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rockmancentral

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About rockmancentral

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  1. Although a Sustainiac driver CAN act as an active pickup when not being used as the Sustainiac driver, I was talking about using the Sustainiac as a "sustain driver", where it electromechanically causes the strings to vibrate to produce indefinite sustain and/or feedback.
  2. "Does the Roland GK-3, when paired with the Boss GP-10, work like a Variax as far as guitar modeling?" Short answer is, the goal is the same, but they might take different approaches to get you there. I think in the end that the results are probably close enough from either tech to satisfy the average user. Cork sniffers may disagree. My brother-in-law has been playing an older Strat Variax model for years and he really likes it. So I was real excited about finally getting a JTV-59 (an absolutely gorgeous Cherry Sunburst in MINT condition) and days later a JTV-59P Goldtop in very, very good condition (just a few minor scuffs on the back of the body). But after being told I couldn't put the pickups in that I wanted or put in the Sustainiac like I wanted, I gave up on the JTV. Both of these guitars are now for sale just a couple of weeks after I bought them, which really sucks. I decided to go the GP-10 route instead since it's a LOT cheaper (about $100 ~ $150) to just add a GK-3 to each of the guitars I already have and then be able to use any of those guitars with the GP-10. And, if I really get into the MIDI synth thing or better modelers come out (which already have, but are still expensive), I can just switch out the GP-10 for the newer gear, rather than have to deal with admittedly a nice guitar, but with old (but still good sounding) tech in it. I haven't received the GP-10 yet, so I can't speak to the sound quality vs the JTV. I think that's subjective anyway and one might be better for some sounds and the other better for others. The only issue I had sound wise with the JTV was the damn P90's in the 59P, which sound amazing tone wise but, like pretty much most P90's, have noise (which is one reason why I wanted to switch out the pickup to something quieter). FWIW, the modeled version of the same pickups (I think, could be wrong) were dead quiet and pretty much spot on tone wise to the mags. Maybe once I get the GP-10 I'll reconsider selling the JTV's. But I think it would have to sound really bad in comparison to give up the flexibility it's going to give me by separating the guitar from the modeling. I have to say that the JTV guitars are very nice guitars though, but they just couldn't do the few things I really need them to be able to do for the music I mostly play (Boston Tribute). I think for most people, those issues wouldn't matter and they would be very happy with the JTV (especially if you have a supporting product from Line 6 like the Helix to go with it).
  3. So just out of curiosity, what replacement P90 size pickup (humbucker) do you recommend that will fit in the JTV-59P? I love the tone of the pickup, but the noise is an issue.
  4. Adding a Sustainiac isn't really much of a "customization"..... really just changing a pickup and adding the processor board. Several people, including the Sustainiac manufacturer, have said they've added Sustainiac's to JTV guitars with no issues, and are even able to use it with the modeled guitars with great results, saying the tracking is great. You are pretty much the ONLY person telling me it won't work. Whether that's because you've seen some really bad results from people doing it or you just don't want to get one of my guitars on your bench if I botch the job, I don't know. But, like I said, it's a deal breaker for me so I'll most likely be letting both the guitars go in favor of the GP-10 (which will save me money in the end anyway since one GP-10 is a LOT cheaper than 2 JTV guitars and all it was going to cost me to trick them both out with pickups, Sustainiacs and tremolo's)). Changing a pickup isn't usually a big deal either. Given the ranges of most humbuckers on the market, it seems like it would be a smart marketing move to modify your circuitry to be able to handle larger DCR rated pickups (which are the average out here) rather than tell people they can't use their favorite pickups in your guitars. But, that's just the business half of my degrees talking. Same for the MIDI control. Even if you built your own proprietary converter box (and sold it for a couple hundred bucks) so people could set it up in Workbench and then use it via MIDI to control the guitar like you can with the Helix, I think you'd sell more JTV guitars. Maybe your marketing team already did the research for that and decided you sell more Helix's by limiting it than you would JTV guitars by opening it up? As a consumer, I still think it's a turnoff though. Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, even if the answer always seemed to be "No you can't".
