the UK). Found a store that stocked the JTV-69K and tried it out. Sorry to say this, especially as I know lots of people love their JTVs, but I hated this guitar, just hated it. I thought the build quality was poor, the chrome hardware looked cheap, it was heavy, the headstock looked cheap, but most of all I found the neck horrible. Fingerboard too flat, frets too high, nut cut too high etc. I never even bothered to plug it in - I was really disappointed. So I tried out a JTV-59K, hated that too for similar reasons (and this one was much heavier than the 69). Then I found a store which had a US-made JTV-59 and I hated that too - it was finished better (but this one had developed a crack in the lacquer around the neck joint - ok, that could have been a shipping problem) but it still had the same neck profile, and the price was just crazy. But my old 700 - fantastic neck, great tuning stability, not too heavy, feels great on a strap and so far has been utterly reliable. The only thing I don't like is the trem arm - it sits a bit loose in the bridge. 

 

But buy a JTV - no, I don't think so!

 

Does your trem arm come with a screw to tighten the arm? It seems to loosen over time, but it's nice to gauge how loose you want the arm. I prefer it not to fall down so I can grab it quickly if I set it close, but also easy to swing 180 out of the way.

 

Also, I think the reason why the JTVs sound better is because their piezos are better. The LR bags used on V1 variaxes are honestly kind of poorly done, at least for the Variax. A lot of people say graphtech ghosts make the guitar sound a lot better.

 

I don't know what LR baggs did to the JTV piezos, but they're definitely a lot better than the x-bridge copy piezos.


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#25 Spiderplayer7

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

Hi there,

 

Yes, it comes with a screw to tighten the arm but unless I tighten it completely it has about 3mm play in it before the bridge moves. And then it's impossible to remove the arm without an allen key to get it into/out of its case. I really hate this arrangement and wonder why any manufacturer uses any method other than the tried and tested screw-in arm (I've got a strat with a Callaham bridge and it's perfect - the arm screws in and out, there's no play at all in it - why would anyone have any other system?? Anyway, that's my only gripe with my 700 - oh, and the strap buckle broke on the gig bag...

 

As to the differences in sound between the old and new Variaxes, I haven't really heard the JTVs anywhere except on YouTube etc. but I'm prepared to accept that the JTVs sound better - but by how  much, I wonder - 10%, 30% - can this even be quantified? Even if they sound 100% better I disliked the guitar itself so much that I'll stick with my 700 - until it eventually dies... I'll worry about what to replace it with then...


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#26 clay-man

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:50 AM

Hi there,

 

Yes, it comes with a screw to tighten the arm but unless I tighten it completely it has about 3mm play in it before the bridge moves. And then it's impossible to remove the arm without an allen key to get it into/out of its case. I really hate this arrangement and wonder why any manufacturer uses any method other than the tried and tested screw-in arm (I've got a strat with a Callaham bridge and it's perfect - the arm screws in and out, there's no play at all in it - why would anyone have any other system?? Anyway, that's my only gripe with my 700 - oh, and the strap buckle broke on the gig bag...

 

As to the differences in sound between the old and new Variaxes, I haven't really heard the JTVs anywhere except on YouTube etc. but I'm prepared to accept that the JTVs sound better - but by how  much, I wonder - 10%, 30% - can this even be quantified? Even if they sound 100% better I disliked the guitar itself so much that I'll stick with my 700 - until it eventually dies... I'll worry about what to replace it with then...

 

Like I said, people varified that modeling is the same besides the new acoustics. upcoming 2.0 will make new of all the models, and hopefully bring in new ones as well. The change in sound is definitely mainly from better piezo pickups on the JTV.

 

I personally like the Variax's arm. I think it's nice to gauge how loose it is and be able to spin it around all the way. With a screw arm, you can't really control the looseness of the arm, and I don't like it too loose (ie falling in front of my playing field or getting in the way of the knobs).


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#27 Spiderplayer7

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:10 PM

Well, I'll probably give a JTV a go sometime through my rig just to see what the sounds are like. I'm not sure I'll ever get over my feelings about the guitar itself, though...

 

I know what you mean about screw-in arms getting in the way - for some reason the Callaham bridge does this well - if you screw it right down it stays in position but if you back it off one revolution it swings. Another great bridge I've used is he Parker one on the Fly models. 

 

My gripe with the 700 trem bridge isn't about swinging or not, it's the 2 - 3mm of play that you get when you grab the arm before the bridge moves (the Callaham and Parker bridges don't have any play). I've tried different length grub screws, various types of tape and washers at the base of the arm to try to pack it out but nothing works. IMO it's just  a bad design...


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