James Tyler Variax Guitars and Hipshot Tuners

A very important part of staying in tune on any guitar is great tuners. We made sure that we over-delivered on tuners for both the Korean and USA-made James Tyler Variax guitars.


All USA-made James Tyler Variax guitars will feature Hipshot tuners. These are the same tuners that James Tyler uses on some of his own guitars. They are truly innovative and awesome.

JTV-59US and JTV-89US guitars will have Hipshot Classic Guitar Tuning Machines. They are sleek, precision-built tuners with an ultra-smooth 18:1 gear ratio.

We went one step further for JTV-69US guitars. They will feature Hipshot Grip-Lock Locking Guitar Tuning Machines that are staggered in height for maximum tuning stability.

Locking tuners eliminate the need for multiple string winds around the tuner post. When you have multiple winds and you dive-bomb your tremolo, the winds relax. When the tremolo drops back into position, the winds bind up and pull the string sharp. So when the string is “locked” and there is only about a half a wind, the string doesn’t bind up.

Staggering the tuners eliminates the need for string trees that bind up the string by putting too much down pressure on the string at the nut and add another surface for the tuner to bind on.

These tuners with James Tyler’s new tremolo and the Graph Tech nut make the tuning stability truly remarkable on these guitars.


Hipshot Products, Inc. was born in the USA in 1983 in a small shop in Van Nuys, California by Dave Borisoff. Dave’s first invention was a lever connected to a Tele® bridge that allowed you to create pedal steel guitar sounds by using your hip. This device was dubbed Hipshot.

His most famous invention is the D-tuner for bass guitars. It allows bass players to throw a lever connected to their E-string tuner that drops the E string immediately to D. This lead to a whole slew of great Hipshot Products.

I asked Dave for the inside scoop on what makes his tuners so cool and here is what he said.
“The open classic, retro look has always been an appealing feature to the designer and player alike. Reminiscent of early vintage guitars, the pleasing design of the instrument inspires the musician to make great music. Also, by eliminating the extra material which forms the body of the tuner, the weight of the tuner is reduced which, in turn, lightens the head stock allowing the instrument to balance better. Now your left hand does not have to support the instrument and is free to play.

Our precision-cut 18:1 gears coupled with lifetime lubricated nylon bearings assure super-smooth and accurate tuning for years to come.

The large, easy to grasp Knurled Grip Locker Knob provides the clamping pressure needed to couple the hardened steel pin located in your string post to your strings assuring a strong "NO-SLIP" connection.”

Check out this video tour of Hipshot's New York factory.


For the Korean James Tyler Variax guitars, we went with 16:1 sealed tuners on all three models. They are die-cast, modern-built, solid tuners. They are sealed permanently and lubricated to work smoothly for years to come without slipping or binding.

As with the JTV-69US, we went with locking and staggered versions of these 16:1 sealed tuners.