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JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-10-30 12:01:34

*NOTE: Any customization/modification performed will void the warranty if it results in damage to the guitar.

Tyler Variax JTV-69  - Trem Set-up   (for the Summer 2011 version)          Oct.30, 2011

Background: After a one year wait, when I received my JTV-69 in mid September 2011,  I was surprised to find the tremolo was not stable.  So I contacted Line 6 and got an RMA # and earlier this week, my guitar was returned fresh from Line6 repair with a much improved stable tremolo.

(details here:)  http://line6.com/support/thread/72577?tstart=0

style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">But I thought there was still room for improvement. This document describes my findings.  I understand a large part of the secret to tuning stability is using the correct type internal piezo cable mount, and cable tie - both must be installed correctly- keep reading!

Of course Line 6 ships these guitars with the tremolo bar removed (and packed in the gig bag), and the Tyler Variax JTV-69 Owners Manual (as of October 2011)  makes ZERO mention of how the owner should properly install and adjust the JTV-69 tremolo bar, or setup the Tremolo. They do ship a bag of half a dozen Allen wrenches, but I quickly discovered many of these wrenches are the wrong size, while many crucial wrenches are missing.

My other Major complaint is with my new JTV-69 Tremolo bar. No matter what I tried, it seemed very wobbly and would always work itself loose after 30 minutes of play. I racked it up to yet another poor "off shore" design. As a prior Variax 700 and 600 tremolo guitar owner, I just assumed the JTV-69 trem bar and trem bar tension adjust set screw was identical to those older Variax's – WRONG!

I'm a luthier for 30+ years - (worked at Valley Arts Guitar in Studio City, CA  in the 1980's) and after a full teardown and rebuild of my JTV-69,  I have now discovered most of the secrets to obtain the maximum utilization of the JTV-69. I discovered undocumented features of the latest "Gen 2" design summer 2011 JTV-69 Tremolo Bar and Internal Piezo Cable Ties, so I have created this document to share what I have learned.

(I should note if you own a 2nd generation JTV-69 like mine, you  may be able to simply install the Tremolo Bar like a vintage Strat - that is,

How to Install the Tremolo Bar on the "Gen 2" (Summer 2011) JTV-69:

1) Be sure you have the correct "Gen 2" Tremolo Bar for your "Gen 2" JTV-69 Tremolo - it should look like this (see the threaded hole in the bottom) :

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020060.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020060.jpg"/>


2 ) Push Tremolo Bar into the trem bar hole on the Bridge plate.

3 ) Gently rotate the tremolo bar clockwise until it catches the internal threads on the hidden internal lead screw.

4) Rotate the Tremolo bar 6 or 7 times clockwise until it bottoms out and sits fully down inside the bridge.

5) Adjust the Tremolo bar tension with the small Allen set screw that is located on the lower side of the chrome round collet on the bridge plate.

without all this disassembly! )


For Reference

First Generation JTV-69 Tremolo Bridge:

In the pic below, this is what the first generation (2010)  Tyler Variax JTV-69 bridge looks like – observe the “U shaped” cast area on the bridge plate where the trem bar pushes in.

jtv-69_3.png

Here is an internal view of the first generation JTV-69 Bridge – observe the cable tie locations to manage the two cables between the hexaphonic piezo bridge and the DSP PC board.

IMG_1009.JPGIMG_1016.JPG

2nd Generation JTV-69 Tremolo Bridge:

In the pic below is the 2nd generation (2011) Tyler Variax JTV-69 bridge. Observe the new round shaped chrome plated mounting collet on the top of bridge plate where the trem bar pushes in.

(Click on each pic for the full size view!)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3193.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3193.jpg"/>

Below is a picture of an INCORRECT INTERNAL PIEZO CABLE TIE METHOD. This is exactly how my guitar was assembled this past summer 2011 by World Music in Korea when I discovered my new guitar had major tremolo stability problems.

(details and a video of my original Tremolo Stability problem is here:)

http://line6.com/support/message/319248#319248

I have since learned this cable tie method is INCORRECT!  This is what my guitar looked like BEFORE my RMA warranty repair at Line 6 :

(Click on each pic for the full size view!)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"/>

Fast Forward 2 weeks later!

Upon return of my JTV-69 from Line6 warranty repair, I inspected the tremolo area and snapped some pics of the proper "factory authorized" piezo cable routing.