  5. Yes, limitations. Limited on controlling Guitar Models via MIDI Limited on controlling Guitar Tunings via MIDI Limited on what mag pickups I can use Limited on the ability to use a Sustainiac MIDI control is very important to me because I don't want to stop playing, even for a second, to change my guitar model or tuning.... I need my transitions (guitar model, amp model, tunings, effects) to be seamless with the touch of a single footswtich on my Kemper Stage, so MIDI integration is a must have. Yeah, I know I could get that with a Helix, but I prefer profiling technology over modeling technology. I've been hard pressed to find a pickup, especially a humbucker P90, that fits your DCR requirements in the tone characteristics I prefer. I've even reached out to DiMarzio tech support. No Sustainiac is another deal breaker for me. There are places in the music I play where I need to be able to get consistent feedback or infinite sustain. Not being willing to hack up my CC#10 to add toggle switches or a tremolo is the reason that wonderful guitar has been mostly sitting in the case unplayed because I can't use it due to those limitations (which I now know I can rectify, so it will become my go-to guitar). In the end I really only needed the Variax for tuning down a couple steps for a song or two and for the acoustic sounds for a few parts. Having the rest of the features are nice to have and may come in useful in the future, but not at the expense of the things I need my guitars to be able to do. Like I said, I can accomplish that with a Boss GP-10 and I can use it on all my guitars (no limitations!) simply by moving the GK-3 from one guitar to another. I don't have to transplant the guts of a Variax to a box because it's already IN a box and can stay on my pedalboard, where it belongs. Don't get me wrong, I love the JTV guitars and the concept, I've wanted one for a long time. And I finally bought 2 of them! But I didn't realize I was going to be told I couldn't trick them out the way I need to be able to to play the music I play.
  6. "BTW,.... your jack plate, plates are en-route." Thanks, at least I'll be able to fix that before I have to let them go. Shame, I already ordered a bunch of little things to add a little bling.... Replacement P-90 cover for one that was scuffed up on the 59P DiMarzio DP209 Super Distortion pickup in P90 form for the 59P Historic pickguards and brackets for both guitars Treble/Rhythm "poker chip" switch covers for both guitars New knobs with "Volume/Tone" label inserts for both guitars The pointy volume/tone indicator rings for both guitars I think I can still return the DiMarzio DP209 Super Distortion pickup since I'm still within 30 days. At least I hadn't ordered the Sustainiacs or the Stetsbar tremolos for them yet..... that would have sucked!!
  7. I just can't seem to cut a break due to the limitations of the JTV Variax I keep running up against. The pickups I could handle, but not being able to put a Sustainiac in there or control the models/tunings via MIDI is kind of a deal breaker for me. Shame though... I do like the guitars themselves..... very pretty! I guess I'll have to settle for playing my Gibson Collectors Choice #10 now that I've found a way to add a Stetsbar tremolo and a Sustianiac (using potentiometers with Push-Push switches instead of drilling holes for toggles). I've also discovered the Boss GP-10, and it looks like it'll fit my needs better than the JTV Variax. ie- acoustics and alternate tunings accessible via MIDI, usable on any guitar just by moving the GK-3 from one guitar to another.
  8. I have 2 guitars with Sustainiacs and piezo pickups (Graph Tech LB63) in them and I have no issues with the piezos because of the Sustainiac. Of course, I really never use the piezo's with the Sustainaic on. So maybe that's what you are talking about? OK, so, I just don't use the Sustainaic with the Variax models. Bummer, but I can live with that as long as I can use the Sustainiac with my magnetic pickups. "And since it's a permanent magnet that can't be turned off"... Huh? I can flip a switch and turn off the Sustainaic, no problem at all. In fact, that's how I usually have it wired up so I'm only using the battery when I'm actually using the Sustainiac as a driver or as an active pickup (which is rare). I only change the battery maybe once or twice a year, if that.
  9. I wouldn't try to "hack" the program. I was more talking about reading the SYSEX messages that the Workbench software sends to the Variax through the VDI cable and just trying to send the same signals from another source (midi pedal, Cakewalk Sonar, etc) to get the Variax to do the same thing. Sounds like a stupid analogy, but think of Mathew Broderick in "Wargames" when he records the signals from the doors security keypad onto the mini tape recorder, then plays them back afterwards to open the door. He couldn't get to the keypad, but he was able to send the same signal anyway to get it to open the door. The lock didn't know or care where the signal came from..... it just heard "boop boop boop, beep beep beep" and did what it was told. "When using 3rd party pick-ups, use those with a DCR (DC bulk resistance) between 6k-Ohms and 8k-Ohms. Use the pick-up wiring diagrams in the Line 6 Knowledge Base. Magnetics don't get processed in mag-mode, only the piezos do, but the signal runs thru the board,... so don't mess with that. Don't disconnect the mags, it messes with the modes,.... can't elaborate further on that." OK, but my favorite pickup doesn't come in that range, so what am I supposed to do? Put a pickup in there that sounds like crap to me when I play it as a mag pickup just so it doesn't mess with the Variax circuit, even though the Variax doesn't even use it? If it was easier to cross reference pickups to find something that is going to have the same tone and power but work in the range you specify, that would be helpful. I don't know of such a cross reference chart.... do you? Is it possible to add a resistor in parallel to the mag pickup to lower it's DCR to the required range? IE- slap a 19 k resistor in parallel with a 13.5 k pickup and it's around 8k. I love the tone of the Bridge P-90 in the 59-P, but the noise is pretty bad! Which is the main reason I want to switch them out, and since I discovered that my favorite pickup, the DiMarzio Super Distortion comes in a P-90, I'm good to go! Or so I thought! (Too bad Tom Scholz didn't have that option when he had to replace his P-90's in his '68.... ended up routing it out for a humbucker!). "Yes, I know the pitfalls of transplants, so I discourage them to all but a few very experienced people with intimate knowledge." Yeah, well HOW do we gain that "intimate knowledge" without actually doing it? I wanted a Hyperspace Pedal so I could do all the spaceship effects from the Boston albums when I play my Boston covers. I had to experiment until I figured out how to make it work, which I eventually did. Now, I'm pretty much the resident expert on how it works. BTW, what I was envisioning was basically putting the mainboard and model/tuning selectors into a small box that I could attach to my guitar strap or whatever. Run the piezo signals (along with the volume/tone/pickup selector?) out through an 8 or 13pin cable maybe 6" long that plugs into the box. It's not rocket science... all I'm talking about is changing the physical geography of where the processor board is located.... the wiring would essentially be exactly the same. From there, it would be easy to add a piezo bridge to any guitar and feed it out the same way to the processor.
