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Hi there, I have always wanted a Variax, but because I am left handed I could never get the newer ones. I see the older Variax 500 was in lefty, but they are pretty rare and go for high prices. So I decided to buy a brand new one and do it myself. It's not that hard, I promise and I am no luthier. You will probably void your warranty so do this at your own risk! 1. Remove all the strings. 2. Remove old nut by using a small block of square wood and gently tap (and I mean gently) the block of wood with a mallet. Tap in the direction of the bridge or neck to loosen the glue. And then tap it on the side to slide with a blunt screwdriver, out of the slot. Mine came out really easy and only had a drop of glue in two spots. 3. Replace old nut with the Graphtech TUSQ-XL nut, PQL-5000-L0. This is a lefty nut and is pretty close to the original. Graphtech actually supply the nut for the JTV-69 as standard, but they don't have an exact lefty copy. I sanded mine for about 10 seconds with fine paper to reduce the thickness ever so slightly and then pressed in the new nut. Sand a little, then test. It was a snug fit and didn't bother glueing. 4. Measure the saddles on the bridge (from the rear most straight edge of the bridge to the leading edge of the saddle) and write down each length according to the right handed string setup. You will then reverse all the saddle lengths by screwing them in or out according to what you have written down, with the left handed string layout. 5. Remove the cover on the back of the JTV-69 closest to the bottom. This houses the Variax motherboard. Locate the two grey wires with single white connector attached. This goes back to the bridge piezo pickups. Remove the connector. You will now need to flip the connector around so as to flip the piezos for the lefty string layout. When you plug it back you will notice that the connector doesnt quite align and fit. You will need to cut off a bit of the plastic on the motherboard part of the connector to make it fit. Its not as bad as it sounds. I then secured the plug with a bit of tape. 6. Restring the guitar as lefty, adjust the saddle heights if necessary and re-intonate. But you should be pretty close with the saddle lengths from the previous measurement. 7. Profit $$$! Only downside to this is that its a "Jimi'd" guitar and a bit difficult to reach past the 20th fret. But it plays just like a normal guitar. I dont use a tremelo so have tightened up the springs to make it as hard tail as possible.
Little Wing played on HelixWorking up an instrumental version of Little Wing to perform for an upcoming open mic night. Thought I'd lay down a version for practice and see how it's coming along. First few sections I play like the SRV version and then deviate. A lot of improv so I never play a "perfect" version, but it is what it is :) Signal chain was JTV Variax Strat neck position pickup into Line 6 Helix recorded directly over USB into Ableton Live. No processing done in Ableton whatsoever. I'd love to hear any feedback. https://soundcloud.com/chuskey/little-wing-with-line-6-helix