Below is an internal view of the second generation JTV-69 Bridge and piezo cable harness assembly – WITH THE CORRECT Cable clamp locations!  Observe the 1st white nylon cable clamp is attached to the bridge using a black  Allen panhead screw. I discovered this screw also serves as an "INTERNAL TREM BAR RETENSION SCREW", and secures the white cable clamp.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1010999.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1010999.jpg"/>

Note:

If you do not have a small cable clamp in your parts bin - if you are in the USA- go to hardware store, Lowe's , Home Depot or Radio Shack and get one of these similar Cable Clamps and modify it with side cutter pliers to resemble the official cable clamp above. Basically you want to have ONLY the lower screw mounting hole. Cut off the upper screw mount in the Home Depot clamp below:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/Picture47.png"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/Picture47.png"/>

Attention, there is an important 2nd hidden cable tie! In the pic below, observe the 2nd internal cable tie located out of sight, inside the cable feed thru hole to the DSP board inside the body. Securing these cables properly is mandatory for proper Tremolo operation. If the Piezo bridge cables are not properly managed with tie wraps placed at specific locations, they WILL  create friction as the cables rub against the body and become a constant source of tremolo instability.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020019.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020019.jpg"/>

and another pic of this "hidden"  black cable tie!

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020037.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020037.jpg"/>

LETS GET TO WORK!

These are to the tools I used. Its important to note the JTV-69 Bridge uses a mix of both American SAE and Metric screws. You will need a good supply of both type Allen wrenches.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020111.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020111.jpg"/>

* Remove the Strings.

* While you have the strings off, be sure to tighten the Tuners using a 10mm wrench. Do not overtighten! (My tuners were very loose and this can create lots of tuning stability problems!) 

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020088.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020088.jpg"/>

Before we dive in too deep, lets examine and familiarize ourselves the stock JTV-69  Tremolo area and Piezo cable harness assembly. Below is the Guitar, after my RMA - fresh from Line 6 repair.

(Click on each pic for the full size view!)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020030.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020030.jpg"/>

In the pic above, note the stock tremolo springs - I find these can become a source of sympathetic vibration.

Fresh out of the box from the factory  - my JTV-69 had a few anomalies with some of the Alt Tunings.  I traced it down to the tremolo springs, which can continue to vibrate like an old Spring reverb tank, even after you have muted the strings. The sensitive Piezo bridge saddles can not distinguish a vibrating string from a vibrating rear tremolo spring.   

If you ever experience a faint sound of vibrating garage door springs behind your playing, or jitter or off pitched anomalies during your Variax Alt tunings as the string vibration decays,  I have a fix  -keep reading!

I also found the internal factory white piezo cable clamp was still rubbing inside the body cavity and causing friction. (we will fix this too!)  - see pic below:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020026.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020026.jpg"/>

* Carefully remove the Piezo Cable Assembly from the DSP board.  At the white Molex connector "J1", gently lift to remove the cable assembly from the DSP Board.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3116.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3116.jpg"/>

* Carefully remove the Bridge and Piezo Cable assembly from the guitar.

It should look like this: Note the location of both white Cable clamp, and the Black Cable Tie wrap - we will retain these!

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020041.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020041.jpg"/>

In the pic above, observe the 2nd generation Tremolo Bar mount. Its very different from the 1st generation JTV-69 Bridge! Also observe the black panhead allen screw which is securing the white cable clamp. I discovered this important screw does several things!!!

Advanced Tip: In the pic below is a Gotoh Floyd Rose bridge (on the left), and the JTV-69 Bridge (on the right):

(Click on each pic for the full size view!)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020056.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020056.jpg"/>

  Initially I was going to "swap" the trem bar mount off the Floyd Rose bridge, and put it on the JTV-69 Bridge, as I MUCH prefer the top mounted knurled nut on the Floyd Trem Bar.  This allows hand adjustment of the trem bar tension with no tools!  I may yet still perform this modification, as I'm always adjusting my trem bar (I play in a '60's Surf Band:  "The Dentures!)  But right before I proceeded making this swap, I inspected the JTV-69 Tremolo Bar and made an interesting discovery - see pic below:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020060.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020060.jpg"/>

* In the above pic, observe the 2nd generation JTV-69 Trem Bar has Internal screw threads!  It was designed to be mated with the internal black pan head screw, as depicted in the pics below:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020058.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020058.jpg"/>

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020065.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020065.jpg"/>

* Install the Tremolo Bar to the Bridge. With the black panhead screw removed, Insert the Tremolo Bar all the way, then secure the tremolo bar to the bridge using the Black Pan Head Screw!   Important - be sure the white Cable clamp gets returned to its original location!

