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Make Your Variax Sound 100% Better

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the link provided in this post didnt work? where do I find the improvments?

Well recently in another discussion I ran across an Idea to help eleviate some of the sympathetic resonance that occurs with the variax guitar.Link here   (quite amplified do to the Full Range of the Variax and HD500 capability's).  I expanded on his Idea and chose to add vibration relief on the Bridge also.  (there are pictures showing what I did on the other discussion).  I wanted to express my extreme satisfaction in the results I am getting.  Over the last few days of practice I am amazed at the sound quality of the modeling. (greatly improved I think from the lack of sound artifacts being modeled along with what I was playing).  Also the quality of the alternative tunings I used to never use the 12 string models cause I thought they sounded terrible at times especially tuned down.  Now they sound phenomenal no warble sounds, just true to what I was playing.  I am not kidding I sat for about an hour going through the different models and tunings amazed at how great they sounded.  ( the last time I was ever impressed by a piece of gear was about 16 years ago I bought a 5150 combo and fell in love with tube distortion, just loved the sound of it.) made me enjoy playing.  I am hoping that others try this technique and have the same results (Truely I do)..  Thanks for Others in these forums that have always been helpful for me...

 

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Unfortunately, at my most recent rehearsal with my JTV59 into HD500 into L2m, the plink or metallic clang returned, and it was particularly noticable on the unwound 3rd string - the G - but it was also there on other strings.  So despite the fact that immediately after adding tape and shrink wrap tubing to my bridge and strings I thought I had fixed the issue and the guitar did sound good at home and at my first rehearsal like that, the second rehearsal, 2 weeks after the previous one, seemed to reveal that the problem had not been fixed at all.     :(

 

For me and my JTV59 - the search for a permanent solution continues....

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The link isn't working for me

It doesn't work for me either - I think it is linking to the old forum threads which did not get moved across to the new forum format.

 

If my memory serves me right, the solution proposed in the thread was simply to dampen the strings between the nut and the machine heads, using either Velcro or a piece of cloth or anything that just muted the sympathetic resonance when strumming.

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the link provided in this post didnt work? where do I find the improvments?

You will probably find them in a variety of new forum threads.

 

The solutions to sympathetic vibrations produced by the strings either between the nut and the machine heads, or between the saddle and the ball end of the string, are as follows:

 

Wrap cloth or Velcro or something similar around the strings between the nut and the machine heads

Wrap string tails with masking tape, electrical tape or shrink wrap tubing

For JTV59 bridge use a thin trip of the soft Velcro side between the saddles and the tailpiece grooves

 

Hope that helps.

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I have the 59 & 69S. I've tried the tape on the string ends and have not noticed a difference before or after, but didn't have a particular problem with it either, so I must be one of the "lucky ones".

 

Dave

 

I'm in mostly the same boat with a 69S.  Wrapping the ends of the strings in the bridge didn't make a lick of difference for me.  I did, however, notice a distinct difference when dampening the strings behind the nut.  I was getting really wild resonance and vibration back there that was picking up very easily.  Wrapped a little velcro and it's gone.

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Unfortunately, at my most recent rehearsal with my JTV59 into HD500 into L2m, the plink or metallic clang returned, and it was particularly noticable on the unwound 3rd string - the G - but it was also there on other strings.  So despite the fact that immediately after adding tape and shrink wrap tubing to my bridge and strings I thought I had fixed the issue and the guitar did sound good at home and at my first rehearsal like that, the second rehearsal, 2 weeks after the previous one, seemed to reveal that the problem had not been fixed at all.     :(

 

For me and my JTV59 - the search for a permanent solution continues....

 

And then at the next rehearsal the clang has gone once again ...... the only difference was I used my 2nd  (newer) VDI cable .....  I need to do a direct A/B test with both my VDI cables to make sure but I hadn't noticed any difference in the past .....so not sure I will now.....or even that a VDI cable could cause an issue..... I thought they would either work or not work ..... I didn't think they could introduce audible anomalies.    Hmmmmm.   

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I thought they would either work or not work ..... I didn't think they could introduce audible anomalies. Hmmmmm.

I doubt the cable is a factor at all. I think a number of things contribute to it, which may be different from one instrument to the next...or in your case, even the same guitar can have the symptoms come and go. And then there are those guitars that don't have the problem at all. Issues like that seldom get fixed...it's difficult to find a universal fix when the problem clearly isn't.

