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Everything posted by eenymason

  1. Look up and to the left.... You could also google it - there are plenty of people who have upped details (and good pics), of vaxplants or variax transplants - whatever you wanna call 'em. Some are quite beautiful looking instruments, but not necessarily what I would choose to play. Mine were straightforward xplants into "Strat" style clones, since I'm a Strat player by default. My plan was to relic them, to look like old "players", so I wasn't fussed if I hacked up the wood a bit with a chisel or whatever. It may be different for you.... And the truth is as long as you use common sense, research as much as possible, and you're handy with some tools, it's totally doable. It all depends on the level of "customisation" you're expecting. Good luck with it!
  2. You don't necessarily HAVE to have one set up for slide, but I guess for the purpose of learning where the notes are (in alt tuning), and how to slide into them without having to think about other areas of technique wouldn't hurt either, initially. I learned more about playing slide when I had a load of a friend's National resonator quite a few years back, and played it on my lap with the tone bar (the solid, heavy one designed for dobro), resting on the underside of my index, and held in place by my thumb, and middle finger. It's great for learning accurate positioning, and you can also angle the tone bar for more flexible chord choices. Maybe stick to one open tuning for a while, then you can try others like open E, C, D etc. You need to make sure the acoustic sound from the guitar itself isn't audible, so heaphones, or a reasonable level of volume from your speaker/s is best, otherwise the standard tuning clashes with the alt tuning. Once you get comfortable with playing slide more, you can do it on a standard setup - as long as you don't have to low an action. My setup is not low at all (I bend strings a lot, and low action makes that harder), and I switch all the time between slide playing and standard, even within the one song. Experiment with the material the slide is made from - some prefer glass, but my preference is brass. Also, you can be flexible with the finger you use - some people choose one finger, and stick with it - I find it depends on the song, i.e. whether my fingers are needed to be able to play the non-slide parts with the slide still on my finger or not. Sometimes you just gotta take a second to put the slide on. and or take it off mid-song. It's a bit of effort to get started, but once you get it, it is really satisfying to be able to play in open tunings, particularly with the flexibility of being to switch in and out of open tuning on the variax itself.
  3. SO firstly are you using the HD500 as the soundcard? I guess it must be annoying, but if there's no problem with latency during recording, couldn't you simply move the file once recorded, into it's correct position?
  4. So, would an answer to this be, to go for the mixture of TONE that the two amps give, and not actually pan them fully L/R in the mixer block? Or would phase cancellation still occur?
  5. That sucks dog's balls. I sometimes kowtow to my partner's (fire-phobia driven) insistence to unplug stuff when it's not in use. Not just switch it off at the wall, but unplug as well. I gotta say, I'm far more scared that a piece of kit is going to be fried at the main PCB, than the house burning down. I guess whichever way you look at it, it's better to be safe than.....toast
  6. There's a video on youtube showing (I think) an X3 being opened up and the switches being worked on... I linked to it a couple of times aleady here in questions posed on the same problem. The issue could well be the spring needing to be stretched just enough to make correct contact with the actual switch. If this fails to correct the issue, maybe switch replacement is needed. Observe carefully the correct procedure to take apart, and NOT lose important bits n bobs!
  7. Just an idea you've probably already tried, but anyway... Are there any other things plugged into it when you power it up? Randomly, if I have my Variax connected to the HD500, and the HD500 is connected to the computer via USB when powering it up, it goes through that cycle, but if I simply disconnect those things, it powers up fine.
  8. Sound quality from both Bias and HD500 are potentially great. If you have access to the professional version of Bias, obviously you have amp matching which HD500 does not. I don't really think any of these modellers have "convenience" in mind, when making tone, rather "flexibility" is key. Having so much flexibility may give you plenty of sound tonal palettes, but that's in the opposite direction of "convenience" in my opinion. A real tube amp has a few controls, keeping it relatively convenient to get a good tone - hell some of the original electric guitar amps from the 40s had only a volume knob! I think these days being spoilt for choices makes it harder (at least more time consuming), to actually find what you want. But what you want IS there in one piece of kit, and not a station wagon full of vintage amps. More time tweaking, less time playing.... So as suggested, if you're just playing at home, with no desire to gig - Bias all the way. If you're gigging, and you have a version of Variax which can connect to the HD500, the "convenience" is all there at your fingertips, but only after you've spent "x" hours setting up patches, tweaking, etc.... Personally I love the flexibility the combination of the two gives me, in a live band situation, and if there was a connectivity capability between Bias Head and Variax (i.e. the same communication HD500 and Variax have with each other), the Bias Head would be tempting, but I can't see that happening.
  9. It was a VERY BAD decision - for whatever arbitrary reason the line in the sand was decided to exclude the HD500X from the (still relevant) legacy variax models and their interactivity with Workbench. The analogy of wanting to run Office 95 on a Win10 computer doesn't hold water here in my opinion. I see your point, but it's stretching reality a bit... It makes sense that the Helix doesn't allow legacy variax models to interact with Workbench, being that the new HD modelling both in JTV and Standard variaxes are more in line with the modelling in Helix. I'm just glad I still have my 2 HD500s, and I didn't jump to 500Xs when they came out.