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020066.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020066.jpg"/>

(I should note if you own a 2nd generation JTV-69 like mine, you simply install the Tremolo Bar like a vintage Strat - that is, insert the bar into the bridge and then rotate the bar clockwise several times -  to "thread" the bar onto the internal black screw without all this disassembly! )

* Next set the Trem Bar Tension using the small side mounted tension set screw:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020072.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020072.jpg"/>

* Carefully re-install the JTV-69 Bridge back on the guitar. Pay attention to gently pass the Piezo bridge connector and cable thru the hole to the DSP board, and reconnect the cable to the "J1" connector on the DSP board.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020097.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020097.jpg"/>

CLICK THE PIC BELOW

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020106.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020106.jpg"/>

Here is my re-installed JTV-69 Bridge. Note a few important steps I performed prior to installing the bridge! :

1) I trimmed the left side of the White Cable Clamp, to provide additional clearance. This should eliminate future possiblity of it ever making any contact with the body, and causing friction and tremolo instability.

2) I put heat shrink on the Tremolo Springs - this make a big difference as it silences them from ever making minute vibrations that could be picked up by the piezo saddles  - and create anomalies with alt tunings.  Actually these are the factory springs from my Variax 600 - Line 6 used to always heat shrink the tremolo springs, to dampen out thier vibration!

3) I Lubricated to the two Bridge pivot points on the top Bridge plate  - I used Stewmac Guitar Grease

<a target=new href=http://www.stewmac.com/product_images/1sm/3413/Guitar_Grease_sm.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://www.stewmac.com/product_images/1sm/3413/Guitar_Grease_sm.jpg"/>

* Here is a top view! I adjusted the spring claw for the bridge to be floating  - just as it arrived from the factory.

(Interesting that my brass Trem Pivot mounts are sitting so far above the body, Its likely I will swap these out for Warmoth Locking Gotoh Trem Mounts)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020125.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020125.jpg"/>

* Adjust the Bridge Plate - for minimum friction on the bridge pivot points, adjust the two Bridge Pivot Screws so the Bridge Plate is perfectly flat and level with the top of the Guitar Body. Below is a photo of an incorrect Bridge Plate height setting - note the Low E side (on the left) is set much higher than the High E side (on the right) - we will want to correct this using the top two bridge pivot adjust screws so the Bridge Plate is completely level with the top of the Guitar Body from this view.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020146.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020146.jpg"/>

* After setting the Bridge plate level with the top of the guitar body, then we can adjust each string's individual Bridge Saddle Height with a small 5/64 inch allen wrench -  not included with the JTV-69 !

* Adjust the pickup height.  I should point out the JTV-69 uses single coil pickups with strong magnets. I adjusted the pickup height same as I would a vintage Fender Strat - that is I made damn sure the bass side of the pickup is backed away from the strings. If these pickups are set too close to the strings, it kills sustain, and the strong magnets can actually "pull" the low strings sharp with periodic oscillations as seen on a strobe tuner. Lower the pickups and these oscilaltion anomalies go away, and sustain improves!

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020131.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020131.jpg"/>

*  Below is a pic of the properly installed tremolo bar. Now that it is threaded onto to the internal black screw, observe the trem bar now sits lower to the body and now feels VERY SOLID and robust !!  I doubt it will pop off and fall to the floor at gigs, as it used to do!

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020123.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020123.jpg"/>

* Lets set action and re-check the intonation -   I made fine adjustments to the string height,and used my old Iphone 3G with Peterson iStrobosoft application to adjust the intonation.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020109.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020109.jpg"/> 

* Job Complete - Time to play!

Hope this info is useful for others who want to get their JTV-69 dialed in and working properly.

EDIT:

I've been asked:  "Where do I obtain heat shrink tubing for the tremolo springs?"

