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About gmcgann

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    Just Startin'

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  1. 1) So there is a design flaw that destroys the guitar. Some engineer thought it would be a good idea to wire the XPS power and the battery power in series instead of in parallel. That's the only way the voltage could increase. 2) Yes, that's the problem. 3) So exactly how can a weak piezo signal affect how the board processes the signal in referenced to the altered tuning? And how can changing the mix from 100% to 99% and then back, which fixes the problem temporarily, in software, affect the piezo or the string pressure?
  2. That makes no sense on any level. To begin with, the owner's manual, page 5, says, "if you have batteries installed in your Variax Acoustic, they will be bypassed when using your XPS direct box." The VDI cable will not power the guitar. It might on the 2nd gen stuff, but not this one. So is the manual wrong? Your second paragraph describes what I have to do each time I use the guitar. The third paragraph makes no sense. The pickups obviously work, it's what the board does with the signal that's the problem.
  3. Well, my third Acoustic 700 is dying, with the same problem that killed my other two. I load all my models and tunings with workbench and it works fine until I unplug it. Next time I turn it on all the alternate tunings sound like crap because the mix is about 50%. I can open it in Workbench and it's still set to 100, but I'm getting at least 50% of the actual string tuning. I turn the mix down and then back up in workbench and it's fine again. I save everything to the guitar, and every once in a while it will work once after that, but for the most part it only works until the power cycles. I assume this means the main board is failing, but with three of these doing the same thing I'm wondering if it's a common problem. It does it with both new batteries and power from the power supply.
  4. You can find them on eBay for $400-$700. However, as much as I love mine I would not recommend buying one. I bought one when they first came out and did a lot of work on it getting it set up perfectly. A few years later I bought another one off eBay as a backup. That later became a parts guitar when the original failed and parts were no longer available. About three years ago I bought another one for backup, but that has now become a parts guitar also, and now my primary Variax is failing again. When it fails completely I'll put some Ghost or PMC piezos in the saddle and use it as a regular guitar because it plays so well. I sold the first parts guitar for scrap, and I'll probably do the same with the second. Without the electronics it's just another guitar, although without pickups. It's not well-made enough to be worth doing anything with. I kept my first one only because of all the time and money I invested in making it play well. I've always been a big Line 6 fan, all the way back to their original Pod, but they just aren't reliable enough for me. Al least half of the Line6 gear I've bought failed, usually within five years. I still have a small practice amp, and a Pocket Pod that works, and my Variax bass is going strong, but those are things I hardly use. I bought a Firehawk pedal three years ago, only used it at home, and it's dead. On the other hand, I have Roland/Boss gear from the 80's that are still going strong. I have a GR-50 rack-mount guitar synth from 1988 that I still use sometimes. Occasionally it needs to be reflashed, which is a challenge because I don't have a Windows 3.1 computer and a floppy disk to do it with. Luckily, I have the original firmware and patches saved as a midi file, and I can play the file to it through a midi player to load it. That's how old it is, but it works fine. I don't expect electronics to last forever, but I think a company should support their products for an acceptable product lifetime. With an effects pedal that may only be three to five years, but that's not acceptable for a guitar. My buddy's '59 Strat still plays like it did when new, better in fact, and there's no reason it won't last another 60 years or more. You can't think of a Variax guitar like that. It's actually like an effects pedal, about as reliable, and when it dies it's done. To me, not worth the investment unless I get one really cheap.
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