  10. The latest firmware for the legacy variaxes is quite old now, and as far as I am aware, there are no issues with old vs new firmware versions, like there are with the Standard, and JTVs. Not sure of the Firmware number, but I believe it is of no significance. Any discussions regarding rolling back to a preferred firmware version is always in relation to the later variaxes as mentioned above.
  11. Forethought - everywhere you look, you will see compromise, and my opinion is only my opinion, so with this in mind, I'll give my 2c worth... For pretty much my entire guitar playing life, I have been a Strat kinda guy. Oddly enough, even though Hendrix was my first influence, I'll blame Peter Frampton for my opting for, instead of a Strat copy, as my first electric guitar at 13, a black Les Paul copy. My first response a year or so later, when playing a Strat copy owned by the friend of a friend, was that it felt weird - obviously the cut-away was alien to me, and I didn't have much time with it, to get comfortable. Long story short, once I got my own '71 Strat around 1983, I knew this one was a keeper, and I still marvel at how it feels in my hands - the back of the neck had been sanded back to such a silky smooth feel, nothing compares to it. Ever since then, I've been trying other Strats, (and other styles too, FWIW - e.g. Gibsons etc), and I never felt anything good enough, to take me away from playing my favourite. Finally, I decided to put together a replica of the '71 so I didn't wear it out from gigging - it's already had two re-frets, and there's not much finger board left to allow for another one, so I knew I had to "retire it" so to speak. The replica isn't too bad at all, but still lacks the mojo of the original. Then along comes the opportunity to buy a Variax 600 new, and it was on sale, and so I jumped on board the digi-train. I always liked the sounds of different guitars, but couldn't come at Gibsons because of the chunky, glossy necks, and I worked on the neck of the Variax, to improve the feel, and also, to get closer to the dimensions of the '71 Strat, so I could have the best of both worlds - the playability, and the array of sounds. There was always something I wasn't quite happy with - the tremolo was unstable, and after a while the metal fatigue at the pivot points caused chunks to fall off the bridge assembly, making it even worse. At this point, I had been reading for a while about Vaxplants, and decided it was time to transplant the guts of the 600 into a Strat copy, which I worked even harder at getting the neck feel, to be as close to the original '71 Strat as possible. This time I'm as happy as I've been for a long time, having the flexibility of sounds of different "types" of guitar, along with the exact guitar specs I want. I went on and bought another 300 "donor," and now I have two Strat clone vaxplants, (one maple fretboard, and one rosewood), simply so I have a back-up when gigging live, in case of string breakage. As far as sound is concerned - for live situations, it's all you could ask for in a guitar. Clay-man suggested the variax lacks some "presence". I'd debate that - as he says also - all guitars are different to a degree, and if I was recording professionally in a studio, I'd opt for a real guitar with real tuning, through a real amp, in order to feel as "real" a response from the components as possible. In a live situation, it's simply not so important, and I'd rather accept the convenience, and flexibility of the variax and all it offers, than lug around multiple guitars, in order to be able to be able to get through the kind of gig that's on offer these days. Of course I'm talking about the legacy variax, (no longer supported), and though still readily available second hand, realistically the JTV range, and Standard are the better option nowadays. If you're a Strat fan, the Standard would have to be the way to go, even if you have to alter it a bit to suit your hands. It's obvious what the JTV's are modelled on style-wise, and it should be evident if one, or another, is more suited to your preference. It's a big decision to buy one without being able to try it out, but you just gotta accept that as a guitarist, you're gonna have G.A.S. sometimes. The best therapy is to work through it! :rolleyes:
  12. My 2c worth... Where I live near Sydney it gets real humid for several months of the year, and if I don't change my strings every week or two (while I'm gigging a couple of times a week), they just rust up real quick. I use D'addario 10-52's, and have done for many years. They are reliable, and generally I could leave them on for up to a month (depending on the number of gigs per month). If I leave them on too long, I break strings at the bridge saddle. It's just the way it is - don't leave them on too long, and you'll be fine. I have two vaxplants (both have Ghost saddles - they are definitely MUCH better that the L R Baggs piezos for string longevity), and basically only have two in case of string breakage mid-song. I end up playing both on any given night, just so I know they're both being used, and I'm getting some value for money from the strings before I change em. Don't give in to the strings SOUNDING acceptable after how ever many weeks you keep em on.... They WILL eventually break.
  13. A bit of a search back through the forum regarding "footswitch" led me to this youtube link someone posted a way back... I have used this process on both of my HD500s to get switches which were a bit intermittent in their performance, back to a more "normal" state. They were improved in their performance, but are still not "as new", in fact one still fails to work intermittently. I will pull the back off the units again soon, and this time, swap the springs of switches which I rarely use (i.e looper), with those that are a bit NQR, and see if that fixes the problem in a better way. Failing that method, I would look at replacing switches. I'm not ready to try soldering on that board just yet.....