I have used Harbor Freight 127 piece Heat Shrink Tubing Set $3.00

http://www.harborfreight.com/127-piece-heat-shrink-tubing-set-67524.html

href="http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_15871.jpg"><a target=new href=http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_15871.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_15871.jpg"/>

The actual pieces I used on the Tremolo Springs from the kit above states its "10mm diameter"  (metric) and it shrinks perfectly around each Spring to dampen its vibration.

There many alternative methods to dampen the tremolo springs: just google "dampen Strat Tremolo Springs" for many other methods,

"The tremolo springs on some guitars ring so loud when playing that they're audible through the amp, and add all sorts of unsavory dissonant overtones to your notes. This is a good cure."



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-10-31 08:25:05

So the bottom line, here is the short instructions on how to install the Tremolo Bar on the  new "Summer 2011" JTV-69.


1 ) Push Tremolo Bar into the trem bar hole on the Bridge plate.

2 ) Gently rotate the tremolo bar clockwise until it catches the internal threads on the hidden internal lead screw.

3) Rotate the Tremolo bar 6 or 7 times clockwise until it bottoms out and sits fully down inside the bridge.

4) Adjust the Tremolo bar tension with the small Allen set screw that is located on the lower side of the chrome round collet on the bridge plate.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by silverhead on 2011-10-31 08:53:17

Wow, that's some great work and very useful info, stevekc. Thanks for taking so much time and putting in the effort for the benefit of others.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by favance on 2011-10-31 11:07:32

Any benefits for the rest of us Gen 1 tremolo users to get the new version?  Is the latest version better?



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-10-31 12:51:41

Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup     

favance wrote:

Any benefits for the rest of us Gen 1 tremolo users to get the new version?  Is the latest version better?

I thought the Gen 1 tremolo was very good. This is based upon playing the Tyler JTV-69 at two trade shows. 

When I did my factory RMA repair 2 weeks ago, I originally requested Line6 install the old version gen 1  tremolo bridge, but they said these were no longer available. 

If i was an owner of a JTV-69 with the Gen1 bridge, I would be happy, and enjoy playing my high tech Variax Guitar !



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stumpsout on 2011-11-01 09:41:01

Thanks for your work and info.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-03 08:05:17

Now that your Tremolo Springs are dampened, here's a link to a good discussion on "taming" the other major source of noise which impacts the Alt Tuning stability on the Tyler Variax:  Add an  "above the nut " String Damper!

http://line6.com/support/message/324990#324990

-----

__jive_macro_name="quote" class="jive_text_macro jive_macro_quote">

If I listen to the acoustical sound of the guitar (with my ear to the body), I can hear a ringing sound after I muted the strings. This sound disappears when I also mute the strings behind the nut. Therefore I belief there's no problem with the trem springs (otherwise I would still hear a ringing sound).

I guess I will have to look for something to dampen the strings behind the nut.

Isn't this something that affects all JTV's by the way?

Of course the strings ringing "behind the nut  - is another source of noise - or if you are Adrian Belew, its a source of a wider sonic pallete. Or if you are Jerry Donahue of the Hellicasters - that area above the nut is your "B Bender, G Bender, D Bender etc.

But many MIDI guitarists take a cue from the Chapman Stick/ Warr guitars and place dampening material on  the Strings up there by the Nut.

Gunder Keller (a popular Roland demonstrator) always uses an elastic scrunchy hair tie placed under the strings above the nut on the headstock - find them at Walmart.

Gundy_Scrunchy_Mute.PNG

And others have fabricated their own from Velcro and hair ties

abovenut.jpg

And of course Jennifer Batten ( the MIDI Guitarist for Jeff Beck 10 years ago) sells her own line of "Van Epps" style String Dampers - to improve the MIDI Tracking

This will help Alt Tuning on Variax too!

http://www.powerpresskits.com/PPKs/index.aspx?PPK=758

__default_attr="kTwr-OLmju4" __jive_macro_name="youtube" class="jive_macro jive_macro_youtube" height="350" src="http://l6c.scdn.line6.net/support/4.5.6/images/tiny_mce3/plugins/jiveemoticons/images/spacer_r16957.gif" width="425"/>



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by jayson2 on 2011-11-03 20:54:07

Awesome Steve.  Answers all my questions!

Cheers,

jayson



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-04 10:45:35

My next update will be installing an Allparts Tremol-No on my JTV-69, so it can act as a Hardtail with simple swift change action in the rear

When installing the Tremol-No - I had to use longer screws for the Spring claw

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020141.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020141.jpg"/>

And here is the Tremol-No installed in my JTV-69

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020167.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020167.jpg"/>

Observe I removed the heat shrink from the rear Tremolo Springs - still testing what works for best stability and "return to pitch".