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I doubt the cable is a factor at all. I think a number of things contribute to it, which may be different from one instrument to the next...or in your case, even the same guitar can have the symptoms come and go. And then there are those guitars that don't have the problem at all. Issues like that seldom get fixed...it's difficult to find a universal fix when the problem clearly isn't.

I agree.

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I've noticed one thing happens only when I have my powered speaker turned too low at home.  With the modeling putting out sounds higher than the actual guitar tuning ( virtual capo ), you can hear the lower tones directly from the strings, which are obviously going to clash with the higher key coming out of the amp.

 

Overall I'm very happy with the guitar and it's capabilities.  There will be the occasional oddity, but on the other hand I don't have to use a capo or buy 10 different guitars. It's a compromise.

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Just got a new JTV59 and love it.  It is genuinely a very different sound to my existing LP Trad, LP Jnr Special DC and Strat but complements them well in its own right.  I fell asleep last night after playing it for hours, and then I woke up and found myself here.  What an interesting place.  It's great to find enthusiasts who are trying to deal with the inevitable eccentricities that a guitar as unusual as the JTV will have.

 

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.â€

 

Like minds.....  :wacko:

 

I have read the thread quickly and there is a lot of good common sense in it which is good to see.  No arguments as to which brand of tape and shrink sleeving sounds best for blues for example  :P .  And then someone mentioned the VDI cable.  Mad?  At first glance maybe but it is a good observation.  So how many people were using battery and how many external power when you did your testing and modding?  I wonder if the power supply source may come into this?  I have to be honest, while I admit you guys know the guitar much better than I do so I could easily be totally wrong, it does seem to me that it is at least as likely to be a modelling issue than a structural one.

 

I bought the footswitch power unit even though I was convinced I could have made one myself at a fraction of the cost and spent a lot of time cursing Line6 under my breath as money grabbing corporate pirates.  Then I opened it up and looked inside!  (I have a couple of pics of the PCB in a dedicated thread.)  Barnacles for bollocks, it was worth every penny I paid.  Humble apologies L6!  The PCB carries a lot of active circuitry; a regulator chip, half a dozen transistors and 4 or 5 SMD chips, even though you would think that it only needed a simple regulator and maybe a handful of sensing/protective/relay control components.  I have no idea why there is so much in there but it must do something significant.  So I wondered if the pings and clunks you are experiencing could be the result of something sticking artifacts on the power line which kicks in under certain conditions.

 

Another thought I had was, there is no problem with a velcro/felt/foam absorbent strip at the headstock, that floats free and works really well on all guitars if they have a dischordant ringing issue.  But at the bridge end, if the velcro/tape/shrinkwrap encloses the string and gives it a firm vibration absorbing bed to lie on, i.e. it gets pinched in the space which should be there under the string, do you find that this affects tuning stability as it can be minutely squashed down under use and slacken the string slightly?  Or does it perhaps bed in a little then stay stable?

 

DSP is a funny beast with a few strict laws determining how well the whole thing can work.  It isn't unusual to find that there are artifacts in the signal due to bandwidth restrictions caused by sampling/clock rates etc.  That may again be a factor in this problem.  Is there any info available about the digital setup inside the guitar?

 

And a last simple thought.  Looking at the pics in the thread showing the break of the strings over the bridge it is noticeable that there is a significant curve in some of them where they pass over the saddle.  I first got this advice from an old amp designer, (being old myself now), who was talking about the speed of bedding in new strings and I found it works.  It may make an improvement if you actually push firmly on both sides of the string close to the saddle to put a tighter radius at that point.  This prevents the string flexing slightly over the saddle during playing.  The string would probably find its way to that point in time but it helps to give it assistance to get there asap.  Movement over the bridge saddle during tuning or string bending is of course a reality but it is minimal and doesn't seem to be affected by this tighter bend in my experience.

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I suspect that Workbench HD could overcome some of the "oddities" with a JTV, but the manual is brief and I'm not finding detailed videos about it on YouTube.  May just have to devote several hours to experimentation.   Although the guitar plays very well and I'm finding some advantages to the neck over my Strat with a Warmoth compound radius neck, a good fret dressing by a pro might help

since the intonation etc is more critical with the modeling going on ( I believe ).

