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Vax 300 Piezo (or Other) Issue - Anyone Experienced This One?

variax 300 500 600 700 piezo

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#1 eenymason

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:15 AM

Hi fellow vax users,

 

in buying my second variax (a 300 intended for a xplant) I found it to have an issue (no signal output from the 1/4" output) which I figured to be a jackplate problem. When playing live, I connect to my HD500 using a variax cable, and use the 1/4" out to go to Vocalist Live 3 for (ahem) assisting my vocal accuracy. My main vax is a 600, so the 300 remained on it's guitar stand unused (apart from the rare string breakage moment) for ages, while I awaited a replacement jackplate. This took 3 months via my line 6 service agent in Sydney.

 

I finally replaced that, and now I have an intermittent problem with output signal, even when I can tune it using my pod HD500, on selecting a patch from my gig set-list, I have no audible signal on the first E and B strings. I have connected it to workbench, and it SEEMS to wake up the signal failure problem and it corrects itself. Sometimes this takes a couple of connection and software start-ups, as there still seems to be a connectivity issue even with the new jackplate - workbench mentions switching off and re-connecting, as the connection has been interrupted. This seems to happen regardless of which of lead I use (I have three good ones).

 

After replacing the jackplate, I also ordered 3 replacement piezos (one as a spare), as this issue reared it's ugly head. As I was going to change the piezos over, I noticed the E piezo had come free from it's solder, so I just re-soldered it. I looked at the B string solder which appeared ok, but I re-soldered that also, thinking it COULD be a bad joint. I guess the next step is to install those piezos and see if that fixes the issue, but these ones onboard DO work - just not straight away. Also to my ears, the 300 doesn't appear to sound the same as the 600 - it just seems to be lacking something, like lower output or whatever.

 

On Saturday I connected to workbench and did a firmware re-installation, which appears to have done nothing to correct my problem.

 

So I just can't figure why it shows signal in the HD500 and allows me to tune those two strings, yet I have no audible output when a patch is selected. Whether it's the workbench connection, or I have the 300 connected long enough for the problem to adjust it's fly in order to feel comfortable with being seen AND heard in public - I'm a wee bit flummoxed here.

 

So has ANYONE experience this oddity and had it sorted?

 

Maybe I'll be ordering those Graph-tech saddles and doing a transplant, but if there are underlying issues with the main-board, or something else, maybe I'll be wasting my time and money....

 

 


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#2 clay-man

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:56 PM

A lot of us experience piezo malfunction. They were poorly designed and die over time because of how they sit in the saddles.

A ghost system would be a good idea if you want a permanent fix.

 

I believe the JTVs addressed this problem so they should be void of random piezo malfunctions.


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#3 TheRealZap

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:16 PM

I've seen plenty of piezo issues on the forums... but i've had the originals on my 600 since it first came out....(something like 8 years ago?)

and it was my go to guitar for years.... no issues.  i guess i just got lucky, or you just didn't :) probably lots of people in between.

 

 

A lot of us experience piezo malfunction. They were poorly designed and die over time because of how they sit in the saddles.

A ghost system would be a good idea if you want a permanent fix.

 

I believe the JTVs addressed this problem so they should be void of random piezo malfunctions.


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#4 clay-man

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:43 PM

I got mine in January, the guy said it was in great condition.

By the time I got it, it was fine until I tried to adjusted the intonation which sent my piezo into a road of flickering in and out of being quiet and buzzy.

 

I tried to fix the grounding by stuffing copper wire between the piezo and the saddle, which worked until I moved something on it.

 

During that time I had a new piezo but tried to use the old one as I was afraid it would sound different from the others (I ordered mine from LR baggs because I heard a rumor that Line 6 is ceasing stocking Variax parts).

 

I accidentally broke the old one's wire off when I tried to push it out as the copper wire jammed it in there really hard.

 

A few days back I finally soldered in the new piezo and it's perfect now.


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#5 eenymason

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:11 PM

Thanks to everyone for the helpful info....

 

@clay-man:

glad to hear the new piezo did the trick for you - I should be able to make time tomorrow to do the same (fingers crossed it'll do the trick).

I WOULD seriously consider the JTV, but the only one which I find remotely desirable (looks wise) is the 59, but I am a Fender fan and can't imagine the neck would be to my liking. The others just look positively ugly (IMHO), so the only option for me is a transplant into a strat clone body (SX Traditional Series - alder body, a tweakable neck complete with traditional slotted tuning keys). I plan to build a sexy reliced Fiesta Red as my main guitar.

 

By "ghost system", do you mean the graph-techs?

 

@TheRealZap:

My 600 still works like the first time I got it too, though the frets are needing attention. I figure I'll just use the neck from the 300 and shape it closer to my real Strat's neck like I did with the 600, and swap em over when it's time. By that time it'll be my backup anyway.


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#6 clay-man

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:22 PM

Thanks to everyone for the helpful info....

 

@clay-man:

glad to hear the new piezo did the trick for you - I should be able to make time tomorrow to do the same (fingers crossed it'll do the trick).

I WOULD seriously consider the JTV, but the only one which I find remotely desirable (looks wise) is the 59, but I am a Fender fan and can't imagine the neck would be to my liking. The others just look positively ugly (IMHO), so the only option for me is a transplant into a strat clone body (SX Traditional Series - alder body, a tweakable neck complete with traditional slotted tuning keys). I plan to build a sexy reliced Fiesta Red as my main guitar.

 

By "ghost system", do you mean the graph-techs?

 

@TheRealZap:

My 600 still works like the first time I got it too, though the frets are needing attention. I figure I'll just use the neck from the 300 and shape it closer to my real Strat's neck like I did with the 600, and swap em over when it's time. By that time it'll be my backup anyway.

 

I agree. I think the JTV guitars are pretty visually unappealing as well. I love how my 600 looks, even if it is missing pickups. The 69's body is ok but the neck and headstock really push me away. I'd maybe get a 59, but as much as I'd love a LP style guitar, I'd think the 3 way switch would get annoying. In the end, I wish there was a tele JTV.

 

By Ghost I do mean Graph tech, yes. Graph Tech's ghost system piezo saddles.

They make an immense improvement in build quality AND sound.

I believe they're very close to the quality of the JTV piezos, which is why people say the JTVs and ghosts on a V1 Variax sound better. 

Ghost saddles also get rid of the unwanted quack of when you pick hard on most of the single coil and acoustic models.


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