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by sfeinstein on 2011-11-04 12:49:55

Now that is some very detailed description. I just purchased a jtv-69. I am hoping that it is of the gen-2 version, as I have no where near the skills that you have working on guitars. Thanks for this thread.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-04 13:19:12

Glad I could help!

FWIW - I recomend this book for many many Guitar secrets to a good setup!

http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Guitar-Great-Softcover-Player/dp/0879306017

alt="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tJ8zQyNCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tJ8zQyNCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg"/>

Next you may have to deal with the "too narrow" JTV-69 Neck profile:

http://line6.com/support/thread/74262

andconsider upgrading the JTV-69 Tuners, which i discovered can vary in quality

Upgrading the Tuners on JTV-69    

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Now-STAGGERED-Gotoh-style-Locking-Tuners-Sperzel-Style-String-Lock-_p_514.html

Thesedrop in on the  JTV-69  and are staggered height posts which sit lower and closer to the face of the headstock, compared to the stock JTV-69 tuners.

My stock JTV-69 tuners were inconsistent, and the G string tuner had a lot of play  and poor backlash.

These GFS staggered Tuners deliver identical performance as the stock Korean JTV-69 tuners.

<a target=new href=http://www.guitarfetish.com/thumbnail.asp?file=/assets/images/products/tuners/E66_b.jpg&maxx=0&maxy=300"class="jive-image" src="http://www.guitarfetish.com/thumbnail.asp?file=/assets/images/products/tuners/E66_b.jpg&maxx=0&maxy=300"/>



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by Hey_Joe on 2011-11-18 09:17:21

Steve -

With all of your luthier expertise over the years what is your opinion of tremolo stabilizers other than the Tremol-No?

like these...

joe.emenaker.com.jpg

article found here http://joe.emenaker.com/TremStabilizers/index.html



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-18 09:22:26

I love those types, (although I have had bad luck with the WD Floyd stabilizer on the far right)

The problem is most of those WILL require drilling holes in the Variax and that will VOID THE WARRANTY.

So wait a year (when the warranty is over) - then install those type tremolo stabilizers.

The Tremol-No is unique, and uses exisiting holes, and is reversible!

I had to use a small shim on the pin type Tremolo-no.

So I recently ordered the Tremol-No "Large Clamp" type, instead of the Pin type. I will report back if i find its a better "fit" on the JTV-69.

EUPDATE -

The PIN Type Tremol-No is the best choce! it does require a smal metal shim on the sprong side of the Pin clamp.

See 1st post in this thread!

*NOTE: Any customization/modification performed will void the warranty if it results in damage to the guitar.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by pugdealer on 2011-11-20 08:02:48

From reading this discussion, it gives me the impression that when I buy my jtv-69 I have to spend a whole lot of time seting it up, and fixing the springs vibrations, etc etc...

Really doesn't give me the confidence to buy it...guess I should be better of going for a jtv-59, huh!?!?!?!?



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by guitar4u on 2011-11-20 22:05:26

stevekc wrote:

Below is a picture of an INCORRECT INTERNAL PIEZO CABLE TIE METHOD. This is exactly how my guitar was assembled this past summer 2011 by World Music in Korea when I discovered my new guitar had major tremolo stability problems.

(details and a video of my original Tremolo Stability problem is here:)

http://line6.com/support/message/319248#319248

I have since learned this cable tie method is INCORRECT!  This is what my guitar looked like BEFORE my RMA warranty repair at Line 6 :

(Click on each pic for the full size view!)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"/>

I just got my '69 a couple of weeks ago and this is exactly how the tremolo and cables are arranged. It works perfectly for me so far. After the strings stretched out, it has kept its tune and worked smoothly. The only complaint I have is that it's a touch sticky when it bottoms out doing dive bombs. I can actually hear and feel a slight friction against the wires. This is a VERY minor nuisance however, considering I rarely use the tremolo like that. For my style of play it works just fine.

So...should I worry? Will I have problems later? I'm not anxious to send it back unless it's absolutely neccessary.

