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Just got JTV-89F
by jim_w on 2013-04-11 17:12:10

Ok, back in January (2013) I bought a JTV-69.  I wanted a tremolo bar and 24 frets...had to choose between 69 (tremolo bar) and 89 (24 frets).  I decided to go with 69.  I had it a couple weeks before I learned of the 89F.  I quickly returned my 69 and got on the waiting list for the 89F.  I spent enough time with the 69 to test all of the models and was particularly pleased with the acoustic models and the ability to change tunings easily. I did have to raise the action a bit to prevent string buzz...the models, particularly the acoustic models, don't seem to handle minor fret buzz very well.  After I did that minor adjustment all was well and I was very happy with how it sounded and played.

A couple months later I finally received my 89F.  I noticed immediately that the acoustic models, the low E string in particular, sounded very "tinny" will very little sustain. The volume on the low E was also a bit low relative to the other strings.  The A string was similar, but not as bad as the E string.  Overall, the acoustic models are far more "tinny" than what I experienced with the 69.  The action on the guitar was set extremely low and I assumed I simply had to adjust the action like I did on my 69.  Also possible was that 89F had older version models and simply needed to be updated to version 1.9.  I went about changing strings from 10s to 9s, adjusted the action and the Floyd Rose to level the bridge for the new string guage, but there was no change in behavior.  Even though L6 Monkey told me I already had version 1.9, I reflashed the guitar...still no change in behavior.  I adjusted the relative string volume in Variax Workshop, but the low E still has a noticeable sustain issue and the acoustic models in particular are still very "tinny" overall.  I have to assume this is due to the piezo pickups within the Floyd Rose vs. the 69 bridge.  I really want to love this guitar, but the acoustic models are really not listenable/playable on this guitar.  I tried damping the springs as well (quick test, I admit) in case the springs were resonating and causing bad overtones within the piezo pickup(s), but I didn't notice any change to the sound at all.

I'm not sure if I should simply wait and hope that Line 6 will be able to correct these issues with a future FLASH update or if I should simply return the guitar and maybe wait for next-gen.

Anybody out there have similar experiences?

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by phil_m on 2013-04-11 18:08:50

How do the electric models sound? Do they sound different to you?

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by jim_w on 2013-04-11 19:01:28

I notice this issue primarily with the acoustic models.  The low E is really noticeable, especially on the 12-string models.  There also seems to be occasional significant "warbling" on the 12-string models.  The low E issue doesn't seem as bad on the electric models.  I haven't spent any time editing the models, but I didn't have to do that with the 69.  I have a PodXT live and I'm using the same patches now that I used with the 69.  Whatever the root cause(s) is(are) here, the acoustic models are more sensitive to it(them).

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by Leftzilla on 2013-04-12 08:51:46

I actually am having a different experience.  In my case the 89F seems to have better acoustic sounds than my 59.  However this all may be due to different age strings as I have noticed the pickups on the 89F sound brighter also in humbicker mode.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the pickups coil tap in the 2 and 4 position.  I can't rememeber if the pickups are different between the two so if someone could clarify in passing that would be great.

I run through an HD500 and initially in the acoustics was picking up a lot of string buzz because the guitar came with extremely low action.  Adjust the floyd to lift the low strings and the sound improved.  Now whether the sound diferences are due to strings, strumming technique etc remains to be seen.  I will post ab comparisons later.  But right now the 89F sounds slightly fuller across the board in variax emulations.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by capo2001 on 2013-04-14 15:01:48

I'm having very similar experiences with the 89F.

I just got mine on Saturday 4/13 and I started right in tweaking and getting it setup - though it was pretty good out of the box. (Thank you, Sweetwater.)

Here's what I notice:

- Low E is lower in volume than the other strings.

- When really loading it up with gain, there is a scratchy sort of squawkiness to the low string. When hitting a hard 8th note rhythm, it's kinda like the sound of the pick scraping the string. This sound isn't on any of the other strings.

- When detuning to Drop C# (or Db depending on how you look at it) the sound is terrible.

- I swapped out a different string on my low E, but no appreciable difference. (I play with Ernie Ball .08s.)

I thought it was my piezo on the low E, but you saying that you're experiencing almost identical issues makes me think it's a modeling issue.

Maybe they rushed out the latest firmware and models without enough testing. (?)

I'm using the Lester "High gain" model pickups as those are as close to my Seymour Duncans as I can get. I angled the pickup to about 5 degrees. I even played around with the volume on the pickups in workbench. No change.

- NOTE: I'm also running this on my POD HD500. I tried a variety of high-gain amp setups, and that sound is still there.

Other than this, the sound from the regular pickups is good, and the action is really good. Everything else is awesome.

But this is a pretty big "but" to try and ignore.

I'm going to talk to my Sweetwater rep and find out if this is something others have reported.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by dchernov551 on 2013-04-14 17:36:43

Hey, guys!

The owner of the blood red JTV89F here. I shall test my particular model tomorrow, but I did not notice any difference with the low E string since I've got my guitar. I play with the stock strings and listening to some of my recordings (with acoustics too), I do not notice the change in sound of the low E string. I remember that at some point it even seemed to me that the bass lines were a bit too loud compared to the rest of the strings. I hope that testing will help me determine if my guitar has this trouble.

