I've just bought a second hand JTV 59 and like any guitar that's had the input of a great luthier in the design stage, it's different, and it costs more no doubt because Variax had to pay James Tyler. Strings slipping off as suggested can happen on the 1st string, is a set-up issue. No guitar can be guaranteed to work "out of the box" without being set up to the user's preference. As for whether it is "better" than the Standard, this is entirely subjective. Is a Gibson better than a Fender? It's all a matter of preference. What I will say is I'm blown away by the action and build quality of my Variax JTV 59 and am going to be spending a lot of time exploring its potential.