Rich



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-21 08:54:57

Rich

guitar4u wrote:

I just got my '69 a couple of weeks ago and this is exactly how the tremolo and cables are arranged. It works perfectly for me so far. After the strings stretched out, it has kept its tune and worked smoothly. The only complaint I have is that it's a touch sticky when it bottoms out doing dive bombs. I can actually hear and feel a slight friction against the wires. This is a VERY minor nuisance however, considering I rarely use the tremolo like that. For my style of play it works just fine.

So...should I worry? Will I have problems later? I'm not anxious to send it back unless it's absolutely neccessary.

Rich

If it works for you,- dont fix it.

But review this thread where I first reported my cable tie clearance issue

http://line6.com/support/message/319192#319192

andread Rich Renken's reply:

Some of these went out with the zip tie in your picture as shown. It is on the wrong side so that you can dive bomb the trem. It is easy to cut off carefully and put one on with the bulky part toward the neck.


Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-21 08:57:00
From reading this discussion, it gives me the impression that when I buy my jtv-69 I have to spend a whole lot of time seting it up, and fixing the springs vibrations, etc etc...

The JVT-69 requires no more setup than any other guitar with a Strat type Tremolo. If you are not into adjusting your guitar for max performance, then look eleswhere.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by pugdealer on 2011-11-21 14:20:36

Well, I know how to setup a guitar, I just meant that the tremolo on the jtv seems too unstable, needing constant adjustment and dealing with "collateral" issues like the spring vibration, the cables to the piezos, etc.

I think they should do a T-style jtv, I'm certain it would sell more than the 89, it would be the one for me, definitely!



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by guitar4u on 2011-11-23 21:05:52

stevekc wrote:

I put heat shrink on the Tremolo Springs - this make a big difference as it silences them from ever making minute vibrations that could be picked up by the piezo saddles  - and create anomalies with alt tunings.  Actually these are the factory springs from my Variax 600 - Line 6 used to always heat shrink the tremolo springs, to dampen out thier vibration!

Thanks for the tip! I also added a bit of thin, black sponge underneath the screws and holding bracket as I noticed that they too were creating a slight sympathetic ring. The vibrato system is completely dead now.

It was serendipitious that the excess heat shrink was a perfect fit for dampening the strings behind the nut

photo.JPG

Question: In your photo, I noticed the heat shrink tubes look REALLY tight! Doesn't that cause the vibrato to stick? I ended up with size 14-8 which is just small enough to dampen the springs while giving them room to stretch. At first, I thought they were a bit too loose so I wrapped electric tape around the tubes to tighten them a bit and the vibrato started sticking. I suppose yours are shorter though. I cut mine to nearly the length of the spring.

Rich



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-24 09:38:11

  • In your photo, I noticed the heat shrink tubes look REALLY tight! Doesn't that cause the vibrato to stick?

I agree -but the springs with heatshrink in the pics above are the exact factory  "heatshrinked" springs from my 2006 Variax 600.

With the Pin type Tremol-No reinstalled in my replacement Variax JTV-69, Im now using two stock springs, and i set up the tremol-no for dive only. what a great guitar!



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by guitar4u on 2011-11-24 11:21:02

stevekc wrote:

With the Pin type Tremol-No reinstalled in my replacement Variax JTV-69, Im now using two stock springs, and i set up the tremol-no for dive only. what a great guitar!

Wow, just watched a video on the "Tremol-No". That's nice So, you're saying that with the Tremol-No you don't need the heatshrink tubing anymore? I assume that means that when you switch to alt tunings you'll switch to "hard tail" mode as well? Well, the heatshrink tubing is still useful in that case.

Why do you feel you only need two springs now? Is it just because you like the looser feel?

Thanks again for the tips Steve!
Rich



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2011-11-24 11:37:03

Its all preference and personal choice.

Have to realize that since my oriiginal delivery date of late September 2011, my JTV-69 has spent most of its time either on a RMA return UPS truck or at the Line 6 repair center, just yesterday took delivery of a new  JTV-69 to replace my old one - due to non straight fretboard edges making the E strings difficult to play on the lower frets.

http://line6.com/support/thread/74262?tstart=0

WhenLeo Fender designed this type tremolo in 1953/4 he intended it to have 5 springs, because players back then played heavy gauge strings. Using just three springs became dominant in the late 1960's as players shifted to the "slinky" 010" / 009" strings.