  10. OK, I get the deal with the active pickups and the magnetic field, which is why I asked. Fine, I won't feed them to the JTV mainboard at all. Beyond that, the Sustainiac is basically just a "driver" in the neck pickup (ie- far away from the piezo's and other electronics) that makes the strings vibrate in a particular way. It's really no different than using an eBow. Would that affect the products function? If so, how?
  11. Thanks for the response. Sorry if I touched a nerve..... I'm sure you've answered that question a million times, probably for people that know nothing about electronics, software, etc. And please don't take any of these questions as a "dis" on the products as they currently are. I really do like both of the JTV's I have as they are now. As a software engineer and armature electronic tech, my mind is always thinking about logic and the flow of data/signals. It's just in my nature to look at something and think, "What if I ...." to see if I can "functionalize" something for reuse beyond it's current limitations. It goes without saying that I understand the risks and wouldn't hold Line 6 accountable for my mistakes. I wasn't looking for "support" so much as just asking for your experience, gotcha's that I should look out for if I choose to go down that road, etc. Like when you said that DiMarzio Super Distortion Pickups would sound "dark". That's good to know in advance, and it let's me know there could be an issue and I may decide not to go that route. Or, I may decide that I will try to compensate for that by EQ'ing the signal, or as I said, just not feed it to the JTV mainboard at all for processing. And yes, I understand the caveats that creates (how do I handle volume, tone and pickup selector!). As for transplanting the JTV guts out of the guitar, yeah, obviously it's a lot of work and things could definitely go wrong.... I understand that. At the same time, as long as all the wiring stays the same, with only absolutely required changes (ie- running the piezo pickup lines outside of the guitar to feed the processor), I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work. I understand the piezo wires probably shouldn't be run all the way to the floor or a rack 50 feet away, but 6 inches outside of the guitar shouldn't be a problem if done carefully. The fact that you've done it confirms that it's possible. Anyway, I'm new to the Variax and though I love it already, there's just a few limitations for my playing style and such that I'm looking for ways to overcome. But as the guy that ends up with these projects on your workbench, I get why you would want to discourage it. Peace!
  12. OK, so they will sound "dark".... is that something that can't be EQ'd out? Or, what about adding a 19k resistor in parallel with the pickup.... wouldn't that drop it down to around 8k? So, what happens if I don't feed the signal from the magnetic pickups to the Variax motherboard at all, and just run it directly out through the 1/4 jack? IE- run the mags through the tip and the Variax output through the ring of a TRS jack? Obviously I know I would lose the ability to power the Variax through the ring. I do this now in a PRS guitar I have that is loaded with a Ghost LB63 bridge... I run the piezo's out via an Acoustiphonic preamp on the ring and my mags on the tip. I'm then able to switch between either source (or blend them) on my Kemper by feeding the ring in on an effects loop return.
  13. I hate to say it, but if the op is that unfamiliar with the guitar that he doesn't know how to work with the locking nut, tuners and fine tuners of a Floyd Rose system (much less trying to introduce the concept of intonation and adjusting saddles), my advice is to take it to a guitar tech and have him set it up properly for the $50 to $100 it'll cost to get it done right. That should give him many months to enjoy the guitar and research how to tune it properly going forward.
  14. Just curious... is it still possible to get the mainboards for the JTV guitars? If so, how do I order them?
  15. Thanks for the reply, Marc. I've installed a couple of Sustainiacs, so no problem for me to do the job myself. I had just read all the warnings about active pickups and such, so I thought I'd check if anyone had any experience with the Sustainiac. But it sounds like it'll work since others have managed it.
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