Only one thing to note - I am not playing through the POD, but usually directly to PC via external soundcard (with the acoustics) or via Nova System effects processor from TC Electronic. Perhaps, it would not make any difference to volume of particular strings, but still thought I would mention it for the record. I wonder if editing in the Variax Workbench would be of any help?

I'll update my post as soon as I do some testing with the various setups. Good luck to all of you, guys, and let's hope this issue can be resolved or at least the source of it understood.

-- Denis

UPDATE: I have tested my JTV89F for some time and I can say that in my particular case it does not sound less in volume, but actually sounds a bit louder than the rest of the strings. This is the case with all the models, not only acoustics. I shall see if this can be edited in Workbench, but Capo 2001 mentions that there was no change. I shall do more testing and playing with the low E string. If I would not do the in-depth testing, I think that I would not notice this difference, maybe only during recording of the quiet guitar parts. Usual magnetic pickups sound fine in regard to the volume and response.

Concerning the 12 string acoustic models, I actually like them. And the alt tunings - it sounds good to me as long as I am playing in the headphones or the volume is loud enough, so I do not hear the actual physical response from the strings. If I would, then it sure would sound awful!

I wonder if I am the only JTV89F owner with the low E string actually being a bit too loud

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by agdtec on 2013-04-14 22:29:01

I just got my 89 f on 09 Apr 13. 

I also noted sound in the acuostics being thin tinny, 

Also the tele and strat tone were not bright enough to really differentiate from the dual coil tones. 

They did not sound the same as the dual coils,  just not as bright and twangy as my single coils.

Also I love that Line 6 did a banjo setting. 

But heres a request for a mandalin setting in the future. 

Also if Amplitube can have fender packs and othe model packs 

I would love to see line 6 get new packs for more pickups in work bench

duncans, dimarzio, bareknuckles, tv jones, ect. 

I would pay extra for those.

Also noticed for the first time one of the guitarist from American Idol house band plays a Variaxe too.  Cool.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by jim_w on 2013-04-15 09:32:18

dchernov551: I see you are all over the JTV-89F posts.  You don't have this issue or it would be obvious.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by jim_w on 2013-04-15 09:38:26

capo 2001:  It sounds like you have exactly the same issue as me.  I also received my guitar from Sweetwater and am working with them to perhaps try another guitar.  Since I now know I'm not the only one with this issue, I'm not sure if this is simply a quality issue (bad piezos) or a larger design issue, but it is interesting that it is the low E for both of us.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by nevla on 2013-04-15 09:45:14

Sounds like you've got a dud - probably the piezo element itself. My 89F is fine.

Only other think i can think of is you are using different guage strings to the stock. Maybe the sensitivity of each string is set in the firmware a certain way, and changing the string guage may affect it somehow? *shrugs*

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by dchernov551 on 2013-04-15 11:12:15

I have done some more testing with my guitar through the various scenarios (effects, no effects, different processors, amps), did a recording in Drop C# tuning - it seems to be working well. Even my issue with the low E string's being a bit too loud seems to be gone. It cannot be noticed when you strum the strings and if I am playing arpeggio passages with the bass string walk, it may seem at times that the low E string is a bit too loud, but when I am listening to the recordings, it has the necessary tone and it even adds some real-acoustic-guitar flavour.

Nevla might be right that using the different strings gauge may be causing all the difference - maybe a ticket with Line 6 would be of some help if the support can answer this particular question.

Re: Just got JTV-89F
by capo2001 on 2013-04-18 08:05:11

So here's more of an update...

Contacted Line 6 support. They felt the audio sample I sent wasn't all that bad. It's strange but the sound is much more readily apparent in person. (I think that's the way it always is... sigh.)

I sent them an audio sample, and the HD500 patch I used to create it.

Also, last night - in a fit of mad guitarist hacking - I swapped out the low E piezo with the A string's. The sound was... pretty darn close to what it was the other way. Which means by process of elimination - it might not be the pickup.

I think there are two parts to this issue:

1) The Low E is deliberately modeled at a lower volume on some of the acoustics on the JTV 89F.

Probably a software thing, not a pickup thing.

2) The sound I'm getting on the high-gain model is like the squawky front end of feedback. Somewhere before the string is starting to slightly feedback acoustically. It creates a kind of howly, squawky attack that isn't attractive.

I'm noticing the Piezo's are so acoustically sensitive that this becomes an issue at louder volumes. But it's evident even at fairly low volume, too. This could be a weird artifact of their envelope modeling for this virtual pickup style.

I'm leaning towards just keeping this guitar and accepting this as a current limitation. Possibly petitioning Line 6 to give us a nice "shred" pickup - or something a bit more heavy than the Lester model in Workbench.

Anyway, I swapped out the magnetic on board the JTV for a Dimarzio F spaced super distortion. That will make the standard magnetic sound much more acceptable. (The stock pup is okay, but a bit too noisy for my taste.)

Which leads me to an off-topic question:

I'm in search of the killer high-gain sound that I couldn't even begin to explain. I think I'm 90% there. (I think this is the guitarist's eternal quest - the "killer tone.")

Created it by gain-stacking - using the tube overdrive and high-gain amp model (Treadplate) in the HD500.

Anyone here had any experience with the Spider IV HD 150 amp head? I really liked the sound in the store, but I'm worried that I'd get this thing and feel like I was just redundant with my HD500. Thing is, the HD500 just doesn't have the same kind of "Insane" amp gain sound the Spiders come with.

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