After re-installing the Tremol-No on my new JTV-69 last night, I decided to try using just two stock springs, i adjusted the tremol-no spring claw so the top bridge plate is still parallel to the top of the guitar - just as ithe JTV-69 came from the factory. this is before tighting any tremol-no thumb screws. Im using the stock Daddario .010" strings.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020444.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020444.jpg"/>
I play in many different types of bands, and one is an intrumental surf band where I need a gentle "Fender Jazzmaster / Jaguar  type tremolo arm action.

With the Pin type Tremol-No, set to Dive Only, the JTV-69  bridge is stable for palm muting ( does not go sharp when i rest my hand on the bridge) 

and trem arm action feels similar to a kahler / Jaguar ( and not stiff like a Floyd) - very easy to bend those 1/2 step Am chords dominate in 90% of surf tunes , Thanks to the Tremol-No, its stable and returns to pitch. i leave it there 100%.

I only set the tremol-No rear thumb screws to Hard Tail for occasional acoustic fingerpicking  or severe Jerry Donahue  Tele type hand string bending.

I tried all the Tremol-No versions, and the Pin Type works best (avoid the Large Clamp or Small Clamp types)

It did require a small metal shim on the spring side. - see pic below

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020443.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020443.jpg"/>

and like all my other guitars with the strat type tremolo, I leave the rear spring cover off - so I always have access to the rear springs for minor adjustments.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by gurumonkey on 2012-02-21 09:04:15

I love this thread.  a couple of questions. 

I also have a tremol-no, but i'm nowhere near as confident in all of these modifications/diagnosis as you.  Why did you need the metal shim?  what was happening otherwise?

Has switching to 2 springs changed anything else on the guitar?

And finally, the big dog is this.  I have a 1st generation bridge.  My guitar doesn't have a screw to even thread into (nor does it have threads on the tremolo bar).  it also makes a TON of noise as I move it around (the piezo picking up the movement), and it's a little loose.  Is there anything I can do about that to keep to tight?



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by Rewolf48 on 2012-04-26 04:45:24

When I first got my Korean JTV-69 the trem had a smooth action, but after a week or so I could feel friction as I moved the trem arm.

So I raised a support ticket to see if Line-6 would send me the white clamp bit so that I could do it myself, or whether I could take it directly to Line-6 UK (which is only 17 miles from where I work) for them to do, and the response I got was this:

Matt,

The Modification of that customer's (Steve Conrad) guitar is NOT a Line 6 authorized factory modification.  The way the guitars are supposed to come from the factory are with zip ties to the bridge. This customer was having multiple problems with the guitar and sent it back to us for warranty work. 

That white clamp in the pictures provided in not a Line 6 part.  It was found in the repair room and used to address this customer's problem with the guitar because it had unusual circumstances preventing it from operating properly.  There is no Line 6 part number as it is not a part of the assembly for the guitar.

Steve Conrad posted his finding for those that would like to attempt the modification themselves if you are having problems with the tremolo, but as this is not a Line 6 approved modification, you run the risk of voiding your warranty if you do so.

Regards,

Line6Hugo

So not help there then - I have since had an idea that I am going to try: I have some Cable Braid Sleeving lying around from my old hand built "snake" (like this http://www.tmbelectronics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=265&zenid=205aae463b0ad3a4361c7a462e09f600- not sure that this is the right size though).  I am going to try threading the cables from the trem through it leaving it loose - my theory is that it will eliminate all points where the cables can catch on the body or the pcb and therefore give a smooth action.

I will take photos and post an update to let you know how it goes.



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by stevekc on 2012-04-26 09:55:38

The Modification of that customer's (Steve Conrad) guitar is NOT a Line 6 authorized factory modification.  The way the guitars are supposed to come from the factory are with zip ties to the bridge. This customer was having multiple problems with the guitar and sent it back to us for warranty work.

Interesting!

All I can say is go back to the top of this thread re-read all from the begining  - as this documents what I know from my perpective as a Line6 customer:

* If you have a "pop in" tremolo arm, remove it, and look closely at the end of the Arm you insert into the tremolo block, and if you see no internal threads, then you have the first generation JTV-69 bridge, and cable ties are the correct method for cable managment.