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I've just gone down to look into the clicking issue and I can reproduce it here if I use my palm to gently tap down on the bridge, but only on some occasions.  It doesn't go on doing it time after time, but once a note has been sounded it then is more prone to doing it.  And all the time the note is still sounding, even slightly, it seems to do it.  Once the guitar is effectively silent it generally stops.  I have to say I don't think it is at all hardware related, at least on my own guitar.

 

This feels as though the software goes into a more sensitive listening mode once a note is activated to track the tailoff or sense when a different note is picked.  Maybe there is an increase in sensitivity in the system under those circumstances.  I tried tapping on the piezos with my pick and they each sound different as you would expect, but I think there is an increase in "clickiness" when there is vibration on a string going on.

 

Can anyone tell me if the system works by processing the signal picked up by the piezos to produce its output, or does it just use them as a foundation and put together the output signal in relation to info it reads from the piezo signal from a stored library of captured sounds?   If it is the library I would have thought they would maybe have to model the transient attack of the note and the hold and decay separately and if that is the case then the sensitivity of the system may depend on what phase the note is in.  If sensitivity drops drastically when there is no need to hear new info in amongst other sounds and rises when a sound could be masking it then it could go towards explaining what I am seeing here.

 

I think there may well be an issue with the bridge on some peoples' models but this goes beyond that, and there is definitely no contact in the grooves of the piezos on my own bridge.  And I will say for me, this is not a huge issue under playing conditions, I think it's just a peculiarity of the modelling system which could perhaps be sorted out with development by L6.  (Although knowing the software development environment I won't hold my breath for that to happen. ;) )

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since the intonation etc is more critical with the modeling going on ( I believe ).

If you're using alt tunings, yes...but good intonation won't help the models sound "more" like what they're supposed to be, and will neither help nor hinder "plink" issues.

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Can anyone tell me if the system works by processing the signal picked up by the piezos to produce its output, or does it just use them as a foundation and put together the output signal in relation to info it reads from the piezo signal from a stored library of captured sounds?  

 

The former.   Line6 electronics apply a mathematical operation called convolution to the raw sound from the piezos.  You can very roughly look at it this way:  The designers start with the result they want (say a Les Paul sound), measure what's coming from the pickups and figure out the "difference" between them.  That difference is applied to the piezos in real time to make it sound like the Les Paul. 

 

If I've offended any DSP experts with this simplification, my apologies.

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Good, thanks for that info GH, I understand what we are dealing with now.  It's the better way to go I think, performing calculations of that sort is simpler than manipulating library sounds at the sharp end, and no one can deny the success of the results.  So the quality of the models depends on having an accurate impulse response for convolution and a good piezo system to give a responsive and repeatable base signal.  And updates to the voices presumably mean loading up more accurate impulse responses.

 

The most noticeable weakness to me is on the lower strings of the acoustic models, in particular the first few frets of the low E.  The system seems easily overwhelmed by the signal from that and it picks up the slightest fret buzz and seems to amplify it out of proportion.  If the original classic model was measured without any fret buzz and then fret buzz was introduced into the pre-convolved playback signal, and given that the impulse responses for acoustic will lift the higher frequencies, the buzz well may be brought out more than the rest of the signal.  If there was any truth in this I would guess that it is a fact of life of applying this method of modelling which would be difficult to eradicate.

 

Any DSP experts out there with info to explain?

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Any DSP experts out there with info to explain?

I don't claim "expert" status on anything in particular...but I do know that piezos are ultra-sensitive compared to a mag pickup. Fret buzz, or anything else that rattles, pings, rubs, or vibrates can yield unpleasant artifacts with the modeling. There's an epic-length thread in here titled "Do you have the same problem with the 6th string?" (or something like that), where the dreaded "piezo plink", and the lack of a "cure" for same is still being discussed ad nauseum...give it a read, as long as you're not busy for a month or so, lol. ;)

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It has nothing to do with a "library of sounds", which sugggests sampling, which would make it a midi guitar.

 

Absolutely nothing else but the signal itself is what you hear. There might be some effects going on in certain models (Sitar does an Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release filter to give it the sitar sound by listening to when you pick a string, but it's still the signal being processed)

 

but it's ultimately the piezo sound getting processed to virtually emulate going through the modelled guitar pickups and electronics, as well as body resonance.