  14. I think it was DI that mentioned there is "some" communication between Helix and the older Variax models. Hopefully this will be dealt with in reasonable time. So could you please clarify usage in a given scenario? I sometimes do this with my Vaxplant and HD500 in a live situation, which I'd like to know if the Helix would behave in the same way? I have a Variax model saved within each HD500 patch, and sometimes flick the 5 position pickup selector to change pick up type/volume/tone whilst soloing, and then hit the patch switch again to go back to the preset variax model. Will the Helix accomplish this without problem? It appears from your description above, that this may not work...... Cheers in advance for any help.
  15. You may be better off posting this question in the XT forum. It sounds as if it's an XT connection problem, (as you've already ascertained). Having said that, the pins in the VDI connection on the back of the XT may need cleaning/adjustment in positioning (do it yourself carefully), or the connection itself may need replacing (most likely by a tech). Does it work using a standard guitar cable into the guitar input (obviously powering the 700 with batteries)?
  16. eenymason

    My live rig

    A few questions... Which speakers/cabs do you use? Full modelling - or just pre-amps in Helix? Do you only use the Soldano model in the Helix? If so, why bother with a modeller? Yea, OK that's more than a few... B)
  17. I'm guessing that using pre-amp modelling only will give good results, with high-gain tones, with the power amp being driven pretty hard (must be loud bands you guys are in :ph34r: ). Generally speaking, I play relatively quietly (No Helix yet, but HD500 into Sherlock 5050 power amp (stereo 50 watts per channel very similar to Fryette), into my latest aquisition, which is 2 x DT25 12" cabs with power amp volumes at around 3-4 (each channel), and this needs full modelling on to sound decent, particularly with cleaner tones - e.g Fenders, Divided by 13 etc. When you think of it, if the power valves aren't cooking, you're not really getting much in the way of "colour" from them. My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong), is these power amps when they started coming out in the 90's were for big headroom, i.e. not for adding too much in the way of tone.
  18. And by logy you mean it's too thick/wide? Slow and steady with an orbital sander, and you can make it how you want - get yourself some calipers if you don't already have some. I've done that with both necks on my vaxplants, and my '71 Strat (which had the back of the neck sanded back when I bought it 2nd hand in '82), was my model for these. The strat neck is as smooth as silk, and the others aren't quite yet, but they're certainly on the way. Re-finishing is up to you.
  19. Can these batteries be used for legacy model variaxes?
  20. I really don't understand how the piezo can have anything to do with this problem. Surely if they did, then when I replaced the L R Baggs piezos with ghosts, they would have been clearly marked within the packaging as to which piezo was intended for which string. This was not the case. The Piezo picks up the string's vibrations, and the modelling circuitry is programmed to recognise a range of pitches (on any given) piezo. As I was typing this, I thought I'd run a little test. I have a couple of vaxplants - 1 x 600 and 1 x 300. I have recorded the attached file direct to Cool Edit Pro using the MasterPuppetSolo preset on my HD500. The vaxplant I used was the 600, with a drop B tuning (physically tuned, not modelled). I'm not familiar with the song that the Master Puppet Solo patch is based on, (but it obviously includes a harmony). As this suited the key, I just noodled a bit of stuff, mainly using the 4th string, (including the section approx 41-56 seconds). It sounded ok to my ears, but I don't really know what the O.P. is hearing that's unacceptable to his ears. So maybe it IS the JTV models, due to the later firmware, and maybe more specific modelling pre-requisites?
  21. First thing I'd look at is the trem block. I don't have a 69, but I'm betting they've got one of those slimline tremblock like a cheap lollipop Strat copy.
  22. Thanks for confirming both the "part-way there firmware situation", and also the schtum method. Don't mention the war..... Now to find a local dealer to visit with vaxplant in hand........
  23. OK, so before people start giving me the "Line 6 doesn't talk about what may be in the pipeline" lecture, let me just say I'm not interested in other competitors' products on offer, as I use the ability to control my Vaxplants' patches via VDI and Pod HD500. The flexibility this gives me in a live band situation far outweighs the shortcomings of this digital technology (feel, latency, etc.) It's not perfect, but's close enough for all my intents and purposes. What I'd like to know, after seeing some vague "formal" reply to this question some months back, is anything in the pipeline? :rolleyes: Come on you guys, there is NO COMPETITION in this area, so 'fess up and let me know one way or the other, so I can accept it and move on. If the HD500X (only supporting JTV or Standard Variax with relation to Workbench), is the level of the bar right now, then I'm guessing it's never going to happen (with Helix). I'm stuck with my (2) HD500s and (2) Vaxplants until something bricks itself. Of course, I'm perfectly willing to accept that it WILL happen, even if you can't really give me a concrete time-frame. I'm well aware you're working on bug-fixes, and software/s to release, and numerous other things.....
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