For Reference

First Generation JTV-69 Tremolo Bridge:

In the pic below, this is what the first generation (2010)  Tyler Variax JTV-69 bridge looks like – observe the “U shaped” cast area on the bridge plate where the trem bar pushes in.

jtv-69_3.png

Here is an internal view of the first generation JTV-69 Bridge – observe the cable tie locations to manage the two cables between the hexaphonic piezo bridge and the DSP PC board.

IMG_1009.JPG

In Mid September 2011, my JTV-69 was delivered with (what I was told by Line6) the wrong internal cable tie arrangement.

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/IMG_3113.jpg"/>

So in October 2011, I got a support ticket and RMA # and sent my guitar to Line6 repair, and 10 days later I got my guitar back, and this was the message in the box from Line 6 service:

http://line6.com/support/message/372362

http://line6.com/support/message/372362">http://line6.com/support/message/372362

__jive_macro_name="quote" class="jive_text_macro jive_macro_quote _jivemacro_uid_13354618769438614" jivemacro_uid="_13354618769438614">

For what it is worth - here is the report from Line 6:

They are shipping my guitar back to me today

"

Repair Details: Root cause of failure

Bridge post prevented bridge from returning to pitch.

Technicians notes:

- replaced nut

- high E-string had a buzz and 2nd tone due to the slot in the nut not being cut correctly

- did setup on the guitar and verified the problem

- changed the cable tie on the piezo cable to the new suggested part

- retested and found that depressing the bar and releasing it, the bridge would return to pitch, however pulling back on the arm and  releasing it, the bridge would remain sharp in pitch.

- removed bridge and verified that the tremolo arm nut was rubbing on the body (routing)

- Shaved away the wood on the body where the nut was rubbing. 

We reassembled and tested again….while it was improved, the guitar still  remained sharp when pulling the arm back (sharp).

- replaced bridge posts and retested.  The guitar now returns back to  tune in moving the bridge both directions""

When I received my guitar, they had removed some of the cable ties, and I saw that LINE6 had installed a nylon clamp for cable management on the internal trem arm screw Like this:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1010999.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1010999.jpg"/>

But after playing this guitar for another 10 days, I realized the fretboard was hourglass shapped, and made the E strings fall off the edges in the region around the 5th to 8th fret - Line6 agreed and they replaced my guitar in November 2011,  with different JTV-69,  straght off the boat from Korea and shipped to me directly from the Line6 warehouse in San Francisco area.

As this is my 2nd JTV-69, I have pics of its internal cable management technique, and I see Line6 used a similar Cable clamp - now a black nylon one.

The pic below is my current JTV-69, with a tremolo-no install, but observe the "factory" (straight from Korea)  Black nylon cable manegement clamp on my current JTV69 which was built in September 2011 (the serial number is (W11109xx)

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020444.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/P1020444.jpg"/>

Its basically similar to one of these:

<a target=new href=http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/Picture47.png"class="jive-image" src="http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp208/elantric/JTV%20Variax/Picture47.png"/>

So who knows what they are using now?

If you have a recent JTV-69, built in 2012, please share and post pics of YOUR internal cable management system. Is it Cable ties , or clamps or both?



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by Rewolf48 on 2012-04-27 04:59:39

Mine is August 2011 and has exactly the same layout as yours did when it arrived - including the cable tie with the clamp at the back of the trem block which restricts the downward movement as it hits the back of the cavity in the body - I too would like to see a photo of a 2012 build.

I did quickly try the cable braid sleeving idea, and initial result was a really smooth action as it does prevent the cables catching through the hole in the body or the PCB components, and then after I had put the covers back and played with the trem quite a bit it reverted to a single catching point/resistance (it had 4 or 5 before) - I left the sleeving completely loose so it might have moved; I will look again tonight and I expect that if I tie it on the cables at the plug end it will fix it (or if I attach it to the body somehow).



Re: JTV-69 Tremolo Setup
by celestmark on 2012-07-31 18:39:49

Appreciate the awesome and painstaking detail of this post!

Yea, I just purchased a 69 last week and it had the same crappy routing of the piezo cables! Well, I returned it as it does have the bad buzzing on the low E and A strings. It also had a strange fizz issue on the alternate tunings that was especially noticable on the acoustic models! Yes, I did flash to the 1.8 software.

I just don't believe it was worth the 1200 I paid... now add the 35 in sending it back!

I'll be holding out for either a RackVax (version 2) and/or a used JTV that will justify adding a new neck later on down the road! In the meantime it's back to the GR-55!




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