It's why they probably chose Piezo pickups over magnetic pickups, because it's way closer to getting the cleanest sound of your guitar strings without it being colored by the frequency response of a magnetic pickup.

 

It's why it sounds like an acoustic guitar, because when you listen to your electric unplugged, it kind of sounds like an acoustic, just not as rich because it doesn't have an acoustic body to resonate off of.

 

When you have a clean sound, it's better to work with. I mean, look at those "acoustic simulator" pedals. They sound like garbage, because an magnetic pickup cuts out too much frequencies for a pedal to just "boost" the frequencies back in. It doesn't really work, it just sounds like an electric with high presence, and to some, I guess that's "acousticy" enough for them. 

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Well recently in another discussion I ran across an Idea to help eleviate some of the sympathetic resonance that occurs with the variax guitar.Link here http://line6.com/support/message/485558#485558  (quite amplified do to the Full Range of the Variax and HD500 capability's).  I expanded on his Idea and chose to add vibration relief on the Bridge also.  (there are pictures showing what I did on the other discussion).  I wanted to express my extreme satisfaction in the results I am getting.  Over the last few days of practice I am amazed at the sound quality of the modeling. (greatly improved I think from the lack of sound artifacts being modeled along with what I was playing).  Also the quality of the alternative tunings I used to never use the 12 string models cause I thought they sounded terrible at times especially tuned down.  Now they sound phenomenal no warble sounds, just true to what I was playing.  I am not kidding I sat for about an hour going through the different models and tunings amazed at how great they sounded.  ( the last time I was ever impressed by a piece of gear was about 16 years ago I bought a 5150 combo and fell in love with tube distortion, just loved the sound of it.) made me enjoy playing.  I am hoping that others try this technique and have the same results (Truely I do)..  Thanks for Others in these forums that have always been helpful for me...

Hi there, I can't seem to get to the link you supplied. I just purchased an 89F (just because of the locking tuners) but don't like the acoustic sounds. I sounds to me like the mic was placed too far from the 12th fret but it also sounds like an obviously sampled sound. I'm not sure what that is except I recognise the sound from older variax models which I disliked. Would you mind letting me know how to get to your link?..thanks very much... 

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I have had numerous requests for the original link unfortunately line6 has killed the old chat room format there is no way to retrieve it. I honestly hardly ever check the forums anymore do too the fact I no longer have any issues with the variax. Through out this thread lies the answers you seek. I haven't had any problems with pings or artifacts since the last modifications I did. I hope whoever is having issues finds the answers to their problems in this thread there is allot of useful information. Not just by me the whole community has posted allot of valuable information. Good luck to you all

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Didn't read ALL of the posts, so this may be a repeat:

 

AllParts makes a product that fits inside of the tremolo springs and acts as a damper to the natural spring reverb of a Fender-style tremolo spring. It's kind of like a foam worm that goes inside the springs. It doesn't get caught in the springs at all, but still dampens the ringing that string vibration causes. It's called SpringNO and costs about $5 - enough for one guitar.

 

https://www.allparts.com/BP-2009-000-SpringNO-Tremolo-Spring-Silencers_p_1036.html

 

The spring set-up as a reverb tank is one of the key components of the signature Stratocaster sound. Don't know if it was planned or just a happy accident.  For some sounds, the natural reverb is pleasing, but I found it kept my noise gate from triggering on with heavy distortion. I would imagine that it may also impart some non-pleasing artifacts with the modeling software.

 

On a related note, when I installed a set of these foam dampers in my '77 Strat, I discovered that the tremolo "claw" in the back of the guitar was actually making contact with the cavity wall. Same deal, for some sounds it seemed to add a pleasing resonance and for others it was causing odd sound issues.

 

I guess the takeaway from this post is to check all of your hardware (including parts under the pickguard) to make sure they are not causing unwanted resonance issues. 

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JTV's with floating bridges already come with dampers in the springs.

Though the Allparts dampers would be handy if you lose one.

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JTV's with floating bridges already come with dampers in the springs.

Though the Allparts dampers would be handy if you lose one.

 

News to me.  My JTV-69 certainly did not.

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They are foam inserts inside the spring.

This forum is lousy with examples of "new" guitars arriving without batteries and/or chargers, and USB dongles...it isn't terribly surprising that little foam inserts didn't make their way into the springs on any one particular unit.

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Quite a jump to quite a conclusion, with a broad brush of an assumption.

 

Like Schodinger's Cat--- They may be in there and you might not know it,...

... until you pull a spring, look inside and see.

 

I guess there's a quantum foam or quantum spring joke in there somewhere.

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I will take another look, but I seriously do not think this is a case of collapsing probabilities falling out in an undesirable state.

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Well, if the foam inserts are in fact missing, let me know. 

We can get you replacements.

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I've never noticed the foam in the spring either, but I doublechecked now and they are there, all 3 of them ;)

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Another old revival.  I'm working through my 69S midi project.  Last weekend, I finally had a chance to get into the guitar.  The guitar came with DiAdario 10s which were OK, but I'm a slinky 09 fan. After the change, I was noting that the sound on some of the models had gotten really weird, especially when using altered tunings, so I the looked on here to see what was up.  I found this thread and, sure enough, my strings are vibrating sympathetically - and quite noticeably - between the nut and the tuners. I also do not have any foam inserts inside the springs in the bridge. I'll try the velcro fix tonight, but I suspect that may do the job.  On the other hand, is it possible that the nut material is not optimal? 

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Alt tuning weirdness is often an intonation issue. If you just swapped string gauges, the intonation (among other things) likely needs adjusting.

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Another old revival.  I'm working through my 69S midi project.  Last weekend, I finally had a chance to get into the guitar.  The guitar came with DiAdario 10s which were OK, but I'm a slinky 09 fan. After the change, I was noting that the sound on some of the models had gotten really weird, especially when using altered tunings, so I the looked on here to see what was up.  I found this thread and, sure enough, my strings are vibrating sympathetically - and quite noticeably - between the nut and the tuners. I also do not have any foam inserts inside the springs in the bridge. I'll try the velcro fix tonight, but I suspect that may do the job.  On the other hand, is it possible that the nut material is not optimal?

 

Just wondering if you've tried the fixes in this thread and if they're working for you.

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Slinky and piezos never did mix well. Signal tends to be thin and weak,

and that's not good when in Alt Tune either.

 

If the string tension is different, that will have an affect on the set-up,

and aspects mentioned by crusinon2.

 

Might want to have your set-up checked and if need be, adjusted.

 

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What would be the preferred brand/gauges for the 69s then? How about Elixir or D'Addario 10s?

They come strung with 10's...

 

But it's really a matter of personal preference, and provided that the guitar is set up properly, it doesn't matter what's on there. If you're used to 9's, then a set of 11's will feel like you're playing with the suspension cables from the Golden Gate Bridge...As for brand? Advertising drivel notwithstanding, with the exception of coated strings like Elixirs which genuinely feel different to the touch, I seriously doubt most payers could tell one brand from another if you put a gun to their head...

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Both of my Variaxes have 9,s. The 89F was fine right from the day I got it, but the 59 took me downloading other people's bundles and re-installing a few stock presets before the plink went away completely. They now sound great with 9's.

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Does anyone know how I can find the OP's fix or another workaround? His original thread is now gone...replaced by L6 promo stuff on their site. So I'm dead in the water here. I would love to know how to optimize my JTV models for best tone. I have the JTV 89F. I used to have the 89 hardtail. Maybe it's my imagination, but I swear the models sounded better on it than on my 89F, which seems to have an overly compressed sound on pretty much every model. They do not sound punchy to me at all either. I am running the latest and greatest 2.0 + (2.22 I believe) on this guitar. If anyone has tips, tricks, whatever to make the most of the modeled sounds, please do share. In the meantime, I'll be experimenting with the HD Variax Workbench and turning over rocks on YouTube to see what I might come up with. Thanks in advance!

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The OP solutions were for a 59 and were mainly about suppressing resonance.

For overly compressed my immediate guess is that global string levels are too high for your guitar hardware and playing style. Variax modelling includes an element of compression and if you hit it with too high a signal it will sound compressed... it is just a different lump of wood and set of piezoelectric pickups.

In global string levels reduce the level of each string until you feel that you are getting the right dynamics, and don't be worried if it seems to be a massive cut; 10db is not unusual, and each string may be very different.

Then if you think the volume levels are now too low on each patch tweak the levels back up again.

Another thing that can improve things is not having the magnetic